There’s no doubt that the persecution of Christians is on the rise. Yes, in some brutal ways in some parts of the world, and even in the comfortable west, where we’ve considered ourselves immune up to this point.
Yeah, and for those of us who live in what we thought were open democracies that value free speech … it’s come as something of a rude shock. From our comfortable vantage point, persecution of Christians is something we expect and all too occasionally pray about, when it happens over there somewhere, in countries ruled by totalitarian regimes. But this close to home? Seriously? That shouldn’t be happening.
Well it is happening so get used to it. But then there’s nothing new in any of that. Writes the Apostle Paul to his young ministry protégé Timothy:
2 Timothy 3:10-12 But you know all about me. You know what I teach and the way I live. You know my goal in life. You know my faith, my patience, and my love. You know that I never stop trying. You know about my persecutions and my sufferings. You know all the things that happened to me in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra—the persecution I suffered in those places. But the Lord saved me from all of it. Everyone who wants to live showing true devotion to God in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
So Paul begins by recapping his particular experience of persecution … but then universalises it. Through Him, God is telling us that it’s going to happen to all of us. Charles Spurgeon once put it like this:
The present age is so flippant that if a man loves the Saviour, He is a fanatic. And if he hates the power of evil, he is a bigot.
Persecution. Don’t be surprised.
That’s God’s Word. Fresh … for you … today.