One of the themes which is sounded in just about any political campaign is the need for change. Very rarely will a candidate run for office with the promise that he or she will keep things just as they are. No, the politicians promise that if we will just elect them, they will make things better; they will solve our problems; their agenda will bring peace and prosperity.
I don’t need to tell you that the promises rarely come to pass. The problem is that the politicians are responding to symptoms. They react to consequences rather than the root cause of our difficulties. What is the root cause of the worlds’ troubles? It’s not the lack, or unequal distribution, of capital or natural resources. It’s not circumstances. It’s not environment. It’s not even climate change or global warming. It comes down to just one thing: Fallen human nature. Mankind was given a choice between good and evil and we chose evil. All of our problems stem from that one basic choice. Jesus said, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.” (Matthew 15:19 NIV)
We don’t need a change of circumstances, we need transformation. Until and unless our hearts are transformed, changing our circumstances is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. The ship is still going down regardless of how skilfully or artfully you place the chairs.
In a sense, we can’t blame the politicians for only addressing symptoms. That’s really all they can do. They don’t have the power or ability to change anyone’s heart – including their own. Oh, they can pass laws to restrict or regulate certain sins, but they are powerless to change whatever it is in a person which makes him want to sin.
Is the situation hopeless, then? Not at all. Though the politicians don’t have the answer, transformation is possible. In 1st Peter 2, verses 9 and 10 the Apostle Peter writing to Christians says, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” (NIV)
How did this transformation from not being a people to being the people of God, from not receiving mercy to receiving mercy, take place? Peter gives the answer in chapter 1, verse 3: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” (NIV)
We are transformed by being born anew. It’s not just a change of circumstances, it is an entire new life: a different nature. A nature that is in tune with God and His will rather than opposed to Him.
The new birth doesn’t just happen, though. It is the resurrection of Jesus from the dead which makes it possible. Notice the progression: If Jesus hadn’t died, He couldn’t have been raised. If He hadn’t been raised we couldn’t experience the new birth. If we hadn’t experienced the new birth we wouldn’t have hope. We would still be locked into the old, sinful human nature which gives rise to all the problems we see around us.
Every Lord’s Day we gather to remember the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. The piece of bread we eat reminds us of Christ’s body. He had to die that we might live. He had to rise so that we could have new life. We drink some juice which reminds us of Christ’s blood. It is His blood which covers our sin.
Today as we eat and drink these emblems let’s remember that it is through Christ’s resurrection that we are transformed. Let’s remember with gratitude what we were before and what we are now because of His great mercy.