"And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say" (Luke 6:46)
How are things going in Northern Ireland? Responses to this question would undoubtedly vary but generally most would answer quite positively. For those who take the Bible seriously, however, such an upbeat response is impossible. Just as they desire to see their own life become more consistently honouring to Christ, so they also long to see other people's lives and the whole of our society submitting to Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit through the message of the Gospel. The signs are that in Northern Ireland the reverse is happening.
Political Rejection of Christ
We have all heard it said that religion and politics don't mix. If this were true, it would mean that politics must be atheistic in practice, but Christ Himself said, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth" (Matthew 28:18). The whole of life, including the government of a nation, should be lived out in conscious submission to Him. He is the "prince of the kings of the earth" (Revelation 1:5) and rulers and politicians are duty bound to submit to His word in their public office as well as their personal lives.
Sadly, by this standard, Northern Ireland does not measure up very well. You will search in vain on the websites of our political parties for a reference to the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. The dominant issues in the last election were those relating to one thing – money. Some concern was also expressed about marching routes which, at the end of the day, are merely a matter of human tradition.
For a Christian, matters of direct Biblical principle are top priority but we find that such considerations are largely absent from political life in the Province. Defence of the Lord's Day was abandoned long ago. Resistance to 'civil partnerships', undermining the Biblical ordinance of marriage between one man and one woman, has been weak to say the least. In other words, matters of Biblical principle do not even get a look-in when it comes to political debate.
The People Love To Have It So
If we could say that the failure to acknowledge Christ as King in public life was all the politicians' fault, we could take comfort. But this would be quite wrong. The politicians reflect the state of the populace and in Northern Ireland today that is largely ungodly. Distinctively Christian policies do not attract votes in an ungodly society; even Christian politicians understand this and can allow this thought to influence what they say and don't say. Ulster Protestants, as a whole, have said of Christ, "We will not have this man to reign over us" (Luke 19:14).
What about you? Perhaps you still like the name of a Protestant, but what does it mean in real terms? What do you believe? Who do you believe? Do you believe God when He says you are a sinner deserving damnation? "If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar and his word is not in us." (1 John 1:10). "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men" (Romans 1:18). Have you turned from your sinful pride and rebellion and trusted in Jesus Christ, the great sin-bearer, to take away your guilt before God and has He become your Lord? Can you truthfully say, "for I know whom I have believed" (2 Timothy 1:12) and are you assured that whatever national judgments may fall upon us in this world, you are personally delivered from the wrath to come in the next one? "…Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners…" (1 Timothy 1:15).