"Persecution and Pressure"
August 3, 2015
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:37-39
The quote that follows is the kind of thing that might be said by any leader of any religion, which is trying to reach people. This is what was said:
"We are moving ahead with our initiative, and more families from other religions will be reconverted ... soon. We are being approached by many people who want to come back to their original faith."
Sounds good, doesn't it?
Does it still sound just as good if I tell you those words were reported by The Times of India newspaper, and they were spoken by a leader of the Hindu faith? In the article he was describing a successful program that seems to be having some serious tug on the lower echelon of that country's society.
And what is this successful program that is referred in the quote?
Very simply, the Dalits, the low-caste "untouchables" of India, are being told they will receive government assistance if they say they are Hindu.
That's right; the 25 million Dalits are pretty much locked into their social position and have little hope of ever changing their own lives -- or that of their children. But now they are being told there is hope. They are being assured there are government benefits that will open up to them if they denounce Christianity and say they are Hindu.
It's quite a decision.
These untouchables must figure out whether they wish to be faithful to Jesus and thereby condemn their family to ongoing poverty or renounce Jesus, claim to be a Hindu, and receive financial assistance.
It's not the kind of decision I would want to face.
Consider if the decision just affected you, it might be an easy thing to decline the money, remain faithful to the Savior, and endure the scorn of society, but India's program makes it so you are deciding the future of your children.
For most people that would be an incredibly hard choice.
My friends, there are many evil forces at work in our world today. There are the bloodthirsty swordsmen of ISIS, and now there are the subtle government temptations of India. All are trying to separate Jesus' people from their Redeemer.
This is why we need to pray for these folks. We need to ask the Holy Spirit to give them faith, which stands firm in the day of temptation, and we need to ask for that same kind of faith for ourselves.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, You remained faithful to the cause which took You to the cross and saved my soul. Grant that the persecuted church around the world may be the church victorious. This I ask in the Savior's Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries