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Fight the Good Fight of Faith

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (soundtrack)

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         Over twenty years ago I made the statement, “Someday I’m going to write a book, and I’m going to call it Real Christianity.” By that time in my life I had already seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of much of what official Christianity had to offer. The old Clint Eastwood movie was pretty good too, but very tame by comparison. Millions of Christians worldwide live the real movie, and are experienced with both God’s wonderful love and grace, and sadly, man’s inhumanity to man in off-the-scale fashion. We can pretend that Christian persecution does not take place in this world, or that it certainly never happens in America. Or we can climb out from under our religious rocks and face the facts.

         There is a war going on for our souls, and the battle is most brutal in the realm of religion. Without the love and power of our Lord Jesus, all believers would be as sitting ducks getting blown to smithereens on our respective ponds. In reality, this does not happen, but the operative word is all. Many Christians do die as a result of persecution, and are dying as you read this. Many others are physically tortured. Still others are brow-beaten and warned repeatedly to get in line or suffer the consequences.

         Does all this sound “over the top?” Am I engaging in egregious exaggeration? One might be reminded of what happened to the Lord of all Creation when He showed up on the scene. One might consider what happened to almost every one of His chosen twelve. Their crime was preaching a new message never before heard that clashed with every other religious method and doctrine on the planet, especially those of their own people. How could there not be the manner of ensuing conflict that arose as a result of their work? The very nature of preaching the real gospel invites trouble, hatred, and persecution. But it also destroys the work of the enemy and hangs him out to dry. Real Christianity is therefore not for the squeamish or half-hearted. Countless witnesses of the Lord who have given their lives throughout history will attest to that. We spend much time trying to make Christianity a “nice” religion, a watered-down version of the original with no clout or gravitas, or ability to change hearts for the better. Imagine walking out on the field of battle unarmed against a formidable foe whose only desire is to kill you, and trying to be nice to him in an effort to alleviate his hatred.

         This brand of Christianity, instead of bringing about spiritual change and strength, has resulted in a profound weakness in all societies where preached, and has allowed the enemy of our souls to grow strong and entrenched. Real Christianity, that created and sponsored by our Lord Jesus twenty centuries ago, did the veritable opposite. It challenged powerful spiritual entities on their own turf. The Lord set the example for all later believers to follow, not only by His profound compassion, grace, and willingness to forgive the repentant, but also by His dogged pursuit of the devil and determination to free those made slaves by him. The best friend anyone could ever have is the Lord. But in order to be His friend, we must engage in His work. Those who do are blessed with the joy of seeing “The Good,” but also become familiar with “The Bad” and “The Ugly.” The attempt to eliminate the latter, however, by creating an alternative gospel, will also eliminate the former, and further eliminate any proper purpose for its existence in the first place.

         Our struggle is not against flesh and blood. The real gospel of the Lord changes hearts for the better, and in time it can change entire societies.

        “In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” [John 16:33]

        Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He will bring about at the proper time—He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen. [1 Timothy 6:12-16] [1]

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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