It’s going to get worse before it gets better.
John authored Revelation while exiled on Patmos. It was a dangerous time for Christians. Most faced persecution. Many were imprisoned. Some were being tortured and killed.
John’s Spirit-inspired book accurately depicted his world. The Christian Church was under attack. It appeared that evil would soon gain the upper hand.
Repeatedly, John urged the saints to be faithful to God during this tribulation.
But, it would get worse before it got better. He cautioned, “Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution” [Revelation 2:10a]. But, immediately, he exhorted, “Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown” [v.10b]. There was hope. Even if death was imminent, the Lord promised the “victor’s crown” to all who persevered.
The Lord of the Church would not desert the faithful. Eventually, the institutions seeking to destroy Christianity would themselves end. No longer would the saints be persecuted, and the Church would actually become society’s foundation.
Today, Christianity is again under attack. But, unlike John’s time, the attack is not necessarily physical. Today’s attack seeks to undermine the Church through fear and apathy. We feel alone and isolated because Scripture’s views are no longer valued by society. At times, we are lulled into complacency thinking that attacks on Christians are distant, sporadic, and without effect.
In reality, those attacks are drawing closer and intensifying. Christians are identified in politics, the media, and entertainment as intolerant hatemongers. Some view us as the troublers of society for defending Scripture’s truths on life, marriage, and sexuality.
We would all do well to read John’s words and remind ourselves that we, too, live in a perilous age. At the same time, we can find comfort in God’s Word. Even if persecution and death threaten us, God promises, “I will give you life as your victor’s crown.”
May God give us a strong faith to clings to him for he promises us “the victor’s crown.”
Jim Grasby is principal of Lakeside Lutheran.
Reach him at 920.648.2321 or firstname.lastname@example.org