Meditation for Monday

Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. Hebrews 12:4

Ancient Greek boxers had two stages to their competitions. In the first stage, the boxers used rope wrappings on their fists, which could help deliver a severe blow but which usually did not cut the person who was struck. In the second stage, the boxers had metal and other sharp objects woven into the rope, and blood was often drawn. As a result, the first stage of competition was not usually bloody, while in the second stage, the boxers would often be covered in blood. This what the Apostle is referring to here as he speaks of resisting unto blood, the more gory and brutal part of the struggle.

According to About.com, some 160,000 Christians die every year for their faith. Now, that number is rather skewed because it includes all members of all groups who call themselves Christians. But it is probably safe to say that about half of those – or 80,000 – are true believers who perish at the hands of those who are enemies of the cross. That is an astonishing number, when we consider how safe we in our civilized society are from even the remotest harrassment for our faith. Those dear folks have indeed resisted unto blood. Although none of them volunteered to die, they allowed themselves to be put into harm’s way in order to be faithful to the Word of God, to be involved in the spread of the Gospel, or to take a stand against sin. We cringe at the realization that many of these dear saints endured torture before they died. But we rejoice at the knowledge that they entered into comfort and great reward for their sacrifice. And we blush at the realization that we are not only glad that we are not faced with similar threats but that we could possibly fail if we were to be.

Like the folks being addressed in the epistle, we have not resisted unto blood because we have not been asked to. God has not called us to be martyrs, at least not yet. We serve in a venue where safety and comfort are the norm, and risks are slight. But that does not excuse us from faithfulness. That does not prevent us from standing up for godliness and decency in a world awash in immorality and blasphemy. It does not keep us from heralding the Gospel and supporting those who carry the Word to the unsaved. It does not keep us from gathering with the people of God for fellowship, worship, and edification.

While we are thankful that we need not resist unto blood, we ought to be as faithful as those who do. – Jim MacIntosh

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