Without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved-and that by God. For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.
Philippians 1:28-30 NIV
What were the believers experiencing?
The same battle, the same struggle, that they saw in Paul when he first came to them and which, as they had heard recently, he was still fighting. In the days in which we are living there has crept into the Gospel of Christ a soft, pleasure-loving, ear-tickling deception which is leaving the believers unprepared for the tribulations that are just ahead. The fear of God has been removed from the churches. There is a spirit of assurance that is not from God. The Scriptures warn us to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. Divine grace is being used as an excuse for sinful behavior. God is pictured as a kindly gentleman who will do good but no harm. This overconfidence appears to be one of Satan’s chief weapons for the last days. The “saints” in many instances are asleep in the lap of material luxuries. The true discipleship of Christ is a prolonged battle. It is not an easy way. To possess our souls and to overcome Satan and the world require the grace of God and patient endurance until the day we die or until the Lord returns. The Christian passes through many tribulations. God delivers us from all afflictions provided we continue to persevere each day in His will. There are few letups in the struggle. We are soldiers in the fiercest of wars. God gives grace and glory to those who remain faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ. We are to serve Christ, laying down our lives for His sake and the Gospel’s. In the ages to come we shall be rewarded for setting aside our own pleasures and comforts today. This is the true Christian walk. The current frivolous adaptation of the ancient, apostolic Gospel is a dangerous form of deception, a far more serious threat to our salvation than is direct persecution and opposition by wicked men who are declaring openly their intention to destroy us. The term Israel means “he struggles with God.”