"But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, "In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions." It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh. Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen."
This past Sunday, my pastor preached a message on this passage from Jude, and it got me thinking about our duty as Christians in these spiritually dark times. In the political sphere, the enemies of truth have power, and they are using it to destroy the foundations of biblical morality that made this country great. In the spiritual sphere, professing Christians are making friends with the world, re-inventing theology, and watering down the Gospel.
As followers of Christ, we have an obligation to speak out against these trends and use every resource available to us to combat them. But what if the culture is not re-claimed? What if the government continues to steal our freedoms? What if the professing church continues to compromise, joining hands with the enemies of God? What if true Christians are eventually persecuted for speaking the truth? What then? Would we remain faithful? Is our faith strong enough?
I ask these questions because I believe the days of easy Christianity are numbered. I believe the opposition to biblical Christianity will continue to increase, as will the cost of following Christ. So what must we do if we are to stand fast? We must pursue godliness. It is the most urgent need of the hour. Too many of us have become complacent in the ease and prosperity of American life. Without realizing it, we have traded the Great Commission for the American dreamâ€“for "the pursuit of happiness." If we're honest, we'll admit that complacency and love of comfort reside in all our hearts. I see it in my heart. We must war against it.
As Christian men, women, and young people, we need to turn off every distraction, and give time and energy to knowing God. We need to learn to treasure him above all else, even our own lives (Acts 20:24). We need to be able to say with Paul, "Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ" (Phil. 3:8). We need to have no confidence in our power, in political machinations, in anything we can do, but place all our confidence in Christ.
How do we get to this point? Only when we understand who God is, what He has done, what He is doing, and what He will do; only when we walk and talk with Him day by day and know Him intimately. This takes dedicated time and concerted effort. Eternal life is described by Christ in John 17:3 as knowing God and knowing his Son. Eternal life doesn't start when we die, thoughâ€“it starts now. Knowing God starts now.
We need to remember that whom God loves, He chastens. If God really loves His blood-bought American church, He will wake us out of sleep. I believe He is sending a wake up call to His people. He is reminding us that we should be willing to forsake all and follow Him. Let's have ears to hear what the Spirit says to the Church. Let's wake up and seek to know our God. It's our only hope.