Imagine you were alive at the time of the Reformation and you heard that your friend had been burnt at the stake for his beliefs. What would you do? Recant? Run for cover?
I’m busy reviewing an historical novel on the life of John Calvin and he was in such a situation. He chose to escape Paris where the burnings took place, but fought for the truth at a distance. He took himself away from the danger, but didn’t compromise God’s truth for a minute.
We don’t live in such difficult times. We don’t have to face such severe hostility and danger. History is full of Christian heroes that stood for the truth rather than turn their backs on God. We admire them. Will future generations look back and admire us? Not many of us will make it into the history books, so I am referring to our children and granchildren here. Are we leaving them a legacy worth emulating?
Our fight may not be against people trying to burn us for our beliefs, but we still have to make a stand. Our country is in a mess because there is no clear right and wrong any more. Some of the fault lies at the door of the church – the call to be righteous has dissipated somewhat. Sin isn’t called sin anymore. It’s called a ‘mistake’ and, ‘ag,shame, everyone makes mistakes’.
God’s Word is clear that we are to be holy as he is holy. Part of the call to be holy is to be warned of all that is unholy. This is often absent in the interests of not damaging people’s self-esteem or because pointing out people’s faults is considered unloving. Well, the bible gives no indication that we are that fragile and lists all that is unholy without holding back. Look at the lists in Roman 1:23-32, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Galatians 5:19-21, Ephesians 5:5 and Revelation 21:8.
Do we stand against god’s list of unholiness to the extent that others can see that we are different? We so easily see the errors in someone else’s behaviour, but it is too often in our heads or behind their backs. Do we have the courage to stand up to the sinner and lovingly call him or her to repent? This is hard, but necessary if we are going to do our friends and brothers real good. And then, of course, we have to take ourselves in hand too.It starts with all the little things that no-one else but God can see … Take a stand – strive to be holy; live a righteous life and encourage others to do so too.