Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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“Show your marvelous loving kindness, you who by your right hand saves
those who put their trust in you from those who rise up against them.”
God is keeping us so safe and full in this culture that we often forget what a terrible, vicious warfare is being waged against our spirits every moment. National and international news organizations spend untold millions and risk the lives of their reporters to bring to the nations pictures and stories of earth’s military conflicts, but the real battle, the battle for souls, is ignored by them altogether.
Multiplied thousands of wonderful brothers and sisters from centuries past were cruelly butchered because they loved what we love, and yet, what an easy life we have! They saw the truth that we now see, and they loved it more than they loved their own lives. They were good, humble men and women, and boys and girls, but they were abused, plundered, tortured, and executed because they knew what God has shown us and were faithful. But God is keeping us, at this time in history, from that kind of persecution.
Why is it different for us? I don’t know that I can answer that question fully. We know that God has not changed. And the Devil has not changed. The world has become prouder and more sophisticated, but at heart, it has not changed either. Perhaps things are different for us now because Christianity does not hold political power in its grasp as it has in centuries past. Christians played the major role in the cruel abuse of many thousands if not millions of God’s humble saints in the past millennium and a half, and that fierce hatred of God’s truth can still be felt wherever the spirit of Christianity is present. But God is keeping us from suffering what that spirit would like to do to us who know and love the truth.
Daniel prophesied that a very cunning enemy of righteousness would come who would destroy many of God’s people with peace. And I remember that in Jesus’ parable of the four kinds of soil, some believers who had overcame hot persecution by men were later themselves overcome by “the deceitfulness of riches, the cares of this life, and the desire for other things”. In other words, pleasant things proved more effective in destroying some souls than difficult times did. In consideration of this, maybe our trial of living in this land of peace and plenty is a hotter trial of faith than that endured by previous generations who were abused and slain for the sake of Christ Jesus. Maybe the ease of life and the constant abundance of all things in our culture makes humility before God more difficult for believers than when they are persecuted.
Pray not to be deceived. If you love Jesus, this world still hates you, even at this seemingly easy time. God is saving you from the world’s vicious hatred because it is still there. God is keeping many from doing to us what they would truly love to do. The same hatred is there, though in a subdued form, that was there in years past, when godly men and women were being burned alive for nothing more than loving the truth of God more than life.