... But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:11b
Have you ever noticed how hard unbelievers work so that they might dismiss Christianity and the Savior it shares?
Believe me when I tell you that is nothing new.
For example, in the seventh century, the same thing happened when a great drought gripped the city of Baghdad. The Islamic leaders ordered that prayers be sent forth to Allah asking for rain. The faithful prayed, but the drought continued.
Later, the Jews of the city were allowed to add their prayers. The pleas of both parties proved unproductive, and the drought became worse. Then, with the possibility of famine becoming a probability, the Christians, whom the locals referred to as "dogs," were also, reluctantly, asked to pray.
No sooner had the Christians started praying than torrents of rain descended.
To most of the folks who were watching the progress of the prayers being offered, something seemed to be wrong. They wanted to know why did God answer the prayers of Christians?
It didn't take too long for an explanation to be made -- a convoluted explanation. In translation this is basically what the experts said: "The God of our prophet was highly pleased by the prayers of the faithful, which were as sweet-smelling savors to Him. He refused their requests in order to prolong the pleasure of listening to those prayers. But the prayers of those Christian infidels were an abomination to Him, and He granted their petitions, the sooner to be rid of their loathsome prayers."
That is just one example of how for almost 2,000 years the world has tried to deny, erase and explain away the salvation won by our Savior.
Today, we see other religions, atheists, agnostics and governments trying to push the living Lord back into His tomb. Even many pulpits no longer preach Christ crucified and risen.
In spite of all their best efforts, the Savior has not been stopped, nor has His story been silenced. Christianity continues to grow because the Holy Spirit still is using Word and Sacrament to accomplish His purposes.
By His power helpless hearts and sinful souls are being brought to a knowledge that their sins are forgiven by the substitutionary sacrifice made by the Savior. One-time doubters and long-term deniers are still finding out, even as St. Paul wrote, we are "justified in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God."
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, in spite of what the world may say, we know and believe that only in Jesus can our sins be forgiven and our eternal destiny be changed. Today I pray You will be with the many people who are working so very hard at denying salvation through the Savior. Let them see the error of their ways, while they still have time to repent. This I ask in Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries