The longer we live the more we note the rapidity of change. The very pace of culture is so fast many innovations come and go before we can experience them. I drive an eighteen year old truck that has a cassette player in it!
The political winds have shifted in Great Britain and the U.S. The world maps I used in school are now hopelessly out of date. Communists in China have pragmatically turned to private enterprise, at least in part.
Technology? The stuff of science fiction a generation ago is now readily available. In one area after another, change is the rule. We know and expect changes.
Why should we not then believe religious change is possible and even to be expected? We know that God will be victorious, that the gates of hell will not be able to withstand the advance of the Kingdom. If we really believe the Holy Spirit can change a man, why doubt that He can change thousands or millions? If we believe God can change our families and our churches, why do we not assume He can change cultures and the course of history?
In fact, there are signs around us that should encourage us. Today there are more Christians than ever before in history. The church is growing by leaps and bounds (though sadly not in North America).
Breakthroughs in medicine, transportation, communications, manufacturing, and energy are now commonplace. I think it is silly to view the Kingdom of God in its fullness in terms of some idealized, back-ward-looking agrarian life. I believe it will be one that makes our current civilization look as dated as a medieval scene now does.
Yes, this requires the power of the Spirit, but if we believe that will come (sooner or later) then we can foresee a most glorious future ahead. I see no reason to be pessimistic.
Too often I hear Christians emphasize the certainty of God’s judgment, but we do not know when or how it will come, or to what extent it will be balanced by God’s grace and mercy. Whatever we believe about the imminent future, however, we should act in terms of the promises of God. Christians are heirs together with Christ and should stop acting the part of victims of the wicked.
It is hard to preach victory when so many see only the present evil, yet that is Chalcedon’s purpose. We may not live to see more than small victories in our lifetime, but we must operate in terms of the certainty of the victory of Jesus Christ and His Kingdom in time and eternity. We are on the winning side.