The Gospel Observer

"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations...teaching them to observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matt. 28:19,20).
September 30, 1990


1) A Pariah for Christ (Tom Edwards)


A Pariah for Christ
by Tom Edwards

The word "pariah" is defined in the Random House College Dictionary as "1) an outcast. 2) any person or animal generally despised. 3) (cap.) a member of a low caste in southern India."

In the book Eastern Religions in the Electric Age the following remark is made about pariahs: "Below the Sudras and lowest on the totem pole, are the Pariahs, slaves, known as the Untouchables. They are called upon to do the `dirty work' and are considered so beyond the right to any decent existence that they are not even included on the scale of recognized castes. They must clean the streets and sewers and do all work that involves dirt, excrement, or blood."
It is no wonder that the word today is used to describe one who is either an outcast or generally despised. However, it must be pointed out that sometimes it would be better to be considered a pariah than to go the way of the norm. In John 9:18-22 we read: "The Jews therefore did not believe it of him, that he had been blind, and had received sight, until they called the parents of the very one who had received his sight, and questioned them, saying, `Is this your son, who you say was born blind? Then how does he now see?' His parents answered them and said, `We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; but how he now sees, we do not know. Ask him; he is of age, he shall speak for himself.' His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed, that if anyone should confess Him to be Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue." The parents of the blind man did not want to become outcasts for Jesus' sake. They were not willing to make the sacrifice that would be needed in their particular case. This has also been true with many others down through time. John informs that there were many Jews in Jesus' day, even of the rulers, who believed in Christ; but yet they would not confess Christ because they loved the approval of man more than the approval of God (John 12:42,43). They, too, did not want to become outcasts among their Jewish peers.

The Bible teaches that the "fear of man brings a snare" (Prov. 29:25).  We must, therefore, never allow peer pressure or the threat of social ostracism to deter us from fulfilling the will of the Lord. What value is there anyway in being with the majority if the majority will end up spending their eternity in a place separated from the love and mercy of God? Will it be worth having their favor then? As the Bible shows us, though we are to love others genuinely and sincerely, we must each put God first in our lives and love Him above anyone or anything. When we have God to lean upon, the Lord can strengthen us even if the whole world be against us.

Christ Himself was "despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief" (Isa. 53:3). The Lord knows what it is like to be treated as an outsider. He was persecuted both verbally and physically. The Bible tells us that Jesus "came to His own, and His own did not receive Him" (John 1:11). The Lord was forsaken by many of His own race, and it was this same race that cried out, "crucify Him!" (Mark 15:13). Yet through all these taunts and torments, Jesus pressed on by looking to the goal which was in fulfilling His Father's will; and, consequently, "for the joy that was set before Him," Christ endured the cross, despised the shame, and "sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Heb. 12:2). Clearly, the Lord shows that there are some things truly worth striving for, even if it means becoming an outcast in the eyes of the world.

Some of the heathen had thought it "strange" that the Christians were no longer running with them "into the same excess of dissipation"; and, because of this, they spoke evil of the saints (1 Pet. 4:4).  Being rejected by men, however, does not even come close to the eternal regret in being rejected by God.

Fortunately, the Lord desires for none to stand condemned in the Judgment Day and has made a way of redemption for all who are willing to come.  For those who do, not only will they receive a blissful acceptance in heaven if they remain faithful, but they will also have God to aid them through all their adversities of life.

Hear the comforting words that Christ gives to those who are treated as pariahs for the sake of the kingdom: "Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you" (Matt. 5:10-12).

One day everyone will stand before God in that great Day of Judgment, and then the Lord Himself will show His own selection as to who the real pariahs are, and these outcasts will be cast out into the realm of eternal darkness and separation from the Lord. In view of this, let us pray and work that when that Day of Reckoning comes many souls will be saved and accepted into God's glorious, heavenly domain in which we can each spend an endless bliss enjoying the beauties and the glories of heaven together -- even if it means becoming pariahs on earth for His noble cause.

The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17;  John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).

First published for the Tri-state church of Christ in Ashland, Kentucky, at 713 13th Street.

evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards