Ours is Endurance and Faith

“When we live in a world of violence long enough, it is easy to adopt violent means ourselves, especially when we know that our cause is righteous and the opposition is evil. Religious faith, especially when zealous, is no stranger to the exercise of violent force. And so St. John, having set down his counsel to endure, yokes it with a warning to not defect into violence. That would be just as bad as defecting into cowardly compliance. Had not Jesus, in as violent a scene as any of us will find ourselves, said, ‘Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword’? (Matt. 26:52). Killing the opposition is the sea beast’s [Revelation 13:1-10] way of solving its problems. It is not ours. Our is endurance and faith.

“This combination, endurance and faith, is not dumb passivity … The Christ-followers had learned something profound about sacrifice and death: endurance and faith are aggressive forces in the battle raging between God and the devil. It requires high energy to meet the sword with willed suffering, with embraced sacrifice.”

(Eugene Peterson, Reversed Thunder, p. 125)

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God is in Control

“Christians cannot promise that life on earth will get better as time goes on; we have no assurance that it will. It is perfectly possible that our civilization will decline as ancient Rome did, and that our descendants will live through another dark age. The sinful passions of fallen man have not been defeated, and Satan is still active. We may be caught up in things that defy our imagination, and it is perhaps better that we do not know what will happen to us or to our children in this life. But what we can say for sure is that God is in control of events, that whatever happens will resound to his glory, and that no power in heaven or on earth can separate us from the love of God (Rom. 8:39).”

– Gerald Bray’s Augustine on the Christian Life (p. 210)

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