Do We Seek Martyrdom?

See the source image

The Bible makes it plain that when Our Lord Jesus Christ comes again, it won’t be for another crucifixion. The sacrifice was made once, and only once: it will not be repeated. When He comes again, it will be to judge the quick and the dead, and to establish His Kingdom on the earth. He will straighten out this mess.

But I need the Lord’s guidance on another point that’s not so clear.

I’m hearing talk, these days, of great persecutions coming, persecutions of the Church, and how we’d better be ready, we’re going to have to pay with our lives for our devotion to Christ–or at least go into slavery or second-class citizenship. And so on.

So we’re supposed to stand down, do nothing, while the ungodly, who hate the Lord, devour our civilization? Just let them do it? Anything they want?

There was such a chapter in Christian history, and a long and bloody one at that. Are we expected to repeat it? Allow ourselves to be trodden down by transgenders, atheists, “gay” activists, black racists, the crime syndicate of Washington D.C.?

The Bible tells us to overcome evil with good. How do we do that?

Do we wait for Christ’s return, for Him to sort it out, knowing it might be yet another two thousand years? Or do we say, “Enough, we’ve had it, we’re taking back our country”? Is it God’s will for those who hate Him and hate His people to rule over His world?

I really can’t think so. We have done a lot of things wrong in history, calling ourselves God’s people but acting more like Satan’s. But I think it would be doing wrong to fail to oppose the aggressors. Too Pharisaical by half. Like walking past a couple of goons beating an innocent person to death, and making like you never saw it. That’s not Christianity. That’s just cowardice.

What do we do, Lord? What do we do?

8 comments on “Do We Seek Martyrdom?

  1. I’ve been thinking about this question for a number of years, and it’s certainly too complex to answer definitively in a comment box. Briefly, though, the answer isn’t an either/or. We must fight back, or who will survive to speak the truth? But we must also know what we’re fighting for.

    A lot, of course, depends on the nature of the attacker. To some attackers, such as Islam, what we consider virtues are seen as signs of weakness. (And let’s thank God, here, for Charles Martel, Jan Sobieski, and all the Crusaders and Conquistadores who did fight in defense of Christendom.) A physical show of force, then, is essential. Today, in addition to Islam, we have the leftists, both atheist and pagan, waging war through the courts and street riots. Against them, we do need organizations to fight in the courts. (And again, let’s thank God for Alliance Defending Freedom, First Liberty, the Liberty Institute, and all the other organizations fighting in defense of religious liberty.)

    But at the same time, we have to do battle within ourselves: to be firm in our faith and be ready to die for Christ if necessary — not to seek martyrdom but to speak out and refuse to yield in the face of martyrdom. Martyrdom, in fact, MEANS giving witness. We witness not to our own courage (I have very little myself), but to Christ. To the Truth.

    When our bishops started the annual “fortnight for freedom” in response to the Obamacare abortifacient mandate, when everyone was supposed to protest and write to congresscreatures and senators demanding religious liberty, I always said they were putting the cart before the horse, which is an ineffectual way to get anywhere. What they should be doing, I kept saying, was reminding everyone of the Truth taught by Christ, and also reminding everyone that even if the government tells us to commit a sin, we must stand firm and refuse to do it. After all (I kept saying — and people got very, very tired of hearing me say it), it’s all very well and good to petition the State for permission to exercise our Constitutional right to free expression of religion, even NECESSARY to do so, but what if the State says “no”? Then what? Do we go ahead and sin, explaining to Christ at the Judgment that the State gave me the fruit and I did eat? (Oops, wrong temptation — or maybe not.)

    Let’s put it this way: I hope I never have to face up to either Islam or the State or even street thugs to this extent. But if I do, I pray for the grace to stand up for Christ without hesitation — or at least without too much waffling or cringing.

    1. It’s the same temptation.

      And I like what David said: “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine, to defy the armies of the living God?”

  2. Just a word or two of encouragement: Hosea 6 tells us that “after two days…” I peter 35 tells us with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as a day. In other words, we are very near the end of the “two days” when we can expect to be out of this mess, if we persevere, keep faith and faint not. Notice how often in Scripture the third day reference is made, including Yeshua’s resurrection on the third day.
    If we tie all Scripture together, so called “old” testament and “new”, there are many clues, to say nothing of Matthew 24 and Luke 21.
    Differences and changes in calendars through the centuries notwithstanding, we are very near the dawning of the “third day”, so take heart, it can’t last forever, but we know the world hated Yeshua and as He said, it will hate us too. We have to prepare our hearts to do battle, but make sure they are the right ones.

  3. I can only opine this: I am certain that we have the right to defend ourselves from crime or assault. This strikes me as fundamental. Before persecutors is a somewhat different matter. Nonetheless, to the degree that we have freedom to do so, I can’t see anything wrong with striving to make the world around us a better place. In the final analysis, we can only do so much in this fallen world, but I can’t see giving up as being a worthwhile option.

  4. What did the apostles and early Christians do? They were born into a pagan anti-Christian world, but they didn’t shy away from the culture. Rather, they engaged it head-on even if that meant getting beaten, tossed in prison, or executed. When Paul was stoned at Lystra and left for dead, he could have given up and quit, but he didn’t. He got right up and marched back into the city (Act 14). And according to Christian tradition none of the apostles, except for John, died a natural death. There are Christians in parts of the world today who remain faithful despite persecution and the threat of death. We should follow their example. We should continue to stand for our values and proclaim the gospel no matter what. Remember the words of Jesus, “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first.” (Jon 15:18).

    1. I’ve been hearing about the spectre of persecution all of my life. In some ways, Christians are persecuted, even here. We certainly have to choose our words carefully these days and have to deal with things we feel are abhorrent. It may well get worse, I don’t claim to know.

  5. I’ve heard this said, “If we don’t receive a martyr’s crown we can still possess a martyr’s heart.” In Hebrews 11 it tells of the heroes of faith; some overcame and were victorious, others were slain and cut asunder. Our destiny is in the hand of the Lord.

Leave a Reply