DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: I read an article recently that said more Christians are dying for their faith today than at any other time in history. Is this true? Why don’t we ever hear about this? — D.M.
DEAR D.M.: Tragically, reliable reports certainly indicate this is true. We don’t see it in our part of the world right now, which may be one reason we seldom hear such reports, but in a number of countries today Christians are being driven from their homes or even killed for their faith.
In some ways, we shouldn’t be surprised at this. Jesus repeatedly warned his disciples that an unbelieving world would not welcome them, in spite of the fact that they were followers of the Prince of Peace. The early Christians frequently faced hostility from the pagan rulers of their day, and also from those who followed other religions. The Apostle Paul (who repeatedly faced jail and even death while preaching the Gospel) warned, “Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12).
Why is this? One reason is because Christ exposes the false hopes and beliefs of those who refuse to follow the living God, and they resent it. In addition, he calls us to turn from sin and live righteous lives, and many people refuse to do this. More than that, Satan is constantly at work behind the scenes, seeking to turn people against God and against his people.
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Pray for those who are being persecuted for their faith, wherever they are. Even in our own country, many people face prejudice and scorn and hostility because of their faith in Christ. Most of all, make sure of your own commitment to Jesus Christ, and make it your goal to be faithful to him no matter what the future holds.
Tribune Media Services 10/23