The Grace of God

That Brings Salvation Has Appeared to All Men (Titus 2:11)

Persecution, Equality, Freedom, & Salvation

Persecution Increasing

There is no doubt that persecution of Christians is on the rise in America, although in comparison to what Christians in other countries experience, we should admit we still have it easy.

The headlines warn us: Christian-owned businesses are under attack. Bow down to the governmental beast, or your buying and selling will be hindered. People who don’t want to fund abortion or contribute to the LGBT lifestyle because of personal and biblical convictions are being fined and threatened. I just saw that a Christian dating site has been told it must allow homosexuals to create accounts looking for same-sex partners. These are all signs that biblical truth has been rejected by the majority in this country, and sin is being protected–even promoted–by law. The foundations have been destroyed, and the righteous are headed for serious trouble–

For look! The wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow on the string, that they may shoot secretly at the upright in heart. If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do? (Psa. 11:2-3)


The Pursuit of Equality (It’s Not Fair!)

The true equality God has given to men is that each individual has equal opportunity to turn from evil and do good to the glory of God. The redemption in Jesus’ blood was offered to one and all, rich or poor, white or black, male or female.

The world has its own idea of what equality looks like.  As unbelievers embrace the devil’s doctrine, first we see abominations (according to God) being considered equal in moral value to righteousness. Fornication is “normal,” homosexuality or gender-bending is “an option,”  killing a baby in cold blood is a “choice,” and drone-bombing civilians in other countries is “heroism.”  The person who disregards God’s law is considered equal in morality to the person who doesn’t. There is no right or wrong; every man does what is right in his own eyes. That’s the devil’s brand of equality. And it has sold quite well in this country for decades.

It wasn’t long before this moral relativism gave birth to a greater evil yet–now good is called evil, and evil is called good.  The murderer of the innocent is protected by law, and the one who rebukes him is ordered to step off the grass or go to jail. The immoral person is celebrated and paraded down the street naked with police protection, while the person who rebukes this wickedness is put on the terrorist-watch list.

These are the times we live in. They are very dark times. And under pressure, some Christians are saying things like this–

“Why is the government picking on Christians, but not Muslims or atheists? Isn’t that hypocrisy? No fair!” And a chorus of disgruntled voices answers, “Amen, this isn’t fair. We need to fight for our rights.


The Promise of God to Christians:  You Will Suffer Injustice

I truly believe the “Christian right” news is toxic to the spiritual health of American Christians. We are constantly warned that we are victims losing our rights–rights that are nowhere promised us in Scripture. We are urged to fight back, to take our nation back (as if we aren’t pilgrims), etc. There is an underlying culture of fear and anger that works like a poison in our hearts, and sets us up to fight the wrong battle with the wrong weapons for the wrong prize. We fight flesh and blood with carnal weapons for the prize of earthly stuff that is vanishing away, and vainly imagine that we are spiritual warriors.

So why are Christians persecuted, while Muslims and atheists and others are allowed to get away with what they do? Why the hypocrisy? It’s really simple–Because of Jesus. The world hated Him, and the world will hate His disciples. Nowhere did Jesus say that the world will persecute unbelievers, those who are deeply involved in false religions, or lukewarm name-only “Christians.” He said the world will hate disciples of Jesus, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.(John 16:33) The world accepts all those who are following a false way.  The worldwill not accept the True Way, because the god of this world (satan) is at war with Him.

If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. (John 15:18-21)

Notice Jesus did NOT say, “Be outraged at the injustice! Get into a panic-induced hysteria and form a militia and protect your turf! Elect officials who will give you what you deserve!” Instead He spoke often of the other-worldly peace and joy His people would have while suffering. Rather than responding to pain with “This isn’t fair,” the early Christians responded with rejoicing because they had been counted worthy to suffer shame for His name (Acts 5:41).

I understand when the heathen seek “equality;” they are trying to appease their guilty conscience which condemns them loudly before a holy God.  But it troubles me to hear Christians complaining about unequal treatment. As much as I agree that persecution of Christians is evil and wrong, it is the very life we are called to. It is exactly what we have been promised. Funny how we like to stand on the promises that sound cheerful and fun, but side-step the promises that we must through tribulation enter the kingdom of God.

