Marked by outrage and division,
what can ever bring our nation back together?
12 Realities About Christ Today
That Give America the Hope of
Securing “a More Perfect Union”
[Editor’s Note: Not a few political commentators agree that our nation may be more divided and more partisan than at any time since the Civil War. Hate-filled vitriol spews from all sides. Many of our screeds rise out of our fear—which is the opposite of hope—fear of our leaders and each other, fear over the disintegration toward which it seems America is plunging.
However, David Bryant believes a greater vision of God’s Son will take believers in a whole other direction in this critical hour—and our nation with us. In this week’s blog post, he adapts his insights from one section of his latest book, CHRIST IS NOW! 7 Ground Breaking Keys to Help You Explore and Experience the Supremacy of God’s Son Today. These truths about the active reign of Jesus will lift your heart, increase your faith, and give you fresh reasons to “abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13)—despite being barraged daily by negative, divisive news. This blog post highlights the overriding realities about Christ that make him the one and only hope for America.]
Remember how we recited this in childhood?
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men,
Couldn’t put Humpty together again.
Well, it sort of looks like that’s what we’ve come to in the United States today, don’t you think?
In recent years we have become a nation divided, torn apart, swimming in resentments over politics, racism, social injustices, spurred on by cable news wars. We are fiercely quarreling over political personalities, or immigration policies, or healthcare solutions, or state and federal expenditures, or causes of global warming while entrenched inside our self-defined “tribes” where we doubt the good faith and integrity of anyone outside our camp, often suspecting them of nefarious, even malicious motives.
Just this week one of the country’s most popular political commentators concluded his broadcast ominously: “Due to the rapidly heating outrages over immigration we are becoming a nation at war with ourselves.”
Yet, as historian Jon Meacham observes in his current bestseller, The Soul of America, “culture wars” have defined, often violently, a persistent national plotline where we repeatedly (using the words of the book’s subtitle) “battle for our better angels.”
Abraham Lincoln warned us 160 years ago, speaking then of the accelerating hostilities between the North and South over slavery: “A house divided against itself, cannot stand. It will become all one thing or the other.” (Of course, he was quoting the wisdom of Jesus in Luke 11: “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall.”)
And we know where that ended: a civil war with over 620,000 American lives lost in the ensuring fratricide.
So what are Americans in 2018 to do about a similar type of crisis? Actually, there is one spectacular solution! I want to explore it with you to give you renewed hope for our land at this hour.
Fear Not—There’s Still Hope for Humpty!
As of now, it appears all of our kings (leaders), plus all of their men and women (administrations and committees and parties), plus all of their horses (technology, psychology, judiciary, celebrity, monetary, etc.) have proven utterly incapable of bringing our shattered, scattered, conflicted citizenry back together again.
Even the Church—even the evangelical movement within the Church—has proven impotent when it comes to facilitating reconciliation, renewal, reasoned solutions or any of the other fruits of the gospel like forbearance, forgiveness, hope, godliness—like love!
In fact, studies reveal we’re responding like the rest of the nation.
For those of us who claim to belong to a kingdom that is not, as Jesus told Pilate, “of this world” (literally “from” this world), we find ourselves just as divided as the world around us. Whatever the Bible claims about “oneness in Christ” somehow alludes us, as that unity becomes nullified and superseded by the most recently pressing national tugs-of-war.
Even though believers have been called to “maintain the unity that the Spirit has already given us” (Ephesians 4), instead we sacrifice our experience of that unity as we engage in the latest civic or social brawls in ways that sound more like unbelievers.
Tragically, too few Christians right now are rising up to resist and renounce our grievous and growing spiritual embarrassment—this soul-gutting of our witness to our neighbors and our nation of the redeeming, reconciling power of our Savior.
Yet it is Christ, and Christ alone—the one who is currently “the ruler of the kings of the earth” (Revelation 1), ascended to the place of highest honor and authority in the universe—who offers himself not only as the sole source of unity for the Church (see all of Ephesians 4:3-16—a fantastic portrait!), but he also intends to unify all heaven and earth under his saving reign (as highlighted so powerfully in Ephesians 1:9-10).
Remember this: Unity and comity have been greatly prized values since America’s founding. The Preamble to the US Constitution, written in the last days of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, begins with this aspiration: “We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union.”
