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In a previous article on the subject (www.cuttingedge.org/articles/p163.html) we tried to point out that all those who “will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Tim.3:12, KJV). And that the inference we need to see in the statement is that if one is not experiencing persecution, they are not living godly in Christ Jesus!
Once a person is born again and receives the Holy Spirit into their life, all who come into contact with them will experience the effect of His influence. And the relative degree of that influence is determined by how yielded the individual is to God’s plan and purpose for their life. Sin continues to be a problem for all believers because salvation does not remove our sinful nature and we must deal properly with those sins by confessing and forsaking them (1 John 1:9). Otherwise, God will limit the amount of supernatural power He wields over others through us. This does not mean, however, that God is in any way limited by the failures of His people, because His will is going to be done regardless. The problem is that we will lose reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ if we do not cooperate.
And when we yield as we should, we need to understand that unbelievers will avoid us like the plague!—which, of course, is a subtle form of persecution.
I have used the illustration before, but WD-40 (a spray lubricant) does not mix with water because it was specifically designed to repel it. (The WD stands for “Water Displacing”). So if you want to do an interesting experiment, just spray some on a wet surface and watch how quickly the water retreats from it. That withdrawal is a vivid demonstration of how the world responds to a Spirit filled Christian. Please note that I said Spirit filled. My friend, there is only one baptism of the Spirit and that occurs when we are born again, but ideally there will be a fresh filling of the Holy Spirit each time we yield to do His will. And when the Spirit is in control, be prepared for the reaction it will cause among unbelievers: They will be as uncomfortable as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs! Even unsaved family members will become standoffish because you have literally become an alien to them—a spiritual being in the midst of those who are dead to spiritual things.
So if this has not been your experience as a professed believer in Jesus Christ, something is wrong. Either you have (1) never truly been born again or (2) failed to grow in grace and knowledge of Him.
Generally speaking, most unregenerate people are not outwardly hostile to believers because they tend to avoid them and only when provoked will they resort to harsh persecution. Whereas within Christendom there has always been an element who relish in condemning and persecuting those with whom they disagree. Like the Pharisees in the Bible they resort to name calling, character assassination, backstabbing, etc, and trying to consign others to hell because they dare to disagree with their position. As self-proclaimed receptors and purveyors of truth they believe it is their God-given duty to destroy all others. But the Word of God gives no such license to anyone and preachers should pay particular attention to the following admonition:
“He must correct his opponents with courtesy and gentleness, in the hope that God may grant that they will repent and come to know the Truth [that they will perceive and recognize and become accurately acquainted with and acknowledge it], 26 And that they may come to their senses [and] escape out of the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him, [henceforth] to do His [God’s] will” 2 Timothy 2:25-26 (Amplified Bible).
Disagreements over Bible doctrine have always been a bone of contention among the brethren, but there is a right way and a wrong way to handle such arguments. If a rebuke is deemed necessary, it should be delivered in a Christ-like manner with instruction and correction in mind. Present the argument and then trust the Holy Spirit to change the opposing position—or change yours! In the past there have been issues about which I was dead wrong and just thought I was right. So do not adopt an egotistical know-it-all attitude because it is a sure way to stir up animosity. Error concerning truth can be committed by genuine believers due to ignorance or deception—the “snare of the devil.”
So even though the unregenerate masses usually take a relatively subtle approach where disdain for Christians is concerned, we need to recognize that they have been provoked throughout our nation’s history and that provocation is growing by leaps and bounds today. But how have they been provoked, you ask? Please allow me to offer some instances and then let us consider them as objectively as possible because sooner or later the cumulative effect is going to lead to all-out persecution.
First and foremost, there remains a conflict between our
constitutional right to freedom of religion and the erroneous belief that
Ask yourself if you would truly feel free to worship if you lived in a nation that supposedly guaranteed religious freedom, but their government was based on a different faith and under the rule of law they imposed certain tenets of that faith upon everyone? How would you like it if, for instance, you were forced by law to close your place of business on Friday or Saturday each week? (Friday is the Moslem day of worship and Saturday is the Jewish). Yet for most of our nation’s history a “blue law” has been enforced across the land to enforce (among other things) the closing of all businesses on Sunday. Of course that meant faithful/observant Moslems and Jews had to close their businesses for two days—Friday and Sunday, or Saturday and Sunday, thereby incurring additional loss of income—to remain true to their own beliefs. Was that a fair practice by a nation guaranteeing freedom of religion?
The following definition of that law is from Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia (on the Internet):
“A blue law,
How can such laws be completely fair to those who are of a different faith or choose not to believe or practice any religion? I am of the opinion that Prohibition was a perfect example of how people react to the imposition of laws based upon the beliefs of a dominant religion. If a government does not crush all opposition by resorting to extreme measures they will protest to the point that enforcement of the law will either be overturned or ignored. And lingering resentment only builds up a storehouse of fuel for the fires of persecution.
The enactment of blue laws was a misapplication of Old Testament
Law in the first place. God’s command to “remember the Sabbath to keep it
holy” (Ex.20:8) is the principle upon which the laws to keep businesses closed
on Sunday were based. But there is not a single instance where that commandment
is reiterated in the New Testament. As a matter of fact it is the only one of
the “Ten Commandments” not restated in one form or other. The Old Testament
seventh day Sabbath (Saturday) was given to the nation of
“Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you” Exodus 31:13 (KJV, emphasis mine).
New Testament Christians worship on “The Lord’s Day,”—Sunday, the first day of the week—thereby indicating a sharp break with Old Testament Judaism. And contrary to what many have been taught, there is no “Christian Sabbath!” So if a store is to be closed on Sunday to honor the Lord it should be done voluntarily by Christians and not imposed upon unbelievers by law. To do otherwise is to violate their freedom of religion—the freedom to worship or not worship any day they may choose.
The following are more examples of the principle I am trying to get across:
When I joined the Air Force in December of 1962, the mess halls had fish on the menu every Friday because Roman Catholics were required to abstain from eating meat on that day each week. (The Pope has since rescinded the requirement). But even though the eating of pork was an offense to both Jews and Moslems, as far as I know there were no concessions made in any branch of the military to accommodate their dietary regulations. Does that sound like true religious freedom to you?
The Prohibition Amendment (mentioned earlier) banned the consumption of beverage alcohol because many Christians considered it to be a sin and took the lead in pressuring congress to enact the law. But after a short period of thirteen years that will go down in our history as being one of the most lawless and turbulent, the repeal of the amendment proved that far more people were against its imposition than were ever for it. And because of what took place the unbelieving majority was left with a sour taste in their mouths because their personal beliefs had been overridden by a highly vocal and organized Christian minority.
Today the battle against legalized abortion is another area in which Christendom once again finds itself at odds with majority opinion. Led by the Roman Catholic Church, many who profess faith in Christ are attempting to use political dissent as a means to force the Supreme Court into overturning Roe vs. Wade and thereby keep pressure upon a public that is increasingly immoral. So it is just a matter of time before there is going to be a tremendous backlash due to the cumulative effect of such pressure. Sooner or later the unbelieving masses are going to rise up in indignation and try to destroy the “burr under their saddle!”
Please understand that the point of this article is not about the relative “rightness or wrongness” of the issues cited. What I am trying to get across is the fact that Christians will never reform our society though political means and now that the latest race for the White House is in full swing the candidates are once again falling all over themselves trying to curry the vote of “evangelicals.” But why do you suppose they even pay attention to us, much less try to receive our support? The answer has precious little to do with the principles we hold and everything to do with the power wielded by a bloc vote. So please wake up and realize that most politicians at the national level are willing to sell their soul trying to get it. And even though I admit to not being very bright, I did learn many years ago that political promises made but not kept are lies.
So in closing, let us try to look at all this from Satan’s perspective. Since he wants to destroy Christendom, what better way could be devised than to infiltrate its churches by filling them with unbelievers (the “tares” of Matthew 13:24-30) and then arouse great public disgust by exposing one by one the money-grabbing hypocritical in-for-hells who have made themselves into celebrities atop the ministerial heap? Then when such things are piled onto to an ever-present animosity, how much longer will it take before our world explodes into a conflagration of persecution? It is sad to contemplate, but I think that awful day is very close and continuing to be suckered by politicians is only going to hasten it.
But other than that—everything is just peachy keen in our corner of the world!
If you have been born again and received Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, but have been very lukewarm in your spiritual walk with Him, you need to immediately ask Him for forgiveness and for renewal. He will instantly forgive you, and fill your heart with the joy of the Holy Spirit. Then, you need to begin a daily walk of prayer and personal Bible Study.
If you have never placed your trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior, but have come to sense His reality and the approaching End of the Age, and want to receive His FREE Gift of Eternal Life, you can do so now, in the privacy of your home. Once you truly believe in Him as Lord and Savior, you are spiritually Born Again, and are as assured of Heaven as if you were already there. Then, you can rest assured that the Kingdom of Antichrist will not touch you spiritually. If you would like to become Born Again, turn to our Salvation Page now.
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