“Do not be frightened by your adversaries. This is a sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and this from God.”
— Philippians 1:28
When Paul wrote the Philippian Christians in the first century, Christianity was illegal for the most part. In fact, during the Roman Empire, there were ten waves of serious persecution against the believers. Sometimes hot, sometimes cold—but always there.
One of the incredible things about the Christians, which the Romans noted, is that they weren’t afraid. I remember reading a dialogue between a Christian who was chained to an iron bed, which was being heated red hot and he was being killed. They were still threatening him and calling upon him to recant, and he was laughing at them and saying in effect: Do your worst. You can do nothing but send me into the presence of Christ the sooner. You can do nothing but transfer me into paradise. I am not afraid of you.
This was terrifying to them. It was a token to them of their own perdition. They realized that this was the true God that these people worshiped. Are you terrified by the adversaries? Some Christians never even see an adversary because they do not speak boldly for Christ, they don’t really encounter them. Oh they may see the adversaries of Christ, but the adversaries of Christ never see them. They are focusing on those Christians who are active, those Christians that are involved in the struggle. May God give us grace to boldly and lovingly speak His truth in our own day, as anti-Christian bias is continuing to heat up.
Dear Lord, we are reminded of the hymn which says, “The body they may kill. God’s truth abideth still.” Forgive us for any fear when facing death at the hands of persecutors. Thank You that Your kingdom advances, even sometimes through martyrdom…
BY GOD’S STRENGTH, WE CAN
FACE THE OPPOSITION OF MEN.