2 Timothy 3:12
Yes, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
Who can help admiring the frankness of Scripture? It shows us the difficulties as well as the enjoyments of religion; the sacrifices it requires, as well as the rewards it insures. This is perfectly just, and in every way profitable.
I. THE LIFE DESCRIBED. It may be taken with two distinctions.
1. It is not merely a moral life, but a godly one. We by no means depreciate morality. A man cannot be religious without being moral, but he may be moral without being religious. It is well to be a good master, a good neighbour, a good subject — but how are you disposed towards God?
2. It is not merely a godly life, but a Christian one. We are not only to live godly, but to live godly "in Christ Jesus;" i.e., in all our religious concerns — To be governed by the revelation of Jesus Christ — To be conformed to the example of Jesus Christ — To be actuated by the grace of Jesus Christ — And to depend on the mediation of Jesus Christ.
II. THE CONDITION ANNOUNCED AS THE CONSEQUENCE OF THE LIFE DESCRIBED. "Shall suffer persecution."
1. That ever since the Fall there has been an irreconcilable enmity between the "seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent"; that "man being alienated from the life of God," loves nothing that reminds him of God; that the tempers and actions of the righteous necessarily reprove and upbraid the wicked; that their endeavours to save disturb them in their sins; that the gospel condemns the worldly as well as the vicious, and the formal as well as the negligent; that, as there is nothing in Christianity that flatters sin, so there is nothing that flatters self; and that every man is naturally as self-righteous as he is depraved.
2. To this we may add another source of the inevitableness of persecution. It is taken from the Christian himself. Suffering is necessary for his trial and his triumph. Without this how could he prove that he loves God better than friendship, reputation, wealth, or life? How could he overcome evil with good? It is warfare that makes a good soldier. A Christian is like the firmament, and it is the darkness of affliction that makes his starry graces to shine out. He is like those herbs and plants that best effuse their odours when bruised.Concluding reflections: —
1. There are some who suffer persecution that do not live godly in Christ Jesus. The people of the world cannot easily distinguish between "the form of godliness and the power," and therefore the pretending and the sincere frequently fare alike. The hypocrite loses heaven for the sake of earth, and earth for the sake of heaven, and is of all creatures the most miserable.
2. With what caution and prayer should we assume a profession of religion!
3. If any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God on this behalf. It gives you an opportunity to prove your thankfulness for His goodness, and your adherence to His gospel.
4. But what shall we say to persecutors? If you feel enmity against the godly, and would injure them were it in your power, it is "a token of perdition." You may now be placed above them in circumstances; and may love to misrepresent and to vilify them. But "their Redeemer is mighty." He is "near that justifieth them." He "will plead their cause." He that "toucheth them, toucheth the apple of His eye."
Parallel VersesKJV: Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.