Gosh, this has been quite a week! A week of shocking unexpectedness as David Cameron, leader of the Conservative Party, walking back into number 10 Downing Street. The surprise came after weeks of speculation on who will win the 2015 General Election, and form the next Government. So the pollsters went out canvassing - in the streets, at the front door, via the phone, on the Internet, and all concluded that there would be no clear winner, and so they - the pollsters - then speculated a coalition: either between the Tories and the Liberal Democrats as was the case of the last Parliament, or that of the Labour Party in coalition with the Scottish National Party. And so, right wing newspapers pleads with the electorate to vote Tory, while newspapers with a left wing leaning exhorted us to vote for Labour.
Boring stuff? Or are you sick enough of British politics to have it spilling out of your ears? Yea, I felt that at times too. But the Tory victory has sent shock waves across the nation, and pollsters running round like headless chickens while pondering on how they missed the target by such a wide margin when it came to predicting the final outcome. According to the Press, the win by the Conservatives was not because they sent a high level of inspiration during the weeks of campaigning, but rather for two reasons: first, the idea of a left wing socialist party allied to a further extreme left wing Scottish party, had no appeal to Middle England. And secondly, there were many "shy Tories" who either weren't truthful when asked by a canvasser, or were genuinely undecided, and plunged for the Tories at the very last moment when standing alone in the privacy of the polling booth. It was the "shy Tory supporter" who probably made a considerable impact, as such a political group are often referred to as the Nasty Party, or the Party for the Rich - was more likely to lie to the pollster just to save himself from embarrassment.
Than the case of Edward Miliband, former leader of the Labour Party. Known as "Red Ed" for his Marxist Socialist standing, he has now resigned from his post. Back in 2010, he "stabbed his brother in the back" so to speak, to win the vote for the job of party leader. David Miliband, Edward's elder brother, had a centre-ground standing in the political arena, and he was against the Trade Union paymaster's demand to go towards the Left. Instead, his younger brother took the helm while David dropped out of politics altogether to take up a post at a charity in the United States. And that has changed political history for a long time, at least. For it is generally agreed, even by right wing newspapers, that David Miliband would have strolled into victory with little challenge, and with greater enthusiasm from the electorate. So as it looks, to me at least, it was not the Englishman's love for the Conservatives that had got them back into power, but a case of having the devil they knew, rather than the devil they did not know, to govern their country.
So all this drama of political infighting would make for a good TV soap opera, would it not? No matter how extensive each political party is committed in making our livelihoods better, or to turn this nation locked in turmoil into something of a Utopia - for many millennia, human governments, with all of them believing that they have the right answers, had failed to achieve their Utopian ideals. Amazing isn't it? Thousands of years of practice and nobody has ever got it right. Realising this, on polling day itself, I posted a message on Facebook saying that a lonely figure was standing at the famous black door of 10 Downing Street, gently knocking, and with what appears to be a wound at his hand. I was rather surprised at the small response such a statement had collected, since most of my Facebook friends are believers. But I'll be honest here, my statement isn't entirely original. A few decades ago, someone had a vision of the United Nations Building in New York City. In his vision, a gigantic figure of Jesus Christ was standing outside the shimmering glass edifice, gently knocking. Such a vision became the talk of the town.
Meanwhile, there had been something of a controversy over a painting hanging inside St. Paul's Cathedral in London. The artwork was created by William Holman Hunt, and the picture depicts the Lord Jesus knocking on a door which looks as if it had never been opened. The controversy was between one group of Bible students versus another group. One group believed that the painting depicted John 8:12, where Jesus calls himself the Light of the World, and is seen here holding a lit lamp in one hand, while with the other he knocks at the door, and he was calling the resident to come out of his house and follow him. The other interpretation is taken from Revelation 3:20, where Jesus is seen knocking at the door of a man's heart, and asking to be let in, and have supper with him in his own home.
I recall December 1972, on a cold wet Saturday night, walking through the Strand in central London when I was stopped by two young men in the street, and asked my opinion about Jesus Christ. Being wet from the rain, I invited them into a nearby bar, where it was warm and dry, and I bought them each a drink. It was there in that pub that they took out a Bible and had shown me Revelation 3:20, along with a number of other Scriptures, mainly from the Gospel of John, and explained to me about "asking Jesus to come into my heart" - nowadays known as the sinner's prayer. It was the first time ever that I heard of such a concept, but in throughout the 1970's it seems to be the rage, originating, I believe, from America. But it was later in the same decade that I heard the pastor of one of my former churches debunking Revelation 3:20 as a conversion verse from sinner to saint. So what does that verse actually say?
