Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Coming Persecution of Christians

Today’s Gospel Reading: Luke 21:12-19 - The Lord said to his disciples, "Beware of men who will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name's sake. This will be a time for you to bear testimony. Settle it therefore in your minds, not to meditate beforehand how to answer; for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and kinsmen and friends, and some of you they will put to death; you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your lives."
Are you being persecuted for your faith? You should expect it, but don’t seek it out. The early Church is filled with examples of thousands of martyrs who were persecuted to the point of death. Many others were tortured to the point of “near death” in attempts to convince them to deny Christ. These “near death” martyrs are referred to as “Confessors” since the evidence of their physical torture bore witness to their faith for Christ. The Saints may not have been looking for torture or death, but they never shied away from becoming a witness to the love and hope that is in Christ.

As we watch the daily evening news accounts of new martyrs and new confessors for the faith, we should take to heart today’s Gospel warning from Christ. We WILL be delivered up. We WILL be brought before governments. We WILL be betrayed even by our closest family and friends. We WILL be persecuted for Christ, maybe not to the point of death or physical torture, but we will be persecuted. As I have written before in this blog, I believe our persecution will be financial rather than physical.

Churches WILL lose tax exempt status.
Christians WILL lose employment if they refuse to hide their faith.
Christians WILL be imprisoned on charges of not supporting the position of the state.

But fear not. God will provide a defense for us. We will NOT PERISH. We have been forever united to God. They may take away our earthly life, but they cannot take our eternal life with Christ.

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