Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding
in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.
—1 Corinthians 15:58
How should we live in these last days? Paul tells us to be courageous. In
1 Corinthians 15:58 he uses the word “immovable.” You know, we live in
an age where compromise is celebrated. After all, if there aren’t any absolute truths, then why shouldn’t we be willing to engage in a little give-and-take with our beliefs? But the Bible says we are not to compromise our core convictions.
I believe it’s only a matter of time until believers in our country begin to
be persecuted for our faith. First, Christians will begin to be ostracized
socially. Have you noticed how acceptable it is to make fun of Christians
on television? Once the public has developed a distaste for Christianity,
government will begin limiting the rights of Christians. Then, when
Christians are socially ostracized and their rights are marginalized, it
will become much easier for Christians to become the target of blatant
persecution. You might protest that the First Amendment guarantees the
right of religious freedom. Are you sure about that? Do you remember in
our own country there was a time when we suspended our Constitution?
We abrogated the rights of Japanese-Americans during World War II in the
interest of national security. What makes you think such a thing will not
happen again in the future?
The Bible tells us that the final form of government in the last seven years
of earth’s history will be a dictatorship under Antichrist. All national
distinctions will be abolished, which means all national constitutions will
be abolished. And every hour that passes moves us closer to that day when Christians living in the United States will be forced to worship the Antichrist or to die.
However, we don’t have to wait till those final seven years for the persecution of Christians to begin. I believe a continuing reinterpretation of the First Amendment of the Constitution will give our government sufficient authority to attack believers who defend the rights of the unborn, who oppose same-sex marriage, who exhibit their faith in the public square, and who insist that Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation. Fines, threats of losing tax-exempt status, and incarceration will be just some of the ways American Christians will be persecuted and tempted to renounce their faith. It is only a matter of time. How should we respond when it happens?
Acts 5 tells us how to respond in times of persecution. The apostles were
brought before the Jewish high priest and condemned because they had
refused to quit preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. And in Acts 5:27-29,
“The high priest [said], ‘We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this name,’—that is, the name of Jesus—‘and yet, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.’ But Peter
and the apostles answered, ‘We must obey God rather than men.’”
Today’s devotion is an excerpt from “Last Days Living” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2011.