A week or so ago I wrote a post about R, a dear and valued old friend who had converted to Christianity. He has now joined our community and this is his first post. I welcome him on behalf of the whole community gathered here. C451.
18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”
John 15:18-19 English Standard Version (ESV)
This is my first post on All Along the Watchtower, and I hope that as someone recently come to Christ that I can make a helpful contribution to the conversation here.
My friend Chaldecon 451 recently wrote about the battle that surrounds us in a world where so much pressure is placed on our Churches, of whatever denomination, to conform to the free-wheeling, consumption-oriented, sexually-obsessed culture that surrounds us, which seems to be sweeping across us like a tsunami.
He is right in his description of the huge pressure being brought to bear upon us to change our reading of Scripture to suit the mores of the world around us. The media coverage of the recent decision by the Church of England to remain true to the Biblical definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman attests to the hostility that Christians face in an age of rampant unbelief.
These are difficult times, but nonetheless, the lack of understanding apparent across the media when Christians have the audacity to suggest that God’s Word is presented in the Bible and we cannot change it in order that people can carry on committing sin without any pangs of conscience, is something we should not allow to cause us to despair.
As Our Saviour told his disciples, we should expect persecution and yes, even hatred, to follow our attestation of our Christian beliefs. We should remember, however, that throughout human history hatred has been rooted in fear – fear of the different, fear of the different, and, in our case, fear of the Truth that is Jesus Christ.
As one who was very recently an atheist, I look back at my unwillingness to embrace Christ’s Mercy and now understand how deeply it was rooted in fear. Fear of the things I thought I would have to give up if I became a Christian, fear of leaving behind my safety zone of consumer-driven existence, fear of giving up my ingrained idea that I was the centre of the universe. Above all, the (now very odd) fear that, if those pesky Christians were right, then I was in a lot of trouble. Those who attack Christianity do so out of fear, and the harsher their attacks the more they reveal their fear of the Word.
Viewed from this perspective, the weakness of these attacks are revealed to us. Time and again in the Old Testament God showed Israel how, no matter how numerous an army appears before the battle, the fear in its heart means it cannot stand against His people. We should then take these attacks as evidence of His Victory and feel energised by this knowledge of our enemies’ fear to bring the Truth of His Grace to the ears of as many as we can.
The battle is already won, and that should give us strength.
‘What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?’