Jesus said, ‘Whoever shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father who is in heaven’ (Matt 10.32).
When the Communists took over Cambodia, they entered a church during the Sunday service. Taking the Bible from the pulpit, an officer put it on the threshold. As his men stood by with rifles ready, he ordered the people to leave the building one by one and spit on the Bible. ‘Whoever does so will be free to go home,’ he said. ‘Whoever does not will be shot on the spot.’
Imagine for a moment that you were a member of the congregation. What would you have done under the circumstances?
As one who has passed through similar situations, I know the thoughts that flash through the mind when put to such a test: “I have a bride. Her heart would break if I were to die. My time has not yet come….I have old parents who are invalids. They depend on me for support. They are doomed if I die. Love obliges me to spit…So what if I spit? Jesus knows that I have done so under duress. He forgave Peter, who denied him without being in such danger as this. He understands human weakness. In any case, I will only spit a little bit.”
These were people who had come to church to worship God and study his word, but they had never decided to die for Christ. One by one, Christians, who ten minutes before had praised Christ in song, left the church and spat on the Bible. Then came a girl of sixteen. When challenged at gunpoint to spit she began to weep and said, “I cannot do it. I love God. The Bible is his letter to us. No child spits on his father’s letter.” She knelt down and wiped away the spittle from the cover of the Bible – and fell dead over the holy book, shot in the head.
What would you have done? Many of us have answered a call to come forward to the altar. The altar in Jerusalem was a place where creatures died. Lambs, rams, doves, whatever came to the altar died. Did you understand your response to the altar call in these terms?
We are not all put in the same situation. Not everyone is forced to lay their life on the line. However, every Christian chose death at his conversion, if it was genuine.
Rabbinical commentaries have said that the key to the Bible lies in the words, ‘This is the law, when a man dies…'(Numbers 19.14). If a person does not die for the law, they have never really considered it to be the law of God. This is how Christians think too. A Christian is someone ‘dead to sin’ and ‘dead with Christ’ (Romans 6.2,8). To respond to an altar call means to die to the world. If you have understood this rightly and lived in this spirit, you will make the right choice in times of crisis.
Few of us may be asked to spit on the Bible literally; but to spit or not to spit is a choice we make daily when we are tempted. It means spitting on the Bible, indeed, on Christ, if we wilfully and consciously prefer a sin to his commandments.
Let us choose rather to wipe away the spittle with which others have soiled his holy word and to be faithful at all times.
(The Total Blessing # 25)