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PERSECUTED FOR THE SAKE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS –PART I OF II

 By Gale Maiden     

Are you encountering persecution? What is Biblical persecution?

"Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:10, emphasis & parenthesis added, NAS)

The Greek word for the phrase those who have persecuted in Matthew 5:10 is dioko (dee-o’-ko) and comes from the base of two other Greek words. First persecution is from the word deilos (di-los’) which means faithless. Secondly persecution comes from diakonos (dee-ak’-on-os) from which we get the word Deacon. This word actually means to run errands; attend; waiter or servant.

Therefore in combination the two words define persecution as having its source from faithless servants.

This makes so much sense when we understand that righteousness is the nature of faithful servants. Righteousness is imputed to those who have faith in God by and through the Person of Jesus the Christ.

GODLY HEART ATTITUDE TOWARD FAITHLESS PEOPLE PERSECUTING YOU

Faithlessness has always been a challenge to my spirit. As I see by the Spirit of God the totality of the present victory that is in Christ (II Corinthians 2:14) through grace by faith, I yearn for all to walk in such.

While living and ministering in righteousness know that there will come persecution. The very essence of righteousness is having faith. Righteousness unto life is present and alive in us when in covenant agreement with God. The righteous or just shall live (have life) by faith. When the life of God in righteousness is present know that the death which exists in unrighteousness (faithlessness) will begin to attack you.

Those who are seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33) are always initially persecuted by the faithlessness found in our “old man” nature. The Apostle Paul declared his self insane and wretched, at least briefly, as the faithless “old man” nature attempted to persecute and usurp the Spirit of faith within (See Romans 7). We righteous need not forget the mercy of God unto us while we were yet sinners walking in unrighteousness and persecuting the faithful saints of God (Romans 5:8). This mercy unto righteousness is clearly displayed in Saul’s (later Paul) encounter with Jesus the Christ.

The Apostle Paul, previously known as Saul, was asked by Jesus, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” (Acts 26:14b, NAS) Saul was a man full of zeal for God yet Jesus declared him a persecutor. The good news is that despite Saul’s persecution, Jesus so loved Saul that He began restoring him that fateful day on the road to Damascus. On this marvelous day of visitation, Jesus blinded Saul to his faithless ways and set him on a path of great faith. We know that eventually Saul (Later named Paul) became one of the most faithful men in Christianity. How was Saul persecuting Jesus? Saul was faithless in that he was so “religious” that he could not hear the word of faith.

Not only are we persecuted from within but unrighteous men will do the following to the righteous.

"Blessed are you when {men} cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets  who were before you. (Matthew 5:11-12, NAS)

What is the Godly response of the righteous to persecution? I have in the past encountered much persecution. Now more than ever before, I continue to have insults cast at me; I have faithless ones who persecute and say all kinds of evil against me falsely. I am not alone in this persecution. All who live a Godly righteous life will be persecuted. So how do we respond to persecution? 

There must be a true revelation of who we are as a result of God’s righteousness before we can properly respond to persecution. First know that in righteousness you are blessed and own the Kingdom of Heaven. The righteous are now glad and rejoicing while reaping the heavenly reward which accompanies a life of righteousness.  The righteous are now reigning from the heavenlies. Glory to God!

Warning! Your God given righteousness, accompanied by your gladness, rejoicing, rewards and dominion is given for one purpose! That purpose is to establish righteousness in the hearts of men everywhere. We have received all that we have by God’s grace in righteousness and are totally responsible for restoring all whom the Lord has ordained for us…throughout the world.

JESUS IS PERFECTLY RIGHTEOUS

Jesus instructed the righteous to respond in the following way concerning those who are evil, unrighteous and faithless and are thereby persecuting you. Want to be perfectly righteous and bring others into the kingdom of god and his righteousness?

"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for THOSE WHO PERSECUTE YOU in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on {the} evil (faithless servants) and {the} good (faithful servants), and sends rain on {the} righteous and {the} unrighteous (faithless servants). For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax-gatherers do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what do you do more {than others},  Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matt 5:43-48, emphasis & parenthesis added, NAS)

Our perfect God commands us to be perfect even as He is perfect i.e. perfect in His righteousness. We will need an attitude of love for all of mankind in order to benefit from the life of God which is the righteousness of God.

Righteousness is to be in agreement with our God Who is always right. True sonship (righteousness – agreement) with our Heavenly Father can only exist as we righteously love and pray for our enemies and those who persecute us.

Jesus uses two life giving components of creation i.e. the sun and rain to demonstrate righteous perfection (See above Matthew 5:43-48). Know and understand that both the sun and the rain are good things. God, in His love, says that He causes the good sun to rise on both the evil and good; also the good rain to be sent to the righteous and unrighteous. Remember that we are sent for the unrighteous, the faithless and sick!

CHARGE

The faithless “religious” community persecuted Jesus. Jesus reminds us that as He as master was persecuted so we as servants will also be persecuted. We as Jesus must always minister in our specific measure of faith unto righteousness which God speaks to our hearts.

Jesus declared that except He had spoken the faith words of His Father they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. Righteousness exposes sin and unrighteousness (John 15:20-25) for the purpose of repentance from dead works unto the faith of god.

You who are righteous…rejoice and be glad for you are blessed. When persecution follows you, when faithlessness and unrighteousness are revealed…know that overwhelmingly the greater presence is the RIGHTEOUSNESS OF OUR GOD in you to give life.

Are we willing to suffer persecution (by walking in righteousness) for the sake of righteousness? You are blessed!

 

(PLEASE READ ISAIAH 42 for a prophetic preview and revelation of how Jesus would minister in the midst of persecution. I will expound in Part II of PERSECUTED FOR THE SAKE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.)


 

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