In this blog we will be talking about what we would call an extension of the last Beatitude (Matt. 5:10). It is a fuller description of the blessing God gives us when we are persecuted for the sake of righteousness.
“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. 12 “Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Here are four questions we will discuss and try to answer.
Who is the one who will be blessed for righteousness and who will rejoice in persecution?
This is a Christian who is very different than the non-Christian. That is, he acts like Jesus. He is kind, gentle, peaceable, loving, and caring.
This is a Christian who is controlled and dominated by Jesus Christ. He lives for Jesus and no longer for himself.
This is a Christian who constantly has his mind on heavenly things. He makes it a point to set his mind on things above and not on earthly things (Col 3:2). In this way he is very different than a non-Christian who does not want to think of what is to come. For what is to come for him is the wrath of God (Jn. 3:36).
How should the Christian face persecution?
The persecuted Christian must not retaliate. He should be like Jesus when he was persecuted who did not speak. Instead of fighting back we should instead rejoice and think of heaven—and God will bless you.
The persecuted Christian must not feel resentment. Though his is wrongfully persecuted, he should think of Jesus and the prophets who were also wrongly persecuted; and they were rewarded.
The persecuted Christian must not be depressed. No, instead set your mind to be glad and to rejoice. It is up to you to decide to do this. God will help you.
The persecuted Christian must rejoice. Why? (1) Because our persecution is proof to us and to others that we are a Christian; (2) because we also have proof that being a Christian we are going to heaven. Yes, persecution should make us feel more heaven bound and closer to heaven. And (3) because we have real joy to come in heaven.
Is it right to rejoice in heavenly rewards to come?
Yes, and here are four reasons why:
1 Jesus did. He endured the cross for the joy that was before Him (Heb. 12:2).
2 Paul teaches it in 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 and 2 Corinthians 5:10-11.
3 Moses did. He chose to suffer affliction with the people of God because he had his eye upon the reward in the end.
4 We are to seek things above, where Christ is (Col. 3:1-2).
What is heaven like?
Heaven is to experience always the full love of God and Christ. And this, says Paul, is beyond our knowledge (Eph. 3:19). We can try to imagine what it will be like, but we will never be able to fully comprehend it.