Sunday, 26 June 2016

Responding to the Referendum

Last week’s vote to leave the EU was a momentous decision. It will no doubt bring thoughts of excitement from some, and worry from others. What follows are some brief thoughts to encourage and guide us.

1)      Christ reigns and human decisions, whether good or bad, fulfil his ultimate purposes and work for the good of his church (Eph 1v22).
2)      His way is often to use hardship to bring about greater good, just as he used the cross to being about salvation and uses suffering to mature his people. Whatever comes, our hope is in his wisdom and goodness. He knows what he is doing (Gen 50v20).
3)      He delights to humble the proud and exalt the humble. Whatever one thinks of the result, there has been some sense of this happening. And this can only be good for ensuring those who lead remember that they are those who serve (Lk 1v51-52).
4)      The result may lead to problems that could imply its outcome is a judgment on our nation for its rapid rejection of Christ and his ways. But it could equally lead to opportunity that could be a sign of his mercy and patience. It’s also possible that whatever comes to the UK could be for good the Lord is seeking to bring other nations (Ps 2v10-12).
5)      The ultimate hope for the UK as every nation is not in government, democracy or independence, it is in hearts turning in allegiance to Jesus and seeking to serve him within society (Matt 12v21).
6)      Heaven rejoices more when one sinner repents than when an election is won. Our politics may change but our mission remains the same (Lk 15v7).
7)      Only God knows whether Brexit will result in more coming to Christ that remain would have done. But it might do. Times of uncertainty remind us we are not in control of this life and need the Lord (Eccl 2v10-14).
8)      God is the one who appoints all in authority. So our calling as Christians is to respect and submit to the result of the referendum and to the politicians that lead us on. We should therefore guard how we respond (1 Pet 2v13-17).
9)      We are also to be peacemakers, and so we must display love, grace, and slowness of speech towards those we disagree with, whilst being ready to speak out against any attitudes of hatred and hostility that result (Rom 13v14-19).
10)   We should have a special concern for those from other nations living amongst us who will undoubtedly feel unsettled and unwanted. Jesus drew alongside those who felt outcasts (Jn 4v4-10).
11)   Called to seek the prosperity and peace of where we live, whatever our thoughts of the result of the referendum, we are now to roll up our sleeves and make the best of the UK that we can, encouraging our government to do the same (Jer 9v4-9).
12)   Finally, we are called to pray for those in authority that we might lead godly and quiet lives, and because God wants those from all walks of life to come to repentance. This should govern our prayers in coming weeks – prayer for wisdom in those who govern, prayer for politicians of calibre and Christian conviction to fill the political void, and prayer for freedom for believers to speak and live for the gospel in the UK and beyond. This is a time of immense importance. Pray, pray, pray.  (1 Tim 2v1-6).