N TODAY’S SOCIETY, an ungodly presence is coming against the Church. In many ways it reminds me of the system spawned by Nebuchadnezzar in ancient Babylon. This evil king “removed the treasures from the temple of the Lord and from the royal palace, and cut up the gold articles that Solomon king of Israel had made for the temple of the Lord. He carried all Jerusalem into exile: all the officers and fighting men, and all the skilled workers and artisans—a total of ten thousand. Only the poorest people of the land were left.” (2 Kings 24:13-14 NIV). He then tried to force the Jewish exiles to worship the gods of Babylon (see Daniel 3:13-15).
Today, there are those out there determined to cancel faith, change our posture, and hijack our purpose. A spirit of antichrist saturates our civilization and seeks to eliminate all Biblical truth and Christian values. If some people had their way, all humankind would bow and become a culture of entitlement, a culture of secularism, a culture of humanism.
Are we living in a modern-day Babylon? A society not interested in the purpose of the Church and disregarding our mandate to carry the good news of Jesus Christ throughout the earth?
It’s as if the spirit operating in this age is saying, “If I can inflict enough sustained pressure against you through life’s circumstances and situations, I can get you to become numb and used to it. Then, I’ll cause you to bow to the world system and give up on the timeless truths of Scripture you’ve held to so tightly all your life.”
Think about it. Have you found yourself not so passionate about certain issues that at one time were unquestionably abhorrent?
In the very least, this Babylon spirit is working tirelessly to neutralize our stance on gender, marriage, sex, and the value of life. It wants us to dilute the message of the Gospel to where sin becomes acceptable in any form. The temperature that comes with the flame of intimidation is at an all-time high. In some nations, ministers are threatened with the possibility of incarceration if they dare speak against the sin of homosexuality or other newly acceptable “norms.” Churches are in jeopardy of losing freedoms and privileges if they do not go along.
As believers, our purpose has been, and will always be, to be the people of God. We have been called out of darkness into the kingdom of light to be Christ’s ambassadors—His witnesses—to the people around us. We are to be salt and light to the lost world. As salt, we are to bring a preserving power and add flavor to a tasteless culture. As light, we are to shine in the darkness, illuminating the path and give clear direction on the right way to live.
Even in the middle of this confusing and contradictory mess in which we find ourselves, we have this extraordinary promise from God: “Though sin is shown to be wide and deep, thank God his grace is wider and deeper still!” (Romans 5:20 Phillips). The Message paraphrase of this verse says, “When it’s sin versus grace, grace wins hands down.”
When the heat gets turned up, God’s grace is made available to carry us through. That grace gives us the power to stand when the heat is on in Babylon!
Tim Hill, D.D. , serves the Church of God as presiding bishop.