“My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side.” Abraham Lincoln
Recent surveys reveal that Americans are sharply divided on issues of morality. For example, a 2014 CNN poll revealed the following:
50% said that engaging in homosexual behavior is morally wrong; 47% said that it is NOT morally wrong.
46% said that looking at a pornographic magazine is morally wrong; 53% said that it is NOT morally wrong.
In contrast, 93% stated that being married and having sex with someone else is wrong, but 83% believed that drinking alcohol is NOT wrong.
Whose side are you on? Just a few weeks ago, a vote was taken here in Upson County, Georgia on whether liquor could be poured by the drink in restaurants. The measure narrowly passed. During the preceding campaign, however, a local billboard proclaimed that citizens should be on “my side” with regards to alcohol; the message was signed by “God.” The point was very clear: the sponsor of the sign believed that God does not approve of alcohol, therefore anyone who supported “liquor by the drink” was not on God’s side.
Jim Wallis, in his book On God’s Side, said the following: “Jesus did not come just to save our souls.” According to Wallis, Jesus came to change the social order, to bring about a “new order.” In Luke 4:16-19, Jesus stood in the synagogue and proclaimed His purpose for coming to Earth:
“The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.”
Jesus was quoting from Isaiah 61 when He made these statements, and in the words of theologian Scot McKnight, “this is why He came. It’s His mission.” The mission of Jesus, therefore, has been passed onto His followers. As disciples of Jesus, you and I have been called to be more than just “saved souls” on our way to heaven. We have been called to establish the kingdom of God on this earth.
The culture in which we live is becoming less Christian and more secular. A Gallup survey found that 77% of adults believe that religion is losing it’s influence in American culture and 75% of Americans think it would be positive for society if more Americans were religious. And yet, the fight for right and wrong, moral and immoral, rages on. On issues of morality, which are tied directly to the Christian faith, there is a huge difference of interpretation over what God approves of and what He disapproves of. Wallis encouraged believers to be engaged in the political process: “I believe in the separation of church and state but not the segregation of moral values form public life.” But, how do we know what to fight for? Are we on God’s side, or are we asking God to be on our side?
The answer, Wallis argued, is to do what Jesus did. He came to fulfill the “common good” for all mankind. “When Christians do what Jesus has told us to do, when we act on behalf of others, when we really do love our neighbor as ourselves, when we treat the world around us as the parish [church] that we are responsible for, it speaks loudly about God.”
To be on ” God’s side” means that we are “Jesus” to the world around us. We are His hands, His feet, His voice and His heart. When we speak with our mouths and with our political convictions, let us speak what God wants us to say and not what we want to say.