Phil Congdon, NBBC, February 1, 2019
As I write this article, I’m bouncing along at 32,000 feet above the north Pacific Ocean on my way to Tokyo, and from there on to the Philippines. The pilot warned us before departure that we would have turbulence, and he wasn’t wrong. It can be unsettling at times. But then, that’s a fairly apt representation of life these days: We are encountering ever-increasing turbulence in our world.
The whole world lies in the power of the evil one. So wrote the Apostle John, the ‘disciple whom Jesus loved,’ in his epistle to the Christian church in the first century. The power of sin has infected the world since the day Eve took the forbidden fruit, and even after Jesus came to earth, the apostle closest to Him recognized its power had not diminished, but continued to spread.
The first half of the verse in which John wrote those words, however, must not be overlooked. The verse reads: We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one (1 John 5.19). The fact of the ‘new life’ that resides in every believer makes us ‘aliens’ here (see 1 Peter 2.11); like foreigners whose citizenship is another world (see Philippians 3.20), we are called ‘ambassadors for Christ’ (2 Cor. 5.20). We are of God.
But while we are ‘new creations’ in Christ, and know that the ‘war’ against sin was won by Jesus in His death and resurrection, we also recognize that the ‘battle’ against sin still rages in our lives. We live in the world, and the world lies in Satan’s power, remember? So what’s a Christian to do?
Paul exhorts us, by the power of the Spirit working in us (and He is in us!), to not be conformed to this world, but to be transformed (Rom. 12.2). He also exhorts us:
Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret (Eph. 5.11-12).
I submit to you that those two things go together. Sin is like a slippery slope. Start down it, and nothing will break your descent. If we casually ignore its deepening impact in our society, we are implicitly participating in sin, instead of exposing it. The battle against the infestation of sin in our Christian lives includes standing against it in our world.
I need to do that right now. In the last couple of weeks, evil has brazenly raised its head in America. Politicians in New York celebrated – with enthusiastic applause – the passing of a law giving a mother the right to snuff out a baby’s life seconds before he or she is born. The governor of Virginia went further, defending the practice of delivering a new baby, then the mother and her doctors casually deciding whether to end his or her life or not. This is egregious evil, heinous wickedness…and evidence of the slippery slope. Did we really think Satan would be satisfied with abortion being ‘safe, legal, and rare’? We must not stand by without exposing this.
Also last week, a member of the House of Representatives had the temerity to equate Israel with the violent and repressive regime in Iran. This came on the heels of other politicians, and leaders of a women’s march, making similar antisemitic remarks. Three quarters of a century after the Nazi Holocaust, we see the same sentiments rising again. Every Christian should recognize the fingerprints of Satan in this. Israel is God’s chosen people still (see Romans 11), and if for no other reason (and there are many other reasons) we should defend them, pray for them, and share the good news of Jesus with them.
The slippery slope of sin is all around us. Beware of it. Don’t participate in it, but instead expose it.