Archive for the ‘Faithfulness to God’ Category
20 “Why is light given to him who is in misery,
and life to the bitter in soul,
21 who long for death, but it comes not,
and dig for it more than for hidden treasures,
22 who rejoice exceedingly
and are glad when they find the grave?
23 Why is light given to a man whose way is hidden,
whom God has hedged in?
- Job 3:20-23
I have not written in over a week. Much of this has been from my work schedule. The other is from a friend of mine who committed suicide this past Sunday. He was a brother whom I met back in 2000 at youth camp when I was a young youth pastor. He and I clicked because he loved to sing hymns (as did I) and he loved to pray for the teenagers to be saved. I remember he had brought with him a very troubled young man who needed Christ. My brother was passionate to see this teenager saved. I have often wondered what became of that young man.
My friend went on to live a troubled life in the ministry. He seemed passionate for Christ but he struggled to fit into the traditional church. He served at a large church as a youth pastor for a season and it seemed to be his “dream” job but it proved to be a heartbreak as the church turned on him and fired him. He then bounced around from church to church before becoming a senior pastor of a traditional church that he hoped to move toward a non-traditional approach to ministry. In the end he left that church to start a church/coffee shop in a college town. I had lost touch with him from about 2008 on and figured, from Facebook and other sources, that he was doing okay. He seemed to be confused theologically as he bounced around the charismatic world and not really landing anywhere.
From what I can understand, he preached to his church this past Sunday and then during the day he went up on a mountain to end it all. There he did. I have no clue as to why. I don’t know what was happening that he would end his life. I only know that it breaks my heart.
Suicide is a difficult issue. I am not here to give an answer to why or what happens. I have read both sides. I recently listened to a talk given by Dr. Jack Deere who lost his son to suicide and he built a case for his salvation. I have heard many people place people who commit suicide in heaven. I don’t know for sure. I know some Arminians who say that a self-murderer will not inherit the kingdom (Revelation 21:8). I have heard others say that a person can be so sick that they long for death and that they lose their mind when it comes to suicide. My answer is that God alone knows. He is just. He is good. He will do what is righteous.
I do know that suicide is not a biblical option. Suicide takes the sovereignty of God and places it in the hands of men. This should not be. God knows the time of our death (Psalm 139:16) but we are not to take our death into our hands. God is our light (Psalm 27:1) and He will get us through even the darkest times (Psalm 30:5). The Bible gives us hope (Romans 15:4) and the Bible calls us to live and die to the glory of God (Philippians 1:20-21). How can suicide glorify God? Suicide simply leaves behind many, many unanswered questions and does not reflect upon the glory of God. When a believer dies in an accident or for health reasons or at the hands of another person, we mourn but rejoice that they were saved and lived a life to the glory of God. When a person commits suicide, we mourn and have no answers nor any hope. While some are quick to put the person in heaven and even crown them as saints, I am slow to do this. I do trust God and I am not saying they are in hell. I simply don’t know. I can only look to Christ and His Word.
There are actually a number of suicides in the Bible. We have the suicides of:
- King Saul (1 Samuel 31:4)
- Ahithophel (2 Samuel 17:23)
- Zimri (1 Kings 16:18)
- Judas Iscariot (Matthew 27:5; Acts 1:18)
- And the near suicide of the Philippian jailer (Acts 16:27)
- Some see Samson as a suicide (Judges 16:29-30)
Other than Samson (Hebrews 11:32), none are listed as faithful. The Bible does not give us hope about those who do commit suicide. I believe this is obviously good since many people, like Job above in Job 3:20-23, can be in such despair that they long for death to come. Even great men of God such as Moses (Numbers 11:15) and Jonah (Jonah 4:3) can long for death though they did not take their own lives but appealed to God to take their lives from them as did Job above (Job 3:20-23; 7:15). Revelation 9:6 records that people will long for death but will not find it.
I have never been at that place. I have been in the valley before. I have loathed life at times. Yet I have always believed that God would get me through each trial and that He was faithful (Romans 8:28). I have clung to Him and at times I have longed to leave this world behind (Romans 8:18) but I trust in God who has a purpose in my suffering and trials (James 1:2-5). It can be dark at times. I have been in despair many times and will be again some day. I have sat by my mother’s side while she died and was full of despair but somewhere deep inside was hope that only comes from Christ. Jesus promised me tribulation in this world but He said to be encouraged for He had overcome the world (John 16:33). Jesus never promised us a life without trials but He did promise to never leave us nor forsake us (Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5). He promised to keep me (John 10:27-29).
