Politics in Northern Ireland has thrown up plenty of jargon. "Meaningful engagement", "substantive talks", "twin-track", "roller-coaster talks" and even "talks about talks". How much some of these phrases mean is a question in itself. One such phrase is the term "moving on". This can mean different things in different settings when used politic settings when used politically. "We have moved on since then", can mean "I don't want to talk about how we got here". On the other hand, "we must move on" can mean "we must move in the direction I want and call it progress".
We Have Not
Whether we have moved on or moved back politically is debatable, but morally and spiritually we have definitely not moved on. This is true collectively. Northern Ireland is more blatantly ungodly than ever. The idea that we can solve our own problems without calling upon the living and true God pervades society. This wicked unbelief is deeply embedded in the hearts of the bulk of the population, including many who would make great profession of being protestants. "Lo, this is the man that made not God his strength; but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness" (Psalm 52:7).
Perhaps the concept of "moving on" is so popular because we have become used to the false idea that man is inevitably progressing. Progress or movement forward is assumed. Man has indeed advanced technologically, having built largely on basic discoveries and inventions of past generations and centuries. Nevertheless, spiritually there has been no progress at all, except where God has changed hearts by His grace. "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually" (Genesis 6:5). Has anything really changed?
By nature we are sinners deserving the wrath of Almighty God for ever. "They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one." (Romans 3:12). "The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men" (Romans 1:18). Your notion that you will be all right as you are will prove a delusion. Perhaps you flatter yourself that there does not need to be a change in you and that God will accept you as you are. But the Lord Jesus said, "Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3). If this change has not taken place, far from moving forward, you are still "dead in trespasses and in sins" (Ephesians 2:1) and more guilty than ever before God. "But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgement of God" (Romans 2:5).
In another sense, we are all moving on; we are getting older; we are closer to the day of our death than this time last year. This solemn appointment looms closer on the horizon. "It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgement" (Hebrews 9:27). You rightly concern yourself with where Northern Ireland is going, but, as an individual, is there not a much more important question? Where are you going? We are all moving steadily closer to our eternal destination in Heaven or Hell; we shall all be forever in one of these two places.
For Moving On.
Has God prepared you for Heaven renewing your heart by the Holy Spirit so that you willingly trust only in Christ to take away your sins? Have you faced up to your guilt before God and the fact that you deserve His just condemnation? Has the pretence and wishful thinking been abandoned? Have you placed all your hope in Christ who, as a substitute for sinners, came "to give his life a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45) by bearing the guilt of sin on the cross of Calvary?
Without this you are moving on to endless misery and all your claims of being a protestant will not deliver you from the judgement of God. There is, however, a message of hope for sinners. "For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee" (Psalm 86:5). The Lord Jesus came to save sinners by bearing the guilt of sin on the cross of Calvary. You must seek mercy from God through Christ alone. None perish that trust only in Him.
"Seek, and ye shall find" (Matthew 7:7).