When Martin Luther was asked to recant anything in his books in 1519, his response was “I stand convicted [convinced] by the Scriptures to which I have appealed, and my conscience is taken captive by God’s word, I cannot and will not recant anything, for to act against our conscience is neither safe for us, nor open to us. On this I take my stand. I can do no other. God help me.”1 It’s nothing new for Christians to be persecuted, reviled and martyred. Not only does the Scriptures speak of such events, past and in the future, secular history records them as well.
In America, for over 240 years, the church has enjoyed virtually no persecution like we have seen in the majority of the world or in history. Things can change rapidly. When wicked men are in positions of power they can make laws that affect a Christian. In 2020, the election of a majority who view the world through the lens of secular humanism and anti-Christian bigotry has placed many in places of authority. But does that change our work as believers? Does the church need to make an adjustment? The answer is, of course, no.
Truth has always been persecuted. Therefore, it is not surprising that truth is being suppressed in our world, always has been. But now the truth is being transformed into an image of wickedness. In other words, truth lines are being blurred by men who promote wickedness as normal. And it is also approved by leaders and rulers. Romans 1:32a “But also give hearty approval to those who practice them.” Our culture has transformed the natural man/women gender into words that I don’t even know what they mean. And for that matter, aren’t able to be defined. But this is what the world does. It worships the creature more than the creator. Given this fact, does God change or His Word change? No.
This is where we are at. God has us here not by happenstance, but by divine appointment. He has you right where He wants you to be. As I assess our current political climate, ruled by a majority of people who oppose biblical truth, I know laws and restrictions will come. I am not a political junkie, but I do follow what laws are being passed and who is elected. In biblical times, we read of letters written from prison, and they were imprisoned for civil reasons, disobeying unbiblical requirements put upon Christians. Such was the case in Acts 5:29 when Peter and the apostles responded, “We must obey God rather than men.”
Timothy was wavering a bit under the persecution of the time, thus the second letter from Paul was written for that purpose. Paul said to Timothy “For this reason, I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God…” (2 Timothy 1:6a). The threat of persecution was taking its toll on young Timothy. Paul reminded him of the faith, the hope, the power of God’s word. We need such a reminder today. Christians aren’t loyal to a nation, even though I don’t believe being patriotic is a sin. But the bottom line is, our loyalty is to the kingdom of God. This is why I do not fret over the wicked rulers in our land. God has put them there, Daniel 2:21 “It is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings.”
Consider this, we live in a world where lies are the norm. Therefore, when one speaks the truth, it can be expected to be met with resistance. Not only is this true when Christians oppose laws and rules that violate biblical principals, it’s true when non-believers are confronted by spiritual truth. They often turn hostile towards the truth, and you feel that because you are speaking it.
We live in a world now where literally “down is up and up is down.” It’s a Romans 1 case being lived out now in our time. Mass confusion about gender, marriage and morality. And not only has this been accepted, it’s now being made law. Under the rule of Nero during the time of the letter to Timothy (2nd letter), persecution was extensive. This was the primary reason for the letter. Timothy seemed to be wavering in the midst of persecution. However, the Apostle reminded Timothy “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7). He also reminds him of his being rescued from darkness and how God has a purpose for him “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity” (2 Timothy 1:8-10).
Paul encouraged Timothy that a good soldier suffers hardships (2 Timothy 3:2) and the Word of God isn’t imprisoned, even though Paul was (2 Timothy 3:9). Nothing much has changed since the letter was written. Men are wicked, we live in a fallen world, and we grow weary at times enduring trials.
In our world today, lies are the normal. The amount of things we are lied to about is too many to list. The lie of abortion is that it’s a woman’s privacy issue, the lie of marriage being between any two genders, whatever they may be. Therefore, when believers tell the truth, it’s a threat to the lie. And truth now becomes the enemy. John 8:44 “Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies”. Thus describes Satan and those who aren’t followers of Christ. So we should not be surprised to see the lies coming from the world. And when you speak the truth, you now have become the enemy. But truth matters. It matters in the church. It matters in your view of God. It matters in holiness. It matters in marriage.
There aren’t multiple views of truth. Absolute truth is found in the pages of Scripture. How you view all things in life here is a reflection of how you view Scripture. If you view God as low, then your values and truth concerning human sexuality, morality and family will be based upon that view. If you view God as high, holy, righteous, then your view and positions on those subjects will reflect that. One cannot have a high view of God and His word and not have that view reflect in one’s life.
In these days, as has been in the past, truth matters. The world, friends, neighbors, politicians and the like, all will deflect the truth of Scripture at times. That does not change why we are here at this appointed time. God has called us, saved us and set us in this place to be a testimony to the goodness of God.