Letter to the Brethren – January 16, 2012
Dear Brethren and Friends,
We find ourselves watching the upheaval of nations all over the earth—in ways that are historically unprecedented! At its core, the issue is about who will govern—who really should have the
The Middle East and northern Africa are continuing to be restive as various power-blocs vie for absolute control. Europe has witnessed the realignment of governments that have proven too weak to manage devastating financial woes—leading to angry demonstrations and nation-wide strikes. The United States, facing out-of-control national debt, is entering what will surely prove to be a volatile and rancorous presidential campaign throughout the coming months.
Anywhere we might care to look, governments are falling short, and despite grandiose claims by every new leader or administration, those who rule over others ultimately fail!
That is the bad news of human history, and it is the sordid reality for the generation in which we now find ourselves living!
Into this mix, God has, from generation to generation, given confirmation of His own plans for government on the earth. It is a government that already exists, and emissaries have been actively proclaiming its establishment as the ultimate solution for rulership over mankind.
It is from this perspective that we must learn to view our calling from God!
We have been chosen to be “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:20); we are “witnesses” of the message given by Jesus Christ (Luke 24:48; Acts 1:8; 5:32)—the gospel of the Kingdom of God; and, importantly, we are to live apart from direct involvement with the governments of this age—living as “strangers and pilgrims on the earth” (Hebrews 11:13; compare Revelation 18:4).
Jesus Christ exhorted His followers to remain constantly vigilant and focused on God’s Kingdom. In His instruction given regarding prayer, an introductory theme is presented this way: “‘Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:9-10). Jesus instructed us: “‘But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you’” (Matthew 6:33).
It is by diligently doing exactly this throughout our lives, that we are able to live in the world but to also be separate from it. In this context, Paul writes:
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2).
The apostle John gives this admonition:
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the
Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:15-17).
Brethren, God’s calling—as we have come to deeply understand—involves qualifying to be rulers—the governing officials—in His Kingdom and under Jesus Christ. We are being trained now for positions within the Kingdom of God—as those who have preceded us in the Church of God and even from earlier times also have been trained (compare Revelation 2 and 3).
Tragically, some have rejected God’s calling—choosing, rather, to embrace what this age—ruled ultimately by Satan—has to offer. And as I discussed at the outset, this world is embroiled in governments that support violence, greed and every evil that can be imagined!
Our opportunities in being called now are truly beyond what we can even anticipate or hope for, and they stand in complete contrast to anything else that could possibly be offered. Yet, we are able to catch inspiring glimpses of what lies ahead, because we are anxious to obey God, and He is revealing to His Church a degree of understanding about His great Master Plan!
I am always struck by what Paul said some two thousand years ago in encouraging the brethren of his day to take stock of themselves and not to let down—rather, to zealously anticipate their salvation in God’s great ruling Kingdom:
“And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our
salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand.
Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts” (Romans 13:11-14).
When we do this, we can be confident that our entrance into God’s everlasting Kingdom will be supplied to us abundantly (2 Peter 1:10-11)—and that in the not-too-distant future.
In Christ’s Service,