How do we as individuals respond to the situation we find ourselves in? How can we be faithful in our generation? These very practical questions, and they require answers that are equally practical. What are we to do? How are we to live?
And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other. Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly (Gen. 13:10-13).
And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground; And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant’s house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways (Gen. 19:1-2).
Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground. But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt (Gen. 19:24-26).
Remember Lot’s wife (Luke 17:32).
The outline of the story goes this way, and it is a story that the Lord Jesus commanded us to remember. When Abraham and Lot came into conflict through their herdsmen, Abraham gave Lot the first choice on which land he could have. Lot made that choice on carnal principles (seeing the main chance), and he took up residence near Sodom. The men there were already renowned for their wickedness. In our next passage, Lot is living in Sodom, and he knows what a foul place it is. He tries to get the angels to stay with him for the night, and be on their way first thing in the morning. When the judgment finally fell, even that was inadequate evidence for Lot’s wife, and she looked longingly back at all the malls and restaurants, and she was destroyed. Remember her, Jesus said.
Cultures fall apart in the pattern described in the Scriptures, and they do so exactly. Because we have rejected God, He is rejecting us, and the latter is far more important than the former. The end of this process is sodomy in the public square. And in the conflict that surrounds this, neutrality is an impossibility. All of us must either gather or scatter, and we cannot evade the force of this by making Christ the Lord of an invisible “spiritual” world. Thinking rightly about this means that we will avoid carnality in our motives for the fight—but we can never avoid obedience (or disobedience) in the material realm. Moreover, all of the physical realm is involved. But with all this as a foundation, we do need direction.
WORSHIP IS ALWAYS CENTRAL
Every Lord’s Day, we have the privilege of entering into the heavenlies, and we there glorify the name of Jesus Christ (Heb. 12: 22, 28-29). We do this in Christ, in the heavenlies (Eph. 1: 18-21). We then ask God to glorify the name of Jesus Christ on earth as it has been glorified in heaven (Matt. 6:10). And what this means that that corporate worship, offered in faith, biblically ordered, is a battering ram in the hands of the saints of God. Moreover, this is our only battering ram, and we must not put it down to throw our wadded up paper balls at the fortress turrets. There are many consequences to the overthrow of the unbelieving fortress—economic, political, cultural, artistic, and so on. But the spoils of battle are not our weapons of battle. That is what we are fighting over, not what we are fight with. But also remember that “faith” and “trust” don’t mean air guitar.
SMALL OR GREAT
The 115th Psalm is full of glorious encouragement on this subject. Among other things is the assurance that God will bless us, He will bless us and our children, and He promises to do this whether we are “small or great.” “He will bless them that fear the LORD, both small and great” (Ps. 115: 13). This means that in the eyes of God there is no such thing as an “out of the way” place. And this means that in order to “do something” constructive you do not have to wait. You have an audience now with the Most High King. His eyes are on the sons of men. And what does He see?
Husbands and fathers living sacrificially? Unmarried Christians faithfully serving in their communities? Children learning the meaning of loyalty and obedience? Wives respecting and honoring their husbands? A community of Christians characterized by sharing meals in one another’s homes, because they love one another? God will bless this, whether small or great, and whether or not the Supreme Court ever heard of it.
Precisely because we are not gnostic, we must have multiple loyalties, and no two of us can have exactly the same ones. But these must be hierarchical loyalties, biblically ordered and ranked. If they are lined up side-by-side, then the name for this is “divided loyalties” or “idolatry” for short.
The only loyalty that we all may hold in common absolutely is our loyalty to the triune God, and every other loyalty must self-consciously be subordinated to it. Currently, the open competitor to this is the State that would be God. Because things aren’t what they used to be, we need to deal with all our liturgical idols (including the civic ones). This means saying the Apostles’ Creed instead of the Pledge of Allegiance. Or altering the Pledge to say “the triune God” or the “Lord Jesus Christ” instead of the current generic “God.”
This is just an example, but if we do not commit ourselves to our Trinitarian loyalties, we are not remembering Lot’s wife, and we are slowly being conformed to the world around us, just as she was (Rom. 12:1-2).