Form a more perfect union? How does that happen?
Plain and simple: ultimately through God’s Son, the Lord Jesus, “in whom all things hold together” (Colossians 1).
Because he stands supreme over the designs of often flailing and faltering “kings, men, and horses” everywhere as well as their nations, he offers humankind—he offers America—remarkably relevant “realities,” fully in operation today, that provide us every reason to hope that there is a way to “perfect” our union.
First, however, this must happen among the people of God residing in America. Only then can it happen to the soul of a sundered nation as it comes through the ministry of a multitude of reawakened and re-impassioned Jesus followers.
So, in this blog post let me briefly share with you just twelve of the marvelous “realities” about Christ today to which Christians must become fully alive.
The Great Hope for a Shattered People:
A Nationwide Awakening to
12 Realities About Christ Today
A few days ago, a good friend of mine shared with me his fears for the future of his denomination—a major evangelical body currently being torn apart over political and theological feuds among its pastors and members.
Anticipating floor battles at their annual convention that might irreparably damage their claims of Christian solidarity, he wrote to the denominational head urging him to take a dramatic step. He proposed that they place a large chair on the main platform of the convention hall—something the size of an old-fashioned pulpit chair—and set it directly beside the official lectern.
There for all to see all the time, the “throne” would dominate the week of deliberations simply by its mute but inescapable testimony to one central “reality”: the Lord Jesus Christ, the King of Glory and Prince of Peace, is reigning among them by his Spirit, here and now—in the fullness of his majesty, wisdom, authority, and supremacy. As Scripture reminds us: “when you are assembled . . . the power of our Lord Jesus is present” (1 Corinthians 5), and “Christ is among you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1).
My friend’s dream was that this single, wondrous truth would shape not only what was said but why and how anything was said—because everyone would realize they were declaring and debating in Christ’s presence and for Christ’s sake, and because it would inspire an atmosphere of holy fear and devotion toward the triune God among the assembled delegates, a level of oneness not available to either a church or a nation outside of the life in Christ found in God’s kingdom.
Here, then, are some of the “realities” this practical, visual exercise reinforced for the conferees, calling them to awake to Christ for all he is.
Awake to Reality ONE About Christ Today
According to Psalm 2, since the beginning the Father always intended to bring earth’s emperors, presidents, prime ministers, juntas — even dictators — under his Son as Supreme Ruler. And he is actively doing so in our nation today.
Why do the nations plan evil together? . . . The kings of the earth rise up against the Lord. The rulers of the earth join together against his anointed king. “Let us break free from their chains,” they say. “Let us throw off their ropes.” . . . The Lord makes fun of those rulers and their plans. . . . He says to them, “I have placed my king on my holy mountain of Zion.” . . . He said to me, “You are my son. Today I have become your father. Ask me, and I will give the nations to you. All nations on earth will belong to you. You will break them with an iron scepter. . . . Kings, be wise! Rulers of the earth, be warned! . . . Obey the son completely (NIRV).
Awake to Reality TWO About Christ Today
According to Isaiah 40, what is said of Yahweh’s sovereign ways among the nations’ leaders is equally true of the Son’s prerogatives today, placed as he is by the Father on his “Holy Hill.” So there’s no challenge facing our nation this moment that Jesus is not willing, able, and ready to engage, and for which he is not more than equal to handle it completely and bring it out where the Father wants it to be.
Hasn’t it been told to you from the beginning? Haven’t you understood it ever since the earth was made? God sits on his throne high above the earth. Its people look like grasshoppers to him. He spreads the heavens out like a cover. He sets it up like a tent to live in. He takes the power of princes away from them. He reduces the rulers of this world to nothing. They are planted. They are scattered like seeds. They put down roots in the ground. But as soon as that happens, God blows on them and they dry up (NIRV).
Awake to Reality THREE About Christ Today
According to Psalm 72, the superior Son of David, the King of Israel, brings with him an everlasting dominion intended to conquer all other realms and those who guide them. And that kingdom is spreading life and redemption in our nation right now. Looking far beyond David to the Lord Jesus Christ, Scripture declares:
God, give the king the ability to judge fairly. He is your royal son. Help him to do what is right. . . . May the king stand up for those who are hurting. . . . May he crush those who treat others badly. . . . May all kings will bow down to him. May all nations will serve him. . . . May the king’s name be remembered forever. May his fame last as long as the sun shines. Then all nations will be blessed because of him. . . . May his glory fill the whole earth (Psalm 72, NIRV).
