Category Archives: Persecution

APPOINTED TO TRIBULATION

Disciples of Jesus will escape God’s “wrath” but are appointed for “tribulation” in this life for the gospel‘s sake.

The terms “tribulation” and “wrath” are NOT synonymous in the New Testament. The former is what disciples endure for the gospel, but the latter is the horrific fate that awaits those men and women who reject the good news of the kingdom. Rather than life, they along with apostates will undergo the “second death.”

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SAINTS, TRIBULATION, AND WRATH

His disciples escape God’s “wrath” but endure “tribulation” to which they have been “appointed”1 Thessalonians 3:1-4.

In the New Testament, the terms “tribulation” and “wrath” are NOT synonymous. “Tribulation” is what disciples endure for the sake of Jesus, but “wrath” is the horrific fate awaiting the wicked at the “end of the age,” the “second death,” which unrepentant sinners and apostates endure on account of their iniquities and betrayals.

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CHRISTIAN RESPONSE TO PERSECUTION

When Christians react in kind to hostility, whether from government, society, or individuals, Satan triumphsMatthew 5:12.

The reality of persecution in the Christian life raises numerous questions. For example, how should we react to our persecutors, especially when we are persecuted by governing authorities? Should we respond with indignation, civil disobedience, and public protests? Or should the disciples of Jesus follow his example and that of the early church?

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BLAMELESS CONDUCT

If the Thessalonians emulate the apostolic example, they will receive the “crown of glory” at Christ’s return 1 Thessalonians 2:1-20.

Opposition from the local synagogue had compelled Paul to leave Thessalonica prematurely. Though initially, some members of that group had welcomed his message, they turned against him once large numbers of Gentiles began to embrace the gospel. And even after he left the city, some of the synagogue leaders pursued him as he preached elsewhere in Macedonia.

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TO THE ASSEMBLY

The Thessalonians received the gospel in tribulation but remained faithful in anticipation of the arrival of Jesus 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10.

Opposition to the new faith forced Paul to leave Thessalonica before his work was completed. When he attempted to return to the city, he was thwarted “by Satan.” Because of anxieties about the congregation, he sent Timothy to investigate. His first letter is his thankful response after receiving good news about the congregation’s faithfulness.

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AFFLICTED DISCIPLES

The godly disciple who faithfully bears witness to the gospel of Jesus will endure “tribulation” and persecution for his sake.

Our human tendency is to avoid trouble and conflict. Understandably, we prefer our daily lives to be characterized by peace, acceptance, and prosperity, a life devoid of difficulty, affliction, and certainly persecution. And the New Testament does promise believers peace now and everlasting life later. Yet it also exhorts us to expect and prepare for afflictions in this life.

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