We’ve talked some about persecution, both on this blog and in recent sermons at church. I was thinking about that subject, and turned in my Bible to Matthew 19:27-30.
There, Peter asks Jesus, essentially, what the disciples will receive, since they gave up everything to follow Him. In verse 29, Jesus says any who left brothers, sisters, father or mother, or children or farms for His name, will receive many times as much.
We know that salvation was secured for us at the cross. We know that we cannot purchase our way to heaven, even with some sacrifice. The sacrifice of Christ was enough for all.
However, this passage reveals something for all who have been saved. God is watching. If you have had to sacrifice something, for the faith (such as family, property, job, etc.), then our Lord knows. It does not escape His attention.
Further, not only does He know, but He WILL compensate! Not today, perhaps. But He is just, and He will reward.
The doctrine of rewards, while it is somewhat discussed, should always be discussed more, in my opinion. 2 Corinthians 5:10 explains that all believers will be at the judgement seat of Christ, and there we will be judged, and rewarded, for what we have done.
At that time, according to the passage we just read in Matthew 19, we will not only be rewarded for what we have done to serve Jesus, we will also be rewarded for what following Him cost us.
Following Jesus is costly. Some have been denounced by family, or cut off from relationships, for the sake of the name of Christ and believing in the salvation He has given us.
Some are persecuted for still believing the Bible in such a modern time as today, when so much of our culture believes it has “moved past” these timeless truths.
There is more persecution to come. We may lose jobs, homes, relationships, money, and of course, possibly our lives. But scripture comforts us.
We know if we have trusted in Christ, then our inheritance is in heaven, set aside for us, and will not perish (1 Peter 1:4). We know that, if we have left family, friends, property or wealth for Jesus, we will be rewarded (Matthew 19:27).
So today, yes, Christians are persecuted. From my anecdotal, and limited, memory, it seems like it is more difficult to be a Christian in today’s society than it was five years ago, and certainly more than it was 15 years ago.
That can discourage us, but it should encourage us. We have a living hope in Jesus, and persecution and sacrifice are opportunities for us to prove our faith, and be rewarded by our Father.
Until next time, in Christ,