Awake to Reality FOUR About Christ Today
From Isaiah 53 we learn that Jesus’ impact on the kings of the earth is tied directly to how, before all else, he first suffered for them and their peoples. Thus, even those we strongly disagree with are, first of all and above all, welcomed to share with us in the overwhelming blessings that flow from the sacrifice of the Lamb of God.
Just watch my servant blossom! Exalted, tall, head and shoulders above the crowd! But he didn’t begin that way. At first everyone was appalled. He didn’t even look human— a ruined face, disfigured past recognition. Nations all over the world will be in awe, taken aback, kings shocked into silence when they see him (Isaiah 52, MSG, emphasis added).
The plan was that he give himself as an offering for sin so that he’d see life come from it—life, life, and more life. And God’s plan will deeply prosper through him. . . . the best of everything, the highest honors” (Isaiah 53, MSG).
Awake to Reality FIVE About Christ Today
In the light of Christ’s destiny to prevail over the designs of global rulers, the early church found the boldness to stand against every opposing power, both profane and religious. For example, in Acts 4, read how the early church prayed using words from Psalm 2. They prayed with the same vision by which we can pray about the Church’s unified ministry to our broken nation today.
Long ago you spoke by the Holy Spirit. You spoke through the mouth of our father David, who served you. You said, “Why are the nations angry? Why do the people make useless plans? The kings of the earth rise up. The rulers of the earth gather together against the Lord and against his anointed king.” . . . They did what your power and purpose had already decided should happen. Now, Lord, consider the bad things they say they are going to do. Help us to be very bold when we speak your word. Stretch out your hand to heal. Do miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus (Acts 4, NIRV).
Awake to Reality SIX About Christ Today
When the early church announced to the world “Jesus is Lord,” the clear implication was that Caesar was not. In other words, Jesus and the gospel radically upstaged Caesar and his claims to power. Emperor Nero didn’t throw Christians to the lions because they confessed that Jesus merely wanted to be the Lord of people’s hearts. Rather, through spreading the gospel the early church proclaimed that the One who died, rose again and ascended on high was meant to be Lord of all—including all Caesars, principalities, monarchs, commanders, overlords, chiefs, maharajahs, potentates, princes and princesses—and of all other ruling powers, visible and invisible.
Thus, the destiny of America resides not with the White House or Congress, but with the “manifest destiny” of the Lord of heaven and earth. Our future is inseparable from what his reign is all about. Bishop N. T. Wright provides a helpful historical insight:
The whole book [of Acts] is the story of how Jesus, exercising his power as the CEO of earth and of heaven, sends out his followers as ambassadors to make his kingdom a reality, climaxing with the strange paradox of Paul in chains announcing that the Roman world has a new emperor (emphasis added).
Awake to Reality SEVEN About Christ Today
Indeed, the superior claims of Jesus undermine all earthly human authority; they call every ruler into account before the Throne of Heaven. In chapter 7, Daniel foresaw this awesome truth to be fulfilled in God’s Son. In this vision rests the one and only hope for any nation coming apart at the seams:
As I watched, thrones were set in place. The Eternal God took his seat. . . . The court was seated. And the books were opened. The authority of the other animals [representing major empires] had been stripped away from them. But they were allowed to live for a period of time. In my vision I saw the one who looked like a son of man. He was coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Eternal God. He was led right up to him. And he was given authority, glory and a kingdom. People from all nations, no matter what language they spoke, worshiped him. His authority will last forever. . . . His kingdom will last forever. Every ruler will worship and obey him (Daniel 7, NIRV).
Awake to Reality EIGHT About Christ Today
At every level, Christ actively, invasively commands and orders the ways of the kings and kingdoms of this world. He does so in a variety of ways: tolerating some, supporting others; limiting some, protecting some, punishing some, deflating some while lifting others so their administrations prosper for generations. Clearly, there is not a single authority in any facet of society that Jesus cannot providentially use or disabuse to fulfill his kingdom purposes.
