- II Timothy 3:12 “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”
When it comes to the subject of persecution, a lie continues to be repeated that modern believers have not yet experienced persecution. Mind you, this lie flies in the face of the above promise from God that “all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” (Although it would be the case with those who have not lived a consistent, godly life or taken such a continual stand that results in persecution.) At this point, most will attempt to correct the lie by saying that what they meant was that most modern believers haven’t been tortured or jailed for their beliefs. Let’s stop right there and correct these myths with Scripture and facts building from the foundational truth that all godly in Christ Jesus shall and do indeed suffer persecution.
First, let’s define “persecution”. Persecution in our text is not limited to just imprisonment or torture. Nor does persecution refer to everyday trials we all must experience on this sin-cursed earth. There are a few words for persecution in Scripture, but let’s just focus on the word used here in our text, II Tim. 3:12. The word for “persecution” used here in II Tim. 3:12 is “dioko” meaning “to pursue” as defined by Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance. The stress, though, is pursuing doggedly, determinedly, diligently, persistently. In the positive, every believer should “press (dioko) toward the mark” (Phil. 3:14), we are to flee sin and “follow (dioko) righteousness, etc…” (I Tim. 6:11, II Tim. 2:22), and we are to “follow (dioko) peace will all men” (Heb. 12:14). In the passage we are looking at here, it is the believer who is being pressed and followed by his enemy. In other words, those believers in II Tim. 3:12 who diligently pursue “godliness in Christ Jesus shall suffer” a dogged harassment and determined affliction from Satan and others.
Second, “all that will live godly in Christ Jesus” definitely, truly “yea” and “shall” suffer persecution. The enemy’s determined persecution of the godly is so much more varied than obvious physical imprisonment. Those of us who suffer persecution “because of the word” (Mt. 13:21), “for the word’s sake” (Mk. 4:17), and for living godly (II Tim. 3:12) have experienced dogged harassment and persistent affliction in numerous ways. I and other believers have repeatedly suffered such persecutions as the loss of family, the loss of friends, the loss of employment, the loss of church meetings and church financial support. I and other believers have repeatedly been rejected, insulted, cussed, cursed, humiliated, gossiped over, lied about, and harassed. I personally have repeatedly been the target of Satanists and witches with curses, prophecies, and demonic prayers coming even from the Satanic headquarters. My present ill-health was a partial answer to prayer for them. (I say partial since I was supposed to die or be mentally handicapped, but their prayers can’t override Jesus Christ! I Jn. 4:4)
To say modern believers don’t suffer persecution is to ignore the wretched plight of believers all over the world, including America, who are jailed, beaten, isolated, harassed, forsaken, starved, etc…. To say that you simply meant that no believer is jailed, tortured, or bleeding is to simplify what jailed, torture, or bleeding is. Of course, many are indeed experiencing those very afflictions, but those persecutions also come in other not so public or obvious ways. I, for instance, have been permanently imprisoned, shut up in a form of isolation since 2011 with excruciating pain (torture) in my body that cannot be relieved or removed sometimes resulting in bleeding as a result of the enemy’s persecution. (This analogy of my imprisonment and torture actually did not originate from me, but from multiple understanding preachers and friends.) This is just one of Satan’s persecutions for me. No doubt, any godly readers can think of ways you too have been persecuted. Why? Because “all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”
So, dear reader, understand that God’s Word is true, and godly believers have always suffered persecution. Don’t undermine or diminish God’s Word nor the very real persecutions of the godly, but rather, pray for your godly brethren that “…endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” (II Tim. 2:3)