When it comes to politics, do you generally agree with the Democrats or the Republicans or the Independents?
Whose side are you on? It matters so much to some people that they have been willing to riot in the streets in support of their cause. Unfortunately, that has led to many destructive and hurtful actions.
When it comes to religion, many people never even think about which side they’re choosing to be on. Should they decide what they believe based on their own personal opinions? Should their convictions come from what other people say or from what a religion tells them they should believe?
Abraham Lincoln, our 16th President, gave us a different way of thinking about choosing sides. One day someone asked him if he thought that God was on America’s side. Lincoln wisely answered, “Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.”
Wow! Perhaps instead of saying “May God Bless America,” we should say, “May America learn to bless God.” In other words, we need to discover what side God is on, and then get on it. Thankfully, God’s side never changes. Once you find it, you’ve got it.
When we think about being on God’s side, we have two questions to answer: How can we be on “God’s side?” and What are the benefits of being on His side?
Where is “God’s side?
We don’t have to wonder how to get to “God’s side” because God came to earth as a man to show us the way to get there. Jesus declared, “I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved….” (John 10:9).
That sounds simple, but no one has ever found the way to God’s side by doing their own thing. We must trust Jesus for the spiritual life we all need (John 14:6). To do that, we must first abandon everything else we are trusting, our family history, our own ideas, everything. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5). When we do that, we will then see the awfulness of our sin that required Jesus to suffer on the cross to pay for it. “… unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3).
What are the benefits of being on God’s side?
In addition to freedom from sin’s penalty (eternal life), there are many other benefits that a follower of Jesus enjoys right now. James Smith (1802-1862), an English pastor, summarized a few of them.
He is adopted into God’s family.
He is justified (declared perfect) before God.
He is clothed in the perfect righteousness of Jesus.
He is a child of God.
He is regenerated (made a new person) by the Holy Spirit.
He has the Spirit of adoption in his heart.
He is at peace with God, and God is at peace with him.
There is an old story about a poor, European family. They had saved for years to buy tickets to sail to America. Because it was a long journey, they carefully rationed the cheese and bread they had brought with them. After 3 days, their young son complained to his father, “I hate these cheese sandwiches. If I don’t eat anything else before we get to America, I’m going to die.”
Giving the boy his last nickel, the father told him to go to the ship’s galley and buy himself an ice-cream cone. When the boy returned a long time later, he was wearing a wide smile. His worried dad asked, “Where were you?”
“In the galley, eating three ice-cream cones and a steak dinner!”
“All that for a nickel?”
“Oh, no, the food is free,” the boy replied. “It comes with the ticket.”
When you are on God’s side, there are hundreds of His promises that come with “the ticket.” Here is one of my favorites, “‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare [i.e., complete peace] and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).
When we are on God’s side, then we can say, “… If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies” (Romans 8:31–33).
America, it’s time to get on God’s side.