How to have a strong grip on your holy covering.
Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Wednesday, September 2, 2015
“And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth. But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.” (Revelation 2:12–17).
While I would love to examine the details of the exact nature of the problems going on in Pergamos, it would be more efficient for us to consider some of the basic principles, then apply them, in the short devotional time we have today.
As you can see from our Scripture focus, there was a lot going on in Pergamum. The people of God were facing fierce trials, which would be signified by the martyrdom of Antipas who was killed because he refused to worship the emperor. There had been temples dedicated to cultic worship of false gods, goddesses, and emperors. Part of the tragedy of this is that Pergamum was the religious capital of Asia Minor. Not only this, but during this time in history, Constantine joined the church and the Papacy gained tremendous religio-political momentum in Western Europe. Paganism and Christianity got married, and compromise, as one must expect, was the result. We are still reeling from this even today.
It was commendable that the people of God refused to worship false gods indeed; however, God is depicted as having a problem with His people subsequent to their noble stand. Those who once stood firm for God and could count on His blessings, learned to yield their holy covering by choosing deliberately to commit all sorts of sexually immoral acts and to eat meat sacrificed to idols (which was expressly forbidden). Immorality cheapens us and degrades us to the level of beasts in heat, rather than sexual purity before marriage, and sexual faithfulness in marriage, which portrays a sweet spirituality that God approves. Although the idols were nothing, and the meats may have been clean according to Mosaic Law, Gentile converts could not disassociate the heathen sacrifice from partaking in the meat; therefore, God told the Jewish converts to Christianity as well to abstain for the sake of the consciences of their weaker brothers and sisters. Ignoring God’s counsel with impunity caused the church to strip off their spiritual covering, and position themselves directly into the crosshairs of the wrath of God, if they did not repent.
As was the case with all of the counsels to the seven churches, God made a promise to His sons and daughters in Pergamos. He promised eternal reward and an eternal name in God’s kingdom if they chose to repent and overcome in His strength.
If we do not stay prayed up and full of God’s Word, that which the enemy could not do to us by assault, we do to ourselves by yielding our spiritual covering.
If I did not learn anything from God’s Word to Pergamos that was so strong that it is pictured as coming from His mouth like a two-edged sword, it’s not to rest on my lazy little laurels. As with them, we often experience victory in Christ. We even resist the devil, and he flees for a time. The enemy redoubles his efforts, especially when he cannot get at us through trials and persecution, to insidiously infiltrate with compromise. Compromise can come in countless ways, but it seems that sexual indiscretion is huge in the history of God’s people. Today, we have television shows, Internet sites, novels in the erotica genre, and evil pursuers of our sexual purity. If we do not stay prayed up and full of God’s Word, that which the enemy could not do to us by assault, we do to ourselves by yielding our spiritual covering.
We must never become lackadaisical with our faith. Holiness is about momentary surrender to God, and stark resistance to the enemy’s onslaught. If certain media or friends become an impediment to our faith in God, we must cut them off and flee to our God who has promised to preserve us in holiness if we keep our trust in Him.
A Prayer for Your Hearts:
Lord, please help us never to become so lax that we sacrifice our holiness on the altar of lust. In the name of Jesus I pray, amen.