This pastoral passage was first written for LRBC on June 21 2015.
Amongst Christians in western nations today I think there is a bit of a feeling of defeat. For much of its history, western civilization has been shaped by Christianity and its values. Now the cultural tide is changing (although it really began long before recent decades), and we see the world around us becoming more and more adverse to Christian faith and morality. As we find ourselves marginalised when our faith is presented in the public sphere, we may find we can relate to the psalmist when he said: “My eyes shed streams of tears, because people do not keep your law” (Psalm 119:136).
The Apostle John has words for us: “This is the victory that has overcome the world: our faith.” (1 John 5:4). Notice that it’s a present victory – a victory that is experienced right now. How is it that our faith can be said to have overcome the world? According to John (and other writers of Scripture), the way we live is just as important as what we believe, and must reflect what we believe. By living out our faith in Jesus, we disobey the world’s rebellion and sin. Our repentance is saying ‘No’ to how the world would have us live. As soon as we do that, we are victors!
Each of us is responsible for ourselves. We are not responsible for the world’s decisions. If you are a repenting, faith-filled follower of Jesus, lift up your head: you are a conqueror. Now get out to work on sharing that victory with the world, and we will have joy in sharing it.