Not Safe

     At the top of a week which saw observations as varied as All-Saints Day, Reformation Day, The Day of the Dead, and Halloween, I was thankful to hear a retelling of a seminal moment in Church history, specifically of the Protestant Reformation — excerpts of the speeches and prayers of Reformer Martin Luther. His famous, oft-quoted, closing words, that “…to act against one’s conscience is neither right nor safe…” struck me with even greater force than it previously had, as I was compelled to examine the profundity of Luther’s grasp of what constitutes SAFETY.

     There he stood, at the mercy of  a Council and authorities determined to incinerate not only his writings but his very person, yet he directed them to consider the danger he would be in should he violate the truths he had become convinced of, by the Scriptures, regarding God, Mankind and Christian faith.

     My local fellowship’s current focus on the book of Daniel was without doubt informing my own reflections here, and I cannot help but believe that that prophetic book’s great testimony had also informed Luther’s as he answered at the Diet of Worms. He, like the young Hebrew exiles, held firmly in his grasp the reality that burning to death while tied to a stake, being thrown into a den of hungry lions or cast into a fiery furnace was rather to be chosen than the eternally self-destructive action of denying the integrity and basis of the regenerating, transformative experiences of the soul that has tasted fellowship with the true and living God.

     And though there is a literal hell to shun, with its attendant physical tortures, heeding Luke’s counsel in chapter 12:4-5,
“And I say to you My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.
But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say, to you, fear Him!”,

their faithfulness (unto death!) was fueled by this even greater compelling motive:
     These, like Moses, of the throng chronicled in Hebrew’s Hall of Faith, were fortified by, “..esteeming the reproach of Christ as greater…for (they) looked to the reward…not fearing the wrath of the king(s); for (they) endured as seeing Him who is invisible”. ( chapter 11:26-27). A simple search in Strong’s concordance revealed that word ”looked” to be rooted in the Greek word ‘apoblepo’ – to look away from everything else in order to look intently on one object. The glimpse, which once engaged, grips you (like a ‘tractor beam’ of sci-fi films!) and locks you forever in the Gaze of the Terribly Beautiful One.

     It makes me feel the urgency, in these threatening times of our day, to check to see what has my conscience “held captive” – does the Invisible One have my gaze? And as we remember our suffering fellow believers this Sunday, marking the International day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, may our repentance, praise, petitions and supplications, indeed our very lives, be grounded in the SAFETY known only by captives of His Love as revealed in Jesus Christ of the Scriptures.

Author: Denise S. Armstrong

I am Denise Stair Armstrong - worshipper. My purpose is to glorify God by enjoying Him in all of His Creation, among His People, His Bride, the Church; accentuating His glorious Bridge of reconciliation — the Cross of Jesus Christ — through words laced with His Truth, and cast abroad in the world He loves, and died and lives again to save. I was born and raised Jamaican, where I also received my formal education at Shortwood Teachers' College and the University of the West Indies, specializing in English Language & Literatures in English. The remainder of my education was gained by homeschooling our three wonderful children (Joseph, Charis, and Timothy) and parenting them with my husband Claude. My passion is worship expressed primarily through writing inspirational pieces that urge readers not to miss how much the Lord has "cramm'd earth with heaven", to quote Elizabeth Barrett Browning. My heart is to encourage community, in the best sense of the word, through exalting the cross of Calvary. I enjoy reading, writing, cooking, gardening, theatre and ballroom dancing (only with Claude!) and digging into the Word of God.

5 thoughts on “Not Safe”

  1. Denise, I have a friend in California who co pastors a church and instead of the obligatory \”Harvest Festival\” or Trunk or Treat events, their church had a Reformation night. They told the story of Martin Luther, complete with a re enactment, as well as serving the community a meal. Now that's an awesome way to celebrate October 31st.Excellent reminder here about ALL the people around the world who are persecuted for their faith.


  2. Wow, Jody, that is a wonderful way to celebrate at this time of year that was once used to honor those faithful ones who have gone on. Our family did and stil does commemorate Reformation day too, with whoever is home (sniff!)


  3. Denise, thank you for this! While I love the Lewis line about Aslan (\”Of course he's not safe, but he's good\”), I think we misunderstand safety if we think God is not safe. No, not safe in the comfortable sense of the word, not safe in the nothing-bad-will-happen sense of the word. But as you point out, absolutely safe in His arms of love, absolutely held in the palms of His hands–this is, as you say, the \”safety known only by captives of His Love as revealed in Jesus Christ of the Scriptures.\” Thank you so much for this much-needed reminder of where our true safety lies. I am so glad and grateful you are blogging!!!


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