One of the most thought provoking Scriptures I’ve read is Luke 22:31-32. There Jesus tells Peter that Satan desired to sift Peter as wheat. What is surprising is Jesus doesn’t say: “I will save you from him,” or “I won’t let that happen to you!” Rather, Jesus told Peter it would happen, just as Satan had requested, but Jesus prayed for Peter, in order that his faith wouldn’t fail. In other words, we have no promises of an easy life as a believer. In Luke 12 Jesus told his disciples that the day would come when they would be delivered up to the authorities and beaten in the synagogues etc. (Luke 12:11), which began to be borne out very soon after Jesus’ ascension into heaven (cf. Acts 5:40-41).
When such a thing occurred, Jesus told the disciples that they weren’t to rehearse what they needed to say. Rather, they were to depend upon the Holy Spirit giving them the words to reply at the time they were called upon to defend their activities. The fact is, good deeds are not a crime in any society. The only reason why good people, doing good deeds, are brought before the authorities in chains is: because the authorities deny the character of the deeds done is good. Such authorities set themselves against the Holy Spirit who produces the good done in the lives of Jesus’ disciples. Therefore, Jesus claimed, the Holy Spirit would speak for himself, through the disciples and defend himself against his enemies (Luke 12:12).
An example of what I mean might be drawn from Acts 5:17-42. Telling folks about Jesus is often considered a good thing to do, especially by folks who, upon hearing, offer their lives to the Lord. Moreover, freedom of religion is considered a constitutional right in the United States, but it hasn’t always been so through the centuries of western civilization. Many Christians had been sized, beaten, imprisoned, tortured and killed, simply because they believed in Jesus and / or told others about him. If a right guaranteed in our constitution can be considered a good thing, then to exercise that right should also be considered a good thing. Yet, governments from the time of the Roman Empire to today, have not always treated folks kindly or even civilly who exercised what we count as good today.
Arguably, even the United States is reverting back to the days of other western governments by infringing upon the rights our constitution guarantees. Today, neither teachers nor children can legally take a Bible to school, even to read on his or her lunch hour. What is politically correct has become the state religion, so the right of even reading about Jesus is illegal under certain circumstances and in certain places within the United States.
When good is opposed by the authorities of a state (e.g. reading one’s Bible), they embrace an evil activity they presume to be good, or say is good (e.g. obey the doctrine of political correctness – the new state religion), and they oppose the truth, which teaches what is good. Therefore, if authorities make claims that good is evil and evil is good (Isaiah 5:20), then they would be poised to defend their error by prosecuting purveyors of truth. Authorities who support evil works cannot stand idly by, while what they claim is undermined by folks who show what is actually true.
It is important in the cause of Christ that believers from time to time be brought before authorities who reject the Gospel for two reasons. First, it is important to the believer (both personally and as an example) to solidify his faith by standing firm in the face of opposition. Secondly, it is important that people who live in ignorance, accidently or otherwise, to hear the truth, and thereby make their decision to repent or to continue in their ignorance.