Matthew 5:10; Revelation 6:9-11; Various
Persecuted For Doing Right
Matthew 5:10; Various
Date: Wednesday, July 22, 2020
Good evening and welcome to BCCC and our nightly devotional study.
None of us like to go through trials or tribulation especially where our faith is tested. We don’t really like problems of any kind. It’s one thing to go through trouble because you did something wrong or you made a mistake but it is another thing completely when we are unjustly persecuted for doing the right thing. When we stand up for what is right and get knocked down we wonder if it is worth it. We maybe tempted the next time to let it ride. We may begin to ignore injustice all together.
The eighth blessing is a little justice for those who stand up for what is right. This Beatitude is found in Matthew 5:10, where Jesus says, Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. This is talking about people who are persecuted for doing the right thing.
There are those who stand up for what is social right like Erin Brockovich or Malala Yousafzai. It is always good to have people who stand up for the right thing. But this verse is not talking about them necessarily. It’s talking about people who are doing the right thing in God’s eyes, not in the world’s eyes. You see, society is constantly changing it’s mind about what is right and wrong. But God’s idea of what is right and wrong is eternal. It never changes. It is the same no matter what is the time or the date, no matter what people group is involved, no matter where on the globe or beyond, and no matter what the trend of social thought might be at the time. God’s idea of righteousness is absolute, never wavering, and good forever.
The word interpreted as persecution in our Bible comes from the Greek word διώκω- diókó (dee-o’-ko). It literally is a hunting term meaning that someone is actively pursuing you with an earnest intent and desire to do you bodily harm or kill you. In other words most of our small and petty problems with others don’t really qualify as persecution.
A few years ago, I read the book called Jesus Freaks. It was a powerful book that shared numerous testimonies of people who paid dearly for their faith in Jesus Christ. Many died for their faith. I was floored by it because I believe that most of us in America have never had to face persecution for doing what is right. Most of us have never feared losing our life our being bodily injured for our faith in Jesus.
In some ways I praise Jesus for this. But in other ways I can see the problems of fat and lazy Christians that have allowed compromise into the church and set up a religion that depends on human efforts and strength rather than depending on the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. I find that this leads to churches that focus on entertainment and motivational speaking rather than on true discipleship that comes from living in the Spirit and in the Word. It’s ironic that churches that are persecuted are growing in spite of the danger while churches in America are struggling and dying.
Jesus gives encouragement for those who are putting themselves on the line for their faith. He tells them that theirs is the kingdom of heaven. In other words, they will achieve that divine fellowship with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit in heaven. They will finally get the justice that they deserve.
I see this beautiful picture in the book of The Revelation of Jesus Christ. When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been (Re 6:9-11). The Lord rewards those who are persecuted to death for their faith with a white robe. They are clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. This is the same righteousness they stood for when they were on the earth. Now isn’t that something to hang your hat on! Let’s pray.
PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear Sovereign Lord, You are holy and true. You are the judge. So Father, help us to stand firm in your word and in your way. Help us to stand firm in times of trouble. Help us to always be faithful even unto death. Thank you for the righteousness of Jesus who gave his life as an atonement for our sins. In Jesus name we pray. AMEN!
“Good night and God bless you.”