In Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians, he writes to believers living in the Roman capital of the province of Asia. As such it was an important center of commerce, education, and politics. And Ephesus was marked by its profoundly pagan culture, as the magnificent temple of Artemis (Diana), considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, adorned the great city.
In his concluding exhortation, Paul urges the Ephesians (and us) to put on the full armor of God:
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm" (Ephesians 6:10-13; emphasis added).
We who are followers of Jesus Christ, trusting Him as Savior and Lord, also find ourselves living in an increasingly pagan culture. The Judeo-Christian consensus—prevailing since the founding of America—has seemingly evaporated in our day.
In past generations, practitioners of witchcraft, satanism, and black magic were seen as shadowy figures ensconced in disreputable cults. Today they have websites and marketing strategies. Human life, as in pagan times, is now disposable based upon convenience. Biblical Christians are deemed haters by the enlightened souls at the Southern Poverty Law Center. Amazon makes millions selling Bibles on the one hand, while seeking to abridge religious liberty on the other. Governments abridge religious freedom by fiat, using the coronavirus pandemic as cover. And internet gatekeepers have anointed themselves the arbiters of freedom—the new book-burners of our time.
Yet, Americans alive today are the blessed beneficiaries of a distinctly Christian national heritage—whether they realize it or not. For each of our beloved freedoms (that we often take for granted) we stand on the shoulders of giants, of patriots—many of whom gave the last full measure of their devotion in defense of those freedoms.
In fighting to preserve America’s heritage of spiritual freedom and prosperity, we seek the welfare of others above our own. Like our forebears, we seek the glory of God and the advancement of His kingdom—because the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only hope of mankind. We seek American renewal, because in her welfare lies the welfare of uncounted millions.
The history of America is like the history of the Christian church—a miraculous birth, followed by spiritual strength and prosperity, but periodically troubled by weakness of faith, timidity, and forgetfulness. But each falling away is succeeded by a Spirit-led revival and renewal, when the people of God remember the heights from which they have fallen and return to the standard of their Great King and Savior.
And in spite of the seeming chaos of our day, America remains that solitary City on a Hill, shining the light of freedom before a world that yet sees us as the last best hope of mankind. Like our forebears, we must be a people of hope, active in defense of freedom—even as we also look forward to a City with Foundations whose architect and builder is God.
Stand for Truth and Freedom
Yes, we do seem to be entering a new rising of “this present darkness.” And as Yogi Berra is purported to have said: “It’s déjà vu all over again.” But having put on the full armor of God, we must stand firm against this present darkness in the power of the Holy Spirit—for the sake of the Kingdom of God.
Writing from his jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. reminded us:
"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
Now is the time for the men and women who name Christ as Savior and King to stand for truth and defend freedom, because America is a nation worth fighting for.
Frank Wright, Ph.D., is President and CEO of D. James Kennedy Ministries, DJKM.org.