Greatly Advantaged 5/8

“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake; for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad; for great is your reward in Heaven; for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” Jesus here shows them that at the very time when they are experiencing great suffering in his cause, they have reason to be glad, and recognize that their afflictions are profitable to them, having an influence to wean their affections from the world and concentrate them upon Heaven. He taught them that their losses and disappointments would result in actual gain, that the severe trials of their faith and patience should be cheerfully accepted, rather than dreaded and avoided. These afflictions were God’s agents to refine and fit them for their peculiar work, and would add to the precious reward that awaited them in Heaven. He charged them, when persecuted by men, not to lose confidence, nor become depressed and mourn over their hard lot, but to remember that righteous men of the past had likewise suffered for their obedience. Anxious to fulfil their duty to the world, fixing their desire upon the approbation of God, they were calmly and faithfully to discharge every duty, irrespective of the fear or favour of man. 

Those things which seem to the Christian most grievous to be borne often prove his greatest blessing. Reproach and falsehood have ever followed those who were faithful in the discharge of duty. A righteous character, though blackened in reputation by slander and falsehood, will preserve the purity of its virtue and excellence. Trampled in the mire, or exalted to heaven, the Christian’s life should be the same, and the proud consciousness of innocence is its own reward. The persecution of enemies tests the foundation upon which the reputation really rests. Sooner or later it is revealed to the world whether or not the evil reports were true, or were the poisoned shafts of malice and revenge. Constancy in serving God is the only safe manner of settling such questions. Jesus would have his people use great care to give the enemies of his cause no ground to condemn their holy faith. No wrong action should cast a stigma upon its purity. When all arguments fail, the slanderers frequently open their galling fire upon the besieged servants of God; but their lying tongues eventually bring curses upon themselves. God will finally vindicate the right, honour the guiltless, and hide them in the secret of his pavilion from the strife of tongues. 

God’s servants have always suffered reproach; but the great work moves on, amid persecution, imprisonments, stripes, and death. The character of the persecution changes with the times, but the principle–the spirit that underlies it–is the same that stoned and beat and slew the chosen of the Lord centuries ago. 

There was never one who walked a man among men more cruelly slandered than the Son of God. He was met at every point with bitter reproaches. They hated him without a cause. The Pharisees even hired men to repeat from city to city the falsehoods which they themselves fabricated to destroy the influence of Jesus. Yet he stood calmly before them declaring that reproach was a part of the Christian’s legacy, counselling his followers how to meet the arrows of malice, bidding them not to faint under persecutions, but, “Rejoice, and be exceeding glad;” “for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” Jesus continued to impress upon the minds of his disciples the responsibility of their relation to the world. Said he:–

“Ye are the salt of the earth; but if the salt have lost its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” The people could see the white salt, glistening in the pathway, where it had been cast out because it had lost its savour and was therefore useless. Jesus used salt as an illustration of the Christian’s life and teachings upon the world. Were it not for the few righteous who inhabit the earth, the wrath of God would not be delayed a moment from punishing the wicked. But the prayers and good works of the people of God preserve the world; they are the savour of life. But if Christians are only so in name, if they have not virtuous characters and godly lives, they are like the salt that has lost its savour. Their influence upon the world is bad; they are worse than unbelievers.  {2SP 211-14} 

Dear Reader; We have now advanced to “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake;” but how do we react when the insults and knockers try to batter and to put us down with insults for our Faith or whatever?  Do we like Peter just before Calvary, deny our Faith?  Do we stand up for our Faith?  Can your Faith be shaken, or are you like a Limpet, stuck to the “Rock, Christ Jesus” who will not give up though the Heaven’s Fall, just like the Martyrs who have refused to retaliate, for their life is safe in Heavenly hands, then their eternal future is secure?