That is why the nations—our nation—must look to him above all others for our healing and restoration.
Therefore, the Church must proclaim everywhere how salvation’s Champion stands above politics yet, at the same time, retains final say among all authorities, both secular and sacred. “He breaks the proud spirit of rulers. The kings of the earth have respect for him” (Psalm 76). He is ready to do so in America at this very moment.
Awake to Reality NINE About Christ Today
In fact, “states” and “governments” of the world are, in a very real sense, servants of Christ functioning under his realm, often as instruments for the restraint of evil among the nations. At the same time, he is equally prepared to bring down human governors who, after all, “derive” their authority from him in the first place if they step too far outside his kingdom’s designs. The fact remains, only King Jesus is primary and absolute. Called to account before him (whether they know it or not), human dignitaries can be replaced at any moment by the One who orders the course of stars that inhabit the heavens and oversees the course of those who inhabit the thrones of earth.
In the end, if America survives the current crisis, by King Jesus’ power, it will be because he intends for our people to further his purposes on the earth and channel his blessings to “the families of the earth.”
Awake to Reality TEN About Christ Today
Notice in this passage how all of this comes together in Romans 13 when Paul links the role of earthly authorities with the grand expectation held by all Christians that everything, including those who rule, must in the end answer to Christ alone:
All of you must be willing to obey those who rule over you. There are no authorities except the ones God has chosen. Those who now rule have been chosen by God. . . . The one in authority serves God for your good. But if you do wrong, watch out! Rulers don’t carry a sword for no reason at all. They serve God. And God is carrying out his anger through them. The ruler punishes anyone who does wrong. . . . The hour has already come for you to wake up from your sleep. The full effects of our salvation are closer now than when we first believed in Christ. The dark night of evil is nearly over. The day of Christ’s return is almost here. . . . put on the Lord Jesus Christ as if he were your clothing (NIRV).
Awake to Reality ELEVEN About Christ Today
In the same way, Christ continues to reign over the evil, invisible principalities and powers who often beguile, and sometimes actually animate, the rulers of the world. By his assault on the forces of darkness, preeminently when he stripped them at the Cross (Colossians 2), Jesus maintains final say on how and how much they influence the designs and decisions of rulers.
In the end, consequently, Satan’s minions are destined only for destruction on the day of his grand triumph. Even so, much of the “disorder” and “disintegration” and “animosity” that roils our land right now is evidence of the grander spiritual conflict going on behind the scenes.
The good news for America is that Jesus is greater than all the host of evil arrayed against us that would incite us to mistrust, hatred, and fear.
Awake to Reality TWELVE About Christ Today
John painted Christ’s final assault on the rulers of darkness in the most graphic terms, which is foreshadowed by Jesus’ current superintendence over the life and drama—and battle—going on in our nation or any nation.
Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider was named Faithful and True, for he judges fairly and wages a righteous war. His eyes were like flames of fire, and on his head were many crowns. . . . From his mouth came a sharp sword to strike down the nations. . . . On his robe at his thigh[was written this title: King of all kings and Lord of all lords. . . . Then I saw the beast and the kings of the world and their armies gathered together to fight against the one sitting on the horse and his army. . . . Both the beast and his false prophet were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. Their entire army was killed by the sharp sword that came from the mouth of the one riding the white horse (Revelation 19, NLT, emphasis added).
Unity Among Nations or Unity Within Nations:
Ultimately Possible Only in Christ Alone!
Founded in 1945, the United Nations is the first ever permanent international organization of its kind. With 193 member states, the UN exists to maintain international peace and security, develop friendly relations among nations and their leaders, and promote social progress, better living standards, and human rights. The UN Security Council has the power to make binding decisions that member governments have agreed to carry out.
But here’s a most fascinating fact about the organization. Anyone who walks through the front doors of the UN headquarters in New York City immediately encounters a passage of Scripture from Isaiah 2 emblazoned across the front wall! The verse, taken from the King James Version, reads: “They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”
More fascinating still are these verses that appear on either side of verse 4—insights which explain precisely how Isaiah’s vision for international peace will come to pass:
And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. . . . The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day (Isaiah 2, KJV, emphasis added).