The world is always going to do what is evil and wrong, in accordance with its master’s will. And we disciples of Jesus need to endure hardship as good soldiers of Jesus Christ (2 Tim. 2:3), knowing that our current troubles will be eclipsed by the great joy that is coming. Let’s call off the pity-party and get suited up for battle–not a battle against flesh and blood, but against principalities,against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Eph. 6:12) Let’s quit allowing the “Christian right” to direct our hearts into angry and fearful reaction, and let the witnesses in Scripture direct our hearts into faith and patient overcoming.

Are we prepared to go the extra mile, not just theoretically, but in actual practice? Are we prepared to endure hardness and injustice, or are we chafing at the unfairness of it all? Many will fall away in the furnace of affliction.


The Pursuit of Freedom

Beware of the pursuit of “freedom,” which unbelievers idolize, because if you seek that first, it will take you far away from God’s kingdom.

 

Let each one remain in the same calling in which he was called. Were you called while a slave? Do not be concerned about it; but if you can be made free, rather use it.  For he who is called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord’s freedman. Likewise he who is called while free is Christ’s slave. (I Cor. 7:20-22)

The more you pursue earthly freedoms, the more bondage you will enter into. You will live in constant terror of what you might lose. You will fear and despise the very people God sends you to with His good news, perceiving them as a threat to your freedoms. You will be self-protecting instead of self-denying. You will be carnally minded and abiding in death. And you might even learn to defend your faithless life by twisting Jesus’ words, as so many do. Beware!

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free…Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” (Jn. 8:31-32, 36)

Remember that Jesus spoke these words to Jews who claimed they had never been in bondage to anyone due to their parentage. Jesus insisted they were slaves–not of Rome–but of their own sin! Jesus isn’t impressed with the “freedom” Americans sing about and idolize either. He knows that all but the small remnant is still under complete bondage to sin, from the lowly average working man to the elite politician making false promises to heal what he cannot heal.

Jesus isn’t carrying our silly flags and working for our domination over other people so we can pursue happiness. Jesus isn’t celebrating the bombs bursting in air (what a sick thing to celebrate), or one country’s independence from another. He knows what is in men’s hearts–a desire not only to be free from other people’s control, but also to be free from God’s control. He raises up and He pulls down kingdoms, all with one underlying goal–to turn the hearts of individuals to repentance and faith in Him.

Jesus is actively tearing down all the idols we trusted in, that we may see that He alone gives true freedom.  Like the idol Dagon fell again and again, breaking up into pieces, the idol of earthly freedom is being destroyed that we may see the folly of trusting it. The Christian/religious right (part of the apostasy) keeps setting the idol back up and urging Christians to find their hope in it, rather than in Christ. Do not be led astray by them.


Many False Saviors

Some who profess Christ are so deceived and blinded by their attachment to this world, that they imagine a wicked idolater like Donald Trump can be some type of savior. Savior of what, I must ask?–this pile of ruin our collective sin has brought about? And savior from what?–can this slave of sin Trump save us from judgment? I’m sorry, but he works for the same devil the other politicians work for. Do not be deceived by the many false prophets telling us to support this wicked person. They expose their own apostasy and blindness. If they had stood in the counsel of the Lord, they would turn you from sin to righteousness, rather than from righteousness to sin. If you love God, keep your hands clean. Some trust in chariots (Republican nominee) and some in horses (Democratic nominee), but we [the faithful] will remember the Name of the Lord our God! (Psa. 20:7) To trust in man is to depart from the Lord.

Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the Lord.” (Jer. 17:5)

God’s people are set apart, not entangled with the evil of the wicked who attain greatness in the devil’s kingdom. If you are the ambassador for Christ you claim to be, then be about the Father’s business of reconciling people to God, not the business of electing a new Caesar. Do not follow the apostasy; follow Jesus! This kingdom called America, though it reaches far and wide like the Roman kingdom of old, and does so with unceasing pride, will come crashing down like all the rest. And so God humbles all the mighty and the proud.

It shall come to pass in that day that the Lord will punish on high the host of exalted ones, and on the earth the kings of the earth. They will be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and will be shut up in the prison; after many days they will be punished. (Isa. 24:21-22)

The kings of the earth cannot save you. They can’t even save themselves. They too are slaves, ensnared by their own lusts. There is only one who saves–

Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. (Isa. 45:22)

 
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