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come into him, and sup with him, and he with me.
The pastor's argument was that this verse was addressed to a church of believers in Laodicea, a city in what is now Western Turkey, and a renowned centre for medicine. The church there had lost their zeal they once had, and had become lukewarm in their commitment to the Lord. If they didn't mend their ways, then Jesus would "spit them out of his mouth" - a reference of the demise of the church as a local assembly of believers, and not meaning the loss of individual salvation as some have interpreted. Maybe it is this pastor's interpretation of the text that has been the basis of putting off many from responding to my Facebook post. To them, the idea of Jesus knocking on the door for admission does not seem to be Biblical, and even among our present church elders, the "sinner's prayer" as we know it, is not accepted by them as a means of conversion.
But I have heard and read numerous testimonies on how "asking Jesus into the heart" has changed the lives of those who had said the prayer, and how they grew up spiritually to become mature Christians. This has made me think that the onus is not so much on the words spoken as on the attitude of the heart of the person praying. Personally I believe it is okay for a person to recite such a prayer if it's based on his new found faith. I would not say it is mandatory for conversion, neither would I say that not praying it means a non-conversion. There seems to be many conversions recorded in the New Testament which does not seem to include the prayer - the conversion of the three thousand Jews at Pentecost is one example (Acts 2), and the healing of a lame man at the Beautiful Gate seems to be another (Acts 3). The Ethiopian eunuch, after being shown the Scriptures by evangelist Philip, simply confessed that Jesus is the Son of God. That was enough to merit baptism in a nearby pond, testifying to the genuineness of his conversion (Acts 8:26:40).
And concerning the above mentioned church leader, here is where I find the rub. Apart from Revelation 3:20, there are other verses in the New Testament which indicates that Jesus dwells in the heart. Obviously not in the physical blood pump located in the chest, but in the human spirit. In Ephesians 3:17, Paul exhorts his readers to allow Christ to dwell in their hearts by faith, as in John 14:23 where Jesus promises the entire Trinity dwelling within him who loves God and keep his commandments. But I believe that it is wise to pray the "sinner's prayer" at conversion, and there is a verse, spoken by Jesus himself, which strongly encourages this. It is found in Luke 11:13, where Jesus makes a solemn promise that the Father will give the Holy Spirit to all who asks of him. And this promise is unconditional, given to men with evil hearts, but with enough faith to believe in the willingness of God to grant their requests.
It is of my opinion that Luke 11:13 is the most demonstrative verse in the entire Bible about God's free grace. And straight out of the mouth of Jesus himself. Because we believe that the Father is Almighty God, the Son is Almighty God, and the Holy Spirit is Almighty God, but that does not make three Almighty Gods but one Almighty God. If one has enough faith to ask for the Holy Spirit to enter into him and the request is granted by the Father, according to the Son's own testimony, such a request is exactly the same as asking Jesus himself to come into the heart. I have even read the testimony of one asking God himself to come into his heart, and the resulting change in his life provided edifying reading. Little wonder that many who testify to the sinner's prayer have enjoyed changed lives.
The vision of Jesus knocking on the door of a person's heart is not a fluke, according to Revelation 3:20. Neither is the gigantic version of Jesus knocking on the shimmering skyscraper of the United Nations building. Nor is it weird to think of Jesus Christ knocking on the door of 10 Downing Street. The truth is: every man and woman alike is in a desperate need of God to fill their lives, everyone without exception. That is the reason why we are are here. To know God, and to partake in his infinite love already existing between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The existence of human government is because of our fallen natures, our evil hearts spoilt by sin, and as a result, governing authorities were a necessary placement by God himself to keep evil under restraint, according to what Paul writes in Romans 13. We can conclude, therefore, that the main principle of our Prime Minister's duties is to keep evil under check, so that men can live in peace with each other, and the Gospel can be spread without hindrance.
Regardless on who wins and loses the Election.