Friday, March 04, 2005
Don't bet on it, though, because the church isn't down and out. Quite the contrary: the church remains strong and victorious, not on account of the intrinsic merits of its membership, but on account of the infinite merits of its head, Jesus Christ, for on the cross Christ won the victory once and for all. Since the cross, Satan has been a defeated foe. But, if he's been so long defeated, how is it that he is so active, and why do his attacks often seem to be so successful?
My friends, I am happy to tell you that any fears you may have about the state of the church--that is, the invisible church, the Elect of God in Christ--are groundless. In fact, the very attacks that are waged against the church are confirmation that the church remains a threat to the powers of evil. In the midst of the bloodiest of wars, such as the two World Wars, the fighting no doubt seemed to be interminable, but each war eventually comes to an end, and when it does, the fighting ceases. In the case of the great conflict between the church and the forces of evil, the fighting has been continuous. Oh, it will end one day, but that day will come when the great Victor, the Lord Jesus Christ, returns again to bring an end to this current evil age and usher in the age of eternity. When the conflict ends, it will end on his terms: unconditional surrender for all who commit sin and practice evil.
So, Christian, you ought not lose heart when you see what is good and right attacked: the family, the marriage covenant, the sanctity of life, the Scriptures, or God himself. Although it is true that God in his providence has ordained that the growth of the church will ebb and flow over time, with its areas of strength moving from one country to another, the fact is that so long as the battle rages, we may have hope that God may yet be pleased to have mercy on our generation and grant it the fear of God. So, let us persevere in calling out to our Lord. Although his enemies seem so strong, who can say that we will not see their defeat in our generation? Indeed, the doom of those who advocate abortion, adultery, homosexuality, evolution, secular humanism, etc., will come and not tarry. Although the debauchery of our generation is great indeed, perhaps God will be pleased to overturn our terrible wickedness and grant a turning back to a society that fears the Lord and honors his Word.
As we seek the Lord in prayer, let's not be negligent to seek to glorify Christ in every aspect of our lives, especially in our homes, but also in the workplace, in the marketplace, in business, in the arts, and in the sciences. God has not called the Christian merely to spiritually reproduce--to win souls to faith in Christ--but also to conform every area of life to his will. Are we not to pray, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven"? If so, should we not strive to do everything in our lives--eat, drink, work, and play--for the greater glory of God?
Christian, the time is past for us to be content to enjoy the insulated spiritual ghetto we call Evangelicalism! Let us go forth into the world, preaching the Gospel first and foremost, but as we do so, let us diligently strive to bring Christ's influence into even the "secular" areas of life. Although I am persuaded that we will never see the world perfectly conformed to God's will until Christ returns--indeed, I have yet to be persuaded that the Scriptures promise any kind of golden "millenial age" before Christ's return--I am also persuaded that it is God's will that the church put forth every effort to be salt and light until he returns. Who knows, after all, what God may do?