Trusting God when Society Falls
As followers of Jesus Christ, we’ve had to face multiple challenges to our faith throughout the history of this nation. This past week—and even in the past couple of months—we’ve had to endure many disappointments and dangers, particularly the distinct possibility that we were on the verge of even greater persecution.
Since we address people from other parts of the world (Ghana, Kenya, Central and South America, Europe, Canada, India, and elsewhere), we all know that society poses a huge pressure to believers wherever we may live. Even though the pressures here in the United States are real, we know that there are vastly more threats elsewhere in the world.
Thus, we would encourage all of you to endure through the present and future trials to your faith. As Paul put it, “All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12). He also said, “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). There is no other way to enter God’s presence than to be faithful even to the point of death when persecution and tribulations come (cf. Revelation 2:10).
For the present, it seems that the looming tribulation in America has been at least temporarily diverted, but we are not so naïve as to assume that it is all over forever. We think that the recent political developments are only a brief respite and the future may hold even greater threats, dangers, and outright persecutions.
It seemed that abortion—the killing of innocent babies in the mother’s womb—would continue to grow, spurred on by the wicked organization called “Planned Parenthood” and others. Now it may be that the murderous Supreme Court decision of 1973 may be halted or even reversed. But we don’t know. (We also know that many more millions of abortions have continued unabated in places like Japan, Russia, China, and elsewhere.)
It seemed that all sorts of sexual immorality would continue to grow, with the government’s approval and even encouragement. For some decades now, the perversion of homosexuality has been growing, with all of the state laws against this sin erased from the legal books. I well remember when the state law here in Texas became history! Along with the sin of homosexuality, the Supreme Court this year officially permitted what they called “Homosexual Marriage” (even though God would say that marriage is only possible between a man and a woman). This must be one of the most wicked pronouncements of the highest Court in the nation. Some think that now this perverse ruling could be changed, depending on the makeup of this Supreme Court.
Until this week, it seemed that the sin of feminism would open the door to a vast outreach of women in public office and in places of authority, regardless of the plain violation of Scripture that “the man is the head of a woman” (1 Corinthians 11:3; cf. Ephesians 5:22-24; 1 Timothy 2:11-15). With the likelihood of having a woman president in the United States now eliminated for four years, perhaps this perversion will not raise its head for a while longer.
One of the most wicked elements that could have had far-reaching negative effects and tremendous consequences had to do with “religious” pressure to violate one’s Biblical conscience. By this we mean, it seemed like local and federal laws would come against people of conscience who were not able to participate in evil and sinful activity in society. For months now, professing Christians were in trouble if they expressed their inability to promote a wicked law, such as promoting homosexual “weddings” and like activities. Hopefully, there will be a stop to this evil agenda that was coming on people of faith.
Many other compromises have been imposed on conscientious people who want to stand for at least a remnant of righteousness, morality, and truth. Those who have opposed these unjust requirements faced unconscionable pressures to conform and acquiesce to ungodly societal forces. We hope that this unrighteous pressure will now be lessened and Christian truth will be free to be expressed in the public sphere. At least this is the promise of the newly-elected president!
We know that the remnant of Bible believers in China, Russia, India, and in the Islamic countries may read of this sort of persecution and know that it doesn’t at all compare with the vastly broader suffering they must endure. We do grieve with them for what they are faced with each day. But we also recognize that the tribulation faced by American believers has become increasingly severe in recent decades, more than in the past.
We are also mindful that there are many additional pressures on American Christians, such as trying to survive the public school system without compromise. Or working in many (maybe the majority of) jobs without compromise. Sadly, most professing Christians, manifesting outright hypocrisy, have been willing to compromise with evil requirements and pressures around them, thus they have not seen the outright persecution that consistent Christians may daily face. Again, people in most other nations of the world face similar and usually greater pressures to compromise in order to obtain or retain a job or escape government persecution.
But, at least temporarily in the United States, with the prospect of a much friendlier atmosphere with a new government administration coming on January 20, 2018, we look forward to a period of time that will promote Christian values and lifestyle. Thanks be to God for His present mercy.
One final point needs to be made. God’s Word emphasizes that we are not to trust in man or fleshly might. Jeremiah 17:5 says, “Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength, and whose heart turns away from the LORD.” In contrast, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD and whose trust is in the LORD” (v. 7). In Psalm 146:3 we also read: “Do not trust in princes [we might say “presidents”], in mortal man, in whom there is no salvation.”
And then in Psalm 147:10, we read: “He [God] does not delight in the strength of the horse; He does not take pleasure in the legs of a man.” What we see from these passages is that we must not place our ultimate faith in kings and presidents, in congress or the Supreme Court, in tanks or ships or fighter planes. Instead, we must always trust in God our Lord and Heavenly King! He is our only hope!