Ray Rooney, Jr.: “They Will Learn…”
Friday, September 20, 2013 1:31 PM

The letter to the church in Philadelphia found in Revelation 3:7-13 is of vital importance today.  In it, Jesus talks about a group of Christians whose faithfulness to Him was exacting a debilitating toll.  He acknowledged they had “but little power” as a result of standing against what He called “the synagogue of Satan.”  Faithfulness to the Word of God was the issue as Jesus notes that despite their apparent lack of success in diminishing the rising influence of their detractors “you have kept my word and not denied my name.”  

Obviously, those yielded to evil have despised righteousness and holiness since sin came into the world.  The real tragedy, however, is that there has always been a campaign against purity of heart and faithfulness to God by those who should know better.  Scripture uses a lot of metaphors for this group: synagogue of Satan, enemies of the Cross, Babylon the great, etc.  They wave the flag of faith while undermining and opposing the Word that faith is based upon.  For instance, they so undermined the ministry of the Apostle Paul in Galatia that he had to ask the church “having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:3) and “Who hindered you from obeying the truth?” (Galatians 5:7).  The entire book of Hebrews is written to people who were being hammered daily that Jesus, while admittedly was a great man, was just one in a long line of important people God called (that’s why the book of Hebrews attests from beginning to end Jesus’ superiority to all others).  James laments about those who live spiritually undisciplined lives (James 3).  Peter says “Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray” (2 Peter 2:15) while John warns that not everyone speaking soothing religious words is to be trusted (1 John 4:1-6) and Jude admonished the faithful “to contend for the faith…for certain people have crept in unnoticed…who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality” (Jude 3-4).

Essentially, faithful Christians who embrace Scripture as the Word of the Living God face a two front war.  On the one front are those who hate God and want to outlaw any and all expressions of belief and faith from sight.  On the other front are those wear the Christian moniker but trivialize holiness and minimize obedience.  They define love as some kind of universal acceptance of everything and everyone (with the exception of those who are committed to holiness and truth). 

It is draining in every respect to continue with “patient endurance” and to keep His Word while “holding fast” in matters of faith against the louder voice and superior numbers of those who are committed to justifying their sin(s).  The word of grace Jesus gives to all who exhaustively keep His word, refuse to deny Him, and hold fast to their convictions is that all those mock, curse, denigrate, and abuse us “will learn that I have loved you” (Revelation 3:9). 

Can there be a better promise than that?  The God haters who called us idiots and fools for believing in Him will learn not only that He lives but that He loves us!  The counterfeit churchgoers who said that what the Bible clearly identifies as sin really isn’t and God hates anyone who doesn’t accept everyone else’s behavior will learn that God loved us despite their claim to the contrary.

The battle isn’t going to get any easier.  The anti-God crowd is getting bolder about spewing their hatred of God and brasher in attempting to criminalize outward displays of Christianity.  The counterfeit Christians are making inroads into the leadership of various Christian denominations spreading the leaven of tolerance at the expense of holiness.  Those of us who are holding the line are getting fewer and have “but little power.”  But the ones who faithfully keep His word and patiently endure are called “the one who conquers” (Revelation 3:12).  Keep the faith.  Stand for righteousness.  Contend for the faith. “[A]nd they will learn that I have loved you.” Praise God.

Ray Rooney, Jr.