Living in a day where one wonders if they are living under the Constitution of the United States of America or the “Court-stitution” of the USA, it was good to hear the 7-2 decision handed down by the Supreme Court in favor of Colorado Christian baker, Jack Phillips.
When Mr. Phillips refused for religious reasons to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, he had no idea that he would find himself in the oven of adversity. Yet, Christians are called not only to the privilege of believing on Jesus, but also to suffer for His sake (Phil. 1:29).
“The justices, in a 7-2 decision, said the Colorado Civil Rights Commission showed an impermissible hostility toward religion when it found that baker Jack Phillips violated the state's anti-discrimination law by rebuffing gay couple David Mullins and Charlie Craig in 2012. The state law bars businesses from refusing service based on race, sex, marital status or sexual orientation.
“The ruling concluded that the commission violated Phillips' religious rights under the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment.
“But the justices did not issue a definitive ruling on the circumstances under which people can seek exemptions from anti-discrimination laws based on their religious views. The decision also did not address important claims raised in the case including whether baking a cake is a kind of expressive act protected by the Constitution's free speech guarantee.” (Emphasis mine)
Seeing as the SCOTUS didn’t rule on the underlying issues surrounding this case, American Christians won’t be sure what side of the gavel they will end up on. But if Christians will be faithful and true to the end, regardless of the persecution they may face, they will end up on the side of righteousness, pleasing God rather than men.
Thinking about persecution (both here at home and abroad), I want to encourage our readers with this quote from C.H. Spurgeon’s sermon The Star of Jacob. Our hope is that it will encourage you and add zeal to your stand for Jesus.
“There was never a subject of Christ’s kingdom that complained of him. Those who have served him most have longed to serve him more. Why, even his poor martyrs in the catacombs of Rome, dying of starvation, or dragged up to the Colosseum to be devoured by wild beasts, never said an ill word of him. Certainly if it was hard to any, it was hard to them; but the more they were troubled the more they rejoiced; and there never were sweeter songs than those which came from dying lips, when men were crackling on the faggot (Old English term meaning small branches or twigs), or being torn limb from limb by the wild horses, or sawn asunder with cruel saws. Just in proportion as the bodily pains become acute, the spiritual joy became intense; and while the outward man decayed, the inner man leaped up into newness of life, anticipating the joys of the first-born before the throne. He is a good Master.”
Our hope is not in the courts at any level; it’s not in our lawmakers, law-enforcers, or any human authority. Our hope is only found in the Lord; so let us boldly walk in obedience, sharing the truth with others in love. Let us strive to understand the Spirit’s call to repentance that we might be more complete bearers of His image. Let us gratefully submit to His leading in all areas of our life.
Our problem with repentance is that it often appears distasteful because so many of us only see the bitterness of the unripe fruit of repentance. Instead, let us focus upon the sweet taste of mature and ripe repentance. It's not the giving up—it’s the gain. It's much more than the turning from; it's the Who we are turning to. No true repentance is had with one's neck swiveled back and heart longing for the mire.
No one looks forward to persecution; but are we ready for it should the courts not rule in our favor? Unrighteous acts are distasteful to those who love the Lord; but do we have a taste and longing for the salvation of sinners that we will share the truth with them in love, respecting them as being created in the image of God? Do we love God with all that we are and all men as we love ourselves? Can we deny ourselves and submit to God to this extent? Jesus called these the two greatest commands. This is holiness worked out in our lives. This is what Christ likeness looks like.
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