Suicide is a poor option for ending our trials. It is a selfish option. Suicide does not care about others. Those who commit suicide are doing only what they think will help them. Perhaps they are sick and in total despair but I feel that they are looking at themselves and not upon Christ. This is why the Bible does not give hope for those who do such things or consider them. Suicide would greatly increase if people knew that God would gladly welcome them into His kingdom if they ended it. I am glad the Word is silent on this issue and doesn’t paint a pretty picture for those longing to commit suicide.
I ask you to pray though for the family that this brother left behind. He left behind many who were seeking after God. Many of them were new believers. How will this effect them? How will the world view this from a man who claimed to be a slave of Christ? Again, suicide doesn’t bring glory to God but only despair. It leaves behind a wreck that the enemy will use against the purposes of God but God will not be defeated. He has already overcome. Jesus wears the victor’s crown! I pray that this suicide will cause many to turn toward Christ and realize now more than ever that our hope must be in Him alone and not in ministry, dreams, clergy, or anything or anyone else. Christ alone must be our lives!
Forgive me if I have been too harsh.
We all have known someone who claimed to follow Christ for years. Some of them were prayer warriors, evangelists, pastors and teachers, elders, leaders, examples to the flock, deeply committed to sound doctrine, etc; and yet they fell away. Some of them went into cults while others fell into immorality and sin. I have personally known many people who once were bedrocks for the gospel and today they are shells of what they use to be. I have personally prayed with, evangelized with, and worshiped with people who today are not following Christ. And it is possible that, according to Calvinism, you are one of those people. It is possible that you could fall from grace and turn away from Jesus though this would prove, according to Calvinists, that you were never saved to begin with (1 John 2:19). After all, it is possible that both you and I are people found in Matthew 7:21-23 or John 6:66. We must not be prideful about this as Paul the Apostle points out in 1 Corinthians 10:12.
For the most part I think that “never saved to begin with” is just an easy answer to a hard question. After all, I would admit that there have been many I have met and even discipled in the church whom I thought were not truly saved. It is true that people can be false converts and never have repented of their sins. Repentance is largely played down these days in the seeker sensitive church era that we are in. Rather than preaching Matthew 3:8, we preach easy believeism and call people “saved” whom have never truly repented of their sins nor seen the need to repent (1 Timothy 1:8-11). We have failed to call people’s attention (almost weekly in our sinful society) to 2 Corinthians 13:5 and asked people to make sure they are walking in the grace of God. Hebrews 3:12-13 exhorts us all:
12 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
Hebrews 10:19-25 has three “let us” points that the writer wants to make. Each of them are discipleship in nature. Notice the text:
19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
The purpose of meeting together for the disciple of Jesus is not to listen to a sermon nor to sing songs. It is to help us continue in our fight, to be encouraged by other disciples in this race. We need other disciples to help us remain disciples of Christ because of this sinful world that we live in and walk in (1 John 1:7).
However, back to my point in this post. I find that the old “never saved to begin with” is not a pat answer for every person who turns away from Christ. It may sooth us but it doesn’t really answer the question. Why is it that a person can be deeply committed to Christ outwardly (none of us but God alone can see their heart; 2 Timothy 2:19) and then embrace a life of sin to reject the gospel? What happened to them? Where did they begin to lose the battle against the flesh and the world (1 John 2:15-17)? It is not a theologically issue since I have known both Arminians and Calvinists who have turned away from Christ. I have known evangelical pastors who left their wives and children and churches for a woman. I have known evangelical men who have embraced homosexuality. I have witnessed women fall prey to ungodly men time after time after time. And to simply say they were never saved to begin with is a pat answer but in my heart, I have watched these people and have seen them preach the gospel, seen them weep over the lost, seen them pray, seen them teach the Word, sat for hours with them and talked theology.
I believe that apostasy is very real. I believe the warnings of Scripture are there to truly warn us not to forsake Christ for the flesh or this world or lies (Galatians 1:6-9; 6:7-9). I believe the promise of God is seen in Romans 11:20-22 where we read:
20 That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. 22 Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off.
We need to stand before the disciples of Jesus and preach that He is faithful to His promises (Romans 8:38-39) but we likewise must continue in the faith (Acts 14:22-23; 1 Corinthians 15:1-2; 2 Corinthians 1:24; 12:21-13:5; Galatians 5:1-4; Ephesians 3:17; Philippians 2:12-15; Colossians 1:21-23; 3:1-4; etc.). As the writer of Hebrews wrote in Hebrews 2:1-4:
Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. 2 For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, 4 while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.
