“These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble. They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me. But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them. And these things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you.” John 16:1-4 NKJV
Just a little bit scary, and yet, looking through history, Christians have been persecuted since the beginning. I don’t think I would be very brave in the face of real, physical persecution; I’m afraid I would be like Peter when he denied knowing Jesus. Every day, Christians face persecution from the enemy in the form of illness, job loss, failed relationships, financial hardships, and more, but we know that we share these difficulties with the world. See, I think the enemy wants us and the world think that we are all the same; that we are deluding ourselves and them by thinking we are different. In one very important way, and the only one that makes a difference is the reality that we have accepted Jesus as our LORD and Saviour. That single difference sets us up in the eyes of the enemy as targets. He hates to see people accept Christ! His goal is to fool as many people as possible to him as the superior over Jesus, and in doing so, sets us up for persecution and – he hopes – defeat.
He can’t do it. Defeat belongs to the enemy, not to the LORD.
Are you prepared for persecution? Have you thought about being physically persecuted, like Peter, Paul, or Stephen, or like countless of our contemporaries in other, non Christian nations? Even here, in a country founded on Christian values, we are daily facing attacks, mostly nonphysical (for now), but there are starting to be more and more incidents of physically targeting Christians. What do you think these church shootings are about?
I believe in a strong response whenever possible, but I concede that the time is coming where we will be put into situations of having to choose between defending Christianity, or giving in to the enemy.
“It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain. If anyone has an ear, let him hear. If anyone is destined for captivity, to captivity he goes; if anyone kills with the sword, with the sword he must be killed. Here is the perseverance and the faith of the saints.” Revelation 13:7-10 NASB
Where is your name written?