Sunday, February 7, 2010

God’s Faithful are Rugged Individuals

Committed Christians are rugged individuals who, while facing opposition, have great courage to proclaim the word of God without fear for increased success of the Gospel.

But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: "Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words.” Acts 12:14.

Finding it amusing and troubling, it is difficult to believe that the early Church was made of individuals who were nothing less than ‘rugged’ in the purest since of the word. There are several definitions, but the inclination is to be a person of strong constitution. People of Faith have always been people who love God and are committed to the task of proclaiming the Gospel of Christ.

The New Testament chronicles the accounts of Paul’s beatings, incarceration and certain humiliation because of his habit of public proclamation. Traditions maintain the manners by which early Christian martyrs died in horrible and painful situations. History records the deaths of those who stood proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ. At this very moment there are hundreds if not thousands of Christians who are tortured because of their refusal to disavow their faith in Christ. Indeed, God’s People are powerfully rugged individuals.

“Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection; and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground. And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.” Hebrews 11:35-40.

In all of the persecution through the ages, God’s people have withstood the forces of evil because they understand the promise of eternity. But more than the promise, the Presence of the Almighty empowered each one to stand firm.

For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day. 1 Timothy 1:12.

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