Or as Jesus Himself said in Revelation 3:5-6 to the church in Sardis:
5 The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. 6 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
Jesus calls us to be His elect and also to be faithful to Him (Revelation 17:14). Let us admit right now, no matter where you stand on the issue of eternal security, that salvation is found in Jesus alone (John 14:6). All unbelievers will be cut off for their rebellion against a holy God (2 Thessalonians 1:8-12). Salvation is found only in Christ Jesus (Romans 6:23) and to be outside of Jesus is to be lost (2 Corinthians 5:17). Salvation is a work of God (John 1:12-13; Ephesians 2:8-9) that He wrought in our souls by faith in His Son (Titus 3:5-7). Salvation is not accomplished by my power. Jesus has done the work of salvation (Hebrews 10:10, 14) but we must abide in Him to be saved (John 15:1-11). Let us agree on these issues.
I do pray often for those whom I have known who have turned away. It does break my heart that so many have turned away from Christ. Only God knows their hearts and can judge whether they were ever saved to begin with. I do know that they must repent of their sins (Hebrews 10:19-39). I do know that sin will destroy lives (James 1:12-15; 5:19-20). I do know that sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2) and we must repent to be reconciled back to the Father (Psalm 32:1-5; 1 John 1:9). Repentance is not merely feeling sorry about our sins but turning from them toward Christ (Galatians 5:16-17). If we are called of God, we must be holy as He is holy (1 Peter 1:15-16). Holiness is not optional but is only accomplished by the grace of God working in us (Ephesians 2:10). I do fear God (Proverbs 1:7) and I do hate my sins. I do long to be just like Jesus Christ in every way. I do long to follow Him completely and forever. I do pray that He would continue to help me to hate sin and pursue Him with all my heart (Mark 12:29-31).
Jesus rebuked the Pharisees by pointing out that they studied the Scriptures but missed Him. John 5:39 reads, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me.”
These were men who studied the Scriptures. They were regarded as experts in the Law of God. Yet Jesus said that they missed God in the process. He didn’t rebuke them for studying the Scriptures but for missing Him while doing so.
I pray that is not me. I met a man a while back who has a deep knowledge of the Word. He has studied at some of the finest universities in the United States and his goal in life is to teach theology and Greek at a seminary level (which he is now doing). Yet as I talked with this man, I realized that his whole view of the Christian life was one of theology. He looked at things through the lenses of his theology. When I spoke with him about witnessing, he begin to talk about the various methods of evangelism and which he felt was more sound. When I asked him about his prayer life, he looked offended and told me that prayer was between him and God and it was none of my business how much time he spent in prayer. After all, he reasoned with me, time proves nothing. Of course I agreed but merely wanted to know how his prayer life was.
What saddened me about this encounter was the fact that this man knew theology. He knew much about God. Yet in my speaking with him, I never detected a deep love for God. He could tell me facts about the Bible and could explain to me aspects of theology but he didn’t seem to have any passion for the gospel itself. I challenged him to come witnessing with us sometime and he just stared at me with a blank look. I told him that we could use his intellect when we go evangelizing on college campuses but he said that he would be very busy with his theological studies and teaching.
I love theology. I have enjoyed reading theology books for many years. I am not on the level as this man above. I would never say that I am an expert on theology nor do I feel qualified to teach on a seminary campus but I do love theology but I love theology because of where it leads me: to Jesus. I want to know Jesus more and more. I want to love Him more and more. I have so far to go.
Paul the Apostle was a major theologian both before his conversion to Christ and afterwards. One cannot read the book of Romans and not see that Paul was a theologian. Yet in Philippians 3:2-11 he wrote this:
2 Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. 3 For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh— 4 though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. 7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
Paul showed that in his former way of life, he was very religious indeed. He studied under Gamaliel who was one of the leading theologians of his day (Acts 22:3). Paul writes in Philippians 3:6 that he was blameless under the law. Yet he considered all that loss to knowing Christ. Paul was willing to trade his theology for knowing Christ. And yet he was still a great theologian as his New Testament letters prove! Paul went from loving theology to loving God. He learned that Christ is not found in a book. He is found in reality.
I pray that my own theological studies drive me toward Jesus, toward holiness, toward worship, toward prayer, toward evangelism. I don’t want to have a head knowledge relationship with Christ but a true relationship with Him. I don’t want my love for Jesus to be based just on what I know. I want to show my love for Jesus in what I do (John 14:15). It is easy to confuse theological knowledge with a relationship with Jesus but I want to demonstrate my love for Jesus not just in my studies but in my actual obedience to the gospel (1 John 2:3-6).
