Thought for Thursday

And in nothing terrified by your adversaries, which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God. Philippians 1:27

In his book Evidence that Demands a Verdict, Lee Stroebel declares that one of the greatest proofs of the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the confidence of the early Christians, particularly the disciples. These folks were willing to lay down their lives to proclaim the message of eternal life through the risen Lord. Stroebel’s point was that, though some might be willing to die for a lie that they believed was true, nobody would be willing to die for something they knew was a lie. Therefore, those disciples and early saints were telling the truth when they declared that they had seen the Lord Jesus after His resurrection, and courageously accepted death rather than recant. They had seen Him, and so they knew the resurrection was true. We have not seen Him in the flesh, but we have the eyewitness accounts, and we can believe them. This should give us confidence in the face of our adversaries.

Although our lives are not threatened here in North America for our faith, we still have plenty of adversaries. Many would oppose, or at least ignore, the preaching of the Gospel. Many would take offense at a Christian’s stand against the murder of the unborn, the promotion if homosexuality, the willful disregard for morality and decency in today’s society. If we live for God, we will be targeted for ridicule and discrimination. Satan will see to it that we are harassed by his minions. But Paul reminds us that we should not let these things terrify us, because our testimony is proof that the enemies are facing destruction while we are sheltered by God’s salvation.

This is why some missionary martyr stories that seem to us to be tragedies are really triumphant victories by those who allowed God to replace the terror with confidence. This is why Heaven rejoices at all the dear saints – unknown to us – who face death bravely today in the prison camps of communist China and North Korea, before the cursed Sharai law courts of Mohammedanism, and under the Hindu death squads of India. This is why you and I can place our trust firmly in the God Who calls us to serve and follow Him and Who assures us of a righteous recompense if we do so.

The enemies’ terrors today are but a reminder of the glorious morrow that awaits us in Jesus’ presence. Service and suffering for Him is worth it all. -Jim MacIntosh

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