It’s hard to keep loving in the midst of evil—when people in the prime of their lives are gunned down by senseless acts of terror—when Christians are targeted for brutality because of their faith—when standing for morality lands you in jail. But, God says we must. Surely, He must be joking, right? Not at all.
God just knows something we have yet to fully realize—His love conquers all. Well, if God’s love conquers all, then why does it appear as if evil is winning? The father of Anastasia Boylan, a survivor of the recent shooting attack in Roseburg, Oregon, shared his daughter’s story with CNN…
While reloading his handgun, the man ordered the students to stand up and asked whether they were Christians, Boylan told her family. “And they would stand up, and he said, ‘Good, because you’re a Christian, you’re going to see God in just about one second,'” Stacy Boylan told CNN, relaying his daughter’s account. “And then he shot and killed them.” (Oregon shooting: Gunman was student in class where he killed 9)
How can Christians die and win simultaneously? Simple. Death is not defeat.
Romans 8:36-39, Living Bible
“No, for the Scriptures tell us that for his sake we must be ready to face death at every moment of the day—we are like sheep awaiting slaughter; but despite all this, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ who loved us enough to die for us.
The righteous prevail not by avoiding death, but by being righteous (through Christ) until death. It’s how we live that matters most. Consider Jesus–His death on the cross, predicted by the Prophet Isaiah 700 years in advance, is significant because he never sinned (Isaiah 53:4-14)! It was Jesus’ righteousness that overcame the power of sin and death. God resurrected Jesus from the dead because of his innocence and, according to the Apostle Paul, over 500 people were eyewitnesses (1 Corinthians 15:3-9).
Jesus’ resurrection is not a myth or mere belief, it is a historical fact. In Professor Josh McDowell’s article, Evidence for the Resurrection, the former agnostic says, “So many security precautions were taken with the trial, crucifixion, burial, entombment, sealing, and guarding of Christ’s tomb that it becomes very difficult for critics to defend their position that Christ did not rise from the dead.” Additionally, the bible’s account has also been verified by other historical sources.
“Although there is overwhelming evidence that the New Testament is an accurate and trustworthy historical document, many people are still reluctant to believe what it says unless there is also some independent, non-biblical testimony that corroborates its statements.” (Ancient Evidence for Jesus from Non-Christian Sources, Michael Gleghorn
“For the New Testament of Acts, the confirmation of historicity is overwhelming. Any attempt to reject its basic historicity, even in matters of detail, must now appear absurd. Roman historians have long taken it for granted.” (A. N. Sherwin-White, Classical Roman Historian)
Jesus’ death was a victory, not a failure–he rose from the dead and now offers salvation (freedom from the curse of sin and death) to everyone who believes on him.
Hebrews 2:14-15, Living Bible (TLB)
“Since we, God’s children, are human beings—made of flesh and blood—he became flesh and blood too by being born in human form; for only as a human being could he die and in dying break the power of the devil who had the power of death. Only in that way could he deliver those who through fear of death have been living all their lives as slaves to constant dread.”
So why is it important for us to confess Christ verbally? That is how we receive salvation. In a marriage ceremony, a life-long, commitment is made by our verbal acceptance, “I do.” Our eternal salvation is also made by our verbal confession. We become “the bride” of Christ (Ephesians 5:29-32). We take on his name “Christian”.
Romans 10:8-11, Living Bible (TLB)
“For salvation that comes from trusting Christ—which is what we preach—is already within easy reach of each of us; in fact, it is as near as our own hearts and mouths. For if you tell others with your own mouth that Jesus Christ is your Lord and believe in your own heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in his heart that a man becomes right with God; and with his mouth he tells others of his faith, confirming his salvation. For the Scriptures tell us that no one who believes in Christ will ever be disappointed.”
If we deny Christ, we reject the covenant that he offers to us.
Matthew 10:32-33, King James Version
“Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.”
We have victory through our association with Christ.
John 16:33, King James Version
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
Yes, our association with Jesus may bring persecution, but persecution is only a temporary sorrow that leads to eternal reward.
Matthew 5:11-12, King James Version
“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven…”
From God’s perspective, when we are willing to confess the name of Christ, we are victorious overcomers, able to conquer every obstacle life throws our way —even death (Hebrews 2:14-15).
Mark 8:34-36, King James Version
“Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”
Are you a Christian? Then nothing can separate you from God’s love.
Romans 8:38-39, Living Bible
“For I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can’t, and life can’t. The angels won’t, and all the powers of hell itself cannot keep God’s love away. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, or where we are—high above the sky, or in the deepest ocean—nothing will ever be able to separate us from the love of God demonstrated by our Lord Jesus Christ when he died for us.”
God’s love for us conquers all.
- Knowing God loves you gives you the desire to love Him back. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8, KJV)
- Receiving God’s love gives you the power to love others. “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us—they help us learn to be patient. And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady. Then, when that happens, we are able to hold our heads high no matter what happens and know that all is well, for we know how dearly God loves us, and we feel this warm love everywhere within us because God has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” (Romans 5:3-5, TLB)
- Living in love gives you power over evil. “Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:20-21, KJV)