Don’t let your life be barren. Be useful. Make yourself felt. Shine forth with the torch of your faith and your love.
With your apostolic life, wipe out the trail of filth and slime left by the corrupt sowers of hatred. And set aflame all the ways of the earth with the fire of Christ that you bear in your heart.
Early Christianity in the New Testament and for its first few centuries was an anti-imperial movement. That’s why Jesus was crucified, and why the Christian movement was persecuted.
A very strong proof of this destruction of death and its conquest by the cross is supplied by a present fact, namely this. All the disciples of Christ despise death; they take the offensive against it and, instead of fearing it, by the sign of the cross and by faith in Christ trample on it as on something dead. Before the divine sojourn of the Savior, even the holiest of men were afraid of death, and mourned the dead as those who perish. But now that the Savior has raised His body, death is no longer terrible, but all those who believe in Christ tread it underfoot as nothing, and prefer to die rather than to deny their faith in Christ, knowing full well that when they die they do not perish, but live indeed, and become incorruptible through the resurrection. But that devil who of old wickedly exulted in death, now that the pains of death are loosed, he alone it is who remains truly dead. There is proof of this too; for men who, before they believe in Christ, think death horrible and are afraid of it, once they are converted despise it so completely that they go eagerly to meet it, and themselves become witnesses of the Savior’s resurrection from it. Even children hasten thus to die, and not men only, but women train themselves by bodily discipline to meet it. So weak has death become that even women, who used to be taken in by it, mock at it now as a dead thing robbed of all its strength. Death has become like a tyrant who has been completely conquered by the legitimate monarch; bound hand and foot the passers-by sneer at him, hitting him and abusing him, no longer afraid of his cruelty and rage, because of the king who has conquered him. So has death been conquered and branded for what it is by the Savior on the cross. It is bound hand and foot, all who are in Christ trample it as they pass and as witnesses to Him deride it, scoffing and saying, “O Death, where is thy victory? O Grave, where is thy sting?
The Old Testament is largely about sin. It’s hard to imagine these set of books as primarily self-promoting literature by the Jewish people since it’s on the whole very self-critical and reflective of the sins committed by the Jewish people themselves, as well as those of other tribes at the time. It shows them constantly failing to live up to God’s standard alongside the rest of the human race. The only difference being in this instance that this particular set of people are chosen by God to set the groundwork for the eventual saving of humanity from otherwise hopeless non-stop sin – examples of which with the Old Testament is filled.
The New Testament is largely about redemption from this sin – i.e. to show there is a way out beyond dying in your sins, which is the otherwise normal course of a human being’s life. One can die in his/her sins in relative material prosperity, and one can die redeemed but in an awful physical state (such as with the martyrs being executed) – the point here isn’t how one dies, but what with what attitude one makes an exit. The one dying in his material prosperity may die deranged (as many do) and the outcome after death infinitely worse than that of a martyr who dies a terrible death impaled on a cross but with with their mind perfectly composed and ready to receive what comes after.