Faith to stand up to persecution is a gift from God. “1 You were made alive when you were dead in transgressions and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the children of disobedience. 3 We also all once lived among them in the lusts of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, for his great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Messiah—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him, and made us to sit with him in the heavenly places in Messiah Yeshua, 7 that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Messiah Yeshua; 8 for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, that no one would boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Messiah Yeshua for good works, which God prepared before that we would walk in them.” Eph 2:1-10 WMB
As followers of Jesus, we are predominantly persecuted in an impersonal manner. We are constantly publicly disdained for our faith via public media including internet, TV, radio, newspapers, magazines and books.
Impersonal persecution is also dealt out by crowds. Hiding in a crowd, Leftist boards, committees, bureaucracies, educators unions and protesters enforce their worldview by impersonal means. Even coworkers won’t tell us the hate us to our face, they just tell their peers of their manager we have a problem. Or, in the case of politicians and protesters, they get in our face with a crowd behind them.
Yet, if one of us stands up for Jesus in that kind of environment, we can expect crowd retaliation. For an example, see Sam Storms: My Letter to Oklahoma University President David Boren and to the OU Board of Regents.
I find it ironic that heathens in our American culture don’t have the guts to face us in one on one conversation. Instead they rely on public media and crowds to speak against us, write against us, judge us and meet out our punishment. They are not afraid of personal consequences because they won’t get up close and personal. Isn’t it ironic that heathens accuse followers of Jesus of being judgmental while they act as judge and jury and meet out our punishment.
What most liberals will not admit is that Jesus spoke the truth (Mt 22:16; Mk 12:32; Jn 1:17; Jn 8:45). Jesus appointed apostles to speak the truth (Mt 28:16-20; Mk 16:14-18; Ro 1). The religious leaders of the Jews couldn’t abide the truth (Mt 23). Like the liberals of today, they decided for themselves what was right. So they plotted His crucifixion. The scribes and Pharisees stirred up a crowd and got the Roman governmental authorities to sentence Jesus to the cross. Pilate caved in to the crowd.
22 Pilate said to them, “What then shall I do to Yeshua who is called Messiah?” They all said to him, “Let him be crucified!” 23 But the governor said, “Why? What evil has he done?” But they cried out exceedingly, saying, “Let him be crucified!”
24 So when Pilate saw that nothing was being gained, but rather that a disturbance was starting, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, “I am innocent of the blood of this righteous person. You see to it.”
25 All the people answered, “May his blood be on us and on our children!”
26 Then he released Barabbas to them, but Yeshua he flogged and delivered to be crucified. Mt 27:22-26 WMB
This was part of God’s plan (Jn 3:16), which Jesus knew (Mt 23:34). Jesus went to the cross and shed His blood as the perfect sacrifice for our sins (Mt 26:27-28). As Paul tells us: “But we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the wisdom that has been hidden, which God foreordained before the worlds for our glory, which none of the rulers of this world has known. For had they known it, they wouldn’t have crucified the Lord of glory” (1 Cor 2:7-8). The devil and his forces were defeated by Jesus shedding his blood for the forgiveness of our sins and God His Father resurrecting Him.
Therefore, prepare your minds for action.
13Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep a clear head, and set your hope completely on the grace to be given you when Jesus, the Messiah, is revealed. 14As obedient children, do not be shaped by the desires that used to influence you when you were ignorant. 15Instead, be holy in every aspect of your life, just as the one who called you is holy. 16For it is written, “You must be holy, because I am holy.”
17If you call “Father” the one who judges everyone impartially according to what they have done, you must live in reverent fear as long as you are strangers in a strange land. 18For you know that it was not with perishable things like silver or gold that you have been ransomed from the worthless way of life handed down to you by your ancestors, 19but with the precious blood of the Messiah, like that of a lamb without blemish or defect. 20On the one hand, he was foreknown before the creation of the world, but on the other hand, he was revealed at the end of time for your sake. 21Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope might be in God.
22Now that you have obeyed the truth and have purified your souls to love your brothers sincerely, you must love one another intensely and with a pure heart. 23For you have been born again, not by a seed that perishes but by one that cannot perish—by the living and everlasting word of God. 24For
- “All human life is like grass,
- and all its glory is like a flower in the grass.
- The grass dries up and the flower drops off,
- 25but the word of the Lord lasts forever.”
Now this word is the good news that was announced to you. 1 Peter 1:13-25 ISV
Our fight in not against flesh and blood but against spiritual forces of darkness. So we put on the whole amour of God.