Life is hard, isn’t it? There are struggles, disappointments, seemingly no end to trials and tribulations. Life is difficult. Sometimes we can be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of bad news that we hear each and every day. Becoming numb to that news is easy too.
Now is not the time to cower in a corner, hoping to be left alone. Now is the time to run with purposed abandon into the battle.
Ethnic cleansing, wars, rumors of more wars abound. Natural disasters, human-made disasters, anger, strife are all around us. The Church appears on the decline while secularism appears on the rise. God is neglected – not only in our society but also in some churches. The Bible is dusted off once a week to be carried to hear someone drone on about something that no one appears to care about anymore.
Even for the so-called committed Christians it isn’t much better. Google and the internet have made everyone an expert, everyone a scholar. It doesn’t matter if one has actually spent time being taught the deep things of God. Just enter a search term, copy and paste a response that seems right. Pop theology and armchair theologians are a dime a dozen. And it doesn’t seem that many care. Everyone’s opinion is equally valid.
So too is everyone’s relationships. No longer do we as a country value the millennia-old definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman. Now a man may marry a man, a woman may marry a woman. What’s next? Men with multiple women? Women with multiple men? Women? Is there any limit to the depravity our nation will condone? Well, the answer is “No.” It is a free-for-all now. There are nearly no limits on so-called human freedom. “Do as you please, your dignity is all that matters” we are told.
As Bible-believing Christians – commonly referred to as Bible thumpers, knuckle dragging morons, and other terms – we recoil at this turn of events. Our society has unraveled before our very eyes. It has been unraveling for some time, we just started to notice. In some countries it is illegal to call homosexuality a sin – even from the pulpit. Pastors have been jailed for that.
Our sonship in Christ will cause us to suffer at the hands of the unrighteous.
In some countries Christians are routinely targeted and murdered because they are Christians. ISIS, or ISIL (or whatever four letters we use to describe them these days), is hell-bent on cleansing Christians from the face of the earth. Of course women are slated for special treatment.
Persecution of this kind is coming. In some ways it is already here. We can rant “Make America Great Again!” We can build a wall, kick out all illegal aliens, outlaw practices we don’t agree with. It won’t matter. The only thing left to happen is the total collapse of our society, economy, and the last vestiges of morality. Don’t kid yourself, this is happening right now.
Church, the time is past where we need to be politically engaged. We need to be Savior engaged now. Not to save America or the world – they both are in God’s hand. But to bear witness, to tell THE story of our Savior.
Jesus told us things would get rough. He said that the world – the non-Christians and the system they love – would hate us because they first hated Jesus (John 15:18). So don’t be surprised by all this stuff. Don’t be discouraged. Why?
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. – Romans 8:18 NASB
Paul knew about suffering. He had been imprisoned, beaten, shipwrecked and would eventually be martyred because of his faith in Christ. All the apostles would die a martyrs death except John the beloved. John would be exiled to a rock as a punishment by Rome.
The word Paul uses in Romans 8 translated sufferings is the Greek word pathemata It carries the meaning of suffering for any reason and in any form because we are His sons. So great suffering and small suffering is in view here. And that is important to know. Our sonship in Christ will cause us to suffer at the hands of the unrighteous. And that is OK. I will gladly exchange some present sufferings for the future glory that has been promised. In fact, when I weigh the suffering that I have endured or could possibly endure, they come up short – way short – of the glory that awaits. The glory that is the final step in my sanctification. The glory that is reveled both to me and in me.The word translated to (eis) can mean either to or in. Here it probably means both.
That fine day when I will no longer be hampered by this body of death, when I see my Savior face-to-face, my sanctification shall be completed. Oh man, I can hardly wait.
Church, the time is past where we need to be politically engaged. We need to be Savior engaged now. Not to save America or the world – they both are in God’s hand. But to bear witness, to tell THE story of our Savior. Now is not the time to cower in a corner, hoping to be left alone. Now is the time to run with purposed abandon into the battle. Yeah, that’ll mean we get hurt. It means we’ll get ridiculed. That is part and parcel of being related to Christ.
So if I have to endure another year of trouble, so be it. If I have to listen to meaningless drivel about how to be tolerant, so be it. If I lose everything because I am a Christian, so be it. If I am imprisoned because I am a Christian, so be it. If I am killed because I am a Christian, so be it.I will gladly endure all this for that promise of finally being with my Savior.