In October, 2020 there is no doubt our American society is terribly misguided. The mainstream media vilifies and mocks Christians who stand for biblical morality on issues like abortion and the LGBTQ agenda. Liberal Senators attach President Trump’s recent nominee for the Supreme Court (Judge Amy Coney Barrett) because of her strongly held religious beliefs which include a pro-life view. Sadly, the words of Isaiah the prophet, as recorded in Isaiah 5:20 (ESV), ring true today:
20 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
For secular society, i.e., the Greek noun kosmos, what is evil is considered as good and what is good is considered as evil. The kosmos, and even some churches, do not want to listen to biblical truth. Even though biblical truth is good, the kosmos calls it evil.
One fundamental biblical truth is that the only way to heaven is through faith/trust in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ Himself articulated this truth as recorded in John 14:6 (ESV):
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
As one commentator (Carson, D. A. (1991). The Gospel according to John (p. 491). Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; W.B. Eerdmans) writes [boldfacing added]:
In this context Jesus does not simply blaze a trail, commanding others to take the way that he himself takes; rather, he is the way. … He is himself the Saviour (4:42), the Lamb of God (1:29, 34), the one who so speaks that those who are in the graves hear his voice and come forth (5:28–29). He so mediates God’s truth and God’s life that he is the very way to God (cf. de la Potterie, p. 938), the one who alone can say, No-one comes to the Father except through me.
The truth that Jesus is the only way to haven means that every loyal Muslim is on the road to hell. Every faithful Buddhist is on the road to hell. Every sincere Hindu is on the road to hell. Every devout atheist is headed to hell. To make these statements of biblical truth may offend some, but sometimes biblical truth offends. After all, there are only two eternal destinies, i.e., either heaven or hell.
In his book Choose the Life (Baker Books, (1994) Grand Rapids, Michigan), Bill Hull made observations that seem to apply to today:
One of Satan’s favorite false ideas is that religion is a private matter because nice and benign Christians are no threat to him. He wants us to worship the God of tolerance and political correctness. I predict that one day in the not-too-distant future witnessing to the exclusive nature of the gospel will be classified as a “hate crime.” The thought police will turn in people who speak words that exclude and make people feel left out and guilty. Churches will exhort members to let their lives speak but won’t ask then to say anything or take a stand. One of the most arrogant things a person can say is, “I will let my life speak for me.” As Sam Shoemaker used to say, “that is too much about us and too little about him.” This is another idea that must be taken captive and thrown in jail (2 Cor. 10:5).
To my knowledge, there is no law against “hate speech” in the United States. However, it seems imminent that someday there will be laws against “hate speech” such as those in other countries. The important component of such a law is the definition of “hate speech.” One resource (https://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/hate-speech ) presents the following exemplary definition of “hate speech”:
Hate speech is a verbal or written communication expressing a generalized negative opinion about a particular demographic, sometimes attacking an individual as a member of that group. Hate speech often targets particular races, genders, sexual orientations, nationalities, ethnic groups and religions. However, any distinct group may be targeted.
There are plenty of folks who would like to see such a broad definition of “hate speech” that encompasses a communication that expresses “a generalized negative opinion about” how a person can gain eternal life. Keeping this kind of definition in mind, it is not very difficult to look into the near future and predict that if a believers says that faith/trust in Jesus Christ is the only way to eternal life, he or she will be committing “hate speech,” and possibly, be guilty of a “hate crime.” While that is not a comforting possibility, it is not new for the Christian church.
Acts 3-4 describe the encounter between Peter and John and the Jewish authorities in Jerusalem based upon the healing of a lame man and the subsequent preaching of the saving gospel of Jesus Christ. After being arrested, spending a night in custody, and experiencing interrogation, the Jewish authorities told Peter and John (Acts 4:18 (ESV)):
18 So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.
No doubt the Jews considered what Peter and John preached to be “hate speech.” Even so, in response to the command to be silent, they replied (Acts 4:19-20 [ESV]):
19 But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, 20 for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.”
When Peter and John returned to their friends, all of them prayed to God, and one request was presented in Acts 4:29-30 (ESV):
29 And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, 30 while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.
Someday, persecution of Christians in America will exist. The proclamation of the saving gospel of Jesus Christ will be called “hate speech” and be a very risky action. May every believer take courage from the example of Peter and John and pray to God like did those early Jerusalem Christians.
If you are reading this post and are not a Christian, unless God intervenes, your eternal destination is hell. But, your destiny can change. Today can be the day of your salvation. Please see my blog (https://stevebelsheim.com/2020/04/20/for-god-so-loves-you-2/) for a description of how you can be saved.
The Professor Grant Horner Bible Reading System is a great 500 day Bible reading plan. The following link presents a description of the plan ( https://sohmer.net/media/professor_grant_horners_bible_reading_system.pdf).
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