The Promise of Suffering – 2 Timothy 3:12

In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,

2 Timothy 3:12 NIV

For many, this is one of the most challenging passages in the Bible. At least it would be if it were better known. Its message is really quite challenging. It holds for us the promise of suffering for Christ.

All who want to live godly lives in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. We would like it better if it said that they might be persecuted. We would like it even better if it said we would not suffer persecution. But it doesn’t. It says they will be persecuted. There seems to be no exception here.

I don’t believe that means we will necessarily experience physical abuse, although that it possible. But it is only reasonable to expect the world at large to reject us. If they reject our Lord why should we be surprised when they reject those who are in Christ. Instead of being surprised, rejoice that you are counted worthy to suffer for Christ (Acts 5:41). Embrace the promise of suffering.

This verse raises a potentially serious issue for the believer. And it is not that we experience rejection and persecution from the world. That should be expected. The real problem for us is when the world embraces us and accepts us as one of their own. They will not do that if we are living godly lives. If that is where you find yourself I would challenge you to turn your back on the world, fix your eyes on Christ, and seek to live a godly life. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Rom. 12:2a).

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