I recently was watching Martyn Iles online. If you’re not aware of who Martyn is, he is the current head of the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL), a non-party partisan, non-denominational advocate for Christians and the faith.
Martyn was speaking and making the emphasis that we, Christians in a modern society, need to stand firm. This simple call – to stand firm – really resonates with me, and thus this article is borne.
Our Christian heritage
Australia’s background as a modern society has an undeniable Christian root. As a member of the ‘western world’, there is an understanding and concept of freedom of speech, faith and identity which our society upholds. Unlike the United States, our freedoms and rights are not strictly codified, but are largely agreed upon and defended regularly.
However, over the years our Christian heritage is slowly eroding. Think back to the debate and change in definition of marriage – previously and universally upheld to be one man to one woman to the exclusion of all others. The topic of ‘same sex marriage’ has highlighted to us all that Australians are no longer the traditional values-based society once rooted in the Christian faith and indeed – God. Identifying as Christian is one thing, but it is now an individual responsibility to uphold and stand firm to the Bible and build our faith in God. Our Christian faith allows for tolerance insofar as we also know what truth is. Ah – truth…
Truth and righteousness
In Proverbs chapter 14, verse 34, the Bible says ‘Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.’ Righteousness and truth continue to be attacked. Biblical truth used to be the norm, unchallenged and upheld as our standard. But this is no longer the Australian reality. We have become a pluralistic society where truth is subjective – but God’s objective truth remains unchanged.
We think we can make rules to suit our fancy (marriage is for anyone, gender is how I feel) and change truth. But truth doesn’t change. God doesn’t change. The way God made us – our biology – doesn’t change.
As believers and followers of Jesus, we know the Truth, but we also need to stand firm for what we believe in.
In Isaiah chapter 59, the prophet also records
‘Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands far away; for truth has stumbled in the public squares, and uprightness cannot enter. Truth is lacking, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. The Lord saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice. He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intercede…’
The call to stand firm is part of the challenge for us to ensure there are people available and ready to intercede.
Governments should not legislate morality
One of the hardest concepts for me to get my head around over the years is how governments – previously God-abiding – are now trying to play the role of God. Governments seek to legislate morality. Australia (and her states) can make rules that define things like ‘marriage’ and ‘gender’ but the reality is the rest of the world doesn’t, hasn’t or never will align with that kind of thinking.
Nations guided by the Islamic faith are incredibly clear on how they exercise and apply their faith to their society – and things clearly permissible in Australia are clearly illegal with the penalty of death. Even in this opposite Islamic application and workings of law – I make my point again – governments should not be legislating on issues of morality, telling us how we can think or speak.
I also fully appreciate that the other faiths – like Islam – have a very different world view – and see faith sitting above government, and not separately the state from their religion. However, to remain on topic and focused for us as Christian believers, knowing truth is one thing. To stand firm and to intercede for the faith in the public forum is increasingly challenging – particularly in this climate of increasing hostility towards the Christian faith community.
God is with Us
When you stand firm, know that you do so with the help of God. Through the Holy Spirit, you can take comfort that you are not alone. As you wear the armour of God, pray into the various situations where we are called to stand up for God and his values. Bear the shield of faith and know that our faith is in a living and eternal God. Put on the helmet of salvation; have confidence that nothing can steal your salvation away from God. The belt of truth underpins the whole suit. Equipped with God’s breastplate of righteousness combined with the truth is indeed the Way and the Life.
When all is said and done, it is better to seek his divine approval rather than to try to please man. Stand firm brothers and sisters in Christ; the gates of hell cannot prevail against the army of God.
Nic Lee works by day as a Business Analyst Consultant whilst, outside of business hours, maintains an IT support & website services business. He volunteers with 89.9 LightFM (Christian Community Radio). Nic has served for over twenty years in his local church, in worship, technology consulting, life group leading and event management.