Monday, 23 April 2018
Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 2 Timothy 3:12
Paul has been speaking of his own sufferings and persecutions. He has noted that Timothy shared in them with him, and that he understood all that he was relaying intimately. But now, knowing that his letter will be read and dispersed to the church, he ensures that all who read it will understand that the sufferings are not unique to him. Instead, they are to be the standard for all of God’s faithful. And so he says, “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus.”
Notice that he does not say, “all saved by Christ Jesus.” There are saved, and then there are saved who desire to live holy, godly lives. Paul doesn’t question salvation, but he directs sanctification. Further, he makes godliness exclusive by saying, “live godly in Christ Jesus.” As is noted by the famous German scholar –
“There is no godliness out of Christ Jesus.” Johann Bengel
Godliness is exclusive to life in Christ. People can act out a form of godliness in any religion, even Christianity, but they may deny either the Source of the godliness, or its power. This is noted by Paul in verse 3:5. Without Christ, true godliness cannot be attained. Paul then says that for the category of believers who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus, that “they will suffer persecution.”
Godliness is, by its very nature, at enmity with the things of the world. When people see someone pursuing righteousness in Christ Jesus, they perceive their own ungodliness, and they take offense at it. This has always been the case, and it is increasing almost geometrically in today’s world. This is so much so that pastors of churches are taking down crosses, amending their message to be more “seeker friendly” (which simply means that they don’t want to offend), changing the nature of the worship services, etc. These men may be saved, but they do not desire to live godly in Christ Jesus, and they do not desire that their own congregants strive for godliness or holiness as well.
But for those who do, suffering persecution is to be expected. It can even be expected from these anemic, weak, insipid, and ineffective pastors and congregants. Promote holiness on social media, and quite often, it is another Christian who will bring on the attack. Such is the nature of encouraging godliness in Christ Jesus.
Life application: Are you experiencing persecution for your stand on righteousness? Good job! Keep it up.
Lord God, Your word says that those who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. This is for sure. It is even true as fellow Christians strive against those who desire to preach holiness, ensure holiness is maintained, and to speak against ungodliness. Your word states what we are to strive for, and so give us strength to not be weak in the face of those who are seeking political correctness, Christianity-lite, or easy theology which avoids possible confrontation concerning Your glory. Amen.