“For Christ’s love compels us . . .”—2 Corinthians 5:14″It is no part of Christ’s mission to compel men to receive Him. It is Satan and men actuated by his spirit that seek to compel the conscience. Under a pretense of zeal for righteousness, men who are confederate with evil angels bring suffering upon their fellow men in order to convert them to their ideas of religion; but Christ is ever showing mercy, ever seeking to win by the revealing of His love. He can admit no rival in the soul, nor accept of partial service; but He desires only voluntary service, the willing surrender of the heart under the constraint of love. There can be no more conclusive evidence that we possess the spirit of Satan than the disposition to hurt and destroy those who do not appreciate our work, or who act contrary to our ideas” (The Desire of Ages, p. 487).
Christianity has a long history of tactics used to try to compel the consciences of others or to mandate group belief in a list of dogmas. What strikes me in the above statement is the method, by contrast, that Christ is “ever” using. He is ever showing mercy, ever seeking to win our hearts by the silent yet powerful revealing of His everlasting, unchanging love. Yet what’s so bad about applying a little pressure or a little discomfort to try to move another into a belief system that harmonizes with one’s own? The result is dangerous, even satanic. Christianity’s history was outlined in advance in the book of Revelation.
I would like you, dear reader, to consider briefly this week the prophecy found in Revelation, Chapter 6. I would also like you to remember, as you read it, that the definition of “conquer” is to take control by force or authority. Watch the activity of the white horse and its rider and look for what results from its use of a different method other than our Savior’s.
“I looked, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer. [Emphasis supplied]
When He broke the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come.” And another, a red horse, went out; and to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men would slay one another; and a great sword was given to him.
When He broke the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying, “Come.” I looked, and behold, a black horse; and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not damage the oil and the wine.”
When the Lamb broke the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come.” I looked, and behold, an ashen horse; and he who sat on it had the name Death; and Hades was following with him. Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth” (Revelation 6:2-8).
Did you catch the progression? When Christians use force, when we try and control what others believe, when we fail to simply be ever seeking to win through the revelation of love, the results, either in part or in whole, on a small scale or large, are always the same. When the white horse (God’s pure church) uses the principles of force and control (conquering and to conquer), it always leads to a red horse and bloodshed, which, in turn, leads to a black horse and famine for the pure truth of the gospel concerning God’s character, which, in turn, leads to a pale horse and spiritual death for all involved, both within the church and without.
Revelation Chapter 6 is given to us as a warning, dear fellow believer. It is a wake-up call, especially in today’s climate of Christian legislation, to remember that “It is not the fear of punishment, or the hope of everlasting reward that leads the disciples of Christ to follow Him. They behold the Savior’s matchless love, revealed throughout His pilgrimage on earth, from the manger of Bethlehem to Calvary’s cross, and the sight of Him attracts, it softens and subdues the soul. Love awakens in the heart of the beholders. They hear His voice, and they follow Him” (The Desire of Ages p. 480).
This week, why don’t you choose to go against the grain? Regardless of what others around you are doing, won’t you let heaven reveal its LOVE through you, instead? Look for ways you might simply help and bless those whom God brings across your path. Give yourself to heaven to be a channel of its “disinterested benevolence.” You’ll be amazed at how many are won when Christians too are “ever showing mercy, ever seeking to win by the revealing of His love.”