Saturday, June 27, 2009

An Unpopular Promise Regarding Persecution; Notice the Complete, Unavoidable Feature of this Promise

Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. (2 Timothy 3:12)

We are in the category of "unpopular" promises. This promise guarantees persecution for the people who are serious believers in Jesus Christ. In a church world where many of the treasure comfort and the status of ones self are more important, this promise is not at all well-received.

This promise is given to those who want to live a life of godliness: "who desire to live godly." Godliness is the will of the Lord for His people. Read that again; Godliness is the will of the Lord!

"But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and hurtful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all evils; it is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced their hearts with many pangs. But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness" (1Timothy 6:9-11).

Our Lord Himself stated that there is great blessing in having a passion for righteous living. "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness" (Matthew 5:6). The blessing is God's pledge to satisfy the heart that desires for righteousness. "For they shall be filled" (Matthew 5:6).

Yet, we have seen that fullness of righteousness is not all that is promised to those people who want to walk in godliness. Persecution is also promised. "Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution." Notice the complete, unavoidable feature of this promise. "All who desire to live godly . . . will suffer persecution." There are no exceptions - again I say - there are no exemptions.

All who sincerely desire to follow the Lord Jesus Christ will experience the consequences that He met, as He walked in righteousness. "Remember the word that I said to you, 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you" (John 15:20). Jesus was not very will like by everyone for the way He lived on the righteous path. He was opposed, mocked, conspired against, and betrayed. We dont need be troubled when events of similar harassment happen to us.

Of course, this promise of persecution is not given to discourage us from pressing on down this path of godliness. Rather, it is presented to prepare us for the difficulties that are guaranteed as we seek to grow in Christ likeness. In fact the Lord even adds gracious encouragements to be righteous, so we will be strengthened to practice His holy will in this matter. "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:10). Persecutions can remind us that we are not from this world; we are headed home to heaven. Persecutions can bring us heavenly actions of supporting grace along the way.


O righteous Lord, I long to walk in Your paths of righteousness. Strengthen my heart with Your grace that I might press on in godliness. Help me to never shrink back, even though persecutions are guaranteed. Help me to stand true, even though persecutions may become severe. Lord, I count on Your promises to see me through the battles, in Jesus name, Amen.

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