A Great Felicity of Heaven

From Jean Taffin’s The Marks of God’s Children, p. 31:

Suppose that someone of whom you are as fond as you are of yourself were to experience the same joy as you. Would not the overflowing joy that you feel in that blessedness be doubled because of the joy and glory of the one whom you cherish as much as you do yourself and for whose well-being you are as happy as you are for your own? And should two, three, or even more whom you esteem all experience the same blessedness, would you not rejoice in the happiness of each of them as much as in your own? How then will this not be the case in that perfect love, with which we will love all the divine angels and all the elect, loving each of them as much as we do ourselves and being no less happy in the joy of each of them than we are in our own joy?

Taffin goes on to note on the same page that not even this amazing happiness is the greatest joy of heaven. For even the joy of the community will pale in comparison to the joy of the Triune God’s fellowship. The thought I had about this is simple: we aren’t getting much of a head start on this joy today, because we are too individualistic. The same problem, on the negative side, prevents us from being very sympathetic for our Chinese and Nigerian brothers and sisters, who are undergoing the most severe persecution right now.

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A Change in Strategy

Satan has changed his strategy with regard to his warfare against the church in the West. For the period of the 1960’s up through most of this current decade, his strategy has been to entertain Christians into an oblivion of forgetfulness and numbness. It has worked to a spectacular degree until recently. The signs are that the church in the West is not quite so much in decline as secularists and many Christians believe. This means that Satan must change his strategy. The carrot is no longer working. The stick must replace it.

It has already begun with some opening salvos, the baker in Colorado and similar stories. If the Equality Act passes, however, the stick will begin in earnest. Of course, Satan doesn’t ever seem to learn from the past. Neither the carrot nor the stick can override God’s purposes in the world. The best he can hope for is to hinder the church. Will Christians stand firm? You see, the most insidious thing about the transition from carrot to stick is that the carrot leaves many Christians soft and unwilling to stand up for what they believe. Then when the stick comes, they cave in, rotten from within. Now is the time for Christians to pray that the Lord will restore our marrow, our backbone, our moral fiber.

How will the Lord God do this? The same way He has always done: through the regular means of grace. It is God’s grace that turns invertebrates into vertebrates. It is a steady diet of the Word of God, the Lord’s Supper, remembrance of and meditation on the meaning of baptism, prayer, and fellowship with other like-minded Christian vertebrates that will instill strength into us so that we will stand in the face of hatred masquerading as tolerance.

The only remaining question is this: are we willing to pay the price? The price will be necessary. Churches need to plan on losing their luxurious tax-exempt status. Pastors need to plan on doing jail time, for they will not typically be able to afford the fees. Will we see these things as opportunities to witness to the world about how Christians suffer for the cause of Christ, or will we do nothing but bellyache about it all?

As Western Christians finally realize that persecution is coming their way, maybe the most salutary effect it will have on us is that we will be far more conscious of our brothers and sisters around the globe who are suffering far more. Their lives are in danger, and they are being taken, especially right now in Nigeria. The worship of God is being hampered in China. All too often, Christian reaction to these things has been almost complete indifference, followed by a quick return to our mind-numbing entertainments. That possibility is coming to an end.