A Criminal Offense: 2 Timothy 2:8-9
“8) Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant of David, according to my gospel, 9 for which I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal; but the word of God is not imprisoned.” 2 Timothy‬ ‭2:8-9‬
What is it about belief in a dead man that makes someone a criminal of the secular state? This was true not only of Rome in the days of Paul, but also in many countries today. Faith in Jesus is a capital offense.
To answer that question we need to take a hard look at the gospel that Paul preached. He taught that Jesus Christ was crucified, but rose from the dead. He also taught that He was a descendant of king David. That aligned Him with the prophecies of a coming King with an eternal Kingdom.
When the whole message is studied and understood, Paul was teaching that Jesus Christ was God and the only Savior of mankind. He was teaching that all nations would one day bow to Him. This teaching earned him chains and imprisonment as a criminal. His belief system was so threatening to the state that adherence to his gospel became a capital offense.
I am often perplexed why something that promotes government submission, goodness, a diligent work ethic, agape love, honesty, marital chastity, family values and integrity can be viewed as harmful. These are the very building blocks of a strong nation. You would think Christians would be valued as national hero’s and not persecuted as enemies of the state.
It makes no sense, unless the evil god of this world is real and very active behind the scenes. Spiritual warfare is a reality. The Gospel is a threat to the Kingdom of Darkness. Christians are hated. But God is more powerful and the gospel cannot be stopped or imprisoned. The Holy Spirit is very active spreading the gospel around the world and transforming people who trust in Jesus.
Actually, the mystery of the persecution of Christianity and the criminalizing of good is strong evidence of the reality of the spiritual realm and the validity of the gospel. No atheist or agnostic has an answer to this enigma. Why should Christianity be criminalized? Why should simple belief in Jesus Christ and embracing good be on par with murder, rape and violence as a Capital Crime? Why are Christians viewed as a threat to any Government? If naturalism is true, why are people so threatened by belief in a dead man?
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global