Christ The Divider

February 27, 2021

49 “I came to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already set ablaze! 50 But I have a baptism to undergo, and how it consumes me until it is finished! 51 Do you think that I came here to bring peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. 52 From now on, five in one household will be divided: three against two, and two against three. 53 They will be divided, father against son, son against father, mother against daughter, daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law, and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

Luke 12:49-53

Written by Johnny Mathis from the Brentwood Campus

In the early church of the first century, many Christ followers faced opposition from family members and friends. Thrown out like trash, they were disowned, threatened, and sometimes killed. An early and growing church intervened to gather those disenfranchised ones into families of believers as they were divided from their former life.

Today, Christians around the world still face condemnation, torture, and even murder by friends, families, religions, and nations. What is it about Christ that causes such division and polarization?

The division began in heaven when Lucifer opposed God, and the separation continued with Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. Their rebellion against God ushered in a darkness that has been visited upon us all. God, however, gave us the first promise in Scripture that evil would be defeated by the coming Messiah, Jesus (Genesis 3:15).

In Luke 3:16-17, John the Baptist told his listening crowd that Jesus would baptize people with the Holy Spirit and fire. When we call upon the name of Jesus for salvation, He fills us with His Spirit and burns away our life of sin, setting us apart as His children. But separation comes with a cost. Our former life is put to death, and we are raised to walk in a new way. Each individual who accepts Jesus as Lord will find eternal peace with God, though they will still face earthly trials. Refusal to walk in God’s way brings eternal judgement.

No illusions of false peace and happiness are here. Christ’s mission brought clear division. Controversy, argument, and opposition would come because of the cross. Families would be torn apart because someone turned to Him. You may know of someone who has faced that event, or maybe you’ve heard heartbreaking stories.

How should we respond to this? The cost of following Christ always leads to the cross. It is there that our “old self” was crucified with Christ (Romans 6:6). It is there that we must consider ourselves dead to sin but alive in Christ (Romans 6:2). It is there we crucify our natural inclinations as we walk with Christ as disciples (Luke 9:23). We are no longer a part of this world system (John 15:19) but are instead children of God (1 John 3:1-2). This relationship surpasses all others and is worth any cost demanded of us in this life (Matthew 6:33). This is personal division, and opposition from the outside will follow as you walk with Him.

If you have experienced the compassion, forgiveness, and love of Christ, you understand that opposition will come. It may be subtle at times and very evident at others. Nobody likes trials, suffering, and division, but you don’t have to be afraid. Your reward of faith is Christ Himself—your inheritance and destiny. Not even death can alter that. There is a peace and joy that passes human understanding even in the midst of heartache. Christ overcame the world. His victory is our victory.

Questions to Ask Yourself

  1. Read and meditate on Hebrews 11:31–12:3. Here, you will see that followers of Christ faced the fires of division. Evaluate yourself in the light of these verses. Where are you in your walk with Christ?
  2. Memorize Luke 9:23. Are you willing to pick up your cross daily to follow Christ? How might that look in your life?
  3. Reflect on Romans 8:31-39. Take a few moments and reflect on your life as a Christian. Take note of any opposition you have faced and write it down. Then, pray over them and ask God to help you see through them to reveal His purpose and your victory. As a Christian, you are victorious. In fact, you are more than a conqueror.

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