Followers of Christ face resistance from the world. “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12). Jesus did not promise His disciples that everything would be coming up roses for them; just the opposite—He promised that they would have trials in this world (John 16:33). “But take heart!” He told them, “I have overcome the world.”
God’s moral laws have been written on the heart of every human – giving all people a conscience to aid them in determining wrong from right (Romans 2:14-15). When a person becomes a follower of Christ, he not only has God’s laws in his heart, but he also has the indwelling Holy Spirit to compel him toward living righteously (Romans 8:11). This in no way means the Christian will stop sinning, but it does mean the Christian will become more aware of his own personal sin and have a genuine desire to do what is pleasing to Christ (Romans 8:14-16).
In many ways, it is after a person is saved that the struggle against sin really heats up in his life. All people are born with a nature that is bent toward sin, which is why children do not need to be taught how to misbehave – that comes naturally. When a person is converted, the sin nature does not disappear – and so the internal conflict begins in the life of every believer.
The apostle Paul, who called himself a “bondservant to Christ,” writes of the struggle with his sin nature in Romans 7:14-25. In verse 15 he says, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do” (Romans 7:15). Christians engaged in this battle have a true desire to avoid sin, but they also have a natural desire to indulge the flesh. They become frustrated when they find themselves “doing what they don’t want to do.” And to further complicate matters, Christians not only do not want to sin, they hate sin. Yet, they still sin.
Paul goes on to write, “It is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me” (Romans 7:17). Paul is referring to the dichotomy caused by the new birth – Paul is a “new man” through Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). But he still sins because sin is still alive in the human flesh – the sin nature survives the new birth (Romans 7:18). Paul calls the internal strife a “war,” as the new man battles the old man. Paul found the battle quite distressing because he wanted to do well (Romans 7:23). “What a wretched man I am,” Paul cries out in his distress (Romans 7:24).
Every Christian who is attempting to live righteously is called to this battlefield for his entire life. We are in a spiritual battle. But in grace and mercy, God gives the faithful believer an entire suit of armor for the fight (Ephesians 6:13).
The Christian life is never easy, but the difficulties do not negate the joy. We consider Jesus, who “for the joy set before him . . . endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2). God has set us free from the slavery to sin. The victory is ours (2 Corinthians 2:14). Through the Holy Spirit, believers receive encouragement, strength to persevere, and reminders of their adoption into the family of God. We know that our “present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed” (Romans 8:18).
Matthew 10:22 And you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
Matthew 5:10-12 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Mark 13:13 And you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
2 Peter 2:9 Then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment,
2 Timothy 3:1 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,
Matthew 5:10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Romans 12:14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.
2 Corinthians 12:10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
1 Peter 4:12-14 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
Matthew 5:44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,
2 Timothy 2:12 If we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us;
John 15:20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.
John 15:18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.
Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?
Luke 6:22 “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man!
1 Peter 2:16 Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.
Matthew 5:11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.
1 Peter 3:14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled,
Romans 10:13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Revelation 2:10 Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.
Revelation 1:9 I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.
1 Peter 4:16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.
1 Peter 5:8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
1 Peter 4:19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.
Acts 14:22 Strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.
John 16:2 They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God.
Revelation 6:9-11 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.
1 John 3:13 Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you.
John 15:18-21 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.
Luke 12:48 But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.
Mark 10:30 Who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.
Matthew 24:1-51 Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. But he answered them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?” And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. ...
Revelation 20:6 Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.
1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.
1 Peter 3:17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil.
Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
Galatians 5:11 But if I, brothers, still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed.
2 Corinthians 4:8-12 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.
Romans 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
John 15:19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
Matthew 10:23 When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. ...
John 8:31-32 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Luke 21:12 But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name's sake.
Mark 10:29-30 Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.
Revelation 7:14 I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
1 Peter 4:12-16 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.
James 1:2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,
Philippians 1:29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake,
Galatians 4:29 But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now.
Romans 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
Romans 8:35-39 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Acts 2:21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’
John 17:14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.
John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
John 8:31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Matthew 13:21 Yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.
Matthew 5:1-48 Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. ...
Revelation 20:4 Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
Revelation 2:9-10 “‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.
1 Peter 3:16 Having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.
James 2:19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!
2 Timothy 1:8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God,
Philippians 3:6 As to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless.
Acts 8:1 And Saul approved of his execution. And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.
Luke 23:34 And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments.
Luke 1:1-80 In as much as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught. In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. ...
Matthew 25:13 Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
Matthew 13:20-21 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.
Matthew 5:12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Revelation 20:11-15 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
Hebrews 12:23 And to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,
Philippians 3:10 That I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,
2 Corinthians 4:17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,
Luke 15:7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
Luke 6:23 Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.
Mark 4:17 And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.
1 John 3:1 See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
James 1:12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
2 Timothy 3:11 My persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me.
Ephesians 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
1 Corinthians 4:12 And we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure;
Romans 5:3-4 More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,
Acts 22:4 I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering to prison both men and women,
John 15:5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.