You may think that I am still yoked with Rome with this post but as said, November 1 was Day 2 of the Reformation, just one day after Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses to the Wittenburg Door. While Roman Catholics seek to honor their canonized saints on November 1 who are mostly not saints (most of them are awaiting for their judgment for the Lake of Fire), I am here to declare a Happy All Saints Day to all the true believers in Christ both departed and those who are still living.
2 Corinthians 4:7-14 declares the priceless truth that says:
"But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you. We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."
Whenever I think that the Christian life is not easy, my life can become more complicated when I am persecuted for Christ's sake than for the wrong I do. Looking at the fact that life gets complicated when one grows in the Christian life, the Apostle Paul said that even with all the trouble, wrongful persecutions and all the trials to come, the Christian is never fully destroyed. The whole idea of the perseverance of the saints is that the true saints of God may fall down but not completely. A Christian may cower away for awhile but the Holy Spirit will bring them back to work one way or another.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 says,
"And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."
The Christian's strength is never by their own, the power against sin is by the grace of God. I remembered the quote that said, "God does not call the qualified, He qualifies the called." Whenever I think that Christians cannot expect a perfect repentance at the moment they are saved, they expect to have their repentance renewed and heading towards perfection but not yet perfected. Titus 2:11-14 and 1 Corinthians 15:10 credits the grace of God for that power over sin. I have no power over sin on my own, it's God's work. If my life has been changed, it wasn't my effort and I refuse to take credit for any of my effort. Christians does good works by the grace of God that teaches them to live godly in this fallen world.
The grace of God is this - the Christian is nothing without Christ. Without Christ, I am nothing is the very cry of Christianity. If I stopped my sinful living, it's the grace of God. If I continue in good works and fellowship, I refuse to take credit for it. In spite of me being a wretched human, God's grace made me do what I never expected to do. When I will endure to the end, I really will say, "It's never me, it was God that made me stay strong."
The marvel of Christianity is this - sometimes a Christian may be afraid to declare their faith at first but when real danger comes, the true saints of God end up showing they were truly saved. When I read about the persecution of Christians, don't these believers hide and worship in secret in fear of arrest? However, when the real danger comes, they become really bold. It does seem foolish to the world to have a Christian bravely endure torture but it's also the reason why the more Christianity is persecuted, the more it grows instead and I do not marvel at that irony because God is greater.
The blessing comes also through persecution. It's very hard to remember that verse but the more the Holy Spirit is at work in the life of the believer, the more the Christian can endure persecution which in turn assures them that they are still in Christ. When persecution comes, false converts will cower away from the faith but the true Christians though they may cower for awhile, they will endure to the end in the long run. Even when a Christian dies, they have that great reward in Heaven because their testimony would lead others to Christ. The bloodier the persecution, the more Christianity grew instead.
In Revelation 17-18, the Great Whore is given the description that she is drunk with the blood of the true saints of God. Many Christian theologians have viewed her as the Roman Catholic institution, as a former Roman Catholic, I too share that view with them. The execution of several Christian martyrs at the hands of the Inquisition did not stop true Christianity. When John Huss died, his ashes only became a testimony of 1 John 5:13 that you can be sure you can have eternal life. The death of the martyrs only made their move stronger. Martin Luther knew his life was at stake yet he translated the Bible to German. John Calvin would later be the top target of the Jesuits because the Reformation had many people saved. Later, some Baptists would take the Reformed stand like Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Jonathan Edwards and John Gill to name a few.
The reality of the saints is this in Matthew 5:11-12 as a closing remark:
"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: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you."