The Word This Week

2 Peter 1:12...

When your life is threatened, the first thing that goes through your mind is self-preservation and the avoidance of pain.

While we’ve not personally had our lives threatened, we may in the future.

Certainly, in the world today there are those who have.  Perhaps we recall the videos of the Coptic Christians assembled on the beach, kneeling, wearing overalls, hands tied behind their backs and blindfolded. In that moment they were presented with the opportunity to deny Christ and proclaim allegiance to Mohammad. They refused.  An array of black-garbed ISIS men stepped up behind each of those Christians, grabbed their foreheads, pulled their heads back exposing their throats and proceeded to cut off the head of each man with a knife.

This kind of grisly imagery is not presented for shock value, but to help us understand the full extent of what it means to stand for Christ. Our lives ultimately cannot be about self-preservation, and they must not be about alleviation of physical pain or emotional suffering.

This is the message Peter presents in his second epistle to the Church. As difficult as it may be to believe, and as hard as it may be to face, there is certainly persecution in our future. The kind of persecution he addresses here is not the mocking kind – or being made fun of – it is the kind which brings physical suffering and death. Since this has never been faced before, it can be hard to convince ourselves to believe this may be real possibility, rather than an alarmist statement.

The storm clouds are gathering. Our day is beginning to resemble Peter’s day. The birth pangs have begun and are coming closer together. Even in the United States of America, it appears the possibility of the persecution of Christians is a very real possibility, certainly more real now than ever before in the history of this nation. To usher in a one-world government Christians will need to be scapegoated and gotten rid of.

What but knowing the truth of the Gospel can preserve the Christian? Peter’s message is the strength of the truth found only in the Word of God, and it is only THAT knowledge which has the power to preserve our eternal destiny in the face of suffering and death.

Pastor Bill