Daily Devotion: Wednesday
Psalm of the Day: Psalm 119:113-120
Wisdom of the Day: Job 40:13-24
Scripture Reading: Luke 9:51-56
Let us notice what a solemn rebuke our Lord gives to persecution carried on under guise of religion. We are told that when James and John made the strange proposal on which we have just been dwelling, "He turned and rebuked them, and said: You know not what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of man has not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them."
Uncourteous as the Samaritan villagers had been, their conduct was not to be repaid by violence. The mission of the Son of man was to do good, when men would receive Him, but never to do harm.
Nothing can be imagined more contrary to the will of Christ than the religious wars and persecutions which disgrace the annals of Church history. Thousands and tens of thousands, have been put to death for their religion's sake all over the world. Thousands have been burned, or shot, or hanged, or drowned, or beheaded in the name of faith; and those who have slain them, have actually believed that they were doing God service! Unhappily, they have only shown their own ignorance of the spirit of the Gospel, and the mind of Christ.
Let it be a settled principle in our minds, that whatever men's errors may be in religion, we must never harm or persecute others. Let us, if needful, argue with them, reason with them, and try to show them a more excellent way. But let us never take up worldly weapons to promote the spread of truth. Let us never be tempted to persecute any man, under pretense of the glory of Christ and the good of the Church.
Let us rather remember, that the religion which men profess from fear of death, or dread of penalties is worth nothing at all; and that if we swell our ranks by fear and threatening, in reality we gain nothing. "The weapons of our warfare," says Paul, "are not carnal" (2 Corinthians 10:4). The arguments that we use must not be sword, or fire, or prison, but doctrines, and precepts, and texts. It is a quaint and homely saying, but as true in the Church as it is in the army, that "one volunteer is worth ten men who have been pressed into service."
Prayer for the Day: Dear Lord, help me learn the Scriptures more so I can teach others the truth.
Action Plan: Make a list of modern religions that either have a history of violence or still practice violence. How is Biblical Christianity different?
This devotional was taken from The Gospel of Luke by J.C. Ryle published in 1858
and adapted by Pastor Tim Lewis of New England Shores Baptist Church.