My fear is that we are educated beyond our level of obedience. We know much about God but do little for His kingdom. We can preach a fine sermon on prayer but do we pray? I think of the Jews Paul rebuked in Romans 2:17-24 by pointing out their hypocrisy. Is that me? Do I know many facts about the gospel but don’t really love Christ from the heart? Do I study the Word of God but fail to obey His Word in the process? Do I study God but fail to stand in awe of Him in worship and prayer? Can I debate a theological position but never share my faith with the lost? How easy it is to sit in a room and open the Greek New Testament and do word studies but never leave that room to go into the world with the light of the gospel (Matthew 5:13-16).
The balance is to study theology but to obey. Obedience to the Word that the Holy Spirit teaches us is the best way, the disciple’s way. Jesus, no doubt, was the greatest theologian ever to live since He was God incarnate (John 1:14). Yet the Word of God in flesh (John 1:1) spent time with normal men and He taught them using normal means. Jesus could have taught His disciples the attributes of God (and we should study that) but instead He often taught them about practical obedience to Himself (Matthew 7:24-27). Obviously, all of Scripture is breathed out by God (2 Timothy 3:16-17) and Jesus gave us theology in the New Testament letters but Jesus Himself focused on helping His own disciples obey the gospel more than upon theologically explaining it.
I pray that I have that balance. Let me teach theology but let me also teach people how to obey the gospel by the grace of God that He has given us in His Son (Titus 2:11-14). We are saved to obey (Ephesians 2:8-10).
The English dictionary defines pragmatism as follows:
1 : a practical approach to problems and affairs
2 : a doctrine that truth is to be tested by the practical effects of belief
These definitions fit perfectly for my article here. I want to write about why are many preachers also pragmatists? The simple answer is that they want to see their churches grow and they believe that programs and being attractive to potential members is important to building a church. In practical ways, the pragmatic preacher will use whatever tools he can find to build the church. Whether it is a program based church or music or feel-good series sermons that make people happy and encouraged, the pragmatist will use whatever he can to build the church. This would also include using people to get to his means.
Much is of course loss when the pragmatist begins to think about how to build the church apart from the means of grace that God has given us in His Word. Sadly, many clergy are focused on their “jobs” and so they think in terms of money instead of souls. The church is their business and people coming is their livelihood. The more people who come to a traditional church, the more you possible can get in money. Further, people draw more people. If it is popular to attend church A then people will leave church B for the better programs at A.
In our area, we have two pragmatic churches that are sucking the life out of other churches. One is a multi-site from a seeker church not even in our community. People show up at this church to watch a screen of the church that is nearly 100 miles away. The other church has been using gimmicks such as car giveaways to get people to show up along with “family friendly” church with no preaching on repentance or anything else “negative.” The results for both of these churches has been tremendous. Both are considered “cool” churches to attend and people gladly walk around admitting that they attend these churches.
Lost is the glory of God. Lost is the preaching of the Word. Lost are the intercessions for the lost. Lost are the true conversions because of faithful preaching of the gospel.
One could say, “You just are mad that these churches are growing.” I am not a clergyman so I don’t care per se about the “growth” of the church I attend. God is sovereign and He will add to His Church whom He wants (Acts 2:47). But I am upset that these churches are preaching such a watered down “gospel” that is no gospel at all. Both claim to be “evangelistic” churches with an emphasis on reaching people with the truth of Christ. Yet their gospel is the “sinner’s prayer” and “Jesus wants to give you a better life than the one you have now.” They admit that Jesus died for our sins but they gloss over sin and repentance along the way. They also ignore completely the wrath of God against sin. Evangelism, in these churches, would be simply inviting people to their church.
Pragmatism reigns among evangelicals because of the hunger to grow the church. Some men start out right and do desire to see the church grow because they want to see people love Jesus. But many look around at these two seeker churches above and are drawn to their success. These churches are exploding. Building buildings. Packed on Sunday. Police have to direct traffic to let people in and out of these churches. Yet the small faithful man of God struggles to get 30 people to attend. They have to often take second jobs to make ends meet. This faithful brother has been preaching through the Word verse by verse but people don’t care. They are leaving him for the seeker church down the street that has the awesome children’s ministry and they even offer a light show during their “worship” service. The money on the first row of the seeker church will be more than the small church gets that day. And so the faithful brother struggles. He wants to see God move. He wants to see people repent. Yet he also needs money because he has a family to provide for. So he begins to investigate the seeker church. He begins to contemplate how he can model his church after that church. Soon he is a pragmatist where the results are what matters.
I once e-mailed a large seeker church to debate the “lead pastor” over their church. I questioned him theologically and asked him to biblically justify his church. He wrote me back, “We run over 700 on Sunday. How many do you run?” That was it. That was what mattered. 700 people justifies the means.
