Phil 1:29-30
29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake,
2 Tim 3:12-13
all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,

Christians PakistanIt is so easy to be a Christian in America!  In fact, it is so easy I wonder what would happen to our church rolls if persecution of Christians were to break out?  My guess is that many would flee… many more would jump ship.  But there would be some who would stand… and THOSE are the ones who are the true church.

On Monday I read an article titled, “Christian Family Burned To Death in Pakistan After Koran is ‘Deflied.'” Click here to read the entire article.  Below are a few excerpts…

Police and local officials said that at least eight people, including four women and a child, were killed in the fires. Two others died of gunshot wounds. Residents said that the casualties were much higher; one claimed that the number of dead could be in the dozens as many bodies were still buried under the rubble. Shahbaz Bhatti, the Minister for Minorities, said that 40 Christian homes were torched in rioting. He said there was no truth to allegations that a Koran had been defiled, and accused the police of ignoring his appeal to provide protection to Christians.

Tension started mounting last week after Muslims accused three Christian youths of burning a copy of the Koran. They denied the allegations, but clerics called for their death. On Saturday, hundreds of supporters of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, an outlawed Sunni sectarian group, poured into the town from surrounding districts.

Christians… face intimidation because of discriminatory blasphemy laws, including one that carries the death penalty for defiling the Koran and images of the Prophet Muhammad. The law is often misused to settle personal scores.

Another proof of salvation is when a believer is persecuted because of being a Christian.  This is not only proof… it is from God as a gift to His children.

Philippians 1:29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for His sake…

2 Timothy 3:12 All who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted…

Hebrews 10:32 You endured a hard struggle with sufferings, 33 sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. 34 For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one.

Hebrews 11:24 By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26  He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.

Are American Christians willing to endure these kinds of hardships because of Christ?  Are we willing to choose death over denying Christ?  Are we willing to joyfully send our children as missionaries to lands where they will die for spreading the Gospel?

It bothers me that I have come to expect ease too much as a believer.  It bothers me that those I pastor think the response to being persecuted is a law suit against those who attack them.  It bothers me that we have lost the beautiful theology of suffering for Christ’s and God’s glory as Christians.

Oh God help us.  And strengthen our brothers and sisters who are losing their lives for your sake.  Reward them richly as they glorify Your name!

The suffering and death of Christians is what it will take in order for the world to come to Christ.  There is no other way… there is no other option… this is God’s will.