Where Is “This Faith” Found?
AMONG the many illustrations Jesus gave to drive home the points he was making was one that stressed the need of faith and persistence in prayer. It told of a certain judge who neither feared God nor respected man and whom a certain widow continually troubled with the plea to have justice rendered to her. Finally this judge said: “Although I do not fear God or respect a man, at any rate, because of this widow’s continually making me trouble, I will see that she gets justice, so that she will not keep coming and browbeating me to death.”—Luke 18:1-5, NW.
Making application of this illustration Jesus assured his hearers that if an unrighteous judge would give heed to the continual pleading of this widow, “certainly, then, shall not God cause justice to be done to his chosen ones who cry aloud to him day and night, even though he is long-suffering toward them? I tell you, He will cause justice to be done to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man arrives, will he really find this faith on the earth?”—Luke 18:6-8, NW.
How is this faith that God will cause justice to be done to his chosen ones manifested? Merely by continuing in prayer? No, but rather primarily by continuing in a faithful course of action, for should one compromise to avoid persecution he would no longer have any need to pray to God to have justice done. One who compromises to avoid persecution shows that he does not believe that God will cause justice to be done to his servants; and, more than that, thereby he loses his evidence of being one of God’s Christian ministers. As Paul wrote Timothy, “All those desiring to live with godly devotion in association with Christ Jesus will also be persecuted,” even as Paul was. That Paul considered being persecuted as evidence of one’s being a Christian minister is also seen from his second letter to the Corinthians: “Are they ministers of Christ? . . . I am more outstandingly one: in labors more plentifully, in prisons more plentifully, in stripes to an excess, in near-deaths often.”—2 Tim. 3:12; 2 Cor. 11:23-27, NW.
Paul, by thus enduring persecution, showed that he had faith that God would cause justice to be done, and so did the others in his day who, like him, continued faithful in spite of stress. But what about our day? Where is this faith to be found? Among the highly respected organized religions? In answer consider the course of the Polish bishops who in December, 1953, signed an oath pledging allegiance to the Polish People’s Republic and that they would not do anything against its interests, and concerning which the Vatican organ L’Osservatore stated:
“The reports that the Polish Bishops have taken an oath must be judged against the background of the general climate that has been created in these last months. . . . Violence and falsehood, perfidy and hypocrisy, blandishments and blackmail are closely interwoven to oppress the Church. An oath taken under such conditions is objectively invalid. . . .”
The point the Vatican organ makes may be true from a technically legal standpoint, but may it not well be asked, If the bishops really had “this faith” would they have yielded under the pressure of violence and blackmail, or succumbed to Communist hypocrisy, perfidy, falsehood and blandishments and signed that compromising oath?
In view of the foregoing incident, which may be said to be quite typical, must the answer to Jesus’ question as to whether upon arriving he would find “this faith” upon the earth be in the negative? Not at all. No? Then where can “this faith” be found? The 1954 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses gives eloquent reports of integrity-keeping in Iron Curtain countries as well as in other totalitarian lands, such as the Dominican Republic.
For instance, in East Germany the Communists have sneered, “We shall see who can hold his breath the longest,” and upward of two thousand witnesses of Jehovah have been arrested and at the present time more than a thousand are still incarcerated, with an average prison sentence of six and three-quarters years each. Has this caused them to compromise in the slightest? It has not.
For another striking example of Christians’ having “this faith,” note the report from Poland: “In this fight for peace no one should feel too young or too old, even a six-year-old child or a man of a hundred years can successfully engage in this battle if he but wishes to. Such do not worry about the loss of their health or even their life and they have overcome the fear of police clubs and of prisons. The enemy’s purpose is to stop the work by arresting the leaders of this wonderful movement for freedom [but] in spite of all we are constantly endeavoring to improve the organization and setting new quotas, which we have not only been reaching but even surpassing. . . . You do not need to worry about us, because our older brothers reared us carefully and we are able to take care of ourselves in all the problems of life in spite of the fact that we are young.”
More reports could be quoted from the Yearbook but the foregoing should suffice to prove that at the present time there are Christians on earth who have such strong faith that God will cause justice to be done to them that they ‘do not worry about the loss of their health or even their life and have overcome the fear of police clubs and of prisons.’ The Communist tactics of violence and blackmail, perfidy and hypocrisy, falsehood and blandishments that have been so effective against the Polish bishops have proved futile when directed against the Christian witnesses of Jehovah.