Sadly, even faithful church conferences today often are pragmatic. When was the last time you went to a conference and the speaker was from a tiny church in the middle of nowhere? Most speakers at conferences come from large churches (and often very large). I remember only once hearing a small church Bible teacher speak at a prayer conference. He spoke to thousands of people (the most he had ever preached before he said) but his heart burned for prayer (it was a conference focused only on prayer). This humble man of God broke the hearts of his audience through his faithfulness in his preaching. He did not come with the numbers but he came with his faithfulness to God.
I urge you to be faithful to God. Avoid pragmatism. Seek to be biblical even if everyone else leaves for the seeker church. If you have to get a job, get a job but be faithful to God. Don’t compromise His Word for the sake of money. Don’t copy the seeker church that always ends in shallow theology and false converts. Be faithful to preach the Word and leave the results to God alone (2 Timothy 4:1-5). Preach repentance (Acts 2:38). Preach holiness (1 Peter 1:15-16). Preach against sin (1 Corinthians 15:34). Preach on true salvation and what it means to be truly born again (John 3:1-7). Preach on the glory of God and the glory of the gospel (Romans 1:16-17). Avoid telling people just what they want to hear (2 Timothy 4:3-4) but preach the cross (1 Corinthians 1:18-25). Preach the Law of God to the lost (1 Timothy 1:8-11) and allow the Holy Spirit to bring conviction of sin (John 16:8-11).
Many in the American Church are lamenting the fact that our nation is corrupt. We are now a nation where abortion is rampant, where homosexuality is being encouraged and defended, where divorce is now up to 50% of all marriages, and where whatever sin you prefer, who are we to suggest that you are in sin? The only absolutes I see in our culture is that one cannot be absolutely against what culture deems correct. Whatever the culture likes, we are not to question. The Christian idea that God hates sin or that He will judge sinners or that His wrath is against sin is not to be heard. The only God of secular culture today is a tolerant god who judges none and allows sinning for all while loving all the same.
This thought got me to thinking though that the true Christian, the faithful disciple of Jesus who hates sin and loves righteousness (1 John 3:4-10) and who pursues holiness (Hebrews 12:14), has been a minority since the dawn of time. The entire story of the Bible presents many who did love God and who feared Him and obeyed Him but the vast majority of people in the Bible did not love God nor pursue His will. Even the nation of Israel shows a people who did not follow the Lord God but disobeyed Him as we see in Romans 9:30-33; 10:19-20; 11:7-10. Paul the Apostle even wrote in 1 Corinthians 10:5, “Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness.”
The fact is that true disciples of Jesus have always been a minority. One could argue that at times a culture reflected more biblical worldview than at other times (this could be true of many Western nations such as Great Britain, France, Spain, Germany, Australia, South Africa, the United States, Canada) but true Christianity has always been a minority. Those who preached repentance and holiness have always been a minority. Those who preached turning away from sin (1 John 2:1-2) have always been a minority. Those who lived faithful lives to Christ have always been few. Those who labored in prayer and in the Word have been few.
Jesus tells us about how few those would be who faithful follow Christ as Lord in Luke 13:22-30. Here we read:
22 He went on his way through towns and villages, teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem. 23 And someone said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them, 24 “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25 When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ 26 Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’ 28 In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out. 29 And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God. 30 And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”
Notice that Jesus says that we are to strive to enter through the narrow door (v. 24). The road of faithfulness to Christ contains few.
The fact is that people will always hate the truth of God (Romans 3:10-18). The fact is that the faithful disciple of Jesus must make our aim to please God and not to “convert” culture. Jesus alone saves sinners (John 14:6) and He alone will be exalted as we preach His saving gospel to the lost (Romans 10:14-17). Our aim must be to glorify Jesus in all that we say or do (Colossians 3:17) through His grace (Titus 2:12). Our aim must be holiness in the midst of a wicked world (1 Peter 1:15-16; 2:9-12). In Revelation 17:14 we find those who are with Jesus and John writes that they are “called and chosen and faithful.” I pray that I am those thing by God’s grace. I want to faithful to Jesus always (2 Timothy 3:12).
As we look around and see our culture becoming wicked, let us bear in mind that people have always chosen to rebel against God (Romans 1:18-32). Yet our goal should not change: we want to exalt Jesus. We have His promises that the world would hate us (John 15:18-25). We have the promise of 2 Peter 3. We will one day be the majority (Revelation 21:7-8; 22:14-15) but this will come in God’s timing and by His power.