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Tightening the Screws

Vice GripsHow will Christians react when the screws are tightened?

Last week we looked at the year 2013 as it relates to the Christian faith.  Today we take a look ahead at what might lie in store in 2014.

We are warned in the Bible that the day would come when people would reject sound doctrine and become lovers of self, rejecting the truth of God for the lies of man.  Now this has gone on since Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden.  We must remember that when the Apostle Paul was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write this warning he was writing it to and about “Christians”—that many would abandon the true faith because they love the things of this world more than they love the truth of God.

Today we take a look at how the world will “tighten the screws” in 2014 and discuss how Christian churches and individuals might respond.  Will we remain faithful no matter what the cost?  Or seek compromise for the sake of popularity and worldly prosperity?

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5 Responses to “Tightening the Screws”

  1. " he never denied the Lord plainly in the manner that he did before the Spirit came upon him."

    No, he just did it more subtly which was why Paul had to rebuke him.

    By insisting on this you oppress Christians who are struggling with sin and point them to their obedience to get assurance. Paul himself by the end of his life called himself the chief of sinners.

    Yes, there is a new obedience when we are saved but we often are nearly unaware of it. In fact when we become aware of it we end up getting proud and undoing much of the good in that new obedience.

    Sanctification includes becoming more aware of how deep your sin actually goes and how dependent on Christ you are at every moment. It's not living in 'full victory mode' and reclaiming the world for God. I can't even change myself very well. Certainly not by conjuring up 'willpower' to do so, so I won't be able to hope to change my spouse, my kids, or my world.

    I hope you are aware that you are still a sinner Scott. God requires perfection not only in outward behavior but also inward motive. Jesus was so successful in changing culture that they killed him. The church was so 'successful' in changing culture that Rome disintegrated and now look at Europe and the Middle East. Why is it that we think so highly of our own obedience to think we'll do better? It's arrogant.

    January 10, 2014 at 4:11 AM
  2. Howdy Paula,

    Thanks for chiming in.

    The Scriptural account of Peter's transformation via infusion with the Holy Spirit is clear. The Spirit doesn't "just" save a person through His presence; He also transforms them through sanctification, so there will always be significant changes in the life of a true believer from the point of their conversion on, be they Peter or anyone else. As for Peter specifically, while he certainly struggled, failed, and demonstrated unbelief in moments of sinful failure, he never denied the Lord plainly in the manner that he did before the Spirit came upon him. This is very significant, though it should not be confused to mean that somehow after the Spirit entered Peter, he thereafter did not sin or demonstrate temporary unbelief through various failures to honor Christ completely.

    As for the Gospel's supernatural power to save – and to save genuinely, in a manner that *always* produces change in one's life, we miss this beautiful truth when we focus on short periods of time (which, in the context of God's eternal perspective, really can be honestly said to include spans of 100s or 1,000s of years, or when we focus on short term (again: take this in context of God's perspective) "accomplishments" as men measure such things in this fallen world.

    Just break down the past roughly 2,000 years of New Testament Church History into four 500 year chunks and see if that doesn't help you to see the clear overall big-picture trajectory of the impact of the supernatural Gospel in God's creation.

    Terms like "victory" and "success" should be understood by Christians to rise or fall based on obedience to God.

    The person who obeys the Spirit's call to head off to a remote part of the earth and faithfully proclaim the true Gospel for 50 years is not more or less successful based on how many people they see "saved" or anything else. They are completely successful by virtue of their obedience. Obedience is success and victory.

    And as the Great Commission makes plain, Jesus is on the throne, and He has commanded us to go forth and make disciples of the nations. Looking at the last 2,000 years in four 500 year bits as opposed to getting lost in the current tragedy that is the last 50-100 years in America and the West will help much in gaining an accurate understanding of how His Gospel is actually shaping His creation in real world history right on time and according to His purposes.

    Hope these clarifications are helpful.

    In His grip,


    January 9, 2014 at 5:15 AM
  3. I'm also not sure that our obedience guarantees success in changing the culture. The obedient churches in Rev 2-3 were small and NON influential and didn't stop the decline of Rome.

    January 9, 2014 at 3:30 AM
  4. Did Scott Alan Buss say Peter didn't do the same kind of things he did after being filled with the Holy Spirit that he did before? Fear of man? Then why was he fearing the Judaizers and lead Barnabas astray (Galatians 2:11-14)

    Peter was actually at times more courageous than all the others by nature, to the point of being myopic and impulsive, and then when he realized exactly what kind of danger he'd gotten himself into he would flinch. But that doesn't mean he was a coward. Where were all the other disciples when he was denying the Lord? They were hiding. He at least (because of his affection for Christ) was out there risking being seen.

    He's right that Peter was flawed. But the assertion that he 'never' did anything like this after being filled with the Holy Spirit gives people the false idea that after we're saved we will always see definitive change and the struggle against our flesh will be easier or we won't struggle in the same ways anymore. Not always true.

    January 9, 2014 at 3:28 AM
  5. Nellie #

    I have heard from many churches that they believe they are untouchable, because God will protect them. These same churches neglect the last few verses of the "faith" chapter (Hebrews 11), where they did not "receive the promise," but collected a better reward.
    Believers are willing to accept the smaller reward for less persecution and tribulations, when a greater reward awaits them within the persecution period. Churches, and their congregation, will be ill-prepared for what will come in the next two years.

    January 6, 2014 at 4:37 AM