Do Not Fear
Read Philippians 1:28
...without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God.
Why can we be confident and calm in the face of opposition?
Imagine living in Paul’s day and age. The book of Philippians was written around 61 A.D. during the Roman Empire. Nero was the emperor, and he was famously hostile towards Christians. Just bearing the name of Christ was cause for capital punishment. And Nero was known for putting Christians to death in cruel and unusual ways. Paul himself was writing this letter from prison.
There was much to fear as a Christian during this time. But in today’s verse, Paul says not to be frightened by the opposition. Why? Because believers will be saved by God but those who reject Him will be destroyed. In fact, facing suffering and persecution calmly and confidently serves as a sign to those who mistreat you that they will be punished.
Remember Jesus? He was beaten, mocked, and humiliated. He knew that crucifixion was coming for Him. And yet, He was not hysterical. He did not beg for His life. If those guilty of torturing Him would have stopped to consider what they were doing and His unusual response, it should have been unnerving to them. Why wasn’t He begging them for mercy? They should have been wondering if He knew something they didn’t. Which He did, of course.
Jesus knew that His suffering and death was not the end of the story. And we can know that about ourselves too! As Christians, we can know just as Christ did that ultimately, we will experience victory. When we face opposition or persecution, we do not need to be afraid. Jesus said, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).
Here in the United States, the attitude towards Christianity is becoming more and more negative, even hostile in some circumstances. But worldwide, Christians have always faced severe persecution and many believers have been martyred. We shouldn’t be surprised if we suffer for the name of Christ. In John 15:18, Jesus said “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.”
Friends, we do not have to be afraid when we are facing opposition for our faith in Christ. What can man do to us? They may take our freedom, they may take legal action against us, they may take our possessions, they may even take our lives. But they cannot take our salvation. They cannot touch our souls. We belong to Jesus Christ. In the end, He wins and in Him, so do we.
Jesus, facing opposition and persecution is intimidating and sometimes terrifying. And yet, You tell me not to be afraid because You have given me a promise—I will be saved and our enemies will be destroyed. Please grant me peace, calm my heart, and give the confidence to wait on my salvation. Amen.