Over recent months the mantra of the world has seemed to be “United as One World.” In one form or another this has been the cry of events and the media.
There have been several factors that have contributed to this ever-growing tune. The COVID situation has made us all more globally aware. We have watched different nations make policies and enforce mandates, and we have seen people all over the world protest those mandates.
The Olympic Games also brought this unity-of-the-world call to the forefront. It was repeatedly said that the world was coming together as one in these Olympic Games. The icing on the cake for the Olympic opening ceremony was the multi-artist performance of “Imagine” by John Lennon.
This song has come to my notice over and over again in the past weeks, and it serves as an anthem of the one-world-united movement. I have heard this song many times during my life, and I have noticed it is a catchy tune with dangerous words. However, I recently pulled up the lyrics to the song along with a music video to really think about the song’s message.
The phrase I noticed most was “the world will live as one.” The positional and practical union of humanity is the reality for which Lennon is longing for in his song. I have marveled at how telling this desire is. God truly has put eternity into our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Mankind knows that things are not right as they are, and a quick observation of our interaction with one another proves this fact. Mankind harms each other, berates one another, steals from each other, hates one another, fights one another. We suffer from the evils of wicked leaders and the blunders of well-meaning (or occasionally not so well-meaning) medical professionals. People are going hungry in a world that God has supplied with plenty of food. We know that things are not right, so we try to restore fellowship with one another.
Again this shows that God has created us all with a longing for things to be made right. God’s plan is to unite all things in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:10). God’s ultimate plan is to bring a redeemed humanity together in unity under the universal, unquestioned rule of the Lord Jesus. Someday, the world will live in harmony and peace, but it will not come by the way the world is hoping.
While mankind’s desire shows that God has put eternity into our hearts, it also shows that humanity’s heart is desperately evil (Jeremiah 17:9). We are helplessly broken by sin, and even our best desires and intentions are messed up. Mankind wants the world to come to a united position and practice, but they want to do it themselves without God.
Consider the international anthem for the unity cry, Lennon’s “Imagine.” Let’s look at just the first stanza:
Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
What this opening stanza is actually saying is this: Imagine that there is no God to rule over us and hold us accountable. Imagine that God’s throne (heaven) does not exist (Psalm 2:4; 11:4). Imagine the place of God’s eternal justice and judgement (hell) does not exist (Psalm 1:5-6; 2:5, 12; 7:8-13; 2 Thessalonians 1:9-10; Revelation 20:11-15). Imagine God does not exist. That world is the place in which mankind believes he can dwell in harmony.
This rings loudly of Romans 1:18-32 and Psalm 2. Mankind despises God and desires to throw off His existence and judgement of sin, although they all really know better. They refuse to honor Him as God, and they want nothing more than to worship themselves and live in a “freedom” which is really bondage and death (Ephesians 2:1-3). Mankind wants the end accomplished – a world without the effects of sin. However, humanity wants to accomplish this without God. This is not merely a passive misunderstanding of how the world works. This is outright rebellion against God.
Man’s idea of a perfect world is one without any problems or difficulties, and most importantly a world where people can do whatever they want without God breathing down their necks. They want one world without God.
The problem with this philosophy of unity is that peace and unity cannot come apart from God or apart from His ways. Sin and its effects cannot be abolished without the sacrifice of God’s perfect Son for the sins of the world (John 1:29). Jesus is the only Way to the Father (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). Jesus is the One God has chosen to reign as King over this World (Psalm 2:5). Jesus is coming again to make His enemies a footstool for His feet (Psalm 110:1).
Humanity says, “We want peace our way. Let’s throw off God’s accountability, and let’s get rid of Him, too!”
How does God respond to this rebellion?
“He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.”” Psalms 2:4-6
Imagine all that you want that God does not exist, but He does. You cannot accomplish peace and payment for sin apart from His perfect sacrifice of His Son. You cannot accomplish unity, peace, and love without Jesus who is our peace (Ephesians 2:14). Keep longing for His throne to go away and for hell to end; God is not going away and His judgement is eternal and perfect. Keep longing for a world without God, and you will get exactly what you wish for – an eternal reality away from God’s presence facing forever destruction (2 Thessalonians 1:9-10).
Yet, there is escape from this eternal destruction. It is not found in running away from God. Instead it is found in running to Him. Rather than continuing in rebellion, change your mind that God truly does exist and He is a Judge to be feared. He is also a Savior who lovingly saves all who trust in the the sacrifice of His Son. All who trust in Jesus Christ alone, who has died in the place of sinners and has come back to life again, will be saved. Take refuge in Him (Psalm 2:12). Be rescued from this bondage and death of life in rebellion against God. Depend in the Lord Jesus to save you from your sins, and you will live forever in the new heavens and new earth where the redeemed will live as one under Christ.
If you are reading this as a child of God, then rejoice! God will bring about the peace and restoration of this universe. He will not accomplish it the way that the world cries for it. He will accomplish it in Christ!
“Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. May not copy or download more than 500 consecutive verses of the ESV Bible or more than one half of any book of the ESV Bible.”
Lennon, John. “Imagine.” Imagine, Apple Records, 1971.