(Jesus said) "So everyone who acknowledges Me before men, I also will acknowledge before My Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies Me before men, I also will deny before My Father who is in heaven." Matthew 10:32-33
Years ago, and even today, I see sweatshirts with the question, "If you were put on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?"
Today, after Chris Harper Mercer opened fire inside the classrooms at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, that question could be rephrased to read, "If you were being held at gunpoint for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to get you murdered?"
It is a sad thing when followers of the Christ are being singled out for martyrdom.
It is terrible when those deaths come at the hands of fanatics from another religion like that espoused by ISIS, but it is worse when it flows from the hate-filled heart of an American who has lived most of his life in a society which promises "freedom of religion."
Still that is what has happened.
Chris Harper Mercer, dressed in body armor and armed with six guns, asked people if they were Christian. If they said, "Yes," he asked them to stand and then, before he murdered them, he said, "Because you're a Christian you are going to see God in about a second." If people said they weren't believers in the Christ or they didn't reply, they were shot, but not murdered.
All of this has a lot of people wondering if I were put in that situation, what should I say?
In the minds and hearts of many the question continues, "Should I deny the Savior and save my life or should I confess my Lord and be murdered?"
For some people, the words of the Savior quoted as the theme for this devotion are all-sufficient. They would calmly and deliberately make a profession of their faith. Others, following the martyrs of the early church, would stand up for their faith because their conscience would let them do nothing less. Then there are others who try to imagine how they would feel looking down the barrel of a rifle or pistol. They think of their families. They question if they are dying without any cause. Many of those folks don't feel all that sure of what they would do.
Now the purpose of this devotion is not to lay down a law which says, "Thou shalt do this or that." I am not authorized to be anybody's conscience.
On the other hand, I do know Judas' betrayal of Jesus ended up in his suicide and Peter's denial had him weeping bitter tears. I also know that while there are many passages which speak of confessing the Redeemer, there are none I can find which make excuse for denying the Savior.
No, all I can say is this: in a troubled world which increasingly shows its open hatred of the Savior -- and those whom He has saved -- I pray I would be counted among those who confess my Savior, rather than denying Him. My life could end in many ways far worse than bearing witness to the Savior, who gave His life so I might live with Him forever.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, help me remember the words of Romans 10:9-10, where I'm told if my heart believes in the Savior and my tongue confesses Him, I shall be saved. Then, having remembered, may I boldly bear witness to Your great grace and love. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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