There was a time, not too long ago, that western Christians - - especially those in America - - believed to be a saint of God (aka Christian) meant the cost of your life really meant either having the attitude that you were prepared to defend your faith in the face of losing your social standing and well being, or that you were supposed to deny the pleasures of the flesh ... but losing your head was surely a metaphor!
Surely the forewarning of saints being actually beheaded for being a Christian was the language of the first century, reflecting the Roman barbarism witnessed by the Apostles in order to emphasize the level to which we must be committed to Christ to be counted faithful! After all, such acts of horror as routine punishment for one's faith had not been seen since the Crusades?
Yet, once again, we are now seeing that God meant precisely what God said when prophetically He warned us of such things ...
While an occasional beheading took place over the last decade in the wars of Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan and these were couched as the acts of maniacal terrorists ... the contemporary slaughter in Mosul of Christian families with little children being beheaded in front of their parents who would not denounce Christ, is a preview of what lies ahead for those who will dare to be faithful to Christ Jesus our Lord!
How devoted are you - - REALLY? Soon this will be no longer limited to regions in which terrorist armies are inflicting fanatical acts of hate - - - - soon be headings will be the common fate of Christians the world over, INCLUDING HERE IN AMERICA!!!
Before you call me an alarmist; before you say "that could never happen here!", consider how people used to say "that is only a metaphor"! When the anti-christ is unleashed upon the world to bring forth worldwide satanism and satanic worship of the beast and just as Islam is a theocracy (both religion and form of government - or government ran by religion); the rule of the anti-christ will be a governing religion - - one in the same.
What we are witnessing today is preparing us for what is to be! What is happening today is a foreshadowing of what is coming! If God declares that the saints will be beheaded for refusing to worship the beast (satanism) then IT WILL HAPPEN!
While I believe that the Church will be removed from the earth before that level of world-wide wrath develops, we must consider that for those in the Middle East this is already happening so we are not guaranteed that we will escape these horrific dilemmas!
We must not procrastinate answering the self-examining question: "Are you devoted to Jesus as Lord?" By design, our nation is undergoing a radical transformation led by those opposed to Christ Jesus. While we are being distracted by our economy and employment concerns, while our attentions are being directed elsewhere conditions are being developed that will soon leave us faced with the threat: Deny Jesus or lose your life. Well, maybe some would stand up to that, but what about: "Deny Christ or watch our children be beheaded, paifully, torturously with a dull serrated knife!" - - THEN to whom would you be more faithful, your children or Jesus?
In a reality that was unimaginable just a decade ago, I must now ask are we TRULY God's people or when it comes right down to it do we really love this present life?
In a reality that was unimaginable just a few years ago, we must now revisit the Word of God that declares ...
..."give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:" (2 Peter 1:10)