Ashamed of the Gospel?
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."
~ Romans 1:16
In our modern society, Christians are conditioned to shy away from confrontation. Toleration is touted as the supreme rule of order and any individual or group claiming that another's belief system is wrong is found guilty of bigotry and bias.
It seems then that as Christianity finds itself with the greatest religious liberty that it would find itself with the greatest preachers, the greatest soul-winners, and the greatest Christians that this world has every known. The truth, however, is in sad contrast to this.Christians who tout that their savior Jesus is the only way to a pleasant afterlife are shunned and labeled as intolerant. Society rejects the proselytizing efforts and the unique lifestyle of the Christian community as closed-minded or antiquated.
Yet even with this grievous social rejection, American Christianity faces nothing remotely comparable to what Christians have dealt with in the past and are currently facing in other areas of the world. In fact, a case could be made for the notion that Christianity has never been received the way that it has been in the modern American society.
The first few centuries following the death of Christ were marked by severe persecution of believers by the Roman emperors. During this era, it was commonplace to make sport of the death of Christians by burning them in public, feeding them to animals in the arena, or forcing them to fight as gladiators. This era was followed by the Dark Ages appropriately named for the harsh suppression of the gospel light by the Roman Catholic Church. Scholars estimate that the pope and his legion of devilish imps eventually murdered over fifty million people most of which were Bible believing Christians. This has been the common trend faced by Christians of all ages.
It seems then that as Christianity finds itself with the greatest religious liberty that it would find itself with the greatest preachers, the greatest soul-winners, and the greatest Christians that this world has every known. The truth, however, is in sad contrast to this. Christians today are afraid of social rejection more than the early followers of Christ were afraid of death!
The Apostle Paul makes it very clear in both his preaching and his lifestyle that the gospel message is the most important thing in the world to him. In many passages, he speaks about the persecutions and trials that he personally faced as a result of his gospel preaching efforts.
"Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness."~ II Corinthians 11:24-27
Paul embraced the way of the martyr. We know that Paul eventually gave his life for the gospel. I wonder if I compared my life to that of the Apostle Paul's what would I find in this area? Am I committed to the gospel or am I among the ranks of modern Christians who live in fear of the world's societal rejection?