|Vol. 1, No. 12||Page 7||December 1999|
Not Ashamed of Christ
But this is not the only persecution that is directed at those who call themselves “Christians” in the land in which we live. The federal government feels that it has the right to step in and investigate the doctrine of various churches. It feels that it has the right to overturn, by making illegal, such doctrines as they feel are opposed to “civil rights.” There is a movement at this very hour to have homosexuals treated as a minority race in this country, and, if that movement succeeds, you and I will not be able to tell a person who is living that lifestyle that he is a sinner! There is no sin in being black, white, Asian or Indian. All these people are dear and precious in the sight of God, and he wants them to come to Christ who has the ability to save them from sin. There is no similarity between race and the sin of homosexuality! One is the way a person is born; the other is a life-style that has been adopted and is a preferred way of living. These people come from all races! They are not a race, nor are they born that way, nor is there a genetic predisposition to live such a life-style. There is not one shred of evidence to prove any of the above-mentioned claims by the homosexuals!
But let us come back to the original thought of this article by asking ourselves how we are going to react to the kind of persecution we see in our nation today. It seems to this observer that we are going to have to react in one of two ways. First, we can become ashamed of our religion and pull ourselves into a shell of privacy, having nothing to say about any of the things going on today. That is the kind of reaction that will make the world, which brazenly opposes Christianity, very happy because they have thrown down the gauntlet and we will have refused to take it up! They will continue the pressure by telling the world that if we really believed what we claim to believe we would be fearless in meeting them, and we would be unhampered in answering their stereotypes of Christianity. We can go quietly about worshipping God, until the day comes when we are forbidden to do so, or we can take another path.
Second, we can adopt the attitude that we are not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, nor the Christ of the Gospel, just as was the case with the apostle Paul in Romans 1:14-17. In 2 Timothy 1:8, Paul admonished Timothy not to be “. . . ashamed of the testimony of our Lord . . .” In the very same chapter (v. 12), Paul said that he was suffering persecution even as he was writing that letter, but he said, “I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to keep what I have committed to him until that day.” In verse sixteen of the same chapter, Paul prayed that the Lord grant mercy to the family of Onesiphorus because that family had often helped him, “. . . and was not ashamed of my chain . . .” In other words, Onesiphorus and his family, in spite of the danger from the Roman government, had no shame regarding the imprisonment of Paul, and they had fearlessly refreshed him from time to time.
If the intimidation of the pagan world causes us to move into a shell and refuse to say what the Bible says regarding sin, then we have become ashamed of Christ and his Gospel. We do not mean that we be ugly, uncaring or hostile toward the world, but that we should fearlessly deliver the same Gospel that was delivered first under Jewish persecution, then under Roman persecution in the first century. Paul, in Romans 1:18-32, spoke of the life-styles of all kinds of pagans as being sinful, and against which the wrath of God is revealed.
To stand for Christ and to fight against the paganism
of our time, using the Gospel as our sword against sin, has never been
easy, and it will not be in the future! The pagans control
the government with all its bureaucracy, the media, the film industry and
most all other forms of communication. But with God as our helper
we can once again bring the Gospel to the world even if it means imprisonment
and death! This was done in ancient times, and it can be done again!