Love one another

How about loving those who torment and persecute you, too. Is it an easy task? Maybe it helps to consider what the Apostle Paul wrote, and how Matthew Henry interprets it.

And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.

Philippians 1:28

“He exhorts them to courage and constancy in suffering: And in nothing terrified by your adversaries, Php_1:28. The professors of the gospel have all along met with adversaries, especially at the first planting of Christianity. Our great care must be to keep close to our profession, and be constant to it: whatever oppositions we meet with, we must not be frightened at them, considering that the condition of the persecuted is much better and more desirable than the condition of the persecutors; for persecuting is an evident token of perdition. Those who oppose the gospel of Christ, and injure the professors of it, are marked out for ruin. But being persecuted is a token of salvation. Not that it is a certain mark; many hypocrites have suffered for their religion; but it is a good sign that we are in good earnest in religion, and designed for salvation, when we are enabled in a right manner to suffer for the cause of Christ. – For to you it is given on the behalf of Christ not only to believe, but also to suffer for his name, Php_1:29. Here are two precious gifts given, and both on the behalf of Christ: – 1. To believe in him. Faith is God’s gift on the behalf of Christ, who purchased for us not only the blessedness which is the object of faith, but the grace of faith itself: the ability or disposition to believe is from God. 2. To suffer for the sake of Christ is a valuable gift too: it is a great honour and a great advantage; for we may be very serviceable to the glory of God, which is the end of our creation, and encourage and confirm the faith of others. And there is a great reward attending it too: Blessed are you when men shall persecute you, for great is your reward in heaven, Mat_5:11, Mat_5:12. And, if we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him, 2Ti_2:12.” Matthew Henry.

We are to know two things, if nothing else: first, though we suffer trials at the hands of others, are persecuted beyond what we feel is fair or deserved, those who contribute the our suffering are worse off for it that we, for they are marked for ruin; second, our suffering, when enabled to suffer for the cause of Messiah, marks us for salvation in Messiah. We are blessed; they are damned.

English: oasis (Algeria)
Oasis in Algeria (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As we look our tormenter in the face, can we imagine him or her in hell seeing us in Heaven? Probably not. But imagine it this way. Imagine a small park in the middle of the desert, an oasis. We sit upon green grass beneath tall trees. A breeze blows cool air over us. We sing songs, dance, and talk with Y’shuaJesus, who is always present on our oasis with us. Outside the edge of the green is brown sand. It is dry, hot, horrid. An unrelenting burns the skin of those marked for ruin, for damnation. Through baked eyes they look into the oasis they can never enter. Through parched lips they call for help. We don’t see them anymore, but for all eternity they see those they’ve mistreated, tortured, persecuted.

When we are maligned for the cause of Christ, we do best to turn our anger upon the one is causing the torment–the devil and his rebellious minion. Our struggle is not, as Paul has said, against flesh and blood, but against the rulers in the dark realm. . .

Lord Bless, Keep, Shine. . .

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