Here Come the November Elections!

What Difference Does the Reign of Jesus Make
at This Critical Crossroads?

 

As we approach November 3, with not only the presidency but many key congressional seats at stake, the pundits, commentators, historians, political and social scientists—as well as the average citizen—agree on this (even when we can’t agree on much else): 

Our nation proves to be more divided, more polarized, more entrenched and inflexible—more paralyzed domestically and internationally—than at any time since the great Civil War. 

It appears we’ve moved beyond merely being “partisan” to being “tribal”—tribes identified as Democrats vs. Republicans, Left vs. Right, liberals vs. conservatives, big government vs. small government, coastal elites vs. the flyover states, white-collar vs. blue-collar, red states vs. blue states, Trumpers vs. Never Trumpers.

On and on, the shattering of our society continues. Battle lines appear permanently locked in everywhere. Being awash in a deadly global pandemic with well over 200,000 dead, plus millions of citizens in economic stress while battling over a new Supreme Court nominee, our country has seen all of this and more only exacerbate the social breakdown we were experiencing a year ago as impeachment held sway.

We see what is shaping up to be the most hotly contested and consequential presidential election in our nation’s history. In the face of dire warnings that the very fabric of our society is being ripped asunder, that our major institutions are being stressed to a breaking point, and that our culture as a whole is in an ethical and moral freefall, we would do well to ask ourselves some crucial questions. Frankly, many Americans are already doing just that.

Questions Every American Is Asking:

 

  • At this collision of convictions and cultures, who’s really in charge here?
  • Is there anyone able to rescue us from our deepening, deadly nightmare?
  • Is there anyone positioned to start the healing process that we so desperately need at every level?

 

But for Christians in America—evangelical, Catholic, Orthodox, Charismatic, Pentecostal or otherwise—we must follow up those essential questions with others.

Additional Questions Christians Must Ask:

 

  • As everything seems to be collapsing around us, where is Jesus Christ? How involved is he? Or is he involved at all?
  • Is Christ, who is titled the King of kings—truly supreme over the dynamics and destiny of this nation?
  • If so, has the time come for Jesus followers to refuse to cast our lot with either the donkey (Democrats) or the elephant (Republicans) any longer? Instead, as those who are one in Christ and citizens of his Kingdom, is this the hour for us to choose to turn wholeheartedly in total dependence on a whole other source of deliverance—the ascended Lamb of God?
  • Do we dare to make Jesus, seated on the throne of heaven, our exclusive hero and our only hope for genuine recovery? Are we ready to boldly, openly, and publicly give him the supremacy in everything—to restore to him his rightful place in the life and future of our nation?
  • Do we really believe—to the core of our beings—that the current reign of the world’s Redeemer holds the one true and final answer to all the other questions and challenges we face?
  • In other words, are we so convinced of who Jesus is and all that he is, that we’re willing to “break ranks” with the tribalism that grips so many Americans in order to begin fostering a national moral and spiritual revolution that’s wrapped up in the Kingdom initiatives of the Lord of Glory—rather than in politicians or political parties or policy debates?

 

These are the kinds of questions—and the focus of our search for solutions—that must occupy our full attention right now—not only before the November elections but also long after. 

Let me tackle some of these issues—doing so with a fresh, biblical, Christ-focused perspective.  

First of all, let’s ask:
How much of what we’re witnessing today involves the judgments of the Lamb

 
I’m convinced that the aspects of the disintegration around us—whether in our communities, in our politics, in our climate, in our infrastructure decay; whether by natural disasters, by gun violence, by ethical scandals on every side, by spiritual famine in the land—all show signs that they are fundamentally the judgments of the Lord of Glory.

On the one hand, somewhere in the mix of all of this, it’s clear that our nation is under enemy invasion from the principalities and powers and rulers of the domains of darkness (see Eph. 2:1-3; Eph. 6:10-18; Rev. 12). 

On the other hand, let’s not forget that in God’s dealings with the nation of Israel, he used their enemies to further his judgments upon the generations that rebelled against his righteous ways. It is even so today. Though set on the destruction of our land, Satan’s minions must perform the bidding of the Exalted and Holy One who has conquered them to bring about the fulfillment of his divine decrees concerning our land.

