At What Cost?

Would you still be a Christian if every Church got destroyed?

Would you still be a Christian if all copies of Scriptures were burned?

Would you still be a Christian if it meant you could no longer publicly assemble in fellowship to worship?

Would you still be a Christian if it meant you were deprived of honor and public office?

Would you still be a Christian if it meant you were enslaved or forced to go to jail?

Would you still be a Christian if execution through out the body started?

(Execution meaning: being tormented, strangled, scourged, decapitated, burned alive, yes, MARTYRED!)

Would you still be a Christian if this “great persecution” lasted for 10 years?

On this day, February 23, 303 started the “greatest persecution” of the Christian faith under Emperor Diocletian.

When Diocletian first started his rule, Christians, were encouraged because it was rumored that the emperor’s wife and daughter were believers.  Weather that was true or not, Christians, for the most part lived in a state of peace and prosperity for the first nineteen years of his reign.

After those nineteen years, the way of life for all Christians changed drastically.  Emperor Diocletian decided that religious unity would strengthen his empire.  It was said that Diocletian and Galerius (his son in law) sought advice from an “oracle” that said the “just on earth” hindered Apollo to give advice.  So after hearing this; Diocletian, Galerius, and the members of the court concluded that “the just” must be the Christians of his empire. With this new way of thinking and encouragement from his wicked council, he published three edicts in attempts to secure the Roman religion as the only religion.

On February 23, 303 the first edict stated: All copies of scriptures to be burned, all churches destroyed, property confiscated, and Christian worship to be forbidden.

The second and third edicts were pretty much the beginning of the enslavement, imprisonments, and executions of those that resisted sacrificing to the Roman gods. It was said that the jails were filled with Christians and that the real criminals were removed to create space.

It was declared that everyone in the Roman Empire must sacrifice to the Roman gods.  This lasted all the way up till 313 until Constantine declared an edict of toleration.  As church history goes, the martyrdom of many strengthened and encouraged their Christian brothers and sisters. The result ended in Christianity being the preferred religion under the rule of Constantine.

Well it states in Revelation 13:11, 14-15 that there will be a time when all Christians will be faced with this choice again.  To bow down to a statue and worship it, or die!

We are living in a time that has many choices, ways, distractions, and religions.  But there is ONLY ONE way that brings a life of ETERNITY and that is through the accepting of our Savior, Jesus Christ. It does not say it is the easiest way; will you still be a Christian whenYOU HAVE COUNTED THE COST?

Blessings,

Patrick Judah

(Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diocletian#Great_Persecution and “The One Year Book of Christian History” by E. Michael and Sharon Rusten)

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