July 28, 2012

1 Timothy 2:5-6 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men–the testimony given in its proper time.

I would say that this is the most important Scripture in the whole Bible for ministering in a polytheistic society like Japan. Frankly, a great many Japanese choke on it. Truth be told, there is so much deception in the world today, a great many Americans choke on it as well. However, this is hardly a new problem. Through the centuries the devil has been telling people who were attracted to Christ, “OK, just take Jesus and …” The “and” here being any other religious system at all. Japan calls itself “The land of 8 million gods,” and the idea of monotheism seems both absurd and dangerous to many. The danger, as they see it, is in religious conflicts and wars, which they see dramatically illustrated in Islam’s violence toward Judaism and Christianity. I have had many Japanese who wanted to add Jesus to their “god shelf,” to to speak, and turned away when they learned it can’t work that way. In America, the Unitarians have even made a church out of syncretism (combining elements of different religions)! Actually, there are several Japanese “new religions” (from the 20th century and newer) that do the same thing. In America today, it is no longer “politically correct” to insist that anything is absolute truth, and the devil rejoices.

I deal with this issue every day, but so does every Christian in the world, whether they realize it or not. Even Jesus warned that in these last days, the devil would be doing all he could to deceive even those chosen by God. (Matthew 24:24) I must not back off of proclaiming the truth of these two verses, but at the same time I must not think that I can save anyone by my own wisdom and strength. I am to be faithful in prayer and faithful in witness, holding myself available so as to be easy for God to use in drawing others into right relationship to Himself. The Bible gives plenty of ammunition for the fight, so I need to be well supplied there. And through it all, I must remember that God is indeed God, and His plans will ultimately be fulfilled, on His schedule for His glory, so I am not to be discouraged whatever things look like at a given moment.

Father, thank You for the enormous advantage of growing up in a family that believed and acted on this truth. I ask You to use me so that more and more people will accept it and so be set free, (John 8:32) for their salvation and Your glory, Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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