An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land: the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule at their direction; my people love to have it so, but what will you do when the end comes? (Jeremiah 5:30-31)
One of the characteristics of a true Christian and a true church is a love for truth. God’s Word is received like honeycomb even if it announces judgment on the wicked or coming suffering for the righteous. It is truth and it is life-giving and a real child of God hungers and thirsts for it.
Not so with the counterfeit.
Jeremiah was called to announce God’s Word to an apostate “church” in a time when corruption reached right through the prophets and priests of the day. And the people, unregenerate as they were, loved to hear these guys preach. They did not want truth, they wanted lies that all would be well with them in spite of their rebellion against the Lord. Jeremiah had a hard road to travel.
Jeremiah 15:15-16 ESV O LORD, you know; remember me and visit me, and take vengeance for me on my persecutors. In your forbearance take me not away; know that for your sake I bear reproach. (16) Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O LORD, God of hosts.
A professing Christian’s response today to truth is very telling about the real state of his or her soul. Does a local church receive truth or stop its ears to it? There is the telling thing. I don’t just mean the data of the facts of the gospel. True, a real Christian confesses Jesus Christ as Lord, crucified, buried, risen, and coming again. But he also loves truth in general.
One of the truths that Christians must face today is that domestic abusers are hiding among them in disguise. How do they respond? What is their reaction when an abuse victim comes out and tells them who her abuser really is and what he really does when no one is looking? Do they want to know, or do they stop their ears?
Truth, you see. Even if that truth involves the revealing of evil hiding like a snake in the grass, the real Christian who yearns for Christ’s truth and justice, who thirsts to see victims delivered will receive that news and crave to shine further light upon it. The phony? We all know too well what his reaction is. Silence it. Cover it. Deny it. This is the thing that opens a person’s soul to view. Are they a mere whitewash job full of stinking rot inside?
The world is often like this. How many of you, like myself, have ever worked in a place where serious wrongs were taking place out of sight? You tried to set things straight. You told a supervisor perhaps what was going on. You thought they would be thankful. You were wrong. They wanted you to shut up about it and did nothing to the negligent or the perpetrator. You were the one, it seems, who had done the wrong by saying anything. Fantasy, you see, is the preferred mindset of so many people.
But the church. The church is to be different. When it is not, when the church mirrors the world and is really rather indiscernible from it, we must conclude that it is no longer the church, if it ever was. So let’s end by asking and considering this question:
What does the typical, widespread rejection of an abuse victim’s claim that she is being abused by her “christian” husband tell us about the real state of the visible church today? What does the common infliction of injustice upon the victim say about what so often is claiming to be the church of Jesus Christ?
For him who has ears to hear and eyes to see, the answer to those questions is not difficult to sort out.
You must be born again.