Clearly from Scripture, we also see God’s judgments upon a nation arriving in the form of natural disasters and plagues (Noah’s flood, Pharaoh’s Egypt, locust swarms in Joel); international conflicts (from Edomites to Assyrians); through the confusion of social, religious, and political chaos (see the whole book of Jeremiah).

Hands Off!

 
But in the New Testament, the primary evidence of God’s wrath upon the nations—upon our nation—is clearly laid out as involving something more troubling: 

God simply takes his hands off of us, letting us suffer the consequences of our rebellion. 

That response may be the worst judgment of all! For example, we read in Romans 1 (MSG, emphasis added):

What happened was this: People knew God perfectly well, but when they didn’t treat him like God, refusing to worship him, they trivialized themselves into silliness and confusion so that there was neither sense nor direction left in their lives . . . 

So, God said, in effect, “If that’s what you want, that’s what you get.” It wasn’t long before they were living in a pigpen . . . 

Worse followed. Refusing to know God, they soon didn’t know how to be human either . . . oh, how they paid for it—emptied of God and love, godless and loveless wretches.

Since they didn’t bother to acknowledge God, God quit bothering them and let them run loose. And then all hell broke loose: rampant evil, grabbing and grasping, vicious backstabbing. They made life hell on earth with their envy, wanton killing, bickering, and cheating.

Let’s be honest: Doesn’t that whole scene remind you a lot of what we’re seeing all around us in America today? What we hear every day on the news?

The process described in Romans 1 also reminds me of what we read in 2 Thessalonians 2. Paul sets out what will precede the coming of the antichrist before the return of Christ. In principle, similar spiritual dynamics can play themselves out in preliminary forms in any generation—including our own—in ways that look like this:

Don’t let anyone deceive you by any means whatsoever. That day will not come before there arises a definite rejection of God and the appearance of the lawless man . . . the product of all that leads to death . . . 

You will probably also remember how I used to talk about a “restraining power” which would operate until the time should come for the emergence of this man. Evil is already insidiously at work, but its activities are restricted until what I have called the “restraining power” (of God) is removed. (PHILLIPS, emphasis added)

Let’s ask again: Does it not feel to you these days that the restraining hand of God is being removed more and more from our land on every side? Does it not seem that we are currently reaping what we’ve sown as God gives us the freedom to pursue and embrace the works of the flesh in every arena of our lives? And the outcome is ultimately the way of death.

The Lamb of God is in charge.
In fact, he’s our only way forward.

 

God raised him from death and set him on a throne in deep heaven,
in charge of running the universe, everything from galaxies to governments,
no name and no power exempt from his rule.
And not just for the time being, but forever.
He is in charge of it all,
has the final word on everything.
At the center of all this, Christ rules the church.

(Ephesians 1, The Message, emphasis added)

“He is in charge of it all”—that’s the claim of Scripture!

Therefore, I suggest that for Christians, these questions listed above need to be answered at this critical hour in a way that forces us back to the LAMB OF GOD as our only way out of our long, intractable, national nightmare that grows more ominous daily. Better still, they drive us to the conviction that Jesus is our only way forward as a nation. Only HE can bring us into the fulfillment of God’s plan for America’s place in the global cause of Christ—beginning with the spiritual revitalization of the Church. 

Whatever your current position on the historic drama unfolding in the 2020 presidential season, the fact is this: 

If you belong to God’s Son, our Redeemer King, then you already know that the only exit from this intensifying “civil cold war” is found not in any political party’s agenda or campaigns, nor in which candidates end up in office. 

Ultimately, liberation from a national disintegration rests in the King of the ages, our Lord Jesus Christ—“the name that is above every name in this age and in the age to come” (Ephesians 1)–who is both Savior and Judge for all peoples, for all eternity.

