Thus far in our lives here below we have not been threatened with death by men who do not believe that Christ is the Savior of His church. They did that many a time in the past. Abel was killed by Cain. Stephen was stoned to death by unbelieving Jews. And we are told by Scripture that this will come back universally when the Antichrist arrives.
The author of the epistle to the Hebrews points out also to those to whom he was writing, that they did not yet face this. In Hebrews 12:4 we read, "Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin." They did resist to a degree, but not so much that their lives were in danger. And he tells them that they forgot the exhortation which came to them to run that race, which would make the world hate them and attack them in order to silence such preaching and living. And we, as well as they, must be warned that in the days ahead the Antichrist will put the children of God to death.
But the sad thing here is that they to whom these words were written were not running as faithfully and arduously as they should. They had to be reminded and called to run with patience (v. 1). There was little opposition to them, because they did not run openly and with enthusiasm.
Still more, before those days of the Antichrist come we had better build up our faith, so that we do run more boldly and constantly. Our spiritual muscles do need strengthening. An athlete exercises to keep in shape for his running in the race. And we should exercise our faith, so that when we face more opposition in the future, we will not stop running, will not go to the side of the path, and try to avoid what may call for the shedding of our blood.
Yes, we must resist unto blood. If the shedding of it is threatened, we must remember the shedding of Christ's blood, and run on toward enjoying what He earned for us by His cross and death.
Read: Revelation 13:11-18 .
Through the Bible in One Year
I Corinthians 1:1-18 ; I Corinthians 2:1-5
Quote for Reflection:
¼ as bread nourishes, sustains, and keeps the life of our body, so Christ’s body is the only food to invigorate and enliven our soul. When we see wine set forth as a symbol of blood, we must reflect on the benefits which wine imparts to the body, and so realize that the same are spiritually imparted to us by Christ’s blood. These benefits are to nourish, refresh, strengthen, and gladden. – Calvin’s Institute – Vol. 4, Chap. 17