“But the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and there shall no torment touch them. In the sight of the unwise they seemed to die: and their departure is taken for misery. And their going from us to be utter destruction: but they are in peace. For though they be punished in the sight of men, yet is their hope full of immortality. And having been a little chastised, they shall be greatly rewarded: for God proved them, and found them worthy for himself. As gold in the furnace hath he tried them, and received them as a burnt offering.” (Reference: Wisdom 3:1-6 )
If you think my weariness with “Persecution” from yesterday has been answered, I agree. And I am further answered by the historic Anabaptist believer, Jörg Haugk von Jüchsen, when he wrote, “And because from youth on one has consumed and spent one’s strength in worldly lusts and in the works of sin as if one pours out water, it is necessary at this stage in accordance with one’s own will to reach out to God with all one’s strength in order to come to know his loving will. And because one has frivolously and willfully wasted one’s strength on all kinds of evil, has become corrupt and is no longer capable of any good and because one has in manifold ways strayed from God, one must in turn be drawn back to God’s good will in various ways. One must experience justification and the testing of faith through many trials and much tribulation, yes, in equal measure to the energy or strength formerly expended on the lusts of the flesh; for to become righteous one must be tried and tested like gold in fire; 1 Pet. 1:6-7; Sir. 2:5; Wisd. 3:6.”
But what a view of one’s self, that the lifestyle before the coming to faith is seen as so . . . so sinful . . . as compared to the way of living after coming to faith. Here is created justification for persecution. But it is presented in such a way that the rough edges are rubbed smooth, and the rewards for faithfulness so great as compared to the “minor” persecution. It is all such that I throw up my hands and say, “Alright! Suffer if that is what you need to do.”
But I tell you beloved – I say to you – you do not need to be persecuted in order to be in God’s hands. God does not ask us to put ourselves in the path of persecution. Christ warned that his followers might face persecution, and if so not to take it as a judgment of them but as a sign of the world’s unbelief. But never (I do not think) we have been commanded to invite persecution. In fact Paul told his readers to make peace as much as possible with the civil authorities.
We still have days come where the theme is persecution, and I will continue to try to speak as the Spirit moves in me. And if I do not seem to give persecution the honor you think it deserves, you may “persecute” me! Selah Beloved!