A Study in Christian Persecution: Part 2
By Paige Rogers
[This is a continuing study. You may read Part 1 of this study HERE.]
It is time to prepare for persecution.
The word “persecution” means “to pursue.” For a genuine Christian, there is no way to escape from persecution, as a beautifully written article at One Place explains. As Paul said in 2 Timothy 3:12, “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” Genuine, Bible-believing Christians will always be pursued; endlessly, mercilessly pursued.
“Let us lie in wait for the righteous one…”
To understand the motives of those who persecute Christians, to understand why Christians are and will be persecuted, we can turn to Matthew, Chapter 5. –
“Blessed are they who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” (v. 10-12)
- “…for righteousness’ sake.” (v. 10) – Righteousness comes from a Greek word that means “to divide.” We will be persecuted for the life we live; a life that elucidates the divide between light and darkness. A genuine Christian’s life and thinking are as fish living in the salty waters of the oceans, whose meat remains sweet and untainted in spite of the acidic environment in which the fish lives. Our lives should always shine brightly like a diamond amongst the soot and darkened grime of a coal mine. As Christ said, “You are the salt of the earth” and “You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5: 13-15). Light is to darkness as rubbing alcohol is to an open wound. It irritates the darkness: light is an irritant. Christians who are filled with the light of the Holy Ghost are naturally different, a sharp contrast to those filled with worldly darkness.
- “…for my sake.” (v. 11) – “This world hates Jesus Christ. Not the “baby Jesus”—everyone loves a baby in a manger—or the Jesus who healed the sick and fed multitudes. But it hates the Savior who said, “I have come to destroy the works of the devil”—abortion, pornography, pride, racism, greed. Jesus Christ stands against what the world stands for” (One Place). Genuine Christians love Jesus, our savior and Lord. Our jubilee in loving Christ repulses those of this world, and the world seeks to snuff out our joy and punish us for our love. This is the reason why one oppressed, yet devoted Christian living in Communist Romania remarked, upon being secretly asked why he was not outwardly joyful, “How can I be joyful when I have to hide from the pastor of my church that I am an earnest Christian, that I lead a life of prayer, that I try to win souls? The pastor of the church is an informer of the secret police. We are spied on one after another and the shepherds are those who betray the flock. There exists very deep in our heart the joy of salvation, but this external gladness that you have – we do not have it anymore” (Tortured for Christ, Richard Wurmbrand, 50th Anniversary ed., p. 26). Those who hate Christ inevitably hate those who love Christ.
The reasons discussed above are seen in the words of the sinners below (from Wisdom chapter 2). –
Let us oppress the righteous poor;
let us neither spare the widow
nor revere the aged for hair grown white with time.
11But let our strength be our norm of righteousness;
for weakness proves itself useless.
12* Let us lie in wait for the righteous one, because he is annoying to us;
he opposes our actions,
Reproaches us for transgressions of the law
and charges us with violations of our training.
13He professes to have knowledge of God
and styles himself a child of the LORD.
14To us he is the censure of our thoughts;
merely to see him is a hardship for us,
15Because his life is not like that of others,
and different are his ways.
16He judges us debased;
he holds aloof from our paths as from things impure.
He calls blest the destiny of the righteous
and boasts that God is his Father.
17Let us see whether his words be true;
let us find out what will happen to him in the end.
18For if the righteous one is the son of God, God will help him
and deliver him from the hand of his foes.
19With violence and torture let us put him to the test
that we may have proof of his gentleness
and try his patience.
20Let us condemn him to a shameful death;
for according to his own words, God will take care of him.”
~(the words of the sinners) Wisdom 2:10-20
Yes, my brothers and sisters in Christ, we must prepare for persecution. And we must also strive, strive, strive to be joyful, though difficult it may be, when persecution finds us. For, our suffering reveals the Truth of Christ Jesus, and it reveals the wickedness, the darkness, of the adversaries of the Almighty Father. And what does Christ tell us this persecution will look like/will be? We will examine that in my next article of this series.