“For our exhortion didn’t come from error or impurity or an attempt to decieve. Instead, just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please men, but rather God, Who examines our hearts.”
Paul had been having some trouble with Jews and also with some Pharisaical Jewish believers. At this point, it was they, rather than the Pagans who were the primary source of persecution. As I meditated on this passage, this is what I heard God speaking to my heart:
“My enemy will stop at nothing in his attempts to deceive the elect, and if he cannot deceive you, he persecutes you. Among his most favored methods is to use religion. He is a liar and a counterfeiter, and he uses his false piety to accuse My true messengers of wrong motives, wrong spirit, and wrong information.
“He does not accuse My beloved (the true church) of “nice” crimes such as purity, godliness and love. He accuses her of all manner of filth, blasphemy and error. He besmirches her character and smears her reputation with filth. He bloodies her body and hurts and torments her in any way he can find. His attempts to divide My true bride into factions will ultimately fail, for I am as far above him in might as your sins are put away from you in space and time.
“You must remain in Me, for he cannot touch you so long as you are in My care. Though my people have suffered in the flesh, I have always been and will always be with them, comforting and strengthening them with joy and hope.
“So when persecutions arise, as they did for Paul, keep your face turned toward Me. The enemy is filling to the brim his infinite cup of wrath. Though he will be drinking it for eternity, it will never be emptied. Just as the cup of joy that I and My bride share will never be reduced forever, but rather increased the more we drink of it.”
Grace and Peace,