Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Cheap Faith

Merry Thomas
Horeb MTC, Los Angeles, CA
8 Do not be ashamed, then, of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God,

In February 2015, a video was released via social media entitled “A Message Signed with Blood to the Nation of the Cross”. This harrowing video showed the beheading of 21 Coptic Christians in Libya by members of the militant group ISIS. Many of the men were mouthing the name of Jesus as their lives were taken from them. These men remained steadfast in their faith even to the end. They could have easily renounced Jesus and saved themselves but instead chose to leave this world with His name on their lips. They truly “were not ashamed of the testimony about our Lord”.  

A few months later, a young man walked into the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina and joined the Bible Study there for about an hour.  Then he took out his gun and shot 9 people dead.  Afterwards, he told police that he almost didn’t go thru with it because the people in the Bible Study were so nice to him. The members of this Church welcomed a stranger into their Bible Study in a sign of true Christian fellowship. Their hospitality and Christ-like love did not save them from mortal death but surely reflected the power of Christ’s life.

In this passage, Paul reminds Timothy that he is to be proud of the testimony of the Lord… a testimony that proclaims not a king sitting on an earthly throne, but a man dying on the cross… a testimony that may seem the antithesis of what should be worth boasting of. Nevertheless, this testimony has the power to transform lives and save our mortal souls. It is this testimony that kept those 21 men on their knees on the beach in Libya… the very same testimony that had a Bible Study group welcoming a stranger into their midst.  

For many of us, “suffering for the gospel” is such an abstract concept. We have never had to worry about what being a Christian would cost us. Because it has never cost us anything. Our faith is cheap… something we received because we happen to be born into a Christian family. Would we have remained on our knees on that beach? Would we have welcomed the stranger into our Bible Study?

The martyred Coptic Christians and members of the Emanuel AME Church died on different continents in different circumstances but the one thing they had in common is that their faith in Jesus Christ led to their untimely deaths. The cross carried a real and tangible cost for these brothers and sisters. Their testimony should make us question what “suffering for the gospel” really means.


Father, give us hearts that recognize the power of Your Son’s testimony to completely transform our lives. May our transformed lives boldly boast of this testimony. Give us the strength to actively join with each other in suffering for the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Faith, without suffering for the Gospel, is cheap faith.

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