Very few people today realise just how revolutionary the message of the Gospel really was two thousand years ago. Today we think God’s ‘love’ is a given, but two thousand years ago, the notion of a creator God who actually cared about, and was intimately involved with, His creation, would have been, to most, laughable. As for that God taking human form and dying one of the most shameful deaths known to humanity, in order to go head to head with Satan and free us from sin and death…. Well, that would have been plain stupid!
Today we’ve lost the impact of what Christ’s death means. Familiarity with Christian ‘ideas’ of God has for many bred contempt – which, combined with the easy assumption that the whole world thinks as we do and shares our values, has led to some dangerous assumptions. Let us be clear, the whole world does not think as we do, and they most certainly do not share our values.
A little bit of perspective: Once our relationship with God had been broken by Adam and Eve’s sin, there was a vacuum. From earliest times men and women have struggled to fill this by reaching out towards gods and goddesses, fighting, as they thought, to keep them appeased and stave off disaster. At best, these elemental spirits were capricious; at worst, they could be downright malign. But everyone agreed, the only way to preserve cosmic balance and keep the spirits happy was by ‘worship’. These spirits, whatever you conceive them to be, gained dominance as result of the Fall, and they served Satan. They still serve Satan, and they are still demanding worship – most especially through our ever-increasing culture of death, and the climate of sexual promiscuity that has infected every nation like some kind of spiritual coronavirus.
In such a climate, with the notable exception of Israel, the idea of One God, the Creator, who actually cared about His creation, was pretty much inconceivable. Similarly, any requirement for ‘righteousness’ or the observance of morality as a prerequisite for entry into eternal life would have seemed a nonsense. In the years before Christ, different cultures of course developed doctrines and philosophies on how to live well. Socrates, Aristotle and Plato, for example, sought to unravel the mysteries of life through reason and logic, while Buddhism taught that the way to enlightenment lay in meditation and adherence to the virtues of wisdom, kindness, patience, generosity and compassion. But no religion or belief system outside Judaism even came near the idea of a relationship with God – who had made us, who had a plan for our lives, and who cared about our fate.
Two thousand years on, in the supposedly Christianised West, we are so accustomed to the idea of easy salvation that we have lost the horror of separation, while scientific advance has bred in us the delusion that we can have it all, even to the extent of remaking creation to our own design. We have opened up the path for Satan once again to gain a hold and, as result, we are seeing the world disintegrate beneath a wave of chaos and ever-increasing violence, fed by sexual immorality, perversion, and abuse.
Whatever cataclysm and/or disaster we face, at heart this is, and always has been, a spiritual battle. The problems have to be addressed at two levels: first, through prayer; and, second, through action based on prayer.
VfJUK will shortly be relaunching our prayer initiative, Operation Sovereign. Brexit has been just a beginning, and it is no exaggeration to say that we are now battling not just for the soul of our nation, but for our continued existence. Will you join us? We ask participants to sign up to a regular 15-minute prayer slot every Wednesday, for the period of one year. Each week we send out a Prayer Bulletin, highlighting the issues to which we feel the Lord is directing us. But this is not prescriptive. Every participant prays as the Lord leads and, in His name, we declare His Sovereignty and blessing. In particular, this year, we shall be praying for doors to be opened, that men and women in this nation may be enabled to hear the Gospel. We are praying for a mighty move of God.
Each participant also has an assigned Prayer Buddy, and you are asked to pray daily blessing and protection on each other. Any contact over and above that is entirely a matter of agreement between the two of you. Some buddies have a lot of contact, praying together regularly, and become close friends. For others, it’s enough just to know their partner’s name, and the pair then pray for each other every day without further contact.
The devil cannot win this battle. He was defeated once and for all at the Cross. But while he remains free, he can still ensnare, maim, and slaughter those who do not know God and follow his lies. This is why the battle is so important. How men and women choose today will determine their eternal destiny.