If it were illegal in America today, to be a Christian, would there be enough evidence in your life to convict you?
* It’s never been very comfortable or convenient to be a Christian; associated with Christ. Particularly, in the 1st century world when the new testament was written, the gospel was associated with a poor Jewish carpenter who was crucified.
The cross in the Roman mind was a symbol of weakness and ignomy….
1 Corinthians 1:18, 23 “For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness,”
Hebrews 12:2 “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the SHAME, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Galatians 3:13 “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us–for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”–
Many Christians in that day were slaves….The Romans despised them as a low class of people chasing after a superstition of a man raising from the dead.
For instance, in the 90’s archaeologists excavating ruins in Rome discovered a painting from the first century depicting a slave bowing before a cross with a donkey hanging from it and the caption read,
“Alexis Menas Worships His god.”
One writer, of the 2nd century, Celsus called Christians ignorant, foolish, and also compared them to a swarm of bats and ants crawling out of their nest. That’s how the Roman world viewed Christ, the cross, and Christians.
Amdist all that hostility though, Paul wrote,
Romans 1:16-17 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.”
Paul obviously wasn’t worried about being convicted of following Christ, in fact, he welcomed it. We know this because of how many times Paul was thrown in prison for faithfully preaching the gospel.
Paul knew that … 2 Corinthians 10:3-4 “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.”
That word “fortresses” is a Greek word meaning “ideas.” In other words, we are at war against ideas, thoughts, philosophies, i.e. evolution, atheism, Hinduism, postmodernism. The idea that Jesus was not the Christ. The thought that There are many roads to God.
“All roads lead to God….this is affirmed by His word….but, only one of those roads ends in eternity WITH God.”
It all comes down to this…if it were illegal in America today, to be a Christian, would there be enough evidence in your life to convict you? Would there be many damning witnesses in court pointing the finger saying things like, “oh yeah, he’s a holy roller,” “yea, that dude’s always getting preachy on me,” “yes…she lives love that can only come as a result of faith in God.” Or would the prosecution have a hard time proving you are actually a follower of Christ? Would the case against you be dismissed? Are you living love? Do others know you are a Christ follower because of your love for your fellow heirs?
As for me, I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.”
(All verses copied from youversion bible app for Android. *Excerpts from “a doctrinal survey of the book of Romans by Rick E. Ferguson.)