As Jesus said, the Father has placed all judgment at his disposal forever (John 5). As we read in the poetic, apocalyptic language of Revelation 6 (emphasis added):

They cried to the mountains to crush them. “Fall on us,” they pleaded, “and hide us from the face of the one sitting on the throne, and from the anger of the Lamb . . . who can survive it?”

Or again, in Revelation 19: 

He was named Faithful and True . . . His eyes were like flames, and on his head were many crowns . . . In his mouth he held a sharp sword to strike down the nations; he ruled them with an iron grip . . . On his robe and thigh was written this title: “King of Kings and Lord of Lords.” (emphasis added)

John summed up Jesus’ supremacy best when he declared in Revelation 1 (emphasis added): “Jesus Christ is the Loyal Witness, Firstborn from the dead, the Ruler of all earthly kings.”

And that claim includes every leader who ends up on Capitol Hill when the elections are over this fall.

On the other hand, let’s be sure we always declare these holy, heavy chastisements to be, at the same time, sacred SAVING judgments. 

That’s because in all of the actions Jesus takes as he rules among the nations—even when he removes his restraints and allows people to taste the dregs of their own human depravity—he holds to this one overriding desire even then:

That by bringing a person or a whole nation to the end of their ingenuity, resources, and strength, they will be compelled to turn to him so that he might extend his redeeming power to all who surrender to him as Savior and supreme King. That applies to the people of our country as well as all others on the planet. 

Peter put it this way (2 Peter 3, emphasis added): 

The Lord is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed but wants everyone to repent. However, the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. 

The hopeful reality we can embrace is that at this hour, Christ is employing his saving judgments for the purpose of spreading his redeeming gospel to more and more. This eternal plan of love is what inspires the multitudes in Revelation 5 to fall down and worship him, declaring that the “slain Lamb” is worthy to receive all glory and honor and dominion and blessing!

Let’s exalt anew Christ’s rightful place—
both in our lives and in our nation

 
In the months ahead, no matter who becomes our next president, our nation will remain under the judgments of the Lamb of God, who alone can deliver us from their tragic afflictions. The need for a sweeping moral and spiritual revolution that flows from the direct intervention of the reigning Christ will be as great as ever.

As you know from all I have shared with you through ChristNow.com—as well as in my writings, such as my book Christ Is NOW! or on my podcast, Christ Today, I am convinced that the one great promise of deliverance by a spiritual and moral renovation of America lies in a sovereign work of God that I call a “nationwide Christ Awakening movement”—as God’s Son increasingly becomes the central hope and passion of our life together as God’s people and, as a result, increasingly for the country as a whole. 

The Bible is clear: Jesus alone is able to bring about the fulfillment of our national motto; he alone can make America become “one out of many” doing so by bringing us together to himself and in himself (see Colossians 1:18-20).

However, this Christ Awakening miracle must arise, first of all, among the people of God. As Peter reminds us:

For the time has come for judgment, and it must begin with God’s household. And if judgment begins with us, what terrible fate awaits those who have never obeyed God’s Good News? (1 Peter 4, emphasis added)

Remember how Jesus said to those in the church in Ephesus (and to all of us through them): “If you don’t repent, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place among the churches.” (Revelation 2) 

Or again, to the church in Pergamum: “Repent of your sin, or I will come to you suddenly and fight against them with the sword of my mouth.” (Revelation 2) 

Or again, to the church at Thyatira: “All the churches will know that I am the one who searches out the thoughts and intentions of every person. And I will give to each of you whatever you deserve.” (Revelation 2)

To make a few contemporary applications, let’s ask:

To what degree have Christians in America substituted human leaders for the Lord Jesus Christ in the midst of our political (and other) strivings and machinations? 

To what extent have we failed to give Jesus the supremacy in all things—but instead turned to solutions the world offers (which are all failing us miserably right now)—and in that dereliction committed acts of idolatry?

Well, to that measure, we should stand in the fear of God—the fear that our light for Christ to the nation is being snuffed out; the fear that the sword of his living Word is slaying us; the fear that the fiery penetration of his holy eyes will lay bare the shallowness of our affections for him and our obedience to him.

It’s time to enter into a new kind of repentance
in pursuit of a nationwide Christ Awakening

 
Unleashing the spiritual reclamation of our nation through the righteous reign of Jesus depends on taking on a whole new approach to deliberate, sincere, consistent prayers of repentance raised up by hundreds of thousands of believers across our land. 

The only hope for our nation at this crucial moment is that the Christians of our nation come back to the reigning Lamb and repent of all we have done to him and against him—especially by our neglect of him.

We must become broken over how we have dishonored the Lamb on the throne, doing so by bowing before him—turning and returning to JESUS ALONE, making him our all-in-all from now on!

This is the kind of repentance praying most Christians have never even heard of, let alone experienced. Just stop and think about the implications of that deficiency.

But truly it offers the only recourse we have in this desperate hour.

What would such a revised focus on prayers of repentance sound like? Let me close by offering a sample. 

You might use the prayer below to shape your own prayers as you travel the road between now and November 3. 

Maybe you’d like to pass along the representative prayer below—or pass along this entire blog post—to your Christian friends, asking them to join you in this kind of praying.

Will you be one of those who chooses with your whole heart, mind, and soul to bow before the Lord Jesus Christ in repentance and complete surrender? Will you be bold enough to persuade other believers to do the same? 

Together, let us reach out to the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world (including the sin of a whole nation)—our crucified, victorious, ascended sovereign Savior! Let us open up to the promises of God that are always flowing from his throne in Jesus’ name—to spread his fame, to enlarge his reign, to increase his gain, to ratify his claim.
 

Such a new kind of repentance prayer
might sound like this:

 

Dear Father, WE REPENT—individually and on behalf of all your people.

 

  • We repent . . . for how we have diminished your Son, regarding him more like a Christian mascot than the Monarch over our churches and our country, regarding him as the guarantee of our efforts to make our nation what we think it should look like.
  • We repent . . . for how we have manipulated your Son, coming to him only as far as we think we need to come in order to get him to do what we want him to do—that far and no more; often using him to advance our social and political agendas, claiming we are speaking in his name and representing his desires, but really just reshaping him to sound like the rest of our tribe.
  • We repent . . . for how we have hoarded your Son, seeking his blessings for ourselves, with little thought about bringing those blessings to others. We’ve assumed that he was there only for us. We’ve acted as if he were not Lord of neighbors and nations—or of our nation and of our life together in him.
  • We repent . . . for how we have resisted your Son, withholding our affections from him because we were afraid of what it would cost us to surrender our lives completely to him—and thus we have denied his supremacy, not only in our lives but also over everything and everyone else.
  • We repent . . . for how we’ve replaced your Son with creeds, programs, organizations, political parties, culture wars, and moral renewal campaigns— often performed in his name but without the consuming passion for his glory and the advance of his Kingdom at all times. We’ve failed to give him the preeminence he deserves as the center and circumference of everything, both for us and all peoples.
  • We repent . . . for all the ways we have sinned against your Son, defaming his wonderful name among the peoples of our nation by how we have diminished him, manipulated him, hoarded him, resisted him, and replaced him.

 

O Lamb of God,
Forgive us! Cleanse us! Purify us!
O Lamb of God,
Resurrect us! Reconvert us! Restore us!
O Lamb of God,
Refill us! Recommission us!
Dear Lamb upon the throne,
by your incarnation, by your crucifixion,
by your resurrection, and by your ascension
we are yours forever!

 


 
FOLLOW UP:

1) PRAY: Print and clip the repentance prayer above and then pray it once a day between now and the elections.

2) HEAR: Listen to David Bryant sharing the content of this blog post—and hear his passionate heart for Christ in the process—by going to our Christ Today Podcast. Look for the series titled “LIFE ISSUES and the REIGN OF JESUS.” Go to Episode 141: Here come the elections! What is Jesus up to in it all?
 


 
(Note: Portions of this blog post appeared here a year ago.)
 


 

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 Proclaim Hope!, whose mission is to foster and serve Christ-awakening movements. Order his widely read books at DavidBryantBooks.com. Enjoy his regular CHRIST TODAY podcast.


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