QIf we are not suffering in our Christian lives, are we living as we should according to Christ (2 Tim. 3:12)?
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AThis verse is very specific. I would take it exactly how it appears. The statement is intended to warn the believer that if he or she lives godly in Christ Jesus, you are guaranteed to suffer persecution. Here is the text:
“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” 2 Timothy 3:12
The question assumes the use of this verse backwards to say that if you are not suffering persecution, you aren’t living godly. I agree with the principle, and I think it is true. However, I would caution using reverse logic with scripture. This probably isn’t one, but there are other cases where this could get us into trouble. It is a good practice to always use scripture “with the grain”; i.e. in the same direction as the context in which we find it.
What is persecution? Persecution is “ill-treatment because of a belief or background”. It could be social, political, physical, or even religious. However, the verse is not specific on the frequency of persecution, or on what type. While the godly in Christ Jesus will definitely suffer persecution, in lands like the United States it may not be physical or political persecution. But this world’s system is against the Lord, and if we want to live godly, we will experience some kind of suffering due to opposition.
“If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you.” John 15:18-20
In general, we don’t want to use persecution as the measure of our faithfulness to Christ. We want Him to be our object, and we want to focus on serving Him. We should never forget what the world is, and that we are crucified to it. We should expect to suffer, because if we live godly in Christ Jesus, God tells us that persecution is unavoidable.