With Grace Comes Boldness

Recently I was reading through the book of Daniel; it was the first time I’d read through the whole thing since teaching through it a couple years back (and while it was less than stellar, it was the first book I didn’t completely butcher in small group).

When reading it this time around, I was struck by the boldness of Daniel and his friends.

Take chapter three for example. There, Nebuchadnezzar builds an idol and commands that all worship it whenever they hear “the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music” (v. 5,7), lest they be thrown into the fiery furnace (v.6). Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, exiled Jews who are faithful to the God of Israel and have been appointed over the affairs of Babylon, refuse. Scheming Chaldeans, seeking their downfall, reported their refusal to Nebuchadnezzar, who in his fury commanded that these three be brought to him, and ordered them to worship his idol. If they fail to do so, he will throw them into the furnace.

Their response is amazing:

O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up (v. 16-18).

In other words: “No. We worship Jesus, not a false god. He can save us from the furnace if He chooses; but if He’s decided we’re going to die today, then we die.”

In chapter six, we see another example of this same kind of boldness from Daniel himself. There, after his ego has been thoroughly stroked by conniving officials who are looking for some charge to bring against Daniel, Darius agrees to a proclamation that no one may make petition of any god or man but him for thirty days. Should they do so, they’ll be cast into the den of lions (v. 7).

When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously (v. 10).

Daniel worships God even when it’s been made illegal to do so—and even though it would probably cost him his life.

That’s boldness, the kind that only comes from knowing the grace of God. And it’s a boldness, to be completely honest, that I don’t fully exercise, and I don’t know many who do.

How many of us sit back and do nothing when we see injustice in our workplaces? How many of us compromise on things that ought not be compromised on just to get along?

We see it all the time. We compromise from the pulpit when we won’t talk about sin, Hell, or holiness, nor will we call each other, lovingly, to repentance. We compromise denominationally when we either let our pet legalisms get in the way of godliness, or we start shunning primary doctrinal issues in favor of being “open and affirming.”

I think a lot of us use compromise as an excuse for cowardice. We don’t want to risk losing our jobs by doing what’s right. We don’t want to risk ending a friendship.

We don’t want to risk.

But with boldness, there is a cost. To do what’s right, it might mean we lose our jobs. It might mean hurting someone’s feelings. It might hurt our reputation.

So we have to ask ourselves, on matters of primary importance, is our comfort worth more than holiness?

Do we believe that God will deliver us?

If we stand in His grace confidently, should we not take a risk and speak boldly?

Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did.

Peter, John, Paul and all the Apostles did.

Jesus did.

Imagine what would happen if we did the same.

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  • Le Petit Geant

    I agree with what you use an example in chapters 3 and 6, and would probably do the same. However…

    In a recent post you discussed R.C. Chapman who was a man who strove for peace rather than “fighting” something that we can all agree were some ridiculous rules (unable to be a member or receive communion unless baptized).

    Granted, the examples you have here are based on those who “go against God” in name. Whereas Chapman’s dealings were disagreements within the church. And we can easily make it black and white like that.

    But the reality is that there are a lot of gray areas that come into play. There are a million examples everyday where Christians do the same in subtle ways. What do we do then? Should we not speak up if we feel something is wrong? If that is the case, then everything in the world will get picked apart. So do we not say anything? Then injustice prevails…or does it?

    • http://hardwords.wordpress.com Aaron

      That’s a great point – I definitely don’t think we should make everything a black and white issue, otherwise we might end up thinking silly things like “everyone is apostate but me!” and try to do the “just me and Jesus” thing.

      I think that’s where discernment comes in. My mentor gave me some great advice a while back – when looking at a situation, I need to examine whether a principle, precept or preference has been violated.

      If it’s a preference, just leave it alone. If it’s a precept (basically a secondary issue of doctrine), you can cordially disagree and debate, but it’s not something necessarily to divide over. But on a principle issue, like the Trinity the Virgin Birth, or something that clearly violates what Scripture says… I believe that’s where we need to avoid compromise.

      But in the end, I think a lot of it depends on the person. If your conscience prohibits you from not saying something, then you should say something. It just doesn’t always have to be overly aggressive (which is where I struggle), y’know?

  • Le Petit Geant

    I do know. And I think your last point is something that Christians are the worst at. Because what we believe to be absolute truth, we will communicate that in whatever means we want to, or in other words…not matter angry and emotional we want to be.

    Recently I was struck by 1 Peter 3:15 – “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…”

    The very last part is what we tend to miss. I heard a very popular pastor recently say “no matter how Holy your ultimate message is, it does not justify the way in which you deliver it”. In other words, you could be telling perfect truth, but if you’re a jerkstore about it, you’ve failed.

    (The irony is that this Pastor gets in more trouble because of his mouth than any other pastor i’ve heard of.)

  • http://www.srdesigns.ca Mrs_Strongarm

    I would say I tend to lean in the opposite direction, which is probably why God decided that we’d be married. I’m getting better about expressing my love for Jesus in public, although I honestly don’t have as much to lose as some people.

    I think that holy boldness comes from right motive. Which takes lots of prayer and reading passages like this one.

    • http://hardwords.wordpress.com Aaron Armstrong

      “Holy boldness comes from right motives” is a wonderfully profound statement. Thanks, Emily!