– Paul Chappell
I believe Satan and his demons will never persecute a Christian or church that is being legalistic. The devil must love it when others teach that a person needs to do this or that in order to be saved. Some teach and believe that unless you do such and such a thing, you will not be saved and that you must keep these laws and those laws to save yourself. This is contrary to the gospel of grace where we cannot ever be saved by works; it is all a free gift of God (Eph. 2:8-9). That makes sense of Paul’s statement: “But if I, brothers, still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed” (Gal. 5:11). In other words, Paul was preaching that if we must keep the law (i.e., circumcision), why was he still being persecuted by the Jewish religious leaders? Satan will attack those who preach that we simply must repent and believe (Mark 1:15), but never does he persecute those who teach and believe we are saved by legalism or works.
Satan is fine with those who sit in the pews and never go out into the world to preach repentance and faith, which, by the way, is mentioned over 30 times in the New Testament. Jesus says that we’ll be hated because of Him (John 15:18) and warned us that He is sending us out “as sheep in the midst of wolves” (Matt. 10:16). No wonder so many die for their faith all over the world. Every religion in the world except Christianity is based upon works, but only Christianity is about what Christ has done, and we are all commissioned to proclaim the Gospel and go into all the world (Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 1:8) as ambassadors of Christ as if He were pleading through us (2 Cor. 5:20). Why were the apostles beaten? It was because they were preaching the Gospel (Act 5:40). Satan doesn’t bother with those who are comfortably numb because they are no threat to his kingdom of darkness, but if you invade enemy territory, let me tell you from experience that the enemy will try to hit you.
Paul was clear that is wouldn’t be many or some who would suffer persecution from living a godly life but that “all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim. 3:12). Jesus, being God, lived a godly life, of course, and warned His disciples that “’a servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also” (John 15:20). If you live a righteous life, you will be persecuted, but there is a special blessing that comes from this, as Jesus said, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:10). If you live like Christ, Satan will go after you, but if you’re not living a godly life and you are bringing shame to the cause of Christ because you’re not living a life that’s pleasing to God, then you’re no threat to the devil; in fact, it’s helping him.
If you’re being persecuted, then you at least know that you’re on the right side because the devil doesn’t persecute those who aren’t making a godly difference in the world. He goes after those who preach about repentance and faith and not being saved by works, he goes after those who are bringing the Gospel into enemy territory to proclaim Christ’s crucifixion, and he goes after those who are a living godly example of Christ.