Persecutor, turned the persecuted: The unavoidable step in gospel propagation
(11) But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel, which was preached of me is not after man. (12)For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. (13)For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it. (14)And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. (15)But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace. (16)To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with the flesh and blood. ….. (23)But they had heard only, that he, which persecuted us in times past, now preacheth the faith, which once he destroyed. (24)And they glorified God in me.
Apostle Paul, as many among us are very much aware, then as Saul, was acting towards the kingdom of Satan by being in the vanguard of the persecutors of those preaching the gospel of Christ, to the people, who were living their lives, in sins. Everything about him was at variance with the gospel, and not only did his life portray unrighteousness, he was also fiercely working to destroy anyone, who took it upon himself to depopulate satanic kingdom. He was an agent of Satan, not only because he attacked the church, but because of his unrighteous way of life.
His persecution of the church started from the beliefs that he had and practised, which worked contrary to God’s commandments. This continues, by not limiting the ungodly belief to himself, but spreading to others, encouraging them in his own unscriptural way, thereby populating the kingdom of Satan. He preached heresies to them, by coercion and also subtly too, making disciples for himself, in this his desire to work for Satan.
However, the truth about this was that, despite his obvious antagonism to the gospel, he believed that he was on the right path, enjoying what he was doing, persecuting the heart of the uninformed, and assisting Satan, in his evil desire to separate man from God. Therefore, the persecution of the church is not only about direct attack of Christian faithful, but it primarily starts with spreading of the message, which will take people away from God’s presence. For example, the people of Athens, as noticed by Saint Paul himself, noticed that the city had given their hearts and everything about them to idolatry and he was not comfortable with it at all – to him, their practices and sayings were strange things to the eyes and ears, hence, they were serving unknown God.
Acts 17:22-23 documented it this way: “(22)Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. (23)For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.” From this passage, it is evident, that several people were brought into believing in that which they were doing, leading them away from God, and obviously tantamount to the persecuting of their hearts.
Why the Persecutor?
As said earlier, when we do things that are against the word of God, then we are indirectly persecuting the church. Starting from the time that the first parents (Adam and Eve) sinned, had man turned himself to the persecutor of the commandment of God. Having been born in sin, through our conception and before we became born again, had we turned ourselves to the enemies of the Kingdom of God. This we do through various ungodly actions.
We backbite, we fornicate, we commit adultery, we lie, we covet, we corrupt ourselves with the gift/food of the heathens, we blaspheme, we corruptly enrich ourselves, we display arrogance, we exhibit self-righteousness, we boast, and do all kinds of things that are unacceptable to the path of righteousness. Despite the fact that we have been baptised as Christians, our action does nothing, but takes us away from eternal kingdom, to satanic kingdom. Through this, we are nothing else, but persecutors of the church.
We persecute the church, because the steps we take are antichrist, and they encourage the filthiness of the heart, as against the purity of the mind. Despite the fact that we are not directly attacking the preachers of the Word, the result of our actions gives room for the increase of demons’ followers.
Therefore, what this entails is that at one point or the other, we have persecuted the church, until we were saved by the grace of Jesus Christ. That same Christ, Who turned Paul from being a persecutor, to the persecuted, is the same Saviour, Who, out of grace, died for our sins, so that we will no longer be persecuting the church, but we becoming the persecuted, so as to spread the gospel, to all the corners of the world.
Remain permanently under God’s banner!
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