Behind enemy lines

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The 11th chapter of Hebrews lists the great fathers and mothers of the faith, then in verses 13-16 it says;

All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.”

This passage calls to mind one of the fruits of the Protestant Reformation, when English Puritans fled their native country and sailed to what would later be known as Massachusetts. There, after much hardship, they formed one of the first English speaking communities in the Western Hemisphere, laying much of the groundwork for the United States of America.

These people, who history remembered as “Pilgrims” were fleeing religious persecution, risking everything (indeed, many of them died along the way) to establish a “country of their own” where their children and grandchildren would not suffer the cruel fate of being required by their government to do things which violated their conscience and religious beliefs or face brutal punishment.

In due time, they and their descendants built such a country and for a long time, religious freedom was protected by the laws of that country. Indeed, the principle of religious freedom became the norm in most of the countries of Europe and many other (but certainly not all) countries around the world.

Now however, there is a different trend developing whereby governments, without irony, invoke the mantra of “human rights” to demand of Christians that they give their blessing and to and even participate in things which the Bible calls sin, on pain of severe punishment.

It’s a scary time to be a Christian in many countries. It gives us the opportunity to appreciate what the Pilgrims went through and why they were ready to risk their lives by getting on a creaky old boat and crossing a huge ocean to try to carve a new country out of a wilderness.

The difference between then and now is, we don’t even have that option, because there’s no place to go. There’s no untapped wilderness we can flee to, and there’s fewer and fewer countries anywhere in the world where the government is willing to protect and defend the rights of Christians to practice their religion without harassment and punishment for refusing to submit to the dictates of Neo-pagan Secular Humanism.

In other words, we’re behind enemy lines, deep inside territory controlled by the Devil.

So what can we do?

Well, the first thing we can and should do is rejoice that we have been found worthy to live in a time when the Church of Jesus Christ is being made to suffer for His glory and the advancement of His plans and purposes.

Second, we should stop worrying about what we’re in danger of losing. The political freedom and relative material prosperity that has been enjoyed by people living in what used to be called “The Western World” for most of the last 200 years was NEVER going to last forever, no matter how many times we voted for Republican Party candidates, or whatever.

Indeed, as many people living in the Pacific Basin recently found out when a massive earthquake in the Gulf of Alaska set off volcanic eruptions and aftershocks in several countries, the very ground on which you’re standing or sitting as you read this article is not something you can necessarily take for granted.

Literally EVERYTHING about this physical life we’re living, will end someday, one way or the other.

So, I think we should make our peace with that. We should “come out of Egypt” and “Babylon” and “Sodom” and not look back the way Lot’s wife did, but rather look FORWARD as the heroes of the faith listed in Hebrews 11 did, to a “better country” that we know He has gone ahead of us to prepare. We should invest our time, energy, efforts, money, etc. in preparing ourselves and our families and our communities to make the trip to THAT country. We should do whatever we can to bring as many of our friends and neighbors along on that trip, so they won’t be left behind in this rotting, putrefying, dying world.

Daily prayer, Bible study and fellowship with our fellow Believers is the formula for success. Focus on what God is doing in this world and try not to worry too much about what the Enemy is doing in this world.

Above all else, remember what Jesus said in Luke 21:28;

“But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”