Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Will Christians Stand When God Calls?

By Alexander Samuels

Jesus said, "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men" (Matthew 5:13). Jesus explained to His disciples in this verse that the presence of Christianity through the lives of His disciples would act as a preservative to ward off or prevent the continuing corruption that was taking place in the world. He then pointed out that even though they called themselves Christians, if they failed to . . . live according to the principles of true Christianity they would not possess the qualities necessary to prevent moral corruption. What, then, distinguishes the true disciple of Christ from the false? Jesus declared, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching" (John 14:23).

In America today, it is becoming increasingly difficult to be a disciple of our Lord Jesus. Not only do we have difficulty obeying His teaching, but we are often misled by the very pastors and teachers we depend on to teach us the correct Word of God. The forces of compromise are more powerful than ever. We are told that many of the moral commands of the Scriptures no longer apply. Radical scholars interpret the sacred commands, not according to the traditional grammatical-historical approach, but according to their own whims and desires. When the time comes to stand for the Truth of God, many who say they are Christians do not know what to stand for because God's Word is still a mystery to them. How can they obey when no one has taught them? How can they even be sure of the reality of their own faith? They simply go by their feelings.

Christian, take seriously your calling. Read, study and meditate on your Bible and pray. Seek out godly men to be your pastors and teachers. There are too many important decisions being made in our country today for you to neglect your obligation of obedience to Christ. Your voice may be the voice that holds back the tide of corruption that would soon engulf us. There can be no compromise with sin. We are accountable to God to carry out the work to which we've been called. "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do" (Ephesians 2:10).

One of my favorite stories of Christian obedience and taking a stand for God in the midst of the great powers of the time is that of Martin Luther. Some people have noted that when Luther appeared for his first hearing before the Emperor Charles V and the important representatives of the Catholic Church at the Diet of Worms in April 1521, he was shaken and visibly overwhelmed. When asked if he would renounce his books as heresy, he was uncharacteristically hesitant. He then asked for the night to think it over. Many present believed this simple monk who was a miner's son was awed by the presence of the brilliant prince, heir of the long line of Catholic sovereigns, son of the house of Hapsburg, and lord of Austria, Burgundy, the Low Countries, Spain and Naples.

This, however, was not what overpowered Luther. As Roland Bainton later wrote in his excellent biography of Luther, Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther, his friends knew that what overpowered Luther was not the presence of the emperor, but that he and the emperor alike were called upon to answer before almighty God. Luther knew his calling and that's why he feared God more than he feared the emperor. This is why he could say the next day with renewed courage, "My conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. God help me. Amen."

Christianity will regain its decisive power and authority in the modern world only when we who are disciples of Christ fear God more than we fear the powers and favors of this world—when we hear the Father's call and are so captured by His summons that we say with Luther, as other reports add, "Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise."


At Tuesday, August 09, 2005 7:47:00 PM, Blogger Marilyn said...

Excellent article. I really enjoy your web site.

At Tuesday, August 09, 2005 9:08:00 PM, Anonymous Tim in VT said...

Alex -
Thank YOU. I am of the firm belief that it is more important now, possibly than ever before, that believers stand for the faith. We must know it and defend it. The body of Christ is under attack from without and within (if you consider "social Christians" to be "within"). I appreciate your stand and I stand with you.
Together in Christ.

At Tuesday, August 23, 2005 10:40:00 PM, Anonymous BGH said...

Hey Mick, are you in the market to be a teaching pastor, perhaps?

At Tuesday, August 23, 2005 10:56:00 PM, Blogger Mickey McLean said...

No, BGH, but Alex, who authored this post, would be a very good one.


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