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Many people see Christianity simply as a religion. My response to them is that the Christian faith is more than a religion, but a relationship we have in Jesus Christ. As the followers of Jesus Christ have experienced and continue to experience the love and presence of their Saviour, they are willing to follow Him whatever the cost.
Throughout church history, countless Christians have suffered and even died for their faith due to bigotry and intolerance. As the Bible explicitly talks about persecution and martyrdom, Christians are no stranger to these realities. Jesus forewarns His disciples in saying, 21Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, 22and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. (Matthew 10:21–22 ESV) Paul reminds his protégé that persecution is inevitable. He told Timothy, 12Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. (2 Timothy 3:12–13 ESV)
Tertullian, an early church leader, says it well, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.” It is very true that in the most trying times of Church history, the number of believers keeps on growing. The last book of the Bible foretells the coming tribulation and numerous followers of Jesus Christ will be martyred. It’s sad in a way, but martyrdom will only bring these believers to enter into God’s eternal presence and glory (Revelation 6:10).