My husband Jim sent me an article saying, “This is the best article I’ve seen.” Jim reads all the time so I knew I needed to read that article too.
The article is titled “The New Cold War” and discusses what is happening in Ukraine and why those events indicate the world has entered a new day. The article is an intelligent look at why every country, but especially the United States, needs to get ready for the decades ahead.
I’m a Christian believer and a student and teacher of God’s word. In addition, I work in full-time ministry. One of the consequences of my work life is that I view current events from the lens of biblical history. As I read the article it made sense to me from a spiritual perspective as well as from the perspective of history.
My conclusion from the article: Change isn’t coming. Change is here.
Are we ready?
Thirty-plus years ago, Jim and I were discussing another article he had read. We were living in Midland, Texas, and our kids were running through the house dressed like ninja turtles and asking for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Now, their kids are that same age.
The author of that article was predicting what the American economy and culture would be like when our children became adults. I wish I could link that article today as well, but it was published pre-internet. I just remember it discussed things like gas prices, wages, the workforce, the number of people who would likely be on government assistance, etc.
I remember thinking, Gas will never cost that much.
That article stated that my generation would be the wealthiest in American history, and the generations that followed would not know the same kind of financial success. I was not inclined to believe the predictions because I didn’t want to. It wasn’t good news and wasn’t written by someone who considered God’s role in governing this world.
Today, however, I think about that article and realize the economist was almost prophetic.
As I think about what I spent yesterday for a tank of gas, I wonder what the cost of life will look like when my grandkids are adults. As I consider the increased threat from China and Russia and probably North Korea, I wonder what kind of world order they will inherit. As I have continued to learn and teach Scripture, I see similar patterns in history, and it is a word to all Christians today.
God always blesses what he has promised to bless. The safest people in this world are those who have placed their faith in Jesus and live each day with the promise of heaven. But, nations and cultures rise and fall, and God will allow his promised consequences. His promises to judge sin are truth, as well as his promise to save.
As I’ve said before, the third or fourth stanzas of those old hymns are truth as well. Why did we stop singing those words in church?
Have we done our job as Christians?
Have we told the world they need a Savior?
Have we convinced our kids that there is a heaven? That there is a hell?
Are we ready for the changes that many of our “thinkers” say are coming and for the changes that are already here?
Biblical history is world history
The Bible gives a historic perspective to current events. That is one of the most important reasons to study God’s word. His word is pure and complete truth. God’s character is unchanging and, therefore, if we know what God has done or allowed in the past, we can expect him to do or allow the same today.
God has held the same goal for human beings since those days he walked and talked with Adam and Eve in the garden. God made the first sacrifice by killing an animal in order to clothe, or cover, his children. He has been providing a way to cover sins ever since. God wants people to dwell with him in heaven. World history reveals that God has always been providing a way to bring as many people to himself as possible.
Last week, I reminded my Bible study of Paul’s words in Romans 1. Paul told the church in Rome, “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness” (Romans 1:18 NIV).
We don’t often hear verses like that preached anymore. We want people to be encouraged that God loves them and they can live eternally. But, all of God’s word is important. The key thing to note in the verse above is that God’s anger, or wrath, is against those who “suppress the truth” because of their wickedness.
What is wickedness?
I look at the millions of people fleeing Ukraine and think Putin is wicked for starting this war. I see the soldiers who are following his commands and know that some of them are involuntarily caught up in Putin’s wickedness. And I see the faces of the people who are fighting and fleeing and know that only some of them are spiritually innocent, forgiven of their own sins. I wonder how many on both sides are spiritually safe.
In Scripture, wickedness can be defined as anything that suppresses God’s truth or purpose. Who is asking God what he wants to accomplish and how he wants to redeem the wickedness for his greater good? That is my prayer, for all of them.
The question isn’t who is wicked because, by God’s definition, we have “all sinned and fall short” of God’s perfect plan (Romans 3:12).
The question is: Are we teaching the complete truth about God’s goals by the way we live, worship, and evangelize?
Are we ready for this new day?
I hope you all will take the time to thoughtfully read “The New Cold War.” It is an intelligent, important article, and I wonder if it is the article my kids will think about one day as they watch their grandkids playing.
That article closes by saying, “This new struggle has been thrust upon us by Russia and China; there is no escaping it. Strength will be rewarded and weakness will be punished. The days of easy American preponderance have come to an end; for the next few decades we will have to work hard to keep the global balance of forces from turning against us. If history is a guide, the American people will rise to the challenge as long as our own national leadership is up to the task. As we judge those who seek to lead, this is the prime test we should put to all of them.”
Change is coming because it always does. No one in the Apostle Paul’s day could imagine any nation would ever be more powerful than Rome. Rome had the armies and the weapons and had conquered the world. Interestingly, Christianity conquered Rome.
Would Nero ever have imagined that in his capital city, at the very place he held his circus and had the apostle Peter crucified, a Vatican would be built and dedicated to the work of Christ?
It’s a new day
It is quite likely the world is going to see great change in the decades ahead. I hope many of those changes will cause people to seek their salvation in Christ. It’s a new day, but God’s goal for human beings remains the same. He wants them to live eternally with him.
Are we ready to serve God’s purpose by presenting ourselves as living sacrifices, “holy and pleasing to God” (Romans 12:1)? Are we helping those we know and love to do the same?
Change isn’t coming. It has arrived.
Let’s walk with God and ask him how we can live his consistent truth as the changes unfold. We want our friends and family to be saved, strong in the Lord, and ready for whatever this life brings. We want them to live today knowing eternity is their promise.
It’s a new day.
Aren’t you glad you are ready?
Let’s share God’s eternal goal as we serve others so they can be ready as well.