Hebrews 12:3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
4 Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.
God continued to show the nature of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the second person of the Godhead. He has always been the second person of the Godhead. In verse 3 God talked of the “contradiction of sinners against himself”. The Greek word translated as “contradiction” here means “opposition, or rebellion”. The Pharisees and Sadducees led the people to oppose Jesus at every turn. The religious leaders often came to Jesus to tempt Him. They tried to find fault with Him. Consider the arrogance of wretched, wicked sinners opposing the Son of God! Of course the religious leaders believed they were right and they believed that Jesus was an imposter.
We are reminded here of how powerful our minds are to convince ourselves that what we believe is of greater importance than what the Bible actually says. The Bible is the Word of God. All of It fits together. There are no contradictions in the Bible. In order to be able to understand God’s Word properly, a person needs to be saved first of all. The Holy Spirit is given to the believer for several reasons, but one of them is to give understanding to the Word of God. Unless God opens our hearts to receive His Word, we will fight against it.
That was the case with the religious leaders of Jesus’ day. They were lost and they fought against everything that Jesus said that did not agree with them. They were so arrogant that they believed they were right and Jesus needed to agree with them. The opposite is the way it needs to be. They needed to understand that Jesus was the Son of God and they needed to humble themselves to be willing to be taught the truth.
II Corinthians 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.
In verse 4 God reminds us that persecution is not a pleasant thing. The flesh wants to be liked and wants to have things pleasant. However, those that are saved will face opposition. The Bible shows that throughout. Jeremiah decided at one point that he would not speak of God anymore because of the opposition he was facing. However, the Word of God burned in his heart and he could not remain quiet. He knew he would face persecution for speaking the truth, but he had to speak the truth. The apostles Peter and John stated:
Acts 4:18 And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.
19 But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.
20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.
21 So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified God for that which was done.
We noted in our study of II Timothy, that Paul needed to remind Timothy to remain faithful to the truth. The saved person can grow weary and can think that it is not worth it to be ridiculed and opposed. The flesh wants to give in. New Evangelicalism was developed for that precise reason. The goal of N.E. is to get along with the lost. It followed on the heals of ecumenism. ‘Let’s find something we can agree on and let’s set aside doctrine and then we can come together and pray and work together.’ Undiscerning people think it is such a great thing when people of different religions can get together to pray and do things. They think they have greater power that way.
It is true that our governments look at numbers. They are always checking the polls. They need a certain number of people to vote for them. However, the Bible tells us that God is the majority all by Himself. He is not impressed with numbers. He demands faithfulness to Him. He has shown throughout the Bible how He changed kings and He moved people to do things that He wanted, even if they were not saved. The power is in God, not in humans.
It is true that people can band together and change the mind of politicians at times. The question that needs to be asked is: for what benefit?
When we follow God’s way He is glorified and the lost are reminded that there is One that is greater than they are. That is what is needed.
Those who are saved need to keep in mind that the suffering that we might face is nothing in comparison of what the Lord Jesus Christ faced. True saints are not gods. We do not inherit deity at salvation. We are sinners saved by grace. We do not deserve honour from lost people. Jesus warned in John 15:
John 15:18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
We need to be prepared for the fact that true Christians will face opposition in this wicked world. If the lost hate God, they certainly will hate God’s people. God directed the apostle Paul to write:
II Timothy 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
We should not think that we will get away with a life of ease. There is a cost to serving the Lord faithfully. In verse 4 we see that we have not faced the level of persecution that Jesus faced. He died for our sins. He shed His blood for our sins. His blood is able to cleanse the lost sinner. We can be thankful that He was willing to endure the suffering that He faced. By His stripes we are healed. That is a spiritual healing, the forgiveness of sins. True Christians need to look unto Jesus and keep in mind that He provided for them what they need and could never achieve on their own. True Christians also need to remember the price that Jesus paid so that we can be saved. When we do that, we will realize that the suffering we face is nothing in comparison. In fact we will see it is a privilege to suffer for Jesus’ name.