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“Conditional and Unconditional”
by Francis Rue Steele   
August 13th, 2020

The whole matter is summarized thus by the Lord: “These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). The first statement is conditional “ye might have.” The second is unconditional “ye shall have.” If we fail to understand the principles under which God is operating in this present world, we may well feel distraught and upset by our experiences. However, if we understand we may enjoy the tranquility of soul which resting in the promises and providence of God affords. Our enjoyment of His peace is conditioned by our accepting His will. But in either case we shall experience tribulation; this is inescapable. This is the unavoidable situation confronting Christians because, in the very nature of things, there must be conflict between light and darkness, good and evil, the Christian and the world just as there is between God and Satan. There is no possibility of “peaceful co-existence” between righteousness and unrighteousness.

It is more difficult for those of us who live in North America to appreciate this fact than for those Christians who live among hostile Muslim people in North Africa. The atmosphere of religious respectability and material abundance here at home blinds us to the real world outside. We are easily deceived into equating our social and material comfort with the privileges and benefits we believe are rightfully ours by virtue of our being Christian. If so, however, we are ignorant of two facts. (1) For the first few centuries of its life the whole Christian church was despised and persecuted by the world and (2) the majority of our Christian Brothers and Sisters living outside our artificial environment are still living under extreme hardship and severe persecution even today.

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