As citizens of heaven, we must be ambassadors, as Paul says, God making His appeal through us. And what is that appeal? Believe, for there is a day when Christ will return in judgment. We, as Christians, citizens of heaven, live life with a view toward eternity, making decisions about our speech and conduct based on His imminent return and not on what may satisfy our lustful desire for vengeance.
It was a distinct moment of realization, a head-slapping, should-have-known-it nugget of truth that I had just heard. Dr. Mohler, at the 2018 U.S. Banner of Truth Minister’s Conference, made the simple point that we, as Christians in modern America, should not be at all surprised that our doctrine and faith is under attack. He laid out that since the ascension of Christ, yea even while Christ was still walking on this earth, the truth of the Gospel has been maligned. Dr. Mohler spoke of the fact that Christians in America have been lulled into thinking that our experience of freedom of religion, specifically to proclaim truth openly and unashamedly without push-back, is a normal one in church history. In reality, we are the anomaly. I had not considered this before, at least not quite with this level of clarity.
Yet Peter in his first epistle makes this point abundantly clear. He says, “Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.” Notice the assumption that Peter by inspiration of the Holy Spirit makes here: when they speak against you as evildoers. That’s not an if, but a when. Christians who follow after Christ and who live by the truth of God’s Word will be called evildoers. It’s a guaranteed fact. And this is what we are now seeing in Western culture. As societal values move further and further from Biblical values and the divide grows, Christians are more and more being labeled as evildoers. As we reject the values that society now upholds as important, we are labeled as intolerant, as bigots, as haters, and other assorted names and adjectives. Peter makes it clear however that this is the expectation. We should not be surprised by this. He makes several important observations then in light of this expectation.