Today, let us look at the conversion of Basilides, who lived in A.D. 204. There were three women executed, Rhais, Marcella and her daughter Potamiena. The women were tortured then burned slowly “by degrees” alive. One would shudder to imagine such a death, Basilides one of the executors was converted following something Potamiena had said during her conversion.
“Eusebius writes, "Being among his companions, and an oath being demanded of him on some special matter, he said, that he dared not swear at all, because he was a Christian, and did openly confess it before them. When they heard this, they thought at first, that he was joking; but when he persistently asserted it, and showed that he was in earnest, he was seized and cast into prison. When some of the brethren came to visit him and inquired how it happened that he had become changed so suddenly, he fully satisfied them in regard to the matter. Having heard this, they gave him the sign of the Lord, that is (as A. Mellinus explains it), he was baptized in the name of Christ. The following day he was beheaded for the confession of the Lord. Compare the preceding accounts concerning the disciples of Origen, with Eusebius, lib. 6, cap. 5, fol. 107, cot. 1, 2. Also, A, Mellinus, lst book, fol. 58, Col. 1, 2. Also, P. J, Twisck, Chron., 3d book, for the year 204, fol. 55; Col. 2, above. Also, Introduction M. Sp., fol. 39; Col. 1. (p. 129)”
This is someone who had counted the cost. He knew firsthand what it meant to profess faith in Christ. We don’t know how many Christians he himself had killed; it would only take one to get the point across. Christianity was a death sentence in A.D.204, and not only death awaited but terrible torture before dying. Still, Basilides forsook his sins and became ready for the kingdom of God. Like Moses, he decided to “...to suffer affliction with the people of God, [rather] than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;” (He. 11:25).
Perhaps he was struck by the admonishment of Jesus, who said (Mk. 8:36), “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” We don’t know what was said but the question is exemplified in this courageous act of Basilides. His fellow soldiers thought he must be joking. This must have weighed on their hearts to see him stand and not back down even to the point of death.
His fellow Christians came “to visit him” when they were convinced of the genuineness of his conversion, they baptized him. These men of God took seriously the admonitions in the Scripture to test every spirit, to lay hands on no man suddenly. This must be done sternly, soberly and thoroughly, as eternity is too grave a matter to be wrong.
People today won’t come to Christ because they realize they must give up their sinful lifestyles. This is not a good example of counting the cost. These people have not considered their sinful pleasures last only so long. Consider this truth, written plainly in the Revelation of John:
“He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.”-Rv. 22:11
In other words, if you die a drunkard, you will be a drunkard still. Drunkards do not enter heaven, therefore, in hell you will continue with your desire for drunkenness, yet there will be no relief for that desire. You may be in hell with all your worldly lovers, but you will no longer be fornicating with them. Count the cost!
Whatever thrill you may find in this earth is pursuing it worth an eternity in hell?
What does it profit a man? What can a man give in exchange for his soul?
“For thus saith the LORD, Ye have sold yourselves for nought; and ye shall be redeemed without money.”-Is. 52:3
He delivered that promise on the cross of cavalry. The lamb of God has come to take away the sins of the world and woe unto anyone who would deny that precious gift! For what? Basilides was a wise man and we would do well to remember his sacrifice and example.
He was quickly baptized just before he was killed. One of the women mentioned above, was yet to be baptized when she was killed. There was some discussion of whether she would be saved until it was decided she was baptized by fire. Do you see the reverence they placed on the doctrine of salvation in the early days of Christianity? Do you see the fear of God? We would do well follow the example of the early church.
I am only a brother...
Can I tell you about my elder brother Jesus?