Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sacrifice and suffering

We have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat. For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy places by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. (Heb. 13:10-15)

I have watched the growing hostility to Christianity in Singapore. Slowly by slowly, more and more attacks have been made against Christians expressing their faith, and intolerance of the Christian religion is on the rise.

As someone who grew up in a genuinely tolerant country, I admit I have not been prepared for this. Disagreements and conflicts have been verbal, which is fine. But to think that one day I may have to answer for my faith in the same way as Christians in Iran and Syria has not been something I have not thought of.

We in Singapore have been too complacent. While most of the rest of the world's Christians suffer persecution from the hands of their countrymen, we have been tolerated for a long time. We are not prepared for persecution. We have no conception of paying for our convictions in institutional discrimination, nevermind in blood. What has been the cost of following Christ in Singapore before? Mocking? Ridicule?

The time of tolerance is coming to an end. Soon, the evil intent in the hearts of Man to suppress God's truth will work itself out. It may take 10 years, 20 years or more, but I fear for what is to come.

In Hebrews, we are called to go with Christ outside the camp, bearing His reproach. Here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. As we come before God, increasingly persecuted for our beliefs, may we turn to Christ. See Him who bore reproach for dying cursed on the tree for us, He who was rejected by His own countrymen, who sentenced Him to death by crucifixion. Our Lord was rejected by His own people, those who were supposed to know the Scriptures. How much more we think that we should be accepted by our countrymen?

May God use this trial to purify His Church, which has grown complacent and fat. May God remove the chaff and strengthen His people. Let us repent of our complacency and compromise, and turn to Him for our all.


Mary said...

Dear Daniel,

I think you are correct. Sometimes I think that is why America has grown so complacent too. We have had too much materially. Many times God's richest blessing is to strip us of those things that bind us to this world. May God strenghten you for His purposes.

Daniel C said...