In 2012, Open Doors USA reported that 1,201 Christians were killed for their faith in Jesus. In 2013, the number increased to 2,123. More than half of the 2013 deaths occurred in Syria, where there were a total of 1,213 deaths.
Syria is listed in the top four countries with the most Christian martyrs along with Nigeriea, Pakistan and Egypt. But, the 2013 report also named North Korea as the most hazardous country for Christians the twelfth year in a row. North Korea is home to an estimated 300,000 Christians and 50,000 to 70,000 of them live in concentration camps or in prisons under Kim Jong-Un’s regime.
The reports from Open Door USA could actually be only a small fraction of the actual number of Christians killed for their faith worldwide because the numbers are based on only the number of people they can count by what has been reported in the media and confirmed.
2 Cor 5:19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.
We’ve been given the message of reconciliation. It’s our message and our joy to go out and bring the world into a reconciling relationship with God their Father through Christ. It isn’t out job to count sins against people but to show them they’ve been reconciled and can come out of sin and into the love of God.
2 Corinthians 4:17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!
The same Paul who wrote about how he had been beaten, whipped, stoned, left for dead, (2 Cor 11:24) also wrote that his troubles were small and wouldn’t last very long. So when he speaks of a glory that vastly outweighs the trouble, he is not speaking as someone with minimal experience of trouble but as one who has endured much. Even through all he had endured Paul knew the glory of Jesus’ return and our resurrection was worth any trouble and enough to make any trouble seem small in comparison to the reward.
2 Corinthians 3:6 He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant. This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit. The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life.
We must not forget the Covenant we were brought into wasn’t by the law but by the Spirit. Jesus didn’t pay a price just to get us to heaven but to get His very Spirit into us so we could be His friends and witnesses everywhere we go. The ministry of the Holy Spirit is crucial to our lives and we must allow Him to be an active and ongoing part of our lives in God.