The Romans at first considered Christians atheists! This is shown in records written by Roman historians early in the second century. Christians were seen as people worshipping something that could not be seen! The Romans could see their gods, but their gods were the work of men’s hands.
Now consider Hebrews chapter 11. “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” We cannot see God’s worldwide kingdom because it has not happened yet! Things that have happened do not require faith, the evidence for them is before our eyes.
Some 500 years ago some believers were being burnt at the stake because of their conviction that the established church was wrong – and they were preaching about this. Those who died were convinced, and therefore they preached what they read in the Bible. They refused to recant and died for their faith. Even today believers who live in some Islamic and Asian countries are having a faith-testing time. Could it happen in all countries?
The accounts of those who suffered and died because of their faith, might make us anxious. What might yet come upon us if the nation in which we live becomes totally atheistic?
In Hebrews 11 note the different things for which people were commended for doing or saying; Enoch is a good example. He was “taken” and did not see death. When Jesus returns that will be the experience of those who are faithful and alive as Paul says (1 Corinthians 15:51,52; 1 Thessalonians 4:17). What was Enoch commended for? In verse 5 we read, “Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God”. Twice in Genesis 5 we read “Enoch walked with God”.
Enoch was commended for his commitment to God at a time when the world had become very ungodly. We read in Jude of Enoch, that he “prophesied saying, ‘Behold, the Lord came … to execute judgement on all and convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness … and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him’” (verses 14,15).
As this world grows more ungodly we will be walking in the footsteps of Enoch and showing our faith in the same way as he did – even though some speak “harsh things” against us.