It quickly separates the chaff of what people say they believe from the wheat (or tare) of what they truly believe. With surgical precision it cuts away all lip service toward righteousness and exposes for all to see where exactly righteousness is on the food chain of your values and priorities. Therefore, Jesus said, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10).
The naked truth about righteousness is that it always is on a collision course with evil and evildoers. Wicked Cain killed his brother because Abel was righteous (Hebrews 11:4). It is in the inherent nature of darkness to abominate righteousness, “for everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed” (John 3:20).
The cosmic war of good and evil began with Satan’s rebellion and will continue unabated until the future fulfillment of Revelation 20:11-15. Jesus told His beloved apostles, “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also” (John 15:18-20).
Heaven has stringent security. Nothing unclean, immoral, impure, or unrighteous is permitted within its great walls (Revelation 21:27, 22:15). All of God’s children have spiritual impurities; therefore, the flames of persecution help to purify your faith. Persecution provides a surefire test of your practice of and commitment to righteousness.
Those persecuted for righteousness’ sake are citizens of the kingdom of heaven.
What a blessing!