We all admire men and women of principle who are ready to pay a heavy price for what they believe. At the same time, we do well not to trust everyone who displays conviction. As we see all too often in the news, it is possible to have unsound beliefs that are not based on Scripture.
Even as Christians, we have to be careful, or we could easily mistake personal preferences for convictions. We cannot afford to build our life's foundation with any materials that are not totally scriptural. The apostle Paul told us that the quality of each man's work will be tested by fire (1 Cor. 3:13), and that includes what we believe.
Such a test came to a church in a little town called Pergamum in Asia Minor. It was a foul place-Jesus even said that Satan's throne was there. Evil men were disseminating the teachings of Balaam and the Nicolaitans throughout the local church. A man named Antipas, however, felt strongly that this teaching was wrong and should be confronted. So he stepped forward to oppose it, at the cost of his life.
Yes, Antipas was killed, but listen to the tribute the Lord Himself gave: He referred to this saint as "My witness, My faithful one." And He commended the church in Pergamum with these words: "You hold fast My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days of Antipas" (Rev. 2:13).
Thank God that the trial of our faith, even though tested by fire, will "result in praise and glory and honor at the revela- tion of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 1:7).
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