“The whole point of what we’re urging is simply love—love uncontaminated by self-interest and counterfeit faith, a life open to God. Those who fail to keep to this point soon wander off into cul-de-sacs of gossip. They set themselves up as experts on religious issues, but haven’t the remotest idea of what they’re holding forth with such imposing eloquence.” - 1 Timothy 1:5-7
Paul held to one central message. “Jesus is everything, and I am nothing.” It is a message long forgotten in American Christianity. In fact, for the most part, we have completely reversed the message. A person doesn’t have to travel very far around the world to see that among the nations of the earth, we Americans appear to others to live large and loud. Seen as “among the loudest “ are the modern-day Christians who deem themselves superior to all others, much the way the ancient Jews regarded the Gentiles to be far less than they in God’s favor. This message is far from the message of humility, thankfulness, and love that Jesus gave to Paul, and Paul suffered greatly to bring to religion’s elite.
We have traded the glory of the cross to stand in the shadow of our American flag. We have rejected the complete gift of God’s love through Jesus Christ to hold on to the mandate of a religious spirit that believes God came for nations, rather than sacrificing Heaven’s best for a single heart. Our unspoken mantra is, “The first shall be first, and the last deserves to be last.”
With great joy, Paul went on to say in 1 Timothy:
“Here’s a word you can take to heart and depend on: Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. I’m proof - Public Sinner Number One - of someone who could never have made it apart from sheer mercy. And now He shows me off - evidence of His endless patience - to those who are right on the edge of trusting Him forever.”
Each nation is exceptional in its ability to provide us land to feed our families and a place to live out our lives upon the earth. In this, we all honor our countries, waving our national flags for a fleeting moment to say, “Thank you.” But this is as far as the glory of our nation extends.
All land exists by God’s hand and “in the end,” it belongs to no man. It passes from hand to hand, from generation to generation, across the span of time. The blood of Jesus was not shed to save the land; it was shed to save the man. In this, our politicians are neither great nor small. They rank in the line of regard with Cesar when Jesus says, “Give Cesar what is Cesar’s and give God what is God’s.”
Therefore, we “Christians” hold faithful to the message of Jesus Christ that Paul cherished through his life, his ministry, and unto his mortal death. God is great, and we are grateful. God is love, and we are His heartbeat.