In recent days there has been a lot of hand wringing among the people of the church. There is a general feeling that everything is out of control and that the world is careening rapidly down to the hill into the abyss of hell. The announcement last week of the United States Supreme Court decision in regards to same-sex marriage has caused an uproar among people of faith. I have had the privilege of living in the United States and know how patriotic most of God’s people are. There seems to be a very close association between government and the church. To many government is a reflection, or ought to be, of Biblical values.
Here in Canada we have become accustomed to living in a society that is multicultural, multi-faith and socially progressive. We realized many years ago that the values of our parents and grandparents were not going to survive in that kind of context. I grew up going to school in the 1960s when the Lord’s prayer was recited at the beginning of the day. For many years that no longer takes place. How did we survive? How did the church continue to exist in that kind of pluralistic society? More importantly, how can the church survive today?
It is my understanding that the church has lived in a protective bubble that has in some senses prevented her from really being all that God has called her to be. We grew up with a society that conformed to certain rules and norms. It was a little difficult to separate who was and was not a Christian. Unfortunately, we settled for outward conformity when the Bible calls from an inward transformation of character. Many people give financially to the church because they received a tax receipt at the end of the year. Therefore, some Christians did not give so much out of their willingness to sacrifice for the cause of Christ but because of a societal benefit. What will happen when that privilege is taken away if we do not accept gay marriage? Will we still give?
Jesus called His followers to be salt and light in a world of darkness. I understand that to mean that there ought to be something different about our lives that attracts others. What is it that makes us different? Notice it is the church that is called to be salt and light, not the government and not society! It is as we love as Jesus loves that we will be difference makers for His glory!
Our government has and will continue to lean more to the left on social issues. The privileges that we have enjoyed for years will come to an end. But, God is still in control, He is still directing the events of history toward His purposes and for His glory. This is a time for the church to really be the church, to really shine for the Lord, to show the world the real difference Christ has made in our lives!
Jesus said that the world will hate his followers because of Him. The world will think it is doing society a favour to persecute Christians because of what we believe in. This is not new news. Two-thousand years ago Jesus warned us that this would happen. For North American Christians, the real test of our faith is coming and perhaps is already here. God continues to rule and continues to reign and we rest in His grace and goodness! Let’s be faithful no matter what the government or society has to say, no matter what privileges we may lose.
“Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Saviour, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” Jude 24-25