As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
When I began my journey in the ministry over forty years ago I could not have predicted the changes that would take place in four short decades. As a young preacher I rarely encountered people that didn’t understand what you were talking about when you asked them if they were saved. Forty years later it is more of a rarity to find someone who does understand what you’re asking. We are seeing the fruition of decades of intellectual, religious and moral assault on the foundational beliefs of Christianity.
The contemporary challenges we face can seem overwhelming. Spreading the gospel becomes more challenging when the society you’re witnessing to is growing more evil with the passing of each day. When you couple that with the challenge of training Christians to stay unspotted from the world you can become easily demoralized. Before we get too discouraged we need to remember the scriptures. The apostle Paul wrote the book of Romans during a time of great wickedness. As the apostle to the gentiles he was sent into a world of idolatry and hardness. His life was always in danger.
In order to get a grasp on dealing with today’s challenges we must see everything through the eyes of the scriptures. The Bible gives us a look at God’s perspective by taking us back in time through the history of his dealings with mankind. He also teaches us his wisdom by taking us forward in time through the prophecies. There is a great truth that emerges when we see life through a Biblical perspective. Here is that truth: the entire history of mankind, since the fall in the Garden of Eden, has been about mankind rejecting the authority of God, the creator, and his plan of salvation through Jesus Christ.
Politically, kings, queens, despots, dictators, Marxists, socialists and communists have opposed fundamental Christianity. Behaviorally, drunkards, drug addicts, fornicators, entertainers and other hedonists have resisted fundamental Christianity. Religiously, there have been false prophets, cults, false religions and many other movements that have condemned Christianity. Even within the scope of Christian sects there have been those who perverted basic Christian doctrines and changed the gospel story from one of grace to works.
The greatest threat the church faces in western culture today is the loss of religious liberty and freedom of religious speech. The assault is coming from the movement to grant civil rights protection to individuals who are practicing behavior that the Bible condemns as sinful and destructive. Such protection would be unprecedented considering that it has been historically granted to racial or religious minorities. It’s one thing to protect the freedom of individuals to make behavioral choices but something completely different to elevate a behavior to civil rights protection when such behavior can be practiced by any gender, race or age. Individuals can choose to not practice this behavior so this signifies that this behavior is not an unchangeable feature or condition.
As great as this threat seems to be it is no different than any other threat that Christianity has historically faced. The battle has always been to find a way to silence the fundamental teachings of the Bible. There have been many nations that have provided peace for Christians but it has never been permanent. We are seeing the end of peace for Christians in America. Why is this always the case? Why did Paul recognize this reality during the earliest days of Christianity?
Here are some reasons we are “killed all the day long”. First is sin nature. Our flesh is filled with appetites for pleasure and indulgences. The earthly body has been judged and condemned by God. It is corrupted and God has provided a way to escape the judgment, but men would rather sin.
Secondly is the pride of life. Men find it offensive to be told they are sinners who need a savior. There is an arrogance in men that prompts them to find their own devices to answer life’s toughest questions. It can be in the form of false religion that requires men to be saved by their own goodness or atheistic science that prompts men to figure everything out without a creator.
Thirdly is the power of darkness. There’s not enough to be said about this. As it was in the days of Noah when the world became so corrupted that God nearly put an end to mankind, so will be the last days. The power of Satan grows stronger as people continually practice sinful behavior. Sin causes delusional thinking. The reality of consequences and death can be lost in the fog of sinful behavior.
Fourthly is the power of influence. Bible believing Christians have been easy targets. We have not been given instruction by God to form governments, destroy governments, form armies or otherwise force others to receive our message. The tool we have been given to spread the gospel is the power of influence through preaching, teaching and personal testimony. False religions and the lost take things by force or eliminate any opposing views. They soon figure out that they have the advantage with government and law. This does not eliminate the thing they fear the most; the power of the gospel message. The truths of the Bible are still, and always will be the most comprehensive explanation of life. The disciples of hedonism and humanism know that when people are exposed to the message of the gospel they will in large numbers receive it. The greatest obstacle to a world order, where man is glorified, is the truths taught in the Bible.
These explanations may seem too simplistic in the face of the world’s complicated problems. We must remember that God’s answers have always been simple, no matter how complicated the problem. We must simply live in obedience to Biblical truths. Looking at life through a Biblical perspective not only explains life but it also provides hope, faith and love. Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ, not even death. Attacking the faith has always been the duty of the wicked, keeping the faith has always been the duty of the believer. Ultimately, God is in charge. There’s nothing we could experience that he cannot provide grace to endure and use us as his ambassadors while we are enduring. According to the signs of the times we may be soon raptured. If Paul could preach hope, love, forgiveness and righteousness in his day, we can do the same today. We do not know what circumstances we may face in the near future but we do know how it all will end. Those who reject Christ can never say that.