America has been rapidly falling into moral depravity for several decades, especially of late. Frustrated with all the injustice going on within our country, today I asked myself, “Where is God in the midst of all this corruption?” And immediately God reminded me where we can find Him: in the Church.
When we look at the laws that have been legislated to condone and enable sins such as homosexuality and transgenderism, it is easy for us to wonder if God is really present in our country. We have to remember God is always present with His people. In Old Testament Israel, God was present with His people in the Tabernacle (Exodus 36:8-39:43). God was present with His people in Solomon’s Temple (2 Chronicles 7:1-16). God came down to earth as the incarnate Jesus and “tabernacled” among us, or walked among us in the flesh (John 1:1, 14). Jesus is Immanuel—God with us (Isaiah 7:14). And now, Paul tells us, “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple” (1 Corinthians 3:16-17).
I wonder how many of us realise this reality and how amazing it is. As a Christian, Jesus Christ is literally within you! As a temple of the Holy Spirit, God is literally within you! God is with His people! It may appear to us that God is distant since we cannot see Him or feel Him with our tactile senses, but God never left us. We receive the Holy Spirit in Baptism, and at this moment God Himself is within us.
Since God is always with His people, it appears God is absent in America because He is not with the unbelievers and false Christians, who are running rampant throughout our government and in the streets as “social justice warriors.” The Supreme Court and the American government want nothing to do with God and His Word, so He’s not present in the Supreme Court or our government because they’re not His people. The Supreme Court is not the Church. The American government is not the Church. God’s people are the Church. God is with us. We’re just looking in the wrong places.
Instead of looking where God is actually present, we’re looking where we wish God to be present and become disappointed when He’s not. God doesn’t promise to be present among the people who reject Him. God promises to be with the people who love and trust Him. “And those who know Your name put their trust in You, for You, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You” (Psalm 9:10). God does not forsake His people. Just think through God’s entire narrative from the beginning of Genesis to the end of Revelation. As soon as man fell, God promised a Saviour (Genesis 3:15), and the entire Old Testament points us to the birth of Christ, who sacrificed Himself for our sins. By the end of Revelation we realise God still isn’t giving up on us. God sent His only Son to die for us. Imagine the pain Abraham must’ve felt when God told him to sacrifice his only son Isaac. That’s how God felt when His only Son died, and the difference is Jesus actually suffered and died! Whereas God saved Abraham from sacrificing his only son since God was already going to provide that sacrifice. So why would God give up on us now?
What can we do when we feel God is absent? Yesterday I briefly discussed three ways we can find comfort in Jesus. These three ways are the same ways in which we can find God’s presence. They are: prayer, the sacrament, and fellowship (congregation). Jesus promises to be with us when we pray. First John 5:14, “And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” God’s Word doesn’t say He listens to unbelievers, but He listens to His people (John 9:31). We literally have direct access to our God!
God is also present in the sacraments. In Baptism, He gives us His Holy Spirit and begins our baptismal regeneration (Titus 3:3-7). In the Lord’s Supper, we taste the sweetness of His forgiveness. In Absolution, we hear His words of forgiveness as if Jesus Himself is speaking them. Lastly, in congregation, God is always present in the Church with His people. Jesus said, “Where two or three are gathered in My name, there am I among them” (Matthew 18:20). Even if you’re simply having fellowship with one or two Christian friends, Jesus is there among you! So imagine the power of Jesus’ presence when you worship Him on Sunday morning. Even if you’re alone, Jesus is still with you because as a temple of the Holy Spirit through your baptism, God is literally within you at all times (unless you quench/reject the Spirit—1 Thessalonians 5:19; Acts 7:51).
God has not left us simply because He has promised to be with us. Remember, vengeance belongs to the Lord (Romans 12:19; Deuteronomy 32:35). God never leaves His people. Even when God left the Old Testament Temple (Ezekiel 10:18), God kept His promise and brought His people back to their homeland after their exile (Ezekiel 37:21; Jeremiah 29:1-14; Ezra 1-3). God is not a God to be trifled with when His people are persecuted and oppressed. Whenever we feel overwhelmed by the evil that surrounds us, we can always run to our God in prayer and at church as we receive the sacraments and fellowship with His people. And we must always remember that as temples of the Holy Spirit, God is always with us.