As we look to select a new president this year, there are many who are lamenting the loss of Christian liberties and biblical values in our country. Marriage is being redefined. Gender distinctions are being blurred. Sexual immorality is openly flaunted. It seems to me that what we are experiencing in the 21st century is not unlike what the church was experiencing in the 5th century.
The church in the 5th century wielded tremendous influence in the culture. Christianity was the predominate religion in the Roman Empire and received preferential treatment. Many Christians had come to believe that the church would usher in the kingdom of God. They could legislate morality and extend “the Holy Roman Empire” throughout the world.
But that all changed when Rome was sacked by Alaric and the Visigoths in the year 410. The Visigoths brought their pagan gods and bizarre sexual ethics with them. Shock waves went out to the farthest reaches of the Roman Empire. The great dream of a Christian society was shattered. Many believers had placed their hope in Rome and they were disillusioned when the dream of utopia was dispelled.
This was backdrop that caused Augustine to write The City of God. He reminded the believers of his day that their hope was not in Rome or any other human government. Their hope was in God, his king, and his kingdom. Abraham was looking for a city with foundations whose architect and builder is God (Heb. 11:10). And they should be looking for that same city.
This is a needful reminder in our day. We are God’s kingdom citizens. We are to live under the reign of King Jesus. But we are never called on to establish God’s kingdom or advance his kingdom in the world. Jesus is the only one who is able to establish God’s kingdom of perfect peace. So vote your conscience. But don’t misplace your hope!
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