Listen to the testimony of Scripture:
“All who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” 2 Tim. 3:12
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.” 1 Peter 4:12
“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household.” Matt. 10:24-25
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 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. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.” John 15:18-21
Those are just a few texts that call attention to the presence of suffering in the lives of Jesus’ followers. Could it be that we don’t really find this to be a reality in our lives because we try to go out of our way not to offend people by the truth?
Our goal should never be to set out to be offensive for the sake of offense, but when we stand for truth in the face of error, it is going to offend. When we bring the light into contexts of darkness, it will offend. When we stand for the absolute truth of Scripture, the exclusivity of Christ, and the singularity of the Gospel, a world and culture enraptured with Relativism and Pluralism will get offended.
I was reading the words of one of my favorite devotional books this morning. It is from The Golden Booklet of the True Christian Life. This is from the larger classic The Institutes of the Christian Religion by J. Calvin.
“It is a source of singular consolation for us when we suffer persecution for righteousness sake. For then we ought to remember how greatly we are honored by God when he decorates us with tokens of his service.”
“I call it persecution for righteousness’ sake not only when we suffer in defense of the gospel, but also when we are opposed in upholding any just cause. When we defend the truth of God over against the falsehoods of Satan, or protect good and innocent people against injustice and injury, it may be necessary for us to incur the hatred and indignation of the world, so that our lives, our possessions, or our reputations may be endangered.”
“But we should not be grieved when we exert ourselves in the service of God, and we should not count ourselves miserable when wit his own mouth he calls us most blessed. But when God breathes his favor on us, all things work together for our happiness and our well-being.”
“Let us therefore be content with the approval of Christ rather than the false opinion of our flesh. Then we shall rejoice like the Apostles whenever he shall ‘count us worthy to suffer shame for his name.’”
As Jesus said, “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:11-12
May God give us the grace and strengthen us for such endeavors for His Name’s sake!
soli Deo gloria