but i say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, [matthew 5:44]
one common phrase we use to refer to someone that is a follower of Jesus is someone that is “saved.” so i ask you, believer, what have you been saved from? there are a lot of ways to answer this question – saved from your sin, saved from a situation. but one major component of this is that you have been saved from God’s wrath. saved from the pits of hell. saved from an eternity devoid of the love of God. and you needed to be saved from his wrath because you were in open rebellion and opposition to the Lord. i think it can be easy for us to forget this reality of opposition to the Lord.
but this is the gospel! that Christ died to take our place. so that we could be reconciled to God and no longer in opposition, no longer in rebellion. God takes this action to save us while we were his enemies. while our identity was still called sinner.
for if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. [romans 5:10]
believer – do not suppose that you brought yourself into alignment with God’s will of your own volition. you were an enemy.
love your enemies. who is your enemy? the bully at school that won’t leave you alone? your boss at work that passed you up for promotion again because she disagrees with your beliefs? the man that made a pass at your wife right in front of you?
are they more of a sinner than you, apart from Christ?
the answer to that question is no. how do we come to pray for those that persecute us? we recognize we too were once enemies. in the presence of God, we – believers – are faced with the beauty of the gospel. undeniable. and, we are reminded of the grace that was shown to us. that is shown to us daily – and how undeserving we were to be given the gift of salvation