by Mike Ratliff
12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; 13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. 14 If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; 16 but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 1 Peter 4:12-17 (NASB)
Here it is November 5, 2020 two days after the Presidential Election and we still do not know who won. This being 2020 we have all been through “much.” I don’t have to go into detail about that do I? I heard a friend online today say that the pandemic was done on purpose to wreak our economy, and cause corruption in our election process so that Joe Biden could win through ballot manipulation, etc. I wouldn’t put that past anyone who is of the flesh. I have also been doing research on the “agenda” of the Democrats if they get control of our government. It is scary. If they do then it may end up eventually being illegal to be an Evangelical Christian. Oh, it may be perfectly fine to be a Woke Christian, or a follower of the Pope, but if we are amongst those who stand firm in our faith refusing to compromise no matter what then we will be outside the law, not inside. However, if you read the passage I placed at the top of this post then you know that our God uses pressures like this to “exclude” us from those who are not in Christ. He does separate us and we are called to “suffer as a Christian” while at the same time not being ashamed to do so, but understand that it is to glorify God in the name of Christ.
Look around us right now. Aren’t we very blessed? We have food. We have housing. We are clothed. I have a wife and two grown children. I have a great job. As I did my research on the possibilities of what could happen after the election I began to grow a bit uneasy. Why? Wasn’t I starting to think on a worldly level rather than keeping my eyes on the prize?
Of course, I am fully aware that the Christian is born again. He or she is a new creation that is not of this world. For them to be materialistic or secular minded is a great sin. Why? God saved all believers for a specific purpose.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. 7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight 9 He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him 10 with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him 11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, 12 to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. 13 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory. Ephesians 1:3-14 (NASB)
All in Christ are saved by God because He chose them, set His heart on them, worked out everything in their lives to bring them to repent and believe. Why? It was so that they would be holy and blameless before Him. His plan is to adopt them so they would be Jesus Christ’s siblings. Why? It was for the purpose of His will to the praise of His glorious grace. All in Christ were saved by Him according to His purpose, not theirs. Does this mean that they were saved into a life to be free from torment or persecution or hardship or sickness or poverty or conflict?
Salvation seals Christians in Christ eternally, however, in this temporal existence, suffering is the number one thing God uses to perfect them in Christ. This sanctifying work of God can be quite stressful, painful, even deadly. However, Peter tells us in 2 Peter chapter 4 that we should not be surprised when we find ourselves in fiery trials. Why? As long as Christians suffer for righteousness sake they share in the sufferings of Christ. This glorifies God and marks Christians who suffer this way as being His chosen ones.
We must never forget that this world is not the home of those washed in the blood of the Lamb. He shed His blood because that was the cup the Father gave Him to drink.
11 So Jesus said to Peter, “Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?” John 18:11 (NASB)
Jesus obediently laid down His life because that was the Father’s will. It was part of His eternal plan to redeem His people. He did not save them to be part of this world. He did not save them for them to find their fulfillment in the temporal. He saved them for His glory and that happens only when they operate in the eternal by the power of the Holy Spirit. They exist in the temporal, but are seperate. They are holy as God is Holy. They are separate from the contamination of this evil world. They seek God’s glory in all things because they know that an attempt to be fulfilled in anyone or anything except Him is a great sin.
When God’s people succeed in living this way is there some change or mark in their lives that shows everyone that they are different? Won’t they take on Christ’s character when they are Spirit-led? Won’t they take on the world’s character when they aren’t? Aren’t the world’s ways antithetical to Christ’s ways? Sure they are. Isn’t the world consumed with fairness? If that is so, then what should we think of those who demand that God be fair? Fairness speaks of judgement. Do we want God’s judgment? I don’t and I submit that you don’t either. In that case we should not demand that God be fair. Instead we should seek His grace. In this scenario we will not look at our circumstances as if they should be fair or demand that they be so. Instead we should see our circumstances as the tests and trials God is using to humble us and build Christ’s character in us.
No, I do not want the Socialists to destroy our country and enslave us the way George Orwell described in his book 1984. However, that is exactly what many of them are planning on doing. If they do, does that mean God has forsaken us? Of course not! No, let us rejoice that there is a day coming when you and I will be with Him in glory. In that day we will see this life from His perspective instead of the temporal. We will then see that all the things in our lives that we did not enjoy or suffered through were actually the fires of purification in our lives that God used to produce the character in us that brings Him glory.
Soli Deo Gloria!