No! It is not fair! But it is still true nonetheless! Kingdom members, the salt of the earth, the light of the world, will have persecution! Complaining and bitterness toward God solves no problems. Resentment, anger, and raging toward others, especially family members, is futile. Cynicism and bitterness in times of persecution and suffering only aggravates life’s difficulties.
Jesus closes the Beatitudes with a reference to the Kingdom of God/Heaven (Matthew 5:3, 10). Who would deny that Kingdom members find “righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17)? Who would negate that even “peacemakers…shall be called sons (having the “divine nature”) of God? The Beatitudes simply say, “Oh, what genuine joy and lasting happiness comes to those in the Kingdom because they personify and incorporate the likeness of Jesus”!
But what is profoundly unfair, unrighteous, and at times, terribly complicated, is not the trials of Kingdom members, but the horribly inequitable death of the King! When the followers of this King grasp the meaning of this sinless King suffering for sin, “the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God” (I Peter 3:18), all suffering pales into insignificance (Romans 8:18f).
The truth is clear: Jesus says, I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation (trials, decay, sickness, persecutions, and even death!). But take heart; I have overcome the world (John 16:33). Complaining, bitterness, and a sour attitude toward life’s trials will not make them go away or change anything. Falling away, apostasy (Matthew 13:21; 24:12), serves only to move one away from any hope in suffering, God’s eternal love.
What ingredient did the early Christians have that gave them a buoyant hope and joy in times of persecution and trials? What vibrancy did their faith have that is missing from so many today? The bottom-line answer to this has to be: Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name (Acts 5:41). They did not rejoice in their big buildings, budgets, or programs—things emphasized in the church today. They saw persecution as “a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God” (Phil. 1:28). The credentials of the church of Christ is not the approval of the world, but participation in the suffering of Jesus (Col. 1:24; II Corinthians 6:4f; 11:23f; 12:7f)! Suffering and tribulations indicated purification in Kingdom membership (Hebrews 12:1-29). Even with profound difficulty, it might be well for Kingdom members to announce clearly: Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven!
Atten: La Palabra Publisher
- Item Weight : 1.35 pounds
- Paperback : 208 pages
- ISBN-13 : 979-8664281224
- Product Dimensions : 8.5 x 0.47 x 11 inches
- ASIN : B08H6MCB2Z
- Language: : English