Have you heard those sayings that start out - "There are two types of..."?
There are those who go through really trying times for the sake of Christ and the Gospel. You even have Christ bringing them to our attention in -
But Christ says that when they do this, they will be saved!
Now salvation is a gift from God. No one can earn it. This is not talking about people
getting spiritual salvation because they endure pain and suffering to the end of their
lives. Or of getting salvation because one keeps attending Church until death! For as
Paul says in Ephesians Chapter 2...
No, it's saying that they will be saved from physical death because Jesus returns to bring God's rule to the earth!
We humans are not capable of surviving against Satan on our own. Do you remember how
when Satan asked God for leave to attack Job, that God set the bounds beyond which
Satan could not go? Notice Job 1:12.
God places limits on what Satan can do against God's people otherwise we could not
survive! Even the death of a man or woman of God when facing trials for the sake
of the kingdom is not because Satan has triumphed or that a Christian has failed!
Nor is it because the Christian is so righteous that Satan cannot defeat him/her
and kills them in a fit of pique!
This is made even clearer in Paul's writings in 1Co 10:13.
So, going back to Mar 13:13; these Christians don't endure because THEY are holy and righteous but rather, because GOD provides the way of escape! It ALL depends on HIM!
As he inspired Paul to write also in Phi 1:6
We know that he is always with us. He said that he would never leave us or forsake us.
He said that he would be with us to the end! And, he also said in -
So, what do you think brings a trial by Satan to an end? Does it end when Satan realises how 'Holy and Righteous' that Christian is? Therefor he might as well give up trying to break him/her and move on to another 'Less Righteous' Christian who won't endure to the end?
Or, does it end when God draws a line and makes a way for the Christian to escape, before he/she is tested beyond what they could bear? And in the case of Matt 25:9-22, we see (from verse 22), that those people of God are saved because Jesus returns and cuts short the time of Satan's persecution of the saints and children of Israel.
Are we saved from Satan's trials because of our righteousness or God?
I believe it's because of God, and all these people facing trials for the sake of Christ are safe in following Jesus. Their spiritual salvation is already sure. They are not 'hoping for the best', the way the world hopes. No, what Christ wants us to remember is that while the people who instigate their persecution may say - "Where is your God? Why does he not come down and rescue you?"; we will know that a crown is stored in Heaven for every one of them, and God has a way of escape from the clutches of satan!
But what of the rest of us? Those of us who are not facing such trials, for the sake of Christ and the Gospel, that will lead us either to the brink of death or to death itself? Those of us who thereby are NOT having to 'endure to the end' of our lives, in the terms of Mark 13:13?
What should be our demeanour?
Now I know that when you lose all the work that you've done on your computer that day because your PC crashed, it can seem that Satan is persecuting you sorely, and that these are trials that you have to endure to the end, but I don't think that it's what Christ meant in Mark 13:9-13!!
What role then does he have for us?
We know from 2Th 1:11-12 that we are to live lives worthy of our calling...
We are to live in Christ, using all opportunities that come our way to glorify the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Are we doing that? Are we letting the Holy Spirit of Christ lead us in the way that we should go, or are we going our own way and asking Christ to bless that? Do we acknowledge the Power of God in our lives or do we act as though God is limited by circumstances? God is not limited by the tools we have!
We also know from Mark 16:15 and other verses that we have a job to do -
We are to let people know the good news that Jesus Christ has died for them and been resurected again, now sitting in Heaven and offering them salvation as a free gift.
But that is 'What' we have to do not 'How' we are to do it!
James though gives us a 'how', in Jam 1:2-3
So, the 'smaller' trials that befall the rest of us are to test our faith also, but while being tested we are to count these things as a joy not a persecution!
Now, I do not think that we are meant to be skipping and laughing about the trials
that we face 'because of our stand as Christians'. I believe that we are meant to see
them as 'challenges to God's authority' and be joyful knowing
that in His good time, He will work them out to His Glory and our good.
As He says in Rom 8:28
And as we wait for God to work them out we develop patience on the path to becoming that perfect work of God's hands, which having begun - He will accomplish! And we can take joy in that.
That is I believe how we should be facing the trials that come our way, for the sake of the Gospel. We can count them all Joy, in the working out of God's purpose here on earth. For us, those around us, and those whom he brings to us as appointments for His opening the Gospel through us. And knowing that OUR salvation is also sure!
Why? Because it depends not on us but on a righteous God who keeps his promises.
We have a God who is ALMIGHTY, and we must be careful we do not believe instead in a form of God which denies his Power! God is not hoping to save his people, He WILL save his people!
Remember what God says to us through Jude.