“The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.” This quote, attributed to Tertullian, church father and apologist, rings as true today as it did in the second century. In parts of the world with relatively little opposition to the Christian faith, church membership continues its decades-long decline. Pastors and concerned parishioners lament the lack of commitment to the church. Life is busy, and church attendance is often a low priority.
But in places where the Christian faith is being tested, where belief in Jesus comes with heavy consequences and high costs, the church is flourishing! Faith is growing stronger despite fierce opposition. Perhaps Christians must be persecuted in order to “contend for the faith” (Jude 3b).
Jude warns believers of the ungodly who “have crept in unnoticed” and threaten the church with immoral behavior and false teachings (Jude 4 and following). This persecution is subtle and can very easily be missed or dismissed. But God has declared judgment on these deceivers, and those who will contend for the faith need not resort to fighting. Instead, let the contenders continue to speak the truth and uphold what is right in the eyes of the Lord. For God brings justice, and his church will prevail.
Prayer: Righteous God, give strength to those who contend for the Christian faith and make us faithful to speak your truth, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Today’s devotion was written by Paulette McHugh, Associate Pastor at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Lexington, SC.