The persecution of Christians has been the norm since the very earliest days of this world. Satan, upon witnessing the redemption of Adam in the garden, knew that his short-lived attempt to be God failed eternally. In his unending hatred for God, and through his wicked spiritual and worldly army, Satan began to do and is continuing to do all that he can to persecute God’s people. Satan is unwittingly fulfilling God’s eternal plan by filling up the cup of iniquity, that once full, will be one of the catalysts for the day of the Lord’s return in which He will execute wrath upon those who hate Him. By God’s bidding and in His redemptive wisdom, there have been seasons of rest from heavy persecution, but these respites are always followed by renewed waves of fierce persecution – again, by God’s wise design.
In the 200 plus years of the existence of the United States of America, Christians have, for the most part, been left unmolested. By God’s grace, our country began with an acknowledgment and belief of God and His Ways. The gospel flourished here for a time. And this country experienced many and various types of successes unknown to any other nation in the history of time. But history teaches us that when a nation rejects God, the eventual downfall of that nation into comprehensive misery and ruin always occurs. In this year of 2016 we can state with certainty, that our nation has almost completely rejected God, and we are in the resulting downfall. Whether or not the ruining of this nation is one of the last chapters of this world’s history, God only knows; and to Him, a day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as a day. What we definitely can say is that commiserate to this nation’s downfall, the persecution of believers in the United States is on the rise.
The Scriptures tell us that because the world (Satan’s army) hates God, the world will hate us: John 15:18, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.” And John 15:19, “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.” As we see this hatred for God being manifested in hateful persecution of His people, the big question of the day is: how are we to respond? Peter, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, gives us the following blessed instructions for the days of persecution.:
First: Take heed to His Word. 2 Peter 1:19: “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.” And 2 Peter 3:2: “That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour.”
Second: Be confident in God’s preserving of you. 2 Peter 2:9: “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished.”
Third: Seek to live holy lives. 2 Peter 3:11: “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness.” And 2 Peter 3:14: “Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.”
Fourth: Remember our Lord’s promise of a new heaven and new earth, where righteousness will dwell. 2 Peter 3:13: “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”
Fifth: Beware of falling from steadfastness. 2 Peter 17: “Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.”
Sixth: Instead of falling from steadfastness: “ …grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 3:18