By Jenniffer Mann
For many Christians throughout the world, they have only ever served Christ under the constant and very real threat of persecution.
Being found in possession of a bible would mean certain death. Hymns cannot be sung in open worship and any outward sign of allegiance to Christ, can only be spoken of in hushed tones. However, as we move ever closer to the return our Lord and Saviour, we see persecution hitting the shores of societies once relatively unscathed.
Those of who chose to exercise liberty of conscience during the Covid pandemic, in some instances lost their jobs. Those of us who refuse to embrace and propagate worldly ideologies on sex and gender, are in some instances, losing jobs! Quite simply, if we follow, love and live bible truths, we will be at odds with the world on the most fundamental of issues.
The word of God is a divider of truth.
In Matthew 10:34 Christ said, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I come not to send peace but a sword.” This statement may seem to be at variance with Christ’s other statements about peace, such as Matthew 5:9 where he said, “Blessed are the peacemakers” or Matthew 10:13 where He states, “And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you.”
What Jesus is saying in Matthew 10:34 however, is that He did not come to bring peace through conformity with the world. Holiness and evil cannot live in harmony. The gospel of Jesus Christ, (truth), will cause a division amongst those who accept it and those rebel against it.
It is a strong delusion for example, to believe that you can practise polyamory in your marriage but love God. Strange as this may seem to some of us, there are those in church, engaging in this demonic practise. Designed specifically as a counterfeit against the sanctity of the marriage union. This belief, will either divide or unite against the bible. There is no in between.
We know, therefore, as bible believing Christian’s and moreover, should expect, that as we are called out of the world, bible truths will present a very stark contrast to the world.
Revelations 18: 2-4 says this in the strongest of terms:
“And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.”
The only way not to partake of the world is to come out of her. To denounce through love and obedience to God, every foul spirit, and every unclean and hateful bird. This means every ideology and practise that hates God and His righteousness.
Some of us will come out without any coercion, walk away from jobs, pastimes, groups, any thing that is a contradiction to what God states we should do. Others, will be forced to choose and in so doing, realise God is using their crucible in order that they take a stand.
God’s way does not come without trials and tribulations, and if we cannot happily take on but a mere fraction of what Christ bore for us, to obtain the glory that awaits, we are but illegitimate children that will be cast off and disregarded. Hebrews 12:8, states this without apology: “But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.”
When we stand up and stand firm for Jesus, we need not be afraid of the terror by night nor arrow that flieth by day! When we are not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, we can rest secure in the knowledge, that He is out refuge and our fortress. Yes, troublesome times are here, filling the hearts of men with fear but for those of us who keep the faith, “God is a very present help, in times of trouble”. “As Jesus rested in faith in the Father’s care, so are we to rest in the care of our Saviour” (Ellen White, The Desire of Ages, Chapter 35)
We have that beautiful encouragement in 1 Peter 3:13-15 that regardless of what we endure for Christ’s name, we are blessed:
“And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.” But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defence to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.”
In addition to this, we are reminded in 1 Timothy 6:12, that if we fight the good fight and profess Christ before many, then we will wear the crown of life (Revelation 2:10). This beautiful promise should inspire us in our resolve. All of what we endure presently, will lead to life in eternity with our most beloved Lord and Saviour!