Affecting change

Mark 16:15 “And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”

There seems to be no lack of tragic news as of late. Another school shooting, another abused child, another break in, the daily wire has no shortage of bad news.

For those who want to see change, the solutions seem directed at the symptoms and not at the source. Those who are tired of the violence might seek gun control to manage the ones acting out in violence all the while supporting abortion on demand. The hypocrisy of the world is on full display with each step they take to affect change.

If we want to see our society grow for the better the question by many is how to approach the dilemma of evil? Do we need better legislation, stricter laws, less availability to weapons, easier access to drugs, or simply more freedom from restrictive laws and less police to enforce them?

All of the solutions to change society have been attempted and all have come up short. The answer to seeing change is to to change people for the better. If people have a stronger code of ethics they might choose peace over violence, if people have a foundation of morality that gives them a reason to act good they might choose the better path, or if people recognize there will be severe consequences to their actions they might think twice before acting on evil intentions.

What better offering could we give them that might provide an ethical code, a moral foundation, and serve to remind them of consequences than God’s Word?

Hebrews 4:12-13 “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it pierces even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It judges the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight; everything is uncovered and exposed before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”

The promises of God are true because God is Truth. He knows people because He created them. He knows the antidote to evil because He was there when it began. If we want to be active in changing our world, let’s use the tools God gave us to make it happen.

God’s tools for Change

Change within society must begin someplace, what better place to start than with God’s people.

2 Chronicles 7:14 “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

If we think the church is immune to the ills of society then we have lost touch with reality. The world doesn’t have a foundation by which to live, it only acts on what is best for itself. The church on the other hand has every reason to live godly pure lives and yet within its ranks the people offend God daily.

According to a 2021 article from the Institute of Family Studies, in the 1960s, about 5% of newlyweds cohabited before marriage. In the 2010s, it was more than 70%, an enormous increase. By age 35, about 65% of women with a non-religious upbringing had cohabited at least once, versus under 50% of women with a religious upbringing. Since premarital sex is more common and the divorce rate in the church has been an ongoing topic for years, the question is whether divorce is the same among people who take their faith in Christ literally in how they live versus those who only associate nominally as a christian?

According to Focus on the Family, couples who regularly practice any combination of serious religious behaviors and attitudes – attend church nearly every week, read their Bibles and spiritual materials regularly; pray privately and together; generally take their faith seriously, living not as perfect disciples, but serious disciples – enjoy significantly lower divorce rates than mere church members, the general public and unbelievers.

The way the church goes is the way society goes. If the church takes a stand for righteousness then it draws others to their door. For those christians who refuse to live godly lives, the failure of honoring God before the world becomes the indictment for God’s judgement.

The land is broken because of sin. Our culture needs healing and only God can do the healing.

Deuteronomy 28:9-10 “The LORD will establish you as a people holy to himself, as he has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the LORD your God and walk in his ways. And all the peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they shall be afraid of you.”

The promise God made to Israel is the principle of a godly nation.

  • Keeping God’s commandments
  • Walking in His ways
  • Living according to God’s calling
  • Being firmly established by God

It is these attributes that help form the foundation of a people who transforms society toward righteousness. Notice any key points that are missing?

There is a current strong belief that we can legislate morality. If we elect the right leaders, pass the right laws, or have a strong enough judicial system then people will have to follow.

What we miss as a nation that is called to righteousness is that God raises up godly leaders, these leaders are elected by godly people who understand what righteousness looks like, laws are followed not just because of worldly consequence but out of honor to the Lord, and the need to cover every form of wickedness becomes less of a need.

Cultural morality is found in people who live not for themselves but for the Lord who lives in them.

Gentle Correction

We can’t expect a change overnight, we haven’t gotten ourselves into this mess in a day and it won’t turn around as quickly. The change must start first with us and then work it’s way out to the world.

Isaiah 55:11 “So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”

When the Word of God goes forth, it has an impact. The way we deliver the Word is important, we have a model for the gospel and this model should be expressly followed.

The gospel as it was given is that we do so in love. Knowing who we represent is important in knowing the gospel has the power to change.

Numbers 23:19 “God is not a man, that He should lie, or a son of man, that He should change His mind. Does He speak and not act? Does He promise and not fulfill?”

The promises of God can be given in confidence knowing that He will prove Himself faithful. For those who believe our message, the Lord Himself will show forth His majesty and the hearts of the lost will find meaning to life.

The Gospel

The good news of the gospel is where true power lies.

Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”

The message of salvation is found in the knowledge of sin through the law and His answer of grace that exalts Christ as the head.

If you relate the gospel to a people gone astray, you give them a reason to follow Christ and not the doctrines of this world. There is no greater way to affect change than by giving them the gospel.

Be the Change

If we want to be effective in this world we must first model righteousness in our lives. We must live out the standard we hope to see happen around us. If our message is political, social, or identified with anyone other than Christ it will be scrutinized and found lacking. The gospel is effective when it is spoken forth accurately, in love, and by a people who are all about Jesus and not their political affiliation.

We can take back our culture, we have been given the power to do so, it’s up to the church collectively to make that happen.

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