Supposing you were asked today, “What does Newry, Mourne & Down really need?How would you answer?  How many things would you suggest that might be necessary for its improvement?  You might feel that more shopping is a priority, although that is hardly likely.  Maybe better transport. Maybe better roads. You might feel that lower rates should be up the list. Perhaps you might step it up a level and say better and more efficient health-care would be most important. It is quite possible you would come up with very many helpful ideas, and yet miss the vital necessity! What we need is an awareness of God…His holiness…His righteousness…His hatred of sin…yet His love for the sinner.

As a nation, we have drifted over the last fifty years, unwittingly, imperceptibly, gradually, but now we are moving at great speed away from the God of the Bible and from the God of our fathers. We no longer have any appreciation of His holiness or our own sinfulness. The general attitude is that if we are doing no harm to anyone else then what we do is our own business. But what we  do is God’s business! Not only does He take note of everything we say and do, but the Bible makes it very clear that He will judge us for those actions (read Ecclesiastes 3:15 and Romans 2:6). What the people of Newry, Mourne & Down need more than anything… our foremost need… is an understanding of our sin (read Romans 3:22-23) and an appreciation of the holiness of God Who is the Judge of all.

 What is the answer to this massive problem, then?  Perhaps it will be better understood in the form of another question. WHO do we need? In the run up to every election there are men and women looking for your support. They cover all shades of the political divide and opinion. They will come to your door and ask for your vote.  What they are saying really is “Newry, Mourne & Down needs Me!”

I don’t doubt we need the best candidates to look after us and to keep things running, but, most importantly, we need Christ! Before anything else, no matter how important to us, we all need Him. You need Him. He is God’s only answer to our need as sinners. The province has neglected Him. This country once respected the Bible, valued the standards of the Bible and had a reverence for God. This land once rang with the sound of the Gospel at street corners and in town centres.  Missionaries left from Northern Ireland to evangelise the world and to tell the story of Christ the sinner’s Saviour. 

What has happened? It all started with that imperceptible drift. Then people began to doubt. Before long they became dull of hearing, and the message no longer got through. Then some began to despise the message. Today many even deny it. Yet the Bible asks, “How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?” (Read Hebrews 2:3). Neglect has serious consequences, and perhaps we are already reaping some of those as a nation, but what about the consequences for you the reader?

Politicians may promise, and for different reasons often cannot deliver. God makes an amazing promise to everyone today, and the certainty is that He can and will deliver. He makes this promise to the people of Newry, Mourne & Down, but best of all, He makes it to you! He says that we are all sinners and must bear the consequences of our sin because we can’t help ourselves.

Yet He loves the sinner and has sent His Son into the world to die for such upon the cross at Calvary. What is His amazing promise? That WHOSOEVER believes on HIM will NOT perish but will HAVE everlasting LIFE! (read John 3:16). The greatest need we have is of Christ the Saviour. Without Him we have no hope in time or eternity. Without Christ we will miss heaven and must endure the judgement of God forever. Would it not be wise to make the proper assessment of your needs just now and place your trust in Him as Saviour…as your Saviour?    

Ivan Gordon