You come to a fork in the road, a decision that needs to be made.
Do you turn left or right?
Do you stay where you are and not choose a side?
If you have personal convictions on the matter,
you know what you have to do.
A person with personal convictions is
convinced that something is true
and stands on principle,
regardless of the situation and regardless of the consequences.
Personal convictions reveal a lot about who a person is.
Everyone has opinions and preferences,
but a person with conviction does not form his ideas
based on selfish desires or for selfish gain.
Having personal convictions is important to
keep us from being swayed by the opinions
of others or automatically obeying them.
Someone with no personal convictions will be wishy-washy, indecisive,
and easily led astray.
When the crowd says, “Let’s all disobey God,” it takes someone with personal convictions to stand up and say, “No.” Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had personal convictions against worshiping false gods, and they held their ground against the Babylonian tide, standing firm even in
the face of the king’s wrath (Daniel 3).
A person with personal convictions
has thought through the issues and lives
Such people are sure of what they believe,
and they are convinced of the things that matter most.
The apostle Paul looked forward to a time when
believers will reach spiritual maturity: “We will
no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves,
and blown here and there by every wind of teaching
and by the cunning and craftiness of people in
their deceitful scheming” (Ephesians 4:14).
Part of maturity
having enough personal conviction
to recognize and
withstand the false teachings of the day.
The Word of God informs our conscience
and is a
light to our path
Personal convictions should never be based solely on what we “feel”
about a matter: “Those who trust in themselves are fools,
but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe”
Since we’re dealing with personal convictions, there are some issues on which different believers may have different convictions. Not all issues are black and white, and not all issues can be traced back to a biblical guideline.
In such cases, we must let
the law of love rule.
Paul tells us to not quarrel “over disputable matters”
such as the eating of certain foods or holding one day more sacred than other days. We should have personal convictions: “Each . . . should be fully convinced in their own mind”
but should also leave room for the
convictions of others:
“Who are you to judge someone
To their own master, servants stand or fall. . . .
Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord.
Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God;
and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God”
(verses 4 and 6).
Did the Apostles Really Die as Martyrs for their Faith?
“Even though they were crucified, stoned, stabbed,
dragged, skinned and burned,
every last apostle of Jesus
his resurrection until his dying breath,
refusing to recant
under pressure from the authorities.
testimony is trustworthy
the resurrection is
why would the
apostles of Jesus have died
for their faith
if it weren’t true?
While we can have more confidence in the martyrdoms of apostles such as Peter, Paul and James the brother of John
(and probably Thomas and Andrew),
What is critical is their willingness
to suffer for their faith
and the lack of a
contrary story that any of them recanted.
Historian Michael Licona captures the key point in his book The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach:
“After Jesus’ death, the disciples endured persecution,
and a number of them experienced martyrdom.
The strength of their conviction indicates
were not just claiming Jesus had appeared to them
after rising from the dead. They really believed it.
They willingly endangered themselves
by publicly proclaiming the
Here are the key facts:
First, the apostles were eyewitnesses
of the risen Jesus.
When a replacement was chosen for Judas, one necessary criterion was that the person had seen the risen Lord (Acts 1:21–22).
Paul and James the brother of Jesus were also
(1 Cor. 15:3–8).
Their convictions were not based on
but from the belief that
they had seen the resurrected Christ
with their own eyes.
This makes the disciples’ willingness to die
different from Muslim martyrs, who certainly sincerely believe in Islam,
but base their belief on secondhand testimony.
early Christians were
persecuted for their faith.
John the Baptist was imprisoned and beheaded (Matt. 14:1–11).
Jesus was crucified. Stephen was stoned to death
after his witness before the Sanhedrin
And Herod Agrippa killed James the brother of John
which led to the departure of the rest of the Twelve from Jerusalem.
The first statewide persecution of Christians
was under Nero
as reported by Tacitus (Annals 15.44:2–5) and Suetonius (Nero 16.2).
Although persecution was sporadic and local,
from this point forward
Christians could be arrested and killed
for proclaiming the name of Jesus.
And many of them were.
the apostles were
willing to suffer for their faith.
This is certainly true of Paul,
who recounts the suffering he endured,
which included being whipped, beaten, stoned,
shipwrecked, near starvation
and in danger from various people and places
(2 Cor. 6:4–9).
Speaking for the apostles,
after being threatened by the religious leaders,
Peter and John say,
"For we cannot but speak
of what we have
seen and heard”
The apostles are then thrown in prison,
beaten for their faith,
continued to preach and
teach the gospel
While the evidence of martyrdom is far better for some of the apostles than others, the evidence for Peter is particularly strong. The earliest evidence is found in John 21:18–19, which was written about 30 years after Peter’s death.
Bart Ehrman, in his book
Peter, Paul, & Mary Magdalene:
The Followers of Jesus in History and Legend, agrees
that Peter is being told he will die as a martyr.
Other evidence for Peter’s martyrdom can be found in
early church fathers such as Clement of Rome, Ignatius,
Dionysius of Corinth, Irenaeus, Tertullian and more.
The early, consistent and unanimous testimony
is that Peter died as a martyr.
This does not prove that the resurrection is true.
But it shows the
depth of the apostles’ convictions.
They were not liars.
They truly believed Jesus rose from the grave
they were willing to give
their lives for it.