It was reported recently how another high school football player was penalized for gesturing with a thankful finger to God after the player, Pedro Banda, had scored a touchdown.
Pointing skyward to God was part of the reason Banda was ejected from that game by the officials, and initially banned from participating in the next playoff game.
Though the incident may seem insignificant, it rather points to the larger concern that Christians these days are very much criticized for openly speaking or demonstrating their faith in God. Anti-God elitists want professing Christians to shut up about God. Are the contemporary intimidations and rulings being effective over Christians?
But, there is one thing that Christian people need to remember with confidence and hope: God will vindicate the faith of the saints. In other word, God is presently verifying and will verify in the future that a person putting their faith in God is the right thing to do. I find that reality both encouraging and comforting.
As a matter of fact, the Psalmist indicates that people who express their faith in God will eventually have the opportunity to laugh at those who ridiculed faith in God. “The righteous shall see, and fear, and laugh at him: Lo, this is the man that made not God his strength … that strengthened himself in his wickedness,” wrote the Psalmist.
Why is God so willing to vindicate the faith of the saints? It primarily has to do with the premises of God’s plan of salvation through faith in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ.
First, reception of God’s salvation starts with trust in God because of the Cross, which even the Bible admits is offensive to worldly thinkers. Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son, died for our sins on the Cross. That fact goes against the grain of God rejecters. It implies that they are not gods themselves, because through the Cross and Christ’s death God did something they cannot do for themselves. It verifies that they — as well as all — are sinners in need of salvation.
But, Christians are those who have trusted the redemptive power of Jesus Christ on the Cross. They have put their faith in God that Jesus Christ has done all that is necessary for one to be set right with God. God rejecters do not like giving any credit to God as it relates to the Cross, and despise those who do. However, God will make sure that those who have trusted in Him will be openly vindicated for their faith in all that the Cross of Jesus Christ stands for. God will not allow the people of faith to go un-vindicated.
Second, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is a key part to God’s plan of salvation. Those who seek salvation are required to believe whole-heartedly something that is humanly impossible. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is just that expectation. God will vindicate the Christian because of their trust in Him for accomplishing powerfully the Resurrection through Jesus Christ after His death on the Cross for our sins.
Third, it boils down to whom the Christian has rejected and with whom the Christian has identified. By accepting God’s plan of salvation, the Christian has rejected the deceptions and downfalls of the devil, and has decided to identify with God. Among the ranks of the country’s God rejecters is that innate desire that we all be the same in terms of association with evil and disassociation with God. Insistence on putting down expressions of faith is clearly reactionary anger because God rejecters do not want Christians to be different from them. That is a fact.
Is it not incredulous that so many are having their feelings hurt because Christians want to glorify God and promote faith in God? Is it not comedic that so many feel that “their constitutional rights” are being threatened and/or violated because Christians are openly thankful to the God of Israel, the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ? You would not think that it would be such a big deal.
But, I tell you what it is. It is conviction. They do not want to be confronted with conviction about God — and that makes me want to snicker.
The Rev. Ron Branch is pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va.