Spiritual Persecution :: By Daniel Payne

2 Thessalonians 1:4, “So that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure.”

Most true Bible-believing Christians living in America today are very aware of the terrible physical persecution being experienced by some of their fellow believers in certain places around the world. Places like China, Africa, and the Middle East, just to name a few.

Since we do not know the day that the Lord will call us up to heaven with a shout, we can’t help but wonder why so many of our fellow believers overseas are experiencing such terrible persecution while we have, for the most part, remained safe and at peace for generations here in America.

Most of us are also very aware that if the direction America is currently moving in doesn’t change course very soon, we may find ourselves facing similar persecution right here in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

While we firmly believe in God’s promise that we will not experience His wrath during the judgment of the Tribulation, we realize that we will face increasing tribulation and persecution prior to the coming of the Lord for His bride.

It is true that physical violence against true believers is terrible persecution. It is also true that the increasing strength of the spiritual war being waged against true believers is another form of persecution.

“For that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard” (2 Peter 2:8).

The more familiar KJV: “(for that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds).”

God’s servants are called to let our lights shine for Christ in the world. We’re called to be in the world but not of the world.

At the same time, if we who love God and believe His Word simply view the world around us, we can’t help but be tormented in our souls by the moral depravity that is exponentially increasing against our beliefs.

If we who love God and believe His Word attempt to watch or listen to any form of media, we’re bombarded by things in direct opposition to our beliefs on a daily basis. Not only are our eyes and ears filled with things fundamentally adverse to our core values, we are openly condemned as being hateful for simply believing what we believe.

(Ironically, true believers are condemned by those who condemn the lives of their own future children to death via abortion.)

When we who believe in the Word of God disagree with certain behavior that is publicly declared as righteous—even though it goes against the Word of God—we are accused of being a danger to humanity. We are also accused of hating the people engaging in the immoral behavior.

The accusations of hate are the opposite of the truth for genuine believers who truly follow the Lord’s commandments to love our enemies. True believers who love the Lord are only doing the very same thing that those who hate God’s laws are doing: standing up for our rights to believe what we believe.

Those who hate the moral code of God’s Word declare genuine followers of Jesus Christ as their enemies. In contrast, true Bible-believing Christians should “always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed” (2 Peter 3:15-16).

Those who hate true believers get around our loving message of the Gospel by saying that we are hateful by simply believing what we believe and living according to our beliefs. They say that our beliefs are exclusive as opposed to being inclusive.

In a nutshell, the world says that putting the Gospel of Jesus Christ ahead of its own social gospel is hatred.

The following are a few examples of the “hate” that true Christians are accused of:

  • We believe that salvation is only through Jesus Christ (John 14:6).
  • We stand against tyranny.
  • We stand against killing unborn human beings.
  • We will not condemn an entire race (white, Jewish, etc.) because we believe, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).
  • We believe the true science of climate change (i.e., the sun is by far the main physical influence on earth’s climate, the same climate that the fossil record shows was actually warmer in the distant past), not the world’s own version of a future apocalypse caused by trucks and hamburgers, etc.

While we do not know just how much more persecution the Father will allow those of us who love His Son to suffer, we do know—as the convergence of the signs is signifying—He will likely be sending His Son to take us to the place He has prepared for us very soon.

John 14:3, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”

In closing, here is a great lesson provided to us by the Lord through the Apostle Paul on how we can endure trials and tribulation while we continue to live for Christ.

2 Corinthians 1:3-10, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.

“And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation. For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us.”