A Vatican report says 100, 000 Christians die each year for their faith—mostly in Asia and Africa. A Pew report says 160 countries restrict religious freedom in some way. True followers of Christ certainly condemn religious persecution, but we recall that Jesus predicted His people would suffer for their faith; and each of His apostles died for their faith, except John; and he too suffered persecution like the others. The Apostle Paul chided Christians at Corinth because they were being lured from the faith by false teachers who deceived them. These false teachers promised them an easy Gospel—a Gospel without pain, unlike Paul who suffered. Paul said they were being tricked like the serpent tricked Eve in the Garden of Eden. They promised pleasure without accountability. He wrote in 2 Corinthians 11, “I fear that somehow your pure and undivided devotion to Christ will be corrupted, just as Eve was deceived by the cunning ways of the serpent. You happily put up with whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach a different Jesus than the one we preach, or a different kind of Spirit than the one you received, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed.” Of course, no one goes looking for trouble, yet we should never let anyone deceive us into thinking that in following Christ we will avoid hard times, or even persecution.
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