Seminary Viewpoints

Contend for God’s Justice in Perilous Times

Jason Ormiston | February 24, 2022
Theology Thursday

Excerpted and adapted from Jason Ormiston’s session at the 2022 BJU Bible Conference and discussed on The Steve Noble Show on Feb. 24.

If you have been paying even the slightest attention to current events over the past year and a half, you can’t help but ask, “What in the world is happening?” Division, tension and absolute chaos displaying the depravity of man have wreaked havoc across the country.

My family and I have experienced this chaos first-hand in Minneapolis — the scene of George Floyd’s death and consequently some of the most intense riots — where I have succeeded my dad as senior pastor of Family Baptist Church.

In 2020, a building burned to the ground a block from my parents’ house. A young woman was murdered on their front lawn. They have held their shotgun ready as bullets were flying around their house. And just the other week, the murder of a local star high school football player rocked our community to the core. Members of our church know people who know his family.

What can we tell our churches and communities facing this chaos, destruction and abuse of power to do? What should we do? While everyone is picking sides, we must pick a side as well: the side of God’s justice.

In fact, 2 Timothy 3:1-9 calls us to contend for God’s justice by taking three steps of action:

Wake up and accept the reality of these perilous times.

We need to stop bemoaning our current situation because the fact is we live in a sin-cursed world that will only get worse (2 Tim. 3:13). However, continue to cling to the hope that God is and has been at work, reviving hearts at Pentecost, the Great Awakenings, and beyond. He has the power to break through our hearts to impact those around us — but only once we accept the facts.

Heed God’s answer for chaos: discernment.

We are constantly threatened by false teachers and ideas that creep into our churches. Timothy calls us to avoid those people (2 Tim. 3:5) and the ideas they promote (2 Tim. 3:2-5). This responsibility requires us to practice much discernment. Notice how these ideologies that Timothy lists are translated today:

  • “Lovers of their own selves and covetous”: Love yourself and money to find happiness.
  • “Boasters and proud”: It’s all about me.
  • “Blasphemers and disobedient to parents”: Do whatever it takes to establish dominance.
  • “Unthankful and unholy”: Don’t be content; never settle for what’s right in front of you.
  • “Without natural affections and trucebreakers”: Be heartless and unappeasable. Don’t cloud your judgment with compassion; you can never have enough.
  • “False accusers and incontinent”: Say and do whatever it takes to get advantage over your opponents.
  • “Fierce and despisers of those that are good”: Take off your gloves and hit below the belt.
  • “Traitors and heady”: Betray those close to you and recklessly seize the moment.
  • “Highminded and lovers of pleasures”: Be insanely confident and do whatever makes you happy.
  • “Having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof”: Remain socially acceptable and politically correct.

Do you recognize how popular these values are? Beware! These are the same ideologies behind recent and current rioting that infiltrate our churches and undermine the Gospel.

Focus on the family.

Once we accept the facts and learn discernment, Timothy calls us to protect and preserve both biological families and our spiritual family (2 Tim. 3:6-9). By caring for these families, we prioritize what God does, open avenues for ministry and ultimately put ourselves in place to protect them from hypocrites infiltrating the church. Commit yourself to investing in the local church and reaching families in the community.

Are you ready to answer these calls to action? We need to lead our fellow worn-out believers who are desperately looking for the strength to keep going. We must run at these problems, not away from them, because we have the solution in the Gospel. So embrace today’s great Gospel opportunities now and contend for God’s justice.