by Mike Ratliff
3 ἀναλογίσασθε γὰρ τὸν τοιαύτην ὑπομεμενηκότα ὑπὸ τῶν ἁμαρτωλῶν εἰς ἑαυτὸν ἀντιλογίαν, ἵνα μὴ κάμητε ταῖς ψυχαῖς ὑμῶν ἐκλυόμενοι. (Hebrews 12:3 NA27)
3 Consider him who endured from sinners such opposition against himself that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. (Hebrews 12:3 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1)
I invite you to look back on the last Presidential election in the U.S. in which Barak Obama was elected and how so many of us were devastated by that. When I was born the President of the United States was Harry Truman. Yes, that’s right, I’m getting old, but it also means that I remember what its like to be both a non-Christian living in a Christian home under a Government that is not liberal enough for me, but too liberal for my parents and at other times having a Government that my was too liberal even for me causing social change in such unbalanced and inequitable ways that could only be explained by our leaders being bent on changing us into a Communist state. Remember, I grew up during The Cold War and had the Draft and Vietnam waiting for me as I went through High School. All through that, I was convinced that it really did not matter who was in The White House or who was in Congress or the Senate. They were all inept with an agenda that made sense to no one but them.
I was in the U.S. Navy as the Vietnam War ended. I was stationed in Washington, D.C. all through the Watergate scandal. I was there through the Nixon, Ford and Carter Administrations. That will turn anyone into cynic. It was during that time that I started attending a church in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday nights to hear C.J. Mahaney preach. I had walked an aisle and had been baptized when I was in the 4th grade, but that was just a religious experience. That was what going to hear C.J. preach was too. However, what C.J. was preaching was all about living a holy life and saying no to the devil, et cetera. Back then he had long blonde hair. In any case, I continued going on Tuesday nights until I began having seizures in 1976 and found myself discharged from the Navy. I moved back to Oklahoma for a while. No one would hire me because of my seizure problem. I ended up in Texas working as a Computer Operator at nights for White Stores, Inc. I worked there for about 7 months then in the Spring of 1977 I moved back to Washington, D.C. and worked at a life insurance company there until May 1980. I stayed as far from that church where C.J. Mahaney was preaching as I could get because I was living the single life in the big city with no boundaries.
All during this time I was receiving monthly checks from the U.S. Navy at half pay to stay on Temporary Disability Retirement and this enabled me to get my anti-seizure meds free at the pharmacy where I used to be stationed. At the end of 1979 they sent me notice that they were going to terminate that and offered me about $3000 dollars to sever our relationship. I was stupid enough to take it. I got my check and paid off some debts and quit taking my meds because I ran out. After I was off of the meds about two months or so I became a much more clear-headed thinker I guess and I made up my mind to find a job back in Oklahoma, which I did.
I moved to OKC in June 1980 working at a very large bank at night running their computer processing. It was there that I met my wife. We married in 1981 and after a merger with another bank, we moved to Tulsa to work at the new data center and there we began attending a church not far from our house and God made sure I heard the Gospel. Everything changed. Nothing has been the same since.
Now, what about all this election stuff and our Christian walk? I have belonged to churches since that time in which I have heard all about how we need to be political activists, taking over abortion clinics, picketing election places and court houses, et cetera. I have friends who bought into that big time. I never did. On the other hand, I have always encouraged my children and friends to serve our community in all sorts of ways. My daughter still serves in ministries that feed the homeless. My wife and I try to support homeless shelters in our community as well.
All through this I have groaned under the wickedness of those in the positions of power over us. Yes, they are wicked. Obama and Hillary Clinton support the Gay Agenda worldwide and that is evil. What is that? Is God disciplining us? Is the church being disciplined? Is it being prepared for something much worse? Some would say that we are not to tolerate what is going on, but should rise up and replace these wicked politicians with godly ones.
I’ve been following the political process during the primaries and there were a few there who tried to espouse their Christian “views” and “go after the evangelical vote.” It was embarrassing. We have no business trying to mix Christianity, true Christianity, with the secular like this. The media will always corrupt what is said and done and turn it into a circus. By the way, how does politics work? Is it by standing firm on the truth, never bending? Nope, it is compromise. How does that fit with how we are to walk as Christians?
So, if we are to walk the narrow path, emulating Christ, never compromising, and pursue living holy lives in the power of the Holy Spirit, what will be the response of the world? What will be the response of the apostate so-called church that has compromised? That’s right, it will be persecution. God uses this to discipline us.
3 ἀναλογίσασθε γὰρ τὸν τοιαύτην ὑπομεμενηκότα ὑπὸ τῶν ἁμαρτωλῶν εἰς ἑαυτὸν ἀντιλογίαν, ἵνα μὴ κάμητε ταῖς ψυχαῖς ὑμῶν ἐκλυόμενοι. 4 Οὔπω μέχρις αἵματος ἀντικατέστητε πρὸς τὴν ἁμαρτίαν ἀνταγωνιζόμενοι. 5 καὶ ἐκλέλησθε τῆς παρακλήσεως, ἥτις ὑμῖν ὡς υἱοῖς διαλέγεται· υἱέ μου, μὴ ὀλιγώρει παιδείας κυρίου μηδὲ ἐκλύου ὑπ᾽ αὐτοῦ ἐλεγχόμενος· 6 ὃν γὰρ ἀγαπᾷ κύριος παιδεύει, μαστιγοῖ δὲ πάντα υἱὸν ὃν παραδέχεται. 7 εἰς παιδείαν ὑπομένετε, ὡς υἱοῖς ὑμῖν προσφέρεται ὁ θεός. τίς γὰρ υἱὸς ὃν οὐ παιδεύει πατήρ; 8 εἰ δὲ χωρίς ἐστε παιδείας ἧς μέτοχοι γεγόνασιν πάντες, ἄρα νόθοι καὶ οὐχ υἱοί ἐστε. 9 εἶτα τοὺς μὲν τῆς σαρκὸς ἡμῶν πατέρας εἴχομεν παιδευτὰς καὶ ἐνετρεπόμεθα· οὐ πολὺ [δὲ] μᾶλλον ὑποταγησόμεθα τῷ πατρὶ τῶν πνευμάτων καὶ ζήσομεν; 10 οἱ μὲν γὰρ πρὸς ὀλίγας ἡμέρας κατὰ τὸ δοκοῦν αὐτοῖς ἐπαίδευον, ὁ δὲ ἐπὶ τὸ συμφέρον εἰς τὸ μεταλαβεῖν τῆς ἁγιότητος αὐτοῦ. 11 πᾶσα δὲ παιδεία πρὸς μὲν τὸ παρὸν οὐ δοκεῖ χαρᾶς εἶναι ἀλλὰ λύπης, ὕστερον δὲ καρπὸν εἰρηνικὸν τοῖς δι᾽ αὐτῆς γεγυμνασμένοις ἀποδίδωσιν δικαιοσύνης. (Hebrews 12:3-11 NA27)
3 Consider him who endured from sinners such opposition against himself that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. 4 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your own blood. 5 And have you forgotten the encouragement that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not think lightly of the discipline of the Lord do not lose heart by being rebuked by him. 6 For whom the Lord loves, he disciplines, and he punishes every son whom he receives.” 7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is dealing with you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we had fathers of the flesh who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more subject ourselves to the Father of Spirits and we will live? 10 For they disciplined us for a few days according to what seemed good to them, but he disciplines us for the benefit in sharing in his holiness. 11 But all discipline for the present does not seem to be pleasant, but painful, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:3-11 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1)
The wickedness of the world system that is all around us, including the government system that rules over us and the apostate visible church that deceives so many, is all part of the discipline of God of his people. We are being trained up so that our patient holy lives will yield up the peaceful fruit of righteousness through the exercise of our submitting to his will in the pursuit of walking in repentance even though we want to throw off the chains and scream to everyone, “This is not fair and it isn’t right, and I am not submitting to your evil anymore!” Yes, that is what our flesh wants to do, but that is not what we are commanded to do my brethren is it?
Yes, we are to be good citizens. No, we are not to take up the Christian banner and take over the world. That is what our Lord will do when he returns. In the meantime, we are to be disciplined and prepared for our reunion with him.
Soli Deo Gloria!