I heard the term “the futility of resistance” several days ago in connection with accepting change in the business world. During my years as a mid-level business manager, we who were in management were constantly encouraged to embrace change and promote its acceptance among our peers, and then to introduce the benefits of said change to those who reported to us.
Some of the changes we were asked to embrace proved over time to be very beneficial, usually in increasing revenue, which is a good thing, while others had questionable value to anyone. We seemed to be, at times, changing only for the sake of change.
However, we in middle management knew not to question too strenuously those changes, even those of questionable value, that were being championed by the highest corporate level of management. To do so would possibly mean the end of our careers, possibly sooner, definitely later. Those changes were going into effect whether we agreed with them or not. In other words, resistance would have been futile.
Resistance to Change
We who are Christians became such because at some point in time we were confronted with spiritual truth, the truth presented in God’s Word. That truth says that “at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12 KJV). With the urging of the Holy Spirit, we became convinced that we were hopelessly lost and in need of a Saviour, Jesus Christ.
We were confronted with the need to change and were convinced that the change would provide immediate as well as eternal benefits, namely life everlasting, the same life that God has (Greek zōḗ, Strong’s 2222). Had we resisted the change, which we could have done by using our God-given free will, we would eventually have faced the consequences of our decisions.
There are millions of people in this world who have been confronted with the same truth that we were, and who resisted it, some many times. God in His mercy, has presented His Truth repeatedly, through the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, to many who continue to this day to resist. I personally know some who were convicted of their sins and could have experienced a powerful conversion.
Their lives would have experienced the change that God wanted them to accept and embrace, but they would not. This is a very dangerous position for a person to place himself or herself in. God is truly merciful and longsuffering, but He will not force His will upon any person. When a man or woman, having been convicted of sin rebels and resists continually, the conscience can eventually become seared and hardened, possibly unable to receive the truth that will bring about the change needed for conversion. A very dangerous place indeed.
Resistance by the World
One does not have to be a genius to understand why the world is in such a terrible mess. It certainly has nothing to do with any failure on God’s part to bring people to repentance and acceptance of His change. The Holy Spirit is continuously moving upon the hearts on men and women to bring them into His family and become His children. And no, all people are not God’s children, only those who have accepted the Lord and have been adopted into the fold can claim that status.
Those who continue to resist are still in the condition described by Paul in Ephesians 2:12 “without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12 ). Their resistance is sending them ever closer to the dangerous place described above, and they will eventually face the consequences of their resistance.
Where Does Resistance Come From?
God’s Word tells us that, shortly after they were created, Adam and eve were confronted by Satan in the form of a serpent who convinced them that it was a good thing to resist God. He may have stated that God would overlook their rebellion and disobedience. Whatever he said, besides what is recorded, he wanted to convince them that the resistance he was championing was a good thing and that they would see great benefits from it.
He obviously convinced them that when it comes to enforcing His Word, God is weak and ineffectual. However, the father of lies knew the futility, as well as the consequences, of resistance to God, having been found guilty of open rebellion against his creator, judged and given his eternal sentence.
We are told that we should yield to God and His word in all situations. But, God’s word also encourages us, in at least one instance, to resist. James, the half-brother of Jesus tells us: “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7 emphasis added).
Wow, what an exciting statement; if we simply resist Satan, he will flee in terror as though he was confronted by Jesus Himself!
Satan has used the same tactic throughout the ages to convince men that they can resist God, live exactly as they choose and not face any consequences. But God has already spoken and settled such matters forever. He has provided the Way, the only Way, to establish a long-lasting relationship with Him, that being through the blood of Jesus. This relationship with God has great, eternal benefits, but resistance to God’s change also has serious, fatal consequences.
Resistance to God’s Plan for Israel
Satan has done a masterful job in convincing many on this earth that God is weak and ineffectual and that they can resist successfully that which He has already decreed. Every Christian should know how blessed we are to have been grafted in to the natural olive tree, having been a part of the wild olive tree and cut off from God. It is only by God’s great mercy and love that he provided the means for our grafting into the natural olive tree of Israel. Does this mean that God has forever cast Israel off without hope of being grafted back in?
As Paul says in Romans in 11:24, “For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree”? No, God is not yet finished with Israel; they are still the apple of His eye and they have a marvelous place in God’s eternal plan.
We who believe can, and should, rejoice that God has not cast off His chosen people forever. Paul explained it this way: (“According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day” (Romans 11:8 ).
The time that God will once again deal directly with Israel as a nation is very close. It behooves us as believers to pray for their conversion and salvation, and to especially pray for the peace of Jerusalem. How marvelous it will be to see the scales lifted from the eyes and the ears opened for all Israel to finally recognize Jesus as their Messiah!
Unfortunately, all the nations that have chosen to resist God and His plan for Israel, and continue to resist, will find that they are determining their eternal destiny unless they repent and get on the side of truth and righteousness and begin to bless the offspring of Abraham.
God Has the Final Word
In a multitude of places in His word, God has indicated that He will not alter the words He has spoken. His decisions are final, He will not be mocked. Just as I would have lost my career by resisting the change from those above me, all who resist God will find themselves forever separated from Him. Unfortunately, they will experience at that time the Futility of Resistance.
Footnote: All Scripture is quoted from the King James Version of the Bible (KJV).