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Monday, April 8, 2013

Will Christianity Fail Or Succeed?

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Will Christianity Fail Or Succeed? -  Michael J. S. Austin, Ph.D.


Yes, there are certainly places where Christianity has to all intents and purposes been wiped out, both in the past and present. There are also places in the West, where it is on the wane. So, what's the point of my question? One of the extraordinary realities of living Christianity is its connection to the risen and ascended Lord, so that his body on earth is as secure and as invincible as he is himself. Now, I need to unpack this as you may find it surprising.
1. HIGH PURPOSE
Viewing the nature of biblical Christianity, we see why it is often opposed yet appears to flourish despite times of intense persecution. Just what then is going on - what have people got against Christianity, and how does it grow even through opposition?
Jesus himself taught about persecution when he said, 'Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you' (Matthew 5:11-12). Does it seem strange that people should be 'blessed' by God as they encounter hostile opposition?
2. TWO FAMILIES
There is a reason for this. Ultimately there are only two families; one natural, under the dark spiritual tyranny of Satan; the other is the twice-born children of God. Jesus knew humanity was marked by this division. Scripture shows that the part of the family of Adam and Eve, who remained spiritually related to Satan, was throughout history, always hostile towards those who had entered a spiritual relationship with God. The reason for the hostility is clear; the two families have distinct identities and different destinies. One is associated with spiritual darkness; the other with spiritual light, and as well as that, the Saviour Jesus Christ was destined to crush the serpent's, or Satan's head (see Genesis 3:15) as happened in Jesus' death, which was a great victory over sin and Satan.
The apostle Paul, who in his hostile past as Saul of Tarsus, knew a lot about persecuting Christians, later boiled the issues down to this: 'But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now' (Galatians 4:29). Just as people are by nature at enmity with God (see Romans 8:7), so this hostility spills over in various ways to those related to God through faith in Christ, God's Son.
3. DEEP-SEATED CONFLICT
Part of this hostility is driven by the dislike non-Christians have of the Christian's calling to live in true purity, peace and joy from the Holy Spirit and to share the good news of a Saviour. The New Testament explains how, 'light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil' (John 3:19), and so often non-Christians resent the light of Christ exposing their dark hearts.
But, this is what happens as the good news of the gospel is shared. For it is the power of God to rescue from condemnation, to forgive and reconcile people to God and renew them by the Spirit of God. People hear it and are sometimes deeply challenged. They hear the call of God. At times they become very hostile towards Christians, who pray for them! The Holy Spirit convicts them of sin and points them to turn and put their trust in Jesus Christ who took the place condemned sinners deserved in his death on the cross. He too was subject to intense hostility, in the same conflict. And as Christians are persecuted, God pours out his Spirit in power to sustain his children and challenge their persecutors, who are sometimes so angry with hatred. In God's perfect plan, Jesus died for others and was raised in mighty power as the triumphant Lord of heaven and earth. Now he will wash away sins by the power of his blood, shed once on the cross.
4. A SECURE OUTCOME IS STILL A CHALLENGE
However, just because 'the gates of hell will not prevail against' (Matthew 16:18) the twice-born people of Christ, gives them no reason for sitting back carelessly. We are called to persevere and ask the Lord to give us growing faith to see the strongholds of secularism, atheism and tyrannical religion crumble before the forgiving mercy of the Saviour, Jesus Christ. Christians don't want to see our societies wrecked or spoiled even further, but transformed for the glory of God!
This is not a human success story; this is the triumph of God's grace clearly seen in the lives of persecuted Christians, and as it is also received by vast numbers of people as God works out his eternal purpose to save people for himself. Christians are also called to support, encourage and pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ, who are being persecuted today.
Where are you in all of this - can it be said of you, as of people long ago, 'for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light' (Ephesians 5:8)?
ARE YOU SURE CHRISTIANITY WON'T UNRAVEL? 
Michael J. S. Austin, Ph.D. Hello, my big goal is to show that biblical Christianity appeals to careful thinking and is powerfully relevant today. So, I aim to share the good news of Christ crucified, risen and ascended - a Saviour who is worthy of your full confidence. And I write to help you find faith or to strengthen your faith, so that you may be SURE. I share Evangelical and Reformed convictions and have a Ph.D. from Reformation International Theological Seminary for  work on the validity of reason. Use this link to my very latest Amazon Kindle e-book: 'FOR SURE! - Assurance and Evangelicalism' http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AG0WK84  Also try my challenging e-book, 'I saw Him die - viewing Jesus' death TODAY' Use this link: http://www.amazon.com/saw-Him-die-Viewing-ebook/dp/B007TX696U/ref=pd_rhf_dp_p_t_2 Read and enjoy, and please recommend to others - Thank you! Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Michael_J._S._Austin,_Ph.D.article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7488639

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