Some of the Lord’s Mighty Works Today
The Lord is doing many might works in the world today. He is doing so much, more than we can ever know or understanding. We see but the shadow of his ways. But we should seek out and study his works (Ps. 111:2). Think of the ongoing fulfilling of the Father’s promise to his Son that his kingdom would increase and grow until it fills the earth (Ps. 2:9; Isa. 9:6-7; Matt. 13:31). More and more are being gathered into his kingdom, his saints sanctified and unified, his church built, and his worship continuing. Jesus Christ is Lord and Christ, King of kings, not man (Acts 2:30-36; 1 Tim. 6:15; Rev. 1:5; 19:16). As the enthroned Davidic King (Acts 15:16), he is ruling the nations with a rod of iron. For nations like ours that turn their backs upon him, his reign takes a bitter turn, a “breaking us like a potter’s vessel” (Rev. 2:27). Nothing that is presently happening in our land should come as any great surprise – horrible, gut-wrenching, and terrifying, but not surprising. Nations that go to war against Jesus Christ and his word will lose. He will break them.
It is very important to keep our Savior’s reign in mind as the ultimate and very practical explanation for all that we see happening in the world. Yes, we can identify men and institutions who are pushing forward their ungodly agendas. They are blinded by the evil one (2 Tim. 2:26) and rebuilders of the defunct and demolished Babel. Jeremiah could identify Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian hordes, but the Lord was doing it. When we are perplexed that economies are teetering and common grace evaporating, look no higher than the wrath of the Lamb. When we wonder how in the world we could have the leaders that we do, it is the Lord who does these things, taking away the wisdom of the wise. When we wonder how people could march in the streets and demand freedom to kill their unborn children or burn down cities because of political grievances, the Lord sends a lying spirit to deceive the rebellious (2 Thess. 2:11). If men will not retain God in their knowledge, he gives them over to a reprobate mind (Rom. 1:28).
This brings up another work of the Lord that hits a little closer to home – his calling us away from man’s explanations. The daily news is a feverish account of another corner of the city of man that is on fire. The fires may be intentionally started; they may be the domino effects of unbelief. But we should not listen to the dead trying to explain their disease. When God judges, he says we are to learn righteousness (Isa. 26:9), and surely righteousness means turning back to God’s word and away from worldly fears and wisdom. The Lord is working to teach us especially that his kingdom purposes are not tied to particular nations in any absolute sense. It is upon his church that his eyes are fixed, for she is his dwelling place – not the United States or any other nation. The church is his holy nation. We would be more at peace in turbulent times if we left emotional and life space to focus upon God’s chief work – building his church.
In fact, the Lord taught this lesson most beautifully and pointedly to Jeremiah. While the missiles were falling upon Jerusalem (33:4), he announced incredible mercies to his people. He will heal and bring abundance of peace and truth to them. He would return them from captivity and cleanse them from their sins (33:7-8). His people will be to him “a name of joy, a praise and an honor before all the nations of the earth” (33:9). They will hear all the good he will do for his people, and they will fear and tremble. It is a most remarkable collection of promises, all tied to Jesus Christ, the righteous Servant (33:15-18), and therefore promises that belong to him and to us as we believe in him (2 Cor. 1:20).
This is surely a mighty work of God at present – that he calls away from the worry and despair that is falling upon unbelievers. Of course they are despairing, which should break our hearts, for they have no helper but themselves, no hope but the useless promises of politicians and parties, and no God who has made a covenant of grace and peace with them through Jesus Christ. But we do! A blood-sealed pardon and covenant to forgive our sins and do good to us, so much good, all for his Son’s worthiness, so that the nations of the earth will be amazed at his goodness to his church.
But it seems that this main work of our Lord, to build his church (Matt. 18:15), is often neglected. We think our fortunes are tied to our political leadership, form of government, and economic stability. They are not. He is our bread provider. We are engulfed by the anxious worry of those who hate God, rather than standing in awe of what he promises to do for us. Jesus once asked, “When the Son of man comes, will he find faith on the earth” (Luke 18:8)? Most of our agitation is the fruit of unbelief, of tying our expectations to a slice of heaven on earth rather than to God’s faithfulness to his promises. He loves us. We are different from the child of this world, the children of the devil. We are the children of the most High God – our loving Father, our glorious Savior, and the blessed Spirit. We have a different identity, destiny, and hope. We are not children of the world; we are not of this world. We have no settled home here or continuing city – or political party, of earthly allegiances (Heb. 13:14). Our citizenship is in heaven (Phil. 3:20). We await the King’s return. It is a great work for him to teach us this and fill us with this lively hope. It changes everything.
An equally thrilling work of God is his smashing of unbelieving delusions around the world. The old liberalism tried to understand the world without God. Science, the state, and institutional bureaucracy were its gods – all exposed and defunct. But the alternative – no structure, no foundations, no truth – is as bad. “Welcome to the jungle” should be its mantra. For if to say “truth” is to oppress, then the other side should step up to the microphone and say, “We have no answers. We deny there are any answers. There is only immediate sensation, my feelings, me.” These children may burn down cities and emasculate themselves and kill their babies, but this is a sterile, one-generation and done philosophy. God judged Enlightenment rationalist utopianism with the French Revolution, the Communist Revolution, the Nazi holocaust, two World Wars, and the Cold War. Now, he will do the same with its children – you can scream and cry and pout and vilify and refuse to engage with reality and put on your virtual goggles and live in an artificial reality all you want, but you will find no meaning here, only disillusionment and despair.
This exposing, “you shall know the tree by its fruits” work of God is very gracious. He shows us that unbelief is deadly, not simply in hell but in the hell on earth that unbelief creates. I pray his great exposing work is preparatory in generations coming for more gospel growth of our Savior’s kingdom. Sometimes the Spirit performs deep level convicting of “sin” before he gets to the righteousness and judgment, thus leading men to Jesus Christ. The West is guilty of many sins, but at the top is the rejection of the Word and Gospel of God. Let us pray that as he now very vividly gives us the fruits of our unbelief, humbles us for our sins, and teaches us to loathe ourselves for our transgressions, as Ezekiel said (36:31), that he will give grace so that we turn to the sacrifice and reign of Jesus Christ as our life.
One more work of God we are seeing – I hope – a resurgence of conviction that “without me you can do nothing.” There is no help coming from the city of man. Christ will save us, or we shall not be saved (Isa. 45:23). He will rule over us and establish peace and righteousness in the earth, or the earth will be a jungle of violence, idolatry, and tyranny. In times of world upheaval, this is a work we should crave – for the Lord to open our hearts to see the glory and sufficiency of Jesus Christ. He is the way, the truth, and the life. “The word became flesh and dwelt among us” remains the greatest work of God. The ripples of this wondrous work continue to widen until “the whole earth is filled with the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the seas” (Hab. 2:14). Let us praise the Lord for his mighty deeds! He alone does wonders! Let us study his mighty works and be glad in him, confident under his everlasting arms, and secure in his love.