In other words, according to Isaiah the success of nations engaged in peacemaking activities—including seeking peace among its own factions—impinges directly on who ultimately is in charge. The prophet is clear about who that person must be: Yahweh.
Only when God’s throne is exalted so that his ways prevail among the peoples, only when boastful leaders are humbled so fully that Yahweh alone is exalted, can the weapons of war—including hateful verbal attacks of fellow citizens—be transformed into instruments of peace.
As Christians we know Isaiah 2 finds its ultimate fulfillment right now in the One ascended to Yahweh’s right hand, reigning over us while we await the universal display of his sway when he returns bodily at the end of this age.
That means today—regardless of the influence of UN ambassadors or UN Security Council members—it is the Lord Jesus Christ who has the final say on the designs of global leaders and the outworking of national dynamics.
Today, Yahweh’s absolute authority over earth’s rulers and their peoples belongs to God’s Son, exalted on high as “King of kings and Lord of lords.” Listen to how Ephesians 1 describes it:
God seated him at his right hand in his heavenly kingdom. There Christ sits far above all who rule and have authority. He also sits far above all powers and kings. He is above every name that is appealed to in this world and in the world to come. God placed all things under Christ’s rule (NIRV, emphasis added).
Such was John’s conclusion. Face to face with the One to whom all authority has been given in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28), he placed this Trinitarian benediction on churches in Asia Minor, issued with eternal finality:
May grace and peace come to you from Jesus Christ. He is the faithful witness, so what he has shown can be trusted. He was the first to rise from the dead. He rules over the kings of the earth (Revelation 1, emphasis added).
Though in this age most may not recognize his throne or his involvement in the affairs of state, yet ultimately he prevails, constantly furthering the redemptive purposes of God as all authorities remain subservient to him. They would not even exist without his word (Hebrews 1).
In other words, all of earth’s royal majesties are relative. Only the throne of King Jesus is absolute—and absolutely permanent.
Christ will succeed so fully that in the end the designs of nations and their leaders—whether commanders-in-chief, or chieftains or chief operating officers—will be either purged or purified, transformed and incorporated into the triumphal procession of the returning Sovereign Son, ruler forever of the whole earth.
Here’s How YOU Can Help
Secure “a More Perfect Union”
The preeminent hope for America at this critical juncture of our history (as well as at any other time) is to come under the ministry of the Spirit of God as he spreads from coast to coast a compelling, revolutionary vision of the spectacular supremacy and saving power of God’s Redeemer—until among God’s people, first of all, the praises of King Jesus fill our lips and dominate our conversations.
What can YOU do?
- Pray for this Christ Awakening every single day.
- Talk about our need for a Christ Awakening with other believers at every opportunity.
- Hold fast to the core truth of these twelve realities as you confront the seemingly intractable calamity of enraged Americans—angry over the issues and angry with one another—and make sure you respond to the harsh dynamics that are rocking our land in the light of who he is today.
- Above all, in all your efforts to secure “a more perfect union,” make much of the glory of Christ himself, who he is today—alive and reigning and life-giving. Show those around you how all he is at this very hour, fully involved at God’s right hand, offers a new way to “perfect” our union with one another. Why not begin by doing so with fellow believers at your church this coming Sunday.
And always remember to keep yourself encouraged with that infectious hope that’s focused on our Lord Jesus—knowing he comes to our broken generation to advance and fulfill before our very eyes more and more of the vision of Psalm 47:
God [in his Son] went up to his throne
while his people were shouting with joy . . .
Sing praises to our King [Jesus]! Sing praises!
God [through his Son] is the King of the whole earth . . .
The nobles of the nations come together.
They are now part of the people
of the God of Abraham [Jesus’ followers].
The kings of the earth belong to [God’s Son] (emphasis added).
About the Author
Over the past 40 years, David Bryant has been defined by many as a “messenger of hope” and a “Christ proclaimer” to the Church throughout the world. Formerly a minister-at-large with the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, president of Concerts of Prayer International (COPI), and chairman of America’s National Prayer Committee, David now provides leadership to ChristNow.com and to Proclaim Hope!, whose mission is to foster and serve Christ-awakening movements. Order his widely read books at DavidBryantBooks.com