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Tuesday, October 06, 2015


Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. (2 Tim 3:12)
This isn't exactly a great sales pitch for Christianity. In fact, I'm pretty sure most of us would just as soon skip out on this one. What's disturbing to the serious Christian, however, is that it is in the Scriptures and it is so abundantly clear. There isn't any equivocation. It's right out in plain sight.

First, what is persecution? Well, we know what that is. We can look at Fox's Book of Martyrs or read about persecutions in history and in various countries. Bad stuff, to be sure. Well, by "bad" I mean very unpleasant. Still, Jesus considered insults and false accusations to be persecution (Matt 5:11). And in the midst of the "fiery ordeal" that Peter said was expected, "reviled for the name of Christ" (1 Peter 4:12-14) was included, so who am I to disagree? So let's just say that there is a continuum from insults to execution in which "persecution" may fall.

I'm not telling you this, however, to scare you. I'm telling you to prepare you. All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. Maybe it will be insults or false accusations. Maybe it will be worse. Don't be surprised (1 Peter 4:12-14). Count it all joy (James 1:2-4). Rejoice that you are considered worthy to suffer for Christ (Acts 5:41). Such is God's will (1 Peter 4:19).

But there has to be some consideration to the exact opposite question. Many -- good Christians or not -- will tell you that you aren't being persecuted. And even if you disagree, they're quite sure that they aren't. What should we conclude? On one hand, I would warn against leaping to conclusions. It says they will be persecuted; it doesn't say when. Thus, we can't draw conclusions about their intent to live godly in Christ Jesus. On the other hand, why should we anticipate persecution for godly living? Well, it's because godly living stands in the face of worldly living. So if you "desire to live godly in Christ Jesus", but find yourself on "the right side of history", as an applauded vanguard for new morality that the rest of Christendom has denied from the start, as a part of the world's views rather than going against the stream of public opinion, maybe, just maybe, your "godly in Christ Jesus" is actually much more palatable to the world of sin and, therefore, nothing to hate. In this case, you will likely need to reexamine your version of "godly in Christ Jesus". Because all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. And if you're not, that says something.

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