For everyone born of God has overcome the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. (1 John 5:4)
It seems, at least it feels like it is now more urgent than ever that this overcomer-mentality is once again urgently necessary. No doubt every generation has thought this. When we look at our church history we realize that the genuine, God-born disciples of Jesus have always been misunderstood, persecuted, expelled and murdered. And this was not primarily from the world but from the pious and believing – the pseudo-saints. Therefore they had and still do not have any choice but to become overcomers.
What we have been experiencing for more than a year has laid a cover of fear and apathy on many persons. And the church/congregation often dozes under this cover just like the world. Who is surprised? It has lost this overcomer mentality, given it up or never had it. Even those who are born of God and thus have this overcomer gene are in danger of sinking with others into this lethargy.
I mention explicitly our authorities’ rules, regulations and measures. It is high time to wake up, get up and take our stand as Christians. Not simply let everything run its course, let everything come upon us, and in a kind of „blind obedience“ simply nod, without testing everything according to God’s word and perhaps gain a different view of the situation. We have a basically different view of things and should therefore not howl or complain along with the world. I say this although I realize that it is ultimately a matter of existence, health and ultimately even death. Do I not take all this seriously enough? Am I too superficial?
„When one member suffers, the whole body suffers.“ Of course. And I, too, suffer and weep with those who suffer. But what bothers me so much is the attitude of many Christians during this time. It is the fear and the resulting „blind obedience“ to the authorities. Just recently I heard a pastor whom I highly esteem say, „We should be grateful that we can have worship services with 50 persons. Of course with masks and distancing.“ (By the way we are grateful to the pastors in Geneva who intervened, making these 50 possible! Where were the others?) I cannot say yes and amen to this.
„Give to Caeser what is Caeser’s, and to God what is God’s.“ (Matt. 22:21) Among other things, the authorities must see to it that the church can freely fulfill its God-given calling. This means: proclaiming the Gospel, meeting together as believers, singing and worshipping God, celebrating communion, blessing and praying for one another. People’s emotional-spiritual health should be just as important to us as the physical, if not more so! For we as believers have answers which others lack.We cannot leave the 51st, who is seeking God, standing outside just because the state requires this. The authorities are also under God’s authority and reign! And if they make rules and regulations which contradict God’s directions for as Jesus’ disciples we are ultimately and primarily subject to his reign.
If someone wishes to use masks and maintain distancing – O.K. But turn away someone – never! What will we do when they dictate that only vaccinated persons are allowed to attend the worship service? We must set the switches in time, or it will hit us when we’re not prepared. Not everyone who says A must also say B; B could be wrong…It starts with “little things” like prohibiting singing. When was there ever something so crazy? And we nod, adjust and are silent. We do what they say. We believe what they say. But where does this lead?
I recently saw a film of the reactor disaster of Tschernobyl. It was distressing to see how people in the gigantic Soviet system were kept under control with fear. How men were held in this prison of fear and manipulated with deception, perversion, lies and threats.Whoever did not conform in thought and deed was excluded from the great mass of the population. He lost privileges regarding choice of profession, promotions, housing and travel, was isolated from his friends, etc.
Does this sound familiar to us? Whoever doesn’t conform and allow vaccination will soon see what consequences this has for him. Whether it is the party’s book, the yellow star or the green vaccination pass. All these identity documents lead to a two-class-society. The good news is that those who are born of God belong to no „class“ but to God’s kingdom. We belong to and follow God’s lamb. We love each one and pray for all. In all the confusion and chaos we overcome through our faith and depend on the Holy Spirit’s guidance and God’s word. Therefore we must be born of God!