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George Whitefield on Persecution

"We may assure ourselves, when Jesus Christ begins to gather in His elect in any remarkable manner and opens an effectual door for preaching the everlasting Gospel, persecution will flame out and Satan and his emissaries will do their utmost (though all in vain) to stop the work of God.  Thus it was in the first ages, thus it is in our days and thus it will be, till time shall be no more."
~ George Whitefield

If you are ever going to do the work of God, if you are getting saved then there is one sure guarantee and it is persecution.  The moment you become a friend of God, you are the enemy of the world (James 4:4, John 15:18-19).  Christianity has never been you get saved, get an easy path, get rich and all that garbage that prosperity gospel preaches to its followers.  2 Timothy 3:12 warns, "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution."

God has done more glory when he allows Satan to persecute His elect than when there is no persecution.  The glory of God was displayed in moments like Saul of Tarsus became a Christian (Acts 9).  Wherever the persecution of Christians was more intense, that was where the glory of God was delivered.  When Christians showed this maddening world that there was something worth dying for - persecution only made Christianity grow instead.  This is a huge pile of dirt against the Devil when he realizes that his efforts to destroy God's work cannot be done at all.

After reading the Foxe's Book of Martyrs, I simply could say, "This can only be the work of God."  I could imagine the frightening sight of the vast display of the instruments of torture during the Dark Ages.  Just imagine the pain the Christians underwent at the hands of the Inquisition.  People were executed in every brutal way possible but it did not stop the spreading of the Gospel.  Instead, it exposed the evils of their day.  It did not stop the Reformation from coming.  It did not stop born again Christianity from getting stronger.  It was because God's grace was at work and it was not them but God that made them endure all the painful tortures.

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