beach personAs Christians, we enjoy singing praises to God. Worship is our response to who God is and what He has done for us. How could we not be moved to wonder by contemplating God’s love, the cross, or the creation? Joyously we declare in song, “I Stand Amazed,” “There Is a God,” and “This Is My Father’s World.” Like the Psalmist and Paul, we see the presence, majesty, power, and wisdom of God in the creation.

At the same time, we find ourselves troubled by the thought that Satan has attempted to usurp God’s place in the world. While the physical creation proclaims God’s glory, the population denies it. Jesus acknowledged the extent of Satan’s power in the world when He referred to him as the “prince of this world” (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11). This is why the Bible presents a contrast and opposition between the Kingdom of God and the world of men — the world being that which is alienated from God by its nature and conduct — that which does not know or obey God. Thus, the Bible refers to the rulers of the world (Isaiah 40:23), the people of the world (Luke 16:8; 1 Corinthians 5:10), the principles of the world (Galatians 4:3), the wisdom of the world (1 Corinthians 3:19), and the ways of the world (Ephesians 2:2).

The Bible does not minimize the difference between the world and Christ. Jesus tells us we cannot love both the world and God. First John 2:15 plainly tells us not to love the world or anything in it. “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” The tension between the world and Christ and the church is so great that Jesus warned, “the world hates you” (John 15:19). This is why the Bible strongly portrays the relationship between Satan and Christians as spiritual war. In the context of arming ourselves for this conflict, Paul speaks of taking our stand “against the devil’s schemes” (Ephesians 6:11).

The Bible and history reveal some of those schemes. For example, Satan has incited the world to hate and persecute Jesus and His followers. He has prompted Christians to compromise with the world. He has influenced the world to reject the values and morals of God. He has caused division in the church. His attacks have been aggressive and open, as well as subtle and hidden. His effectiveness and progress in today’s world can be clearly seen. To identify this, we need only consider what has happened with moral issues over the past fifty years.

wedding coupleIn the late 1960s, the “New Morality” gained influence. Biblical moral standards of purity and chastity were displaced by sexual laxity under the guise of love. Concepts of lifetime marital commitment gave way to easy, no-fault divorce. Over the following years, the legal system increasingly separated itself from the influence and values of the Bible. Abortion became legal and accessible. Couples openly live together outside of marriage. Same-sex relationships have become accepted and even promoted. We might legitimately ask what could possibly be next?

Over the past few years, the issue of euthanasia has gained increasing attention. Often presented as “physician assisted suicide,” the debate (and practice) of euthanasia has taken dramatically different turns. For example, the Groningen Protocol (“neonatal euthanasia”) in the Netherlands (2004) permits doctors, under certain conditions, to take the life of a child. Should this not be seen as a direct result of increasingly lax attitudes toward abortion and even life itself? According to the Protocol, a committee of doctors should be involved in the decision to end a child’s life. However, how many of us are personally aware of children who, at birth and even later, were given pessimistic medical prognoses only later to thrive?

More recently, another attack on biblical values is occurring. According to lawyer John Ince, at least two million Canadians, many young, live in “polyamorous” relationships. Ince, representing the Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association, has applied to the British Columbia Supreme Court to declare the anti-polygamy section of the Criminal Code of Canada unconstitutional. However, polyamorists are not polygamists. Polygamy is the practice of having multiple spouses — plural marriage. According to Daphne Bramham of The Vancouver Sun, polyamory is “a post-modern, secular, non-patriarchal, conjugal relationship that involves a panoply of sexual groupings and gender variations.” They want the court to see that “polyamory is a more highly evolved form of family/conjugal relationship that is beneficial to all of its participants — the way of the future. Mindelle Jacobs, Sun Media columnist adds “the B.C. Civil Liberties Association also wants our polygamy law struck down.” In case you have not realized what polyamory entails, essentially it is the complete rejection of biblical standards of marriage and morality. Trying to make it palatable and acceptable, they call it polyamory which means many (multiple) loves (sexual relationships). From a biblical perspective, it is immorality. However, given Satan’s influence and the direction Canadian society and the legal system have been going, it seems almost inevitable that eventually, polygamy and polyamory will become legal.

Ephesians 5 describes a world much like ours today. The contrast between Christians and the world they lived in was like light and darkness. Christians are not to be deceived and be partners with darkness. We are to pursue “goodness, righteousness and truth” and to “find out what pleases the Lord.” We are to have “nothing to do with the fruitless works of darkness, but rather expose them.”

The “prince of this world” has great power in our world. He has gained the hearts, minds, and souls of countless millions. As people of God’s light, we dare not minimize the magnitude of the conflict with Satan nor the importance of our role, as individuals. Though the world may descend further into darkness, we must show His light, pure and untainted, in every way possible.

Editor’s Note: Wayne Turner is co-editor of Gospel Herald in which this article was originally published. It is used here by permission.

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