Be “Salt” And “Light” amidst persecution!
“Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great…” Matt. 5:12a
The glorious promises of God that come through belief in Jesus Christ, may indeed be costly for the children of God; a cost that could entail severe persecution. The Apostle Paul wrote that persecution of Christians is inevitable (2 Tim. 3:12) and can manifest itself in various forms. Such as: mockery, ridicule, slander, false accusations, ostracization from family or friends; reviling, scorn, resentment, hatred. Being fined, imprisoned, abused, castigated, tortured, and even martyrdom. No matter what the cost, we should be willing to pay the price. In order to pay that hefty price, we must learn to cultivate: love, patience, long-suffering, forgiveness, diligence, tenacity, fortitude; or in other words, a Christ-like heart and mind. These disciplines do not result from a superficial understanding of God’s word and an attitude of indifference toward holiness and obedience.
In most of today’s American churches, the fabricated atmosphere encourages congregants to relax and enjoy comfort while being “entertained”. During worship services, if I may call it that, all solemnity and fear of God is eviscerated and superficiality is promoted as the norm. Congregants are accustomed to undergoing insignificant amounts of persecution, if any at all, in their lives and therefore are incapable of comprehending the concept of true persecution. That is why it is essential to saturate one’s mind with Scripture and to spend ample time studying it (Rom. 12:2). I cannot emphasize enough, the importance of being in constant commune with God!
Additionally, one must always keep in mind Jesus’ instruction in the Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. “Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how will it be made salty again? It is good for nothing anymore, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden…”Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Matt. 5:11-16).
Therefore, when persecution arises we must not cower or become timid recluses, but rather be strong and bold witnesses of Jesus Christ (2 Tim. 1:7). This, mind you, gives evidence of a mature Christian firmly rooted in the faith; when severe persecution arises, he does not slink back. Dr. James White, president of Alpha and Omega Ministries, believes severe persecution is coming very soon to American so-called churches, but also believes it will be good for the true church. I heartily concur. Many of the “tares” (unbelievers) will not endure “Christian” persecution and flee churches in droves, thus leaving the faithful “wheat” (believers). And, to some extent, it will restore purity back into the church. Pastor John MacArthur, also aware of this pernicious epidemic asserted that currently there are myriads of unbelievers filling the pews in our local churches nationwide, thus accounting for much of the worldly influence in them. This sad but true reality greatly besmirches Christianity. Furthermore, it grieves the Holy Spirit, and defiles the purity and integrity of Jesus’ church. So in essence, although extremely difficult, we ought to embrace all forms of persecution without fear. For if persecution is God’s means of purifying the church from its useless dross (false converts), and exposing its unblemished precious metal, we should rejoice in His divine intervention. For it is a positive sign that God has not abandoned His people for being so egregiously rebellious and disobedient! Amen!