Hebrews 11: 8-16 describes followers of God as sojourners looking for a city not built by hands. First Peter 1 echoes this by referring to believers in Christ as strangers on this earth. In a world that is so increasing growing hostile to those who stand on the truths of the Bible, this truth is more and more clear. True believers in Christ are citizens of another country than the one in which we dwell. Our allegiance is to that heavenly country where Christ is first and foremost.
It is easier to pen these words than to actually live them. The Church of Christ has been under attack so much in recent days, both from within and without. We have endured the condemnation of Harold Camping who has declared that Christians who attend a local church are not truly saved, and now many believers are facing outrage, ridicule and rejection, because of their stand on moral issues. We ought not to be surprised (and yet we so often are), because the Bible describes us as in a spiritual war that does not cease. There is a real enemy who is trying to distract and destroy us and to rob us of peace and victory. We need to remember the truth of Hebrews 11 which is we are merely sojourners here. This world is not a friend to the Gospel and certainly not to the believer in Christ. We are the most vulnerable when we try to fit in.
What has lulled us to sleep in my opinion is that we live in a country that is special in many ways. It is certainly different than most in that it was founded upon Christian principles. Believers have rights and privileges that do not exist elsewhere. However, as we see our country turning increasingly to the secular, we see these principles being abandoned and our religious freedom being threatened. When we protest as is our right as American citizens we are seen by society as the ones who are intolerant because we refuse to condone lifestyles that are clearly contrary to what is taught in Scripture. We ought not to be surprised when legislation is passed that goes against our moral convictions. The Bible is no longer seen as objective truth from the mouth of God, but something to be changed by interpretation to fit the present circumstances and to conform to political correctness. We seek to warn in love, but we receive back bitterness and hatred.
Romans chapter one describes the progression of the depravity of man. Basically, it tells us that man in his pride has left the truths of God and claiming to be smarter than God has set up his own way of doing things and in so doing has fallen into the deepest depravity. Having changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipping and serving the creature more than the Creator, these have been given up unto vile affections: which involves lifestyles contrary to what is by nature (not my words--see Romans 1:25-28). The Bible then calls this having a reprobate mind “…to do those things which are not convenient”. But when we suggest that God means what he says we are called intolerant, and sel-righeous, because we refuse to look for an interpretation that allows for reasonableness.
Either the Bible is seen as truly being the Word of God, or it is just another book. As Christians we depend on the fact that it is, indeed, the Word of God. Without this being so, we have nothing on which to stand and nothing on which to base our salvation. But as the Word of God we must take the Bible to mean what it says, even if we do not like what it says. It is not to be edited, or changed by interpretation. When it says, “Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? (Matthew 19:4-5)”, we don't have the luxury that allows us to change meaning in an attempt to be politically correct.
The key to understanding the Bible is that it is the story of our salvation. Man has sinned and the wages of sin brings death. All the evil that’s in the world, all the tragedy that man brings upon man, even death itself, is because of our sin. Jesus died so that we do not have to bear the penalty of our sin and so that we don’t have to continue to live under the destructive power of that sin. Pointing out sin, which is living contrary to God’s will, is not an intolerant act of self-righteousness if done through the love of Christ. Our motive needs to be one that seeks to warn so that others can avoid the consequences of activities that ultimately will only bring destruction. Love takes risks. We may receive anger in return. But the potential reward of loved ones turning away from things that destroy and to a life in Christ outweighs the risk.
Believers in Christ will always be misunderstood. We are citizens of another country, a heavenly one. Many of those with whom we share our time on this earth will not hear what we have to say, but if we are true to God’s Word and act in His love—not out of self-righteousness there are those who will and bring praise to Jesus' name.