Showing posts with the label Persecution

To the Assembly

In the first chapter of First Thessalonians , Paul anticipates the Letter’s main subjects - the tribulation of believers, Christian hope, and the “ arrival ” of Jesus when he will rescue his people from “ wrath .” He will resurrect the righteous dead, and “ meet ” all his assembled saints as he descends from Heaven. On that day, his disciples, both living and dead, will “ obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ .”

Your Endurance and Faith

Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians was written in the months following his departure from the city. In his first epistle, he expressed his joy at the good news that the Assembly had remained faithful despite pressure and opposition from the local population. In the second, he declares how he now boasts of the perseverance of the Thessalonians in the faith through and despite multiple “ persecutions ” and “ tribulations .”

Afflicted Disciples

Our natural tendency is to avoid conflict. Understandably, we prefer our daily lives to be characterized by peace, acceptance, and prosperity, a life devoid of difficulties and afflictions. Moreover, the New Testament does promise believers peace now and everlasting life later. Nevertheless, it also exhorts the Assembly of God to expect afflictions and even persecution in this life on account of its light and testimony in a sin-darkened world.

Mercy and Enemies

The reality of persecution raises important questions. How should disciples of Jesus react, especially when persecuted by the State? Is resorting to anger or acts of civil disobedience appropriate, or should they instead emulate examples from the life of Christ? In his teachings, he warned that all men who decide to follow him would experience “ tribulation ,” and he summoned them to follow his path (“ If they persecuted me, so they will persecute you ”).