In ordinary prayer of repentance, seeds of good government

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Muslims slay Christians in the Mideast. The faith that stiffens the resolve of martyrs fortifies the characters of those who rule.

Muslims slay Christians in the Mideast. The faith that stiffens the resolve of martyrs fortifies the characters of those who rule.

By David Tulis

Christianity is a system of belief and life that will reshape human society and in large measure reorganize nations and kingdoms before the last day.

That is a promise contained with the scriptures and in the promises of the prophets and the Apostle John.

It also emanates from ordinary prayers of repentance such as one uttered on a recent Lord’s Day in Chattanooga, a prayer that suggests how Christianity will win the world as against the creed of Mohammad.

The Muslim theory is political and ideological, with a rich gloss of religion to motivate the faithful. It vows to conquer the whole world and make every soul declare that the one true god is Allah and Mohammad is his prophet.

Green and red

Notice in this prayer how God’s people are aware of how evil they have been, how low in their actions, how base in their desires and thoughts.

O Lord God, eternal and almighty Father, we confess and acknowledge most sincerely before Your holy majesty that we are poor sinners, conceived and born in iniquity and corruption, prone to do evil, incapable of any good, and that in our depravity we transgress Your holy commandments without end or ceasing.

We are “poor sinners” born “in iniquity and corruption,” prone to “evil” and “incapable of any good” in our “depravity.” You get the picture.

The sorrow drips down the lines.

Wherefore we purchase for ourselves, through Your righteous judgement our ruin and perdition. Nevertheless, O Lord, we are grieved that we have offended you; and we condemn ourselves and our sins with true repentance, beseeching Your grace to relieve our distress.

Notice further how the darkness yields, in flickers, to the light. Against a “righteous judgment” that brings “ruin and perdition,” against our “condemning” ourselves to “relieve our distress,” God’s people — the Christian — enjoys the promise of relief, already coming into view.

‘Full of compassion

From the lips of God’s people, aggrieved on God’s behalf against their own sin natures, fall these claims, these petitions. The Christian gives himself over to harsh introspection, a sweeping away of those things that beleaguer and tempt him, in the name of Christ.

“And as You blot out our sins and stains, magnify and increase in us day by day the grace of Your Holy Spirit: That as we acknowledge our unrighteousness with all our heart, we may be moved by that sorrow which will bring forth true repentance in us, mortifying all our sins, and producing in us the fruits of righteousness and innocence which are pleasing unto You; through the same Jesus Christ.”

Merciful God

The god of Islam is not merciful. His book is harsh. His  prophet monstrous in the indulgences he grants himself before his throne. It demands no internal repentance, no internal reform.

In the Christian prayer, internal reform, repentance and sorrow are the work to be done. It envisions the believer as a person who is gentle, forbearing, gracious — of a character of the kind described by St. Paul in his epistles.

Would you like to be governed by the likes of your nearest and kindest Muslim cleric, who declares himself to be all peace and kindness while his coreligionists across the sea rape 9-year-old girls to death and chop a teen boys’ foot and hand for refusing to join the caliphate?

Or would it be better to be governed by people whose characters are reformed by prayers of confession in the Christian church?

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