Paul used illustrations of soldiers and battles to describe the Christian life. Recent weeks have proven the wisdom of such ideas. We are in a battle we did not choose. We are daily assaulted by worldly forces in high places. Some have already surrendered. Others fight on. This not a battle where compromise and treaties will signal the end. Instead, Christians are fighting for their very souls.
Our opponents rejoice in what they see as great victories over us. But they miss one thing: Court victories are irrelevant to our cause. I offer 5 facts for consideration.
1. Our battles are waged in the heart of a person
Legislation and court decisions do not define a man. A man is defined by what is in his heart. These are not my thoughts, but those of Jesus who said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him…” (Mark 7:20). We seek holiness in ourselves as well as others because God is holy and has called us to live a life of holiness. My character, even my holiness, cannot be formed through ever changing laws and ideas of men.
When the Supreme Court approved abortion on demand in the 1973 Roe v. Wade court decision, women were freed from any legal constraint preventing abortion, but they were not compelled to abort. They retained freedom to choose life for their unborn child or to choose abortion. Churches and organizations reached out to women and many rejected abortion in favor of life. Such an inner choice was superior to any court ruling. Today we will reach out to men and women and draw them away from the practice of homosexuality and other sins. We will fight the battle of truth in their hearts.
2. Not one person was ever saved by politics
The political process has swung to and fro over faith. At times it was favorable to Christians (although it always ended badly) while at other times government was hostile to faith. Recall that the church was born into the midst of persecution, first by Jews and then by Rome, yet grew exponentially. One could argue that persecution helped the church to grow.
Today, Islam believes that faith can be spread at the end of a sword. Not true. A man can no more be forced into righteousness than he can be governed into wickedness. We will use the political process as a means to be salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16) but we will not depend on the voting booth to deliver souls to our Lord.
3. Our faith is not subject to the courts
We are people of another country. The Bible calls us “sojourners and exiles” (1 Peter 2:11). We are only here for a while; we are just passing through. We will respect the authority of the government (Romans 13:1-7) and we will do as instructed by our Lord, we will “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and render unto God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21; Mark 12:17; Luke 20:25). We will be the very best citizens and neighbors you could hope for.
However, we will never trade our holy duties for civic duties. There is no court in the land that can overturn any teaching of Jesus. We are first of all citizens of His kingdom (Colossians 1:13; Romans 14:17) for He is “King of kings and Lord of lords” (1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 17:14; Revelation 19:16). We reject any law or decision that attempts to set aside any God-ordained teaching in Scripture. This was the example of the Lord’s apostles (Acts 5:29) and it will be our example too.
4. We will pay any price to serve our Lord
No law will ever stop a Christian from serving his Lord. Already, many are being harassed out of business because of their beliefs. First century Christians were forced from their homes because of persecution (Acts 8:1-4) and when they went, they went preaching. Christians recognize the government has immense power to force compliance with laws, however we put the world on notice that we will pay any price for our Lord. We put the world on notice: We will pay any price for our Lord. Click To Tweet
The ancient examples encourage us to stand firm in the face of opposition. Our Lord was, Himself, crucified. The followers of Jesus were stoned unjustly (Acts 7:54-60) and His apostles were often imprisoned, beaten and left for dead (Acts 14:19; Acts 16:16-24). Yet, in the heat of the assault, Jesus was proclaimed and souls were turned to the Lord. What an honor to be counted worthy of such suffering (Acts 5:41). Indeed, the world itself was not worthy of these great men and women who were shamefully treated for their beliefs (Hebrews 11:32-40). We too will count it a blessing to suffer persecution for the name of our Lord (Matthew 5:10-12).
5. In the end, Jesus wins
When it is all said and done, Jesus wins. If you could distill the entire book of Revelation into a single sentence it would be: Jesus Wins. And, as His followers, we will stand victorious with Him. Already death has been defeated and is now powerless over the Christians (1 Corinthians 15:54-58). Future victory is assured and “every knee shall bow” (Philippians 2:9-11).
Our treasure, the treasure the wicked cannot touch, is laid up in heaven (Matthew 6:19-21). That is our home and that is where we will spend a victorious eternity. In the end, Jesus wins! Click To Tweet
It may seem a paradox, but we do not want to defeat you. We want you to join with us and defeat evil. In this battle the ultimate enemy is Satan, not our fellow man. We welcome you with open hearts to stand in the Lord’s army and be counted among the righteous.
As Joshua said in ancient times, we echo: “And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15).
Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at preachersstudyblog.com. You can follow Bryant on Twitter @jbevans.