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A Day of Hope in a Season of Persecution

Burnt Church

“I live my life in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Galatians 2:20 (NLT)

Throughout the New Testament the Bible tells us that it is not easy being a Christian.

Christians are called to follow an almost unfollowable example; a man who, in defiance of all authority, preached the Gospel of God’s power, love and forgiveness. And who, as the Son of God, set aside his earthly power and allowed himself to be crucified to redeem a world of sinners.

Holding such beliefs at any time, but especially in pagan Rome or secular America is bound to draw the scrutiny of those in power because central to the Christian worldview is the belief that secular rulers have no power over us – Caesar’s image may be on the coin, but God’s image is upon us.

Indeed, being a Christian is almost a guarantee that Christ’s opponents will use the power of the government to persecute you if you follow him.

Today’s secular liberals just don’t seem to understand that when they try to drive Christians from the public square, or outlaw the public expression of Christian belief, we Christians have been there before.

We understand that today’s secularists aren’t doing something new to liberate individuals from oppressive superstition. We understand that when they put the institutions of men before God’s word they aren’t creating anything new, they are merely recreating the environment of persecution and oppression that brought forth the early Christian Church and helped spread Christ’s message.

Between now and when we celebrate Christ’s resurrection this Easter we invite you to consider the other parts of the Christian Holy Week – especially the persecution that Christ endured which led him to the Cross on Good Friday.

In many parts of the world such as, Africa, the Middle East, Red China and Iran, the persecution of Christians is common and directed by the government or government-sanctioned organizations.

In our erstwhile ally, Egypt, Christians are being tortured in mosques, churches are being burned and a young Christian woman was recently dragged from her car and murdered.

In places like Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Iran the public profession of Christianity will lead to a death sentence, as the imprisonment and death sentence pronounced, but not yet carried out against Iranian-American Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani demonstrates.

In the United States, the persecution is not of one’s life, but of one’s economic and intellectual freedom.

Organized groups regularly mount economic warfare and persecution against those, such as Lakewood, Colorado baker Jack Phillips and New Mexico photographer Elaine Huguenin who express a belief in Christian values and wish to live them publicly.

The federal government is attempting to force Christians to violate their religious beliefs and freedom of conscience by coercing them into paying for or even performing abortions and other life-ending procedures guised as “health care.”

However oppressive governments of men may be, or may become, the Easter season reminds Christians that through Christ’s death and resurrection we are freed from the fear of what other men might do to us. Once we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, these persecutions are nothing because of his persecution, sacrifice and love.

To non-Christians, or those who have fallen away from the Christian faith, it may seem odd or illogical to celebrate the death of one’s leader, as Christians appear to do at Easter.

It may seem even odder or more illogical to claim that after death this leader was brought back to life.

But these are not mere myths, these are historical facts documented in the witness of the New Testament of the Bible.

And they are facts and values that Christians have been willing to defend, with their lives if necessary, for over 2000 years.

More importantly, they are facts and beliefs that have transformed the World, and will transform you.

As Easter demonstrates, if you accept Jesus Christ then nothing in this world has power over you anymore; not the government, not the temptations of secular society, not the threats and brutality of other men.

That’s why oppressive governments from Rome to Red China and secularists from ancient Greece to Hollywood fear Christians.

As we celebrate Easter this year we encourage you consider the great message of Christ’s persecution, sacrifice and resurrection, and to bring Jesus Christ into your life.

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