Standard Bearer #4. “We are the ones!”

Standard Bearer #4. “We are the ones!”

Human nature loves a “them and us” paradigm. It bolsters the ego and justifies an arm’s length existence.

This, of course, is not the way of the Lord. Jesus expects us to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44). In fact, lest we choose the road to self-righteousness, Jesus uses two penetrating questions that, if unheeded, will put our blessings and our religion in doubt. He asks, “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? (Matthew 5:46).

If there is no difference between our words and actions and those of the unbeliever, then we cannot claim discipleship. Instead, we are justly called hypocrites and join the ranks of the Scribes and Pharisees. These, we know, were infamous for being experts at looking outward. For them, everyone else was a sinner but them. Without a doubt, they saw themselves as the Gold-standard of righteousness before God. Thus, when Jesus pointed out their hypocritical ways they treated him as if he didn’t even have the right to challenge them.

We should expect no less. If our Lord deemed it necessary to stand up for truth and to be persecuted for it, so should we. In fact, Jesus promises: “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me” (Matthew 5:11). Interestingly, as much as this verse can be quoted, it is never presented as anyone’s “Favourite Verse.”

Until we accept that “we are the ones” who hold the answers to life and eternity, we will quietly stand by and watch the world perish. However, when conviction turns to evangelism, we will see both baptisms and persecutions—praise the Lord!

“Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:12).

John Staiger


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