“But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”
(Matthew 10:22 ESV)
In Matthew 10, Jesus speaks of the persecution of his faithful. He tells us that we will be delivered over to the courts. He tells us that we will be flogged. He tells us that we will be dragged before kings and governors. He tells us that we will be delivered over to death by those we love most. And he tells us that we will be hated by all for his name’s sake.
But then, he adds the statement we read above. He tells us that the one who endures until the end will be saved. This tells us that we must not waver in the face of this suffering. It tells us that we must stand strong. And it tells us that, when we do so, we will receive the salvation he’s provided for us.
Although we’ve had the freedom to live our faith in this nation for many years, we’ve seen this type of persecution happening to believers around the world. They’ve suffered in terrible ways for their faith in Jesus. Their faith is something that has cost them dearly.
Up to this point, our faith has not cost us much. We’ve been able to live out our faith and enjoy the affluence of our society. We’ve been able to express our faith freely and maintain our reputation and safety. But now things are beginning to change.
We’re now being told by government leaders and the courts that we cannot live out our faith. We are told that we cannot express our faith in our place of business, and that we cannot express our faith in government office. We’re told that we must abide by the morals and values they’ve placed upon us.
The worst part is that, already, we hear voices telling us to succumb to these pressures. And these voices are coming not only from those outside of the church, but from within. There are some, who profess faith in Jesus, who are telling us to do our job and keep our faith out of it. They are telling us to abide by the standards laid down for us by the courts. They tell us to do this even though it would mean violating the direct command of the Lord.
They would have us forsake the Lord who saved us. They would have us abandon the call that he’s placed on our life. They would have us safeguard our life in this world at the expense of the eternal judgment of those who will not hear the gospel message.
We must not listen to these voices. We must instead listen to the voice of Christ. We must heed his call to endure.
As the church of Christ in America, we are entering into an age never seen in the history of our nation. We’re entering into an age when our constitutionally afforded freedom of religion will be revoked. We are entering into an age when we will have to either turn from the faith to which we’ve held or pay the price.
What will we do? What matters most to us? This is the question we are left to ponder. Will we endure and receive the salvation of Christ? Or will we sacrifice eternity for the blessing of those among whom we live?