Safety in numbers

Earle D. Treptow

Does it bother you that many consider sexual relations outside of marriage natural and appropriate? You’re not alone. There are people around the world convinced that sexual promiscuity does irreparable harm to family and society. Does your blood begin to boil when television commercials portray a homosexual family as normal? You’re not the only one. Others agree that marriage has always been, and always should be, the union of one man and one woman. Do you find yourself disturbed by the cavalier way people speak about a child in the womb as “only a fetus” and nothing more? You’re far from alone. Others share your perspective, contending that abortion is legalized murder.

When the media equates an idea you espouse with the once-firmly-held belief that the world is flat, you may feel all alone. You may feel like you’ve been cast in Elijah’s role in the 21st century—“I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too” (1 Kings 19:10). But the fact of the matter is that you’re not alone in what you believe about marriage and the sanctity of life.

You’re not alone. Call it “safety in numbers.” In fact, one could say that the Lord gave us brothers and sisters in Christian faith for that very purpose. Through them he encourages us to continue to believe what he says in his Word, even if “everybody” supposedly thinks otherwise. The writer to the Hebrews directs us to gather regularly with our fellow believers, not only to be fed with Word and sacrament but also for the sake of encouraging one another to cling to what we believe on the basis of Scripture: “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24,25).

There is safety in numbers

The devil knows that maxim too. He understands how much human beings value the safety found in numbers. That’s why he commissions opinion polls and incites people to favor what God clearly rejects. The enemy of human beings campaigns untiringly for positions contrary to the truths of Scripture. He cloaks lies with respect and liars with the appearance of wisdom so that the world can find safety in numbers: “There are others who think what I think; I’m not alone.”

We need to be careful about where we find safety and security. Don’t look for safety in numbers, in the millions of people who agree with you. Our certainty doesn’t come from the number of people who believe what we do, but from the One who chose to become obedient unto death for us sinners. We find our security in the One who delights to call us brothers and sisters and gladly speaks to the Father in our defense. Our safety comes exclusively from the One who speaks to us through his holy Word. He’s the One who does not, and cannot, lie. What he says is true, even if 65 percent of those surveyed believe the opposite. What he says is spirit and life, even if 84 percent scoff at it.

Find your safety in the One who has taken his seat at the right hand of the Father. He’s the only One that matters!

Contributing editor Earle Treptow, a professor at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, Mequon, Wisconsin, is a member at Calvary, Thiensville, Wisconsin.


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Author: Earle D. Treptow
Volume 103, Number 5
Issue: May 2016

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