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4/20 Reading Portions: Leviticus 24; Psalm 31; Ecclesiastes 7; 2 Timothy 3
Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 2 Timothy 3:12
One of the elements sadly lacking from modern evangelism and discipleship today is the truth that God’s redeemed are promised hatred by the world (1 Jn 3:13), tribulation in the world (John 16:33), and persecution from the world (2 Tim 3:12).
Interestingly, it was by the hatred and persecution of evil men that brought Jesus Christ tribulation through His entire earthly ministry, and ultimately sent Him to His death upon a wooden cross. The scribes, Pharisees, and chief priests despised the Lord’s calling as Christ, His claim as God, and His commission to seek and to save the lost. They sent Jesus to His death, a death which would be the salvation for all those who would believe.
Ignorance is not indifferent to the persecutions upon Christ. Pontius Pilate and the Roman soldiers were just as willing to put the Messiah of God to death. Apart from the awakening interest and efficacious grace from heaven above about the person and work of Jesus Christ, hatred, tribulation, and persecution is all sinful men can offer God’s Anointed One.
It is likewise with us who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus. We will suffer persecution; and it will come from three sources: the devil’s minions (Eph 6:12), the unbelieving world (John 15:18), and the corruptions of our flesh which still remain (Gal 5:17). Why? They hate the image and holiness of Christ within us, as well His transforming us from…
…one degree of glory to another. 2 Corinthians 3:18
Yet we are told to rejoice in suffering (Rom 5:3; Jas 1:2) for it is gracious in the sight of God (1 Pet 2:20). Why? The trials, tribulations, and persecutions we suffer work together for good (Rom 8:28), becoming a refining fire for us, conforming us more and more into Christ’s holy image (Rom 8:29). Hallelujah! What a Savior!
A godly life in Jesus Christ,
It should be our desire;
The wicked of the world despise
Our Lord’s refining fire.
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