Volume II, Issue 2
|Why Are We Afraid?
Jefferis Kent Peterson
O Theophilus is the Quarterly Journal of The Center For Biblical Literacy
Why Are We Afraid?
Jesus asked his disciples over and over again, “Why did you doubt?” He asked them in such a way as if to say, “O, you people of little faith, why did you keep your eyes upon circumstances instead of upon me?” That is the same question he might be asking you and me. “Why do you doubt?”
In this day and age, we find Christian values having little effect on the political system. In the U.S., we have abandoned what little remains of our Christian heritage. The culture has adopted moral relativism, secularism, and self-seeking as a substitute for Biblical ethics. Christ is not allowed out in public, and if he does show up, someone is likely to get sued. Not only do the laws of the land stand against Christianity, but even worse, the media and the intellectuals consider religion a relic of the past which interferes with their vision for the future.
Yet in spite of all this, we should be excited about Jesus and what he is going to do. Though we are no longer a Christian nation, we are in exactly the same situation as the New Testament Church was in ancient Rome. Rome was pluralistic; they had many religions and no single one was accepted by the majority of the people. Everyone was free to do what he wanted and believe how he wished, with the notable exception of Christians, who were persecuted for their non-pluralistic beliefs. Yet God used the persecution to cause the Church to grow.
Christianity, at that time, was considered a strange and irrelevant little cult. Its moral values stood in sharp contrast to the morals of the day. Infanticide was practiced and the stadiums were filled with people who loved bloody sports. Yet in this environment, the Church prospered. The people of that declining society became desperate for something that made sense and for a God who gave meaning to life.
Even persecution was a part of God’s plan! The Christians had been told to go out into all the world and make disciples, but the Apostles remained localized in Judea. They did not have a vision for evangelizing the Gentiles. They did not have a vision for reaching Rome. But God had a different plan and a purpose that would not be denied by his people’s narrow vision.
The persecution described in Acts 8 caused the Christians, who had stayed in Jerusalem, to flee to other cities. It must have looked to the people of God as if the devil had the upper hand and that God was losing control. But it was all part of God’s plan! Like picking up a white dandelion weed and blowing on it, the winds of persecution caused the seeds of the Gospel to spread throughout the Roman Empire. The persecution was part of God’s plan to get the message out of Jerusalem and into the earth!
Why should we fear a post-Christian America? Is not our Lord still in control? Can he not use this chaos to his glory? Or do you believe the devil is stronger and will prevent God from carrying out his plan? Donít you know that whatever the devil throws at you, God is greater? God uses even Satan’s persecution of the Church to cause the news of Jesus to spread all the more!
Let us take the thing that most Christians fear: a One World Government which rejects Christ and persecutes the Church. So what! Who is stronger? The devil or Jesus? Who sits on the throne? Why do you have more faith in the devil’s ability to disrupt the plan of God than in God? Think about it. What makes you think that this coming One World Government might not be part of God’s plan for a season to allow the proclamation of the Gospel???? Couldnít be? Well think about it:
Rome was a one world government, yet the lack of borders allowed the Gospel to be carried quickly across the world without hindrance. Perhaps God, who sits on the throne, may allow this government to come to pass for a season so that he may fulfill his plan for the earth: “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come,” (Matthew 24:14 ). Maybe he will let this international government to come into being for a while before we suffer world wide persecution so that the Gospel can be preached to all nations! Maybe that is how the prophecy is fulfilled!
Even the increase of technology, with satellites and international communications and computer systems, are part of the plan. The global computer system which will allow every person on the face of the earth to be numbered is the very same system that will allow instant communication of the Gospel all over the world! Satan may have a plan to control and dominate, but God is just using Satan’s strategies to further His own declared purposes of sending the Gospel to ALL Creation:
“Why do the nations conspire, and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and his anointed…He who sits in the heavens laughs; the LORD has them in derision. Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, “I have set my king on Zion, my holy hill. (Psalms 2:1-8, RSV).”
God has clearly seen the plots of the wicked since the beginning. Psalm 2 is a picture of this world’s resistance to the Kingship of his Son, Jesus. But God is laughing at the schemes of the Beast!!! He is not worried! He sits on the throne and laughs for: “The wicked plots against the righteous, and gnashes his teeth at him; but the LORD laughs at the wicked, for he sees that his day is coming. (Psalms 37:12-13, RSV). In spite of the enemy’s resistance, the Father still says, “It is going to be all right! My Son will still receive the nations as his inheritance. For I AM in control!”
I am not saying that all that is happening is good. It clearly is not. But even with the increase of wickedness in the governments of the earth, why should we be afraid? Great evil is in the earth, but God is greater. Even with the worst that Satan can do, God is still able to rescue his people and bring forth his purposes.
I challenge you not to look towards the future with fear, no matter what happens. But consider everything an opportunity to spread the Good News. Surely, that is how God sees it.
All materials on the O Theophilus Journal are Copyright by CBL. They may be copied for personal use only. They may be republished with permission from The Center.