A quick visit to Biblical history may be informative. Once Israel was delivered from Egypt, the majority of the problems and difficulties for Moses and those representing the true work of God came from the religious sector of Israel. The group led by Dathan and Abiram wanted a religion which morphed with what they did in Egypt. They were very uncomfortable with the radical laws and ways being given by Jehovah God. David’s problems stemmed as much from Saul who did not follow God fully than they did the ungodly nations that surrounded them. The people who killed the prophets were the apostate Jews who had perverted the worship of Jehovah with the customs of the nations. And who was it that eventually turned Jesus over to the Roman authorities to carry out their murderous designs - oh, that’s right, it was the Jewish religious authorities.
In Acts 22:4 Paul remembered that he had “persecuted this Way to the death, binding and putting both men and women into prison.” Where did Paul get the authority to do this? He got it from the Jewish religious leaders. It is a consistent thing that the ones who hold to a form of religion, but lose it’s power and the truth of the Scriptures - will be primary persecutors of those who hold fast to these things. Those who believe the gospel to be the power of God and the only way of salvation will soon be seen to be narrow minded. Those who hold to the righteousness of God shown to us in the Word of God will be seen this way as well. Cultural Christianity will reject God’s Way (the gospel) and they will also reject God’s righteousness and embrace the way culture leads them in regard to morals. This will eventually manifest itself in a hatred of the true Church and the way they interpret Scripture. The cultural church will be far more fond of those who see Scripture more broadly. They will align themselves with those who favor a cultural interpretation of Christianity, rather than a Bible that instructs culture on moral issues. They do not want God’s righteousness or God’s way and those who hold to it will become seen as strange and different. They look down on them as ignorant and intolerant. They call them backward - and whatever “ist" is in style at the moment - racist, sexist, or maybe homophobic or sexually repressed. Whatever makes those who hold to biblical righteousness look bad.
There is a principle behind this. It is revealed to us in the book of Galatians. Paul says this about those in the Spirit versus those in the flesh. “But as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now also.’ Galatians 4:29 (NASB) As it was between Issac and Ishmael - it will also be between those born according to the flesh and those born according to the Spirit. The “cultural church,” which is not born again, will continue to make decisions to ape the culture as the pressure of the culture pushes the false church to adopt ungodly views. The true Church, which consists only of those born according to the Spirit, will not be willing to make unbiblical compromises. As animosity grows toward the true Church for its unpopular stands for righteousness that animosity will be held especially by those who have suppressed the truth by their unrighteousness. Persecution - even violent persecution will follow after this rejection of the truth.
Let me give you an example of what we are seeing now - which will grow in the months and years to come. When someone posts that they have openly identified with homosexuality the reactions and posts that follow are almost always positive. They are congratulated for their new identification of themselves in this way. They are often even told or affirmed that God has made them this way. If someone has the audacity to respond otherwise, the bashing will begin - and often it will be unmerciful. If the person identifies as a Christian and states the Bible as the place where they got their views - it will not go well for that person. We’ve watched as it has become clear that CEO’s, sports figures, spokespersons, Chiefs of fire departments, and even down to bakers and pizza makers are going to be punished if they espouse and desire to hold such views. Currently this is primarily cultural pressure in the form of protest and boycotts. But in time it will wind up being codified into law - and the price for being a Biblical Christian will become much higher.
So what do we DO?
Saints, we have no other option than to continue to hold fast the Word of God as our standard. We don’t do this with a hateful and vindictive attitude. But we do speak the truth in love - which means we use wisdom as to when we speak, but if necessary, we speak. It is my opinion that Biblical Christianity is incompatible with sin. Whenever someone or some group seeks to align certain lifestyles and choices of sin as being OK with God, it will become abundantly clear that God no longer aligns with them. I am not saying that culturally they will decline. They may expand on the cultural level. But you will not find the Spirit or the presence of God among those who call what God calls sin - and acceptable lifestyle.
We watched a generation in the 1960’s tout “free love” which is honestly nothing more than bondage to heterosexual immorality outside marriage. In time what the Bible calls fornication was renamed living together. As more time passed culture embraced this - although God never has (and never will). Culture continued to push its agenda - which meant having to deal with all the pregnancies that resulted from the cost of this so-called free love. From that came the culture of abortion on demand. A baby no longer was the result of sexual activity which called for responsibility to be taken by the man and woman who fornicated and now had a baby. They were not called to be responsible for their choice to be sexual immorality. Once again there was a choice to recast this situation into a more socially acceptable mold. No longer a baby - now it was a blob of tissue that belonged to the woman. It was now a part of a woman’s body, and she could do with it whatever she wanted. She could be rid of it in the first trimester - then the second - and eventually up to the moment the “whatever it was now” was to be born - at which point if the mother wanted it - it was a baby.
The Bible warns that a society that rejects God - will reject God’s morality. This would begin in heterosexual immorality that rejects marriage as a prerequisite to sex. But in time things would move from heterosexual immorality toward homosexual acts. (All this is written for us in Romans 1:18-32) The Word of God says that all homosexual acts are sinful. God intended for a man and a woman to be married before they engaged in sexual activity. When it comes to two men or two women - God called all homosexual acts sinful. But as culture pushed back eventually, as we are seeing today, the culturally accepted church began to call acceptable what God can never call acceptable. Now there are growing numbers of people - and even theologians and Christian writers who say that God can bless homosexual marriage. The true Church cannot go with this - because God’s Word does not.
In time the rhetoric toward those who continue to hold to Biblical righteousness will grow more and more strident. That will one day give way to the cultural church persecuting the true Church. They will do this first with words (which is already happening) and eventually with culturally accepted legal acts (because the laws will eventually call the Biblical standard espoused and taught to be hate speech). From there it is only a matter of time until violence against the “haters” will be acceptable. What is fascinating is that if we think the issue is sexual activity we are behind the times. The best way to blur all sexual morality is to deny that gender itself is nothing more than a personal choice. You are not assigned a sex at birth by God - either male or female. Your sexual activity is not governed by what biological sex you are. You have the right to such radical autonomy that you can choose whatever sex you want to be - and change it as often as it suits you.
The next Supreme Court overstep will be to abolish biological gender to the ash heap of societal rejection. This is going to be fought over what bathroom (and eventually locker rooms too) you choose to use. Those who stand in the way will be called intolerant, gender lords who want to impose a gender on you rather than allow you to embrace your inner gender based on - well - based on whatever you want to it to be at the moment. Complete autonomy is the goal. Whatever a person declares to be right is right. That is unless someone declares the Word of God to be right where it defines things like gender and sexuality. THAT VIEW IS JUST WRONG!
This is how the persecution of the real Church by the cultural church will happen - and actually is happening today. We are watching the fact that Biblical Christianity is untenable to those who celebrate the sexual revolution (and by the way the revolt is against God and what He says is sexually moral). Watch as this will be the path upon which persecution will travel with increasing speed. And saints - in pains me to say that we will also watch - as generations have before us have - that the willing accomplices in that persecution will often be the culturally accepted church which rejects the clear teaching of Scripture. I don’t want to hasten it. I don’t enjoy it - nor do I even want to see it. Yet, my precious brothers and sisters in Christ, it is coming. We just need to make sure that our response is one of The Truth spoken in love. We will also need to remember that God’s kingdom will not be advanced in this hour by violent, angry, armed force. May God give us grace to respond by holding fast to the Word of God. May we respond, if necessary, with the proof of our very blood if that is what faithfulness to Christ requires. And may God have mercy upon us so that our testimony would be like that of the faithful fathers who have gone before us.