We’re fighting a Two Front War
David W. Hegg
Sincere Christ-followers had better wake up to the fact our adversaries are not only those secularist trying to obliterate our religious freedoms with the bullets of political correctness. Yes, it is astounding just how rapidly the biblical truth and morality that have characterized our nation’s entire history are now suddenly re-imagined as bigoted hatred. In the last year we’ve watched the morally liberal faction of our citizenry take favorable court decisions and hammer them into swords designed to hack down biblical Christianity.
Apparently, those of us who take the Bible seriously make up the only minority it is politically correct to hate and vilify. Those who scream the merits of “tolerance” brazenly justify their intolerance toward us, and somehow do it with a straight face as if they believe the slop they are dishing. But we’ve known this would come, and have known it for some time. And, honestly, we should have understood the world that killed our Savior will never think much of us either.
But perhaps more puzzling, and certainly more insidious and dangerous, are those who wear the Christian label but are doing all they can to distance themselves from the truth of the Bible, the demands of the Gospel, and the suffering that awaits those who steadfastly align themselves with Jesus Christ.
While many are arming themselves against the rising threat of secularism in our political, educational, and cultural systems, perhaps the greater threat comes from Christians who are downsizing and downplaying the gospel and the holy life to which it calls us.
To paraphrase Churchill, when it comes to the purity and power of the gospel, never have so many cared so little about so much. Never have so many pastors and public Christians cared so little about maintaining their biblical distinctiveness in the face of cascading cultural compromise. Never have so many turned to Scripture twisting in an effort to placate the public and minimize the differences between loving self and loving Christ. They have imbibed of Moralistic Therapeutic Deism, turning Jesus the Lord into Jesus the Life Coach. What they don’t realize is the message filling their churches is actually harming the church.
Jesus put it this way. “If you would come after me you must deny yourself, take up the cross, and follow me.” It’s time we started recognizing many who claim to be followers have jettisoned the cross in order to curry favor from the very ones whose eternal wellbeing is only to be found through its bloody, sin-confronting message.
The gospel is not, nor ever was, a sexy advertisement for team Jesus. It is not “divine therapy.” It is not Jesus joining your club and making your life all you want it to be. And it certainly is not the means whereby you put Almighty God on retainer so that he is obligated to work out your life and your desires your way.
Rather, it is the grand message of God’s kingdom power extended in the Lord Jesus, for the purpose of gathering a people from all nations through whom the grace, truth, and glory of God can shine. It is God’s means of solving the sin problem that affects every soul by granting new life, repentance, and faith, through the work of God the Spirit. It is the declaration of God’s worth, heralded by God’s Son, to God’s creation, and meant to be the sound of freedom for all held fast in bondage to sin. It is the ongoing power of God over sin by which Christ-followers are progressive made more and more like Jesus himself. Finally, it is the promise that God will ultimately rescue creation from the pollution of sin, saving all who trust in Christ into an eternity on the new earth where they will enjoy perfect fellowship with their Creator quite apart from even the possibility of sin.
We’re fighting a two-front war. We are opposed by those who hate our God, and also by those attempting to use him for their own purposes. And let’s not forget we too are highly susceptible to the siren call on both sides. We are beset with the desire to be liked, appreciated, valued, and honored, and too often we can justify our own compromises.
The only answer is to preach the gospel to ourselves, to our heads and hearts every day. Rightly understood, the gospel reminds us we are but dust, riddled with sinful thoughts and desires, and prone to wander from the Shepherd of our souls. But the gospel also draws us back to the cross to see the finished work of Jesus on our behalf. This ought to renew our love and devotion, not only to the Savior, but also to the truth about his redemptive plan, described in the story we call the gospel.
Finally, the gospel reminds us we’ve been given new life, the indwelling Spirit, the inspired Word, and the privilege of partnering with Jesus in the greatest rescue mission ever. Simply put, the gospel must be allowed to redirect and refresh our lives and loves every day lest we become so mesmerized by the culture around us we forget our citizenship is actually in heaven.
So, let us fight on, with compassion and courage, to hold high the honor of our Lord. And let us guard the gospel, both in word and deed, for it alone is the power of God unto salvation. When we dilute it, sweeten it, edit it, or dress it up in cultural attire, we actually diminish its power in the lives of those who need it. And if we’re honest, that’s the surest way to lose the battle … on both fronts.