“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” wrote Charles Dickens.
Never would I have imagined that my children would be at risk using a bathroom at school. A few weeks ago, the Obama administration issued a directive telling every public school district in the country to allow transgender students to use the facilities and locker rooms that match their “gender identity.”
Incredible. But this is just the tip of the iceberg.
What is to rule out the sanctioning of polygamy, pedophilia, and bestiality? You think I am overreacting? As a nation, we have lost our moral compass. After all, what could be more plain and obvious than a person’s anatomical structure by which to determine sexuality? Yet even the most basic category of maleness and femaleness is being denied. This defies all sense of civility, decency, and rationality. This is beyond bizarre.
We are living in evil days. We call good “bad,” and bad “good.”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, the Russian novelist warned, “If God does not exist, then everything is permitted.” We are seeing this firsthand.
Yet with the rising tide of wickedness, there is something worse that I fear. It is Christians bemoaning and criticizing the world for acting like the world. What else should we expect?
Even more, I fear Christians will lose sight of the wonder and glory of God’s kingdom. That we will get sidetracked. That our focus will be lost. And this will be even more tragic.
Two thousand years ago, Jesus announced that the reign of God was “at hand”—that it was right here, right now. Thus, his clarion call was to “Repent and believe the good news.”
“Reconsider your ways. Admit you have been wrong. Embrace the richness and abundance of God’s government for which you were made.”
Christ inaugurated God’s rule by defeating all the principalities and powers of darkness at the cross and the empty tomb. As he cared for the poor, healed the sick, freed prisoners, and reconciled enemies, he was reclaiming the created order according to its original design.
Beauty. Goodness. Well-being. Shalom.
His kingdom has come.
True, his kingdom has not fully infiltrated all sectors of society yet. It has not taken root in every domain. But his kingdom is at hand, working its way—slowly and oftentimes imperceptibly—through all the nooks and crannies of the universe, through all the structures and authorities in place.
The world is not going to hell in a handbasket. Christ’s first coming is guarantee of this.
Knowing this keeps us sane in a country gone mad. More, it fortifies us to live with gladness and supernatural strength. It enables us to lay down our lives for the welfare of those outside his rule.
We must not allow the man-centered, anti-God atmosphere in which we are immersed to crowd out this vision. John Piper has it right: “I think we should spend most of our creative energies on constructing in our minds and in our hearts and in our families great and beautiful and glorious alternative visions of reality than the ones we are being offered by the world.”
While we weep over the massive degradation into which our culture has fallen, let us not grieve as those without hope. There is coming a day when the kingdoms of this world will be swallowed up by the kingdom of our God and the earth will be filled with the glory of God.
As we patiently wait for Christ’s second coming, living between the now and the not-yet, may a grateful, humble confidence empower us. God is in control working out all things for our good and his glory.
“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches” (Matthew 13:31-32).