It is essential to see that Christian persecution is not being led forth in all glory with a bleacher full of fellow believers rooting for you and encouraging you to stand firm. Although if one pulled back the spiritual veil you would see a great cloud of witnesses doing just that, but here upon the earth … I am afraid it will be much more sinister. I believe that most of us have no idea what it feels like to be treated like a criminal. Most of us would not want to even imagine it, but we must seriously think about it. Don’t think for a minute that Christian persecution is anything different than being treated like a criminal. Christians since the beginning have been persecuted not because they were nice loving people but because they were perceived to be criminals of the first order. We have seen this for two thousand years beginning with our Lord Jesus Christ who was arrested on the charges of blasphemy and accused of sedition against the Roman Empire for claiming to be a King. This was followed by the early Christians being accused of being cannibals for eating the flesh of Jesus and drinking His blood during their love feast. Then Rome justified their persecution by claiming that they were arsons, burning down a section of the city, which destroyed homes and businesses of their fellow citizens. As I have already written Christians were also persecuted on the charge of sedition for claiming to follow another King rather than Caesar as lord.
As we follow the trail of martyrs up through the present day, in each case they were not persecuted for being peace loving people but for some drummed up charges against humanity. Christians throughout the centuries were burned at the stake, sawed into, hung, drowned, decapitated, and their books burned not because they were God fearing people, but because they were accused of breaking the law of the land and threatening the security of an empire. In every case Christian persecution was precipitated on charges of unlawful behavior by garnering public opinion in the favor of the persecutors over the persecuted. This truth was self evident even with the death of our Lord by allowing the crowd to cast their public opinion for or against. To this day and down through the annals of history we hear that heart-stopping cry: “Crucify Him!” “Crucify Him!” One cannot overemphasize the importance of public opinion. This matters much to those in power so the mass media and social networks are being manipulated to lead the world’s population to garner the right opinion or the accepted opinion of the establishment.
For those living in a free society with certain inalienable rights it’s even harder to imagine how we could be arrested as a lawbreaker and treated as a criminal. But as the laws change, public opinion changes, and Christianity is put more in the crosshairs then we need to do more than imagine. We need to prepare! To be arrested on bogus charges will be enough to send most into a state of panic and uncontrollable fear. For those who have never broken a law and have always strived to live a holy life you might question how can this happen to me. As the handcuffs bite into your wrist and your rights are read we must stay calmly focused on the risen Lord remembering that nothing can separate us from the love of God. As public opinion mounts against you for breaking one of their laws, we must remember that there is a higher law that must be obeyed, the law of non-retaliation, making the good confession, and enduring patiently. We must ask ourselves will we be supportive when a Christian is arrested by the state for breaking one of their laws and join the masses in his condemnation or will we look deeper into the matter than public opinion or shall we cry out. “Crucify Him!” “Crucify Him!”
Be not afraid of what they do against our bodies for if we are serving the Lord righteously then we will be blessed beyond this life. Remember, the words of our Lord Jesus Christ who said, “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10). To be blessed is to be truly happy in the Lord. Although, our body may be slain our spirit will sing wonderfully unto the Lord. Even if we are mocked for our refusal to abide by their laws we will rejoice in our heart that we are counted worthy to serve Him in the midst of our suffering. Even if they slander us for not following their ways we will remain happy in the Lord as we share the wisdom of God’s way which brings true light to a dark world. Even if we are insulted for not following their counsel we will rejoice that God’s beautiful counsel brings true life to a lifeless world. Remember the words of our Lord, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:11-12). We must continue to preach and teach the word of truth even if their laws forbid it and place us under arrest as a criminal. “We must obey God rather than men!” Preaching the truth also points to the hideous sins of our society approved by their laws and championed by public opinion. One clear example to this is the latest law in California that allows transgender students to pick bathrooms and sports teams they identify with from kindergarten to 12th grade.
Copyright © 2013 Rev. Daniel W. Blair
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