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  • Sam Matthews. K

302. Persecuted for righteousness.

"Blessed are those who are persecuted BECAUSE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:10) In this world, many are persecuted because of cultural, social, religious and political differences but Jesus meant those who are being persecuted because of the righteousness they have received from God, which makes them different! 'This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.' - (Romans 3:22) The devil hates this righteousness as much as God hates sin! And therefore the devil persecutes everyone who walks and talks of this righteouness, which started with John the Baptist who was beheaded. Not even Christ 'who has become for us ... our righteousness' - (1 Corinthians 1:30) was spared from persecution because he demonstrated this righteousness at work. 'Because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jews persecuted him.' - (John 5:16) Sinful men in the Jewish establishment opposed his teachings because he challenged their beliefs, but Jesus endured such opposition. 'Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.' - (Hebrews 12:3) He warned his disciples that they too will not be spared! "If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name ..." - (John 15:20-21) 'Infact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.' - (2 Timothy 3:12)

The Apostles considered it as a badge of honour to suffer disgrace for refusing to stop preaching about this righteousness through Christ. 'The Apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.' - (Acts 5:40) Paul too found this righteousness and risked everything, to be found with it! 'Whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ ... I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ - the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.'- (Philipians 3:7-9) But many did not submit to this righteousness 'since they did not know this righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness.' - (Romans 10:3) The reason they did not submit is because the cross was offensive to them, being an emblem of suffering and shame! 'The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ.' (Galatians 6:12) But we are called to bear the cross with dignity, even if it means persecution. 'For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him.' - (Philipians 1:29) Persecution is infact the proof of the righteousness we have by faith and it testifies that we are not citizens of this world but of the Kingdom of God. Therefore rejoice and be glad because great is your reward in heaven. Amen.

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