Friday, November 18, 2011
“…Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: being defamed, we entreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day” (1 Corinthians 4:12bc,13 KJV).
Contrary to the damnable teachings of prosperity theology, the Christian life is not always pleasant and carefree. In today’s Scripture, the Apostle Paul explains we “suffer” persecution. While “suffer” means “endure pain,” its older English definition was “allow, permit.” Both definitions are applicable here.
In Acts 24:5, lost people called Paul a “pestilent fellow.” Jesus told His Jewish disciples: “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you… I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you” (John 15:18,19). The lost world hated Jesus Christ so much that they preferred a murderer’s release as opposed to Jesus’ release (Matthew 27:15-22; Mark 15:7-15)!
The Apostle Peter, writing to Jewish believers, the little flock, who will endure the seven-year Tribulation: “But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified” (1 Peter 4:13,14).
Christians are the outcasts of society. Compared to the world, we think differently, we act differently, and we even look different. Accordingly, we are targets of their criticism. Christians down through the past 20 centuries have suffered some rather graphic treatment, far too explicit to mention here. This evil world system has never been God’s friend, so it will certainly be unfriendly to us Christians.
In fact, today’s Scripture tells us that the world will treat us Christians like “filth” and “offscouring” (trash, scum, castaways). We are called names, ostracized, and we may be imprisoned or even tortured and executed, but we are privileged to “suffer for righteousness’ sake” (1 Peter 3:14)!
Beloved, we suffer persecution… for God’s glory!