ASK Newsletter 4th Quarter 1996



John H. Stoll, Ph.D.
Executive Director, ASK, Inc.,

As we approach the end of the millenium, everyone is wondering what will happen in the next century. There has been much speculation in the media, as well as among Christians. What does the future portend, and whose side is God really on?

During the Civil war, President Lincoln was once asked if God was on his side. His reply was, "It is not is God on my side, but am I on God's side?" This important concept should be of more relevance than speculating on future events in the next century. One should consider as to the way of becoming on God's side, what does it mean in light of current events, and how does my being on God's side affect me? These are the important questions.

The Bible is very explicit as to how one becomes on God's side. Christ pointed out that God sent Him into the world to provide eternal life, to everyone who accepts Him for salvation from their sins (John 3:16-18). When asked how one might do the works of God, He replied, "This is the work of God, that you believe on Him whom God has sent" (John 6:29).

Once a person has made a commitment to Jesus Christ, as salvation from their sins, and receives the gift of eternal life, what does it mean to be on God's side, in relation to things in the world?

Primarily it means that one is now in the family of God, who is sovereign over the universe, and He controls everything that is going on, both in nature as well as in the kingdoms of the world (Psalm 10:16, 22:28; Ecclesiastes 3:14). Consequently, though we see a marked declension in righteousness and an encroaching sinfulness in society, we can trust our sovereign God, that He is in control, and is working all things after the counsel of His own will (Daniel 4:34-37).

Though we do not understand why God allows the sinfulness, for the Bible forewarns us of increasing sin, we must trust Him that ultimately all will materialize in righteousness, as God has promised (Isaiah 40:15,17; II Peter 3:10-13).

Because God has given mankind a will of his own, he has used it to become self centered instead of God centered, and thus we see the selfishness and greed that the world has experienced all through history. In Romans 1:21-32, it states that God has given up mankind to do those self centered behaviors, that are contrary to the purpose for which he was created. God has allowed humans to extend themselves to the extremes of wickedness, and someday He will bring all mankind into judgment (Romans 3:19).

The Christian may ask, if I am a child of God in a wicked world, that someday will come under the judgment of God, how does that impact me today, and what should I do? First, all God's children are to be subject to the authorities of the land. The Bible tells us that all rulers are under the authority of God (Romans 13:1).

An ancient wicked king Nebuchadnezzar recognized the sovereignty of God over his kingdom (Daniel 4:34-37), and God is King over all (Psalm 22:28). Therefore, our place is to accept the rulership of authorities, even when we may disagree, and trust God's ultimate authority.

Then we are to personally keep ourselves from sliding into the ways of the world, so that we do not become contaminated with sinful things, since we are God's children (I John 2:15-17; I Corinthians 6:19,20).

The Christians resolve to be a light in the world, yet personally to be separate in behaviors, is not easy to balance, yet the Bible says, "If God be for us, who can be against us?". (Romans 8:31). Remember, with God one is a majority.

In Habakkuk 2:20, it says, "The Lord is in His holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before Him". We see God's sovereignty, His sanctity, and our serenity. In the midst of a convoluted and troubled world, the Christian who is on God's side, is able to enjoy peace and security in Him. What a blessed thought as we enter into the next year, and soon into the next century.