Suffering, Persecution, Martyrdom, and the Discipline of God

This study is available in Spanish here.

To view a list of all studies in this blog, click here.

Recommended before reading this study,

Predestination, All Things are Determined by God, Even the Outcome of a Roll of a Dice

Repentance and Sin No More, Perfection and Born of the Spirit

Humility and Sell All Your Possessions and Properties

Every Believer Must Do Good Works and Proclaim the Gospel, Some Are Called to Teach, and the Interpretation of the Parables of the Ten Virgins and the Talents

The discipline of God,

My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in. (Proverbs 3:11 [NIV])

because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” (Hebrews 12:6 [NIV])

Comes in the form of suffering, hence,

Endure suffering as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? (Hebrews 12:7 [BSB])

As such, all who are loved by God and chosen, will suffer persecution, hence,

Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, (2 Timothy 3:12 [ESV])

Which is why all who are called must not only believe, but also suffer as Jesus Christ suffered,

Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. (Romans 8:17 [NIV])

So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. (2 Timothy 1:8 [NIV])

While they were confirming the souls of the disciples and seeking that they would continue in the faith; and they were saying to them that it is necessary to enter The Kingdom of God by much suffering. (Acts 14:22 [ABPE])

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, (Philippians 1:29 [ESV])

For just as the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which accomplishes in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we experience. And our hope for you is sure, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you will share in our comfort. (2 Corinthians 1:5-7 [BSB])

that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering— (2 Thessalonians 1:5 [ESV])

In which case, whoever does not suffer, is an illegitimate child,

If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. (Hebrews 12:8 [ESV])

In which case, all who are chosen have participated in suffering in various ways,

They arrested them and, since it was already evening, put them in jail until morning. (Acts 4:3 [NLT])

and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. (Acts 5:40 [ESV)

He debated with some Greek-speaking Jews, but they tried to murder him. (Acts 9:29 [NLT])

dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. (Acts 7:58 [NIV])

He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. (Acts 12:2 [NIV])

Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. (2 Corinthians 11:23-28 [NIV])

Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground. (Hebrews 11:35-38 [NIV])

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they slapped him in the face.
(John 19:1-2 [NIV])

but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger;
(2 Corinthians 6:4-5 [ESV])

And because suffering comes to those God loves is why Jesus Christ also told us to rejoice when we suffer,

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
 (Matthew 5:10-12 [NIV])

And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. (Acts 5:41 [KJV])

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
(James 1:2-4 [ESV])

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. (1 Peter 1:6-7 [NIV])

But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. (1 Peter 4:13 [NIV])

Because whoever has been counted worthy to suffer will have a great reward. And although all who are chosen are appointed to suffer, some are appointed to suffer martyrdom for the sake of Jesus Christ,

You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and some of you they will put to death. (Luke 21:16 [ESV])

Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. (Matthew 24:9 [ESV])

As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” (Romans 8:36 [ESV])