Patience In Persecution

Question:  How do we receive patience from this doctrine in persecutions for the sake of the gospel?

Answer:

The enemies of the gospel cannot think a single thought in their minds or hearts or lift even a finger to carry it out unless God supervises it and at that moment rules and operates in their hearts and minds to protect His Christians.

4344Moreover, their persecutions cannot exceed the limits that have been established for them from eternity. God has actually decided and determined how far such persecution should go. As the apostles said through the Holy Spirit in the midst of persecution, “Truly against Your holy child Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done” (Acts 4:27, 28) See also John 7:30 and 8:20.

30 So they were seeking to seize Him; and no man laid his hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come.  John 7:30

20 These words He spoke in the treasury, as He taught in the temple; and no one seized Him, because His hour had not yet come.  John 8:30

It was impossible for Herod, Pilate, and the Gentiles and Jews to do anything more in tormenting Christ our Head than the purpose and hand of God had predetermined from eternity. Similarly, it is impossible for the Pilates, Herods, Pharisees, and poor, deluded people of our day to think about, let alone carry out, any more persecution of the members of Christ than the purpose and hand of God has decided beforehand. God has not decided anything that is not salutary for us, as He has promised us in His Word. Yes, even if we should die for His name’s sake, “it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake” says Paul (Philippians 1:29)

12 Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, 13 so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else,  Philippians 1:12, 13

Yes, and I will rejoice, 19 for I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, 20 according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.  Philippians 1:19, 20

21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. 23 But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; 24 yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.  Philippians 1:21-24

This has to follow from what was said before, for the conformity of the members of Christ to their Head, first in suffering, then in glory, is grounded in the eternal purpose of God, in which the suffering and glory of Christ Himself is also grounded (Romans 8:28,29).

28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.  Romans 8:28-30

Caspar Olevianus, A Firm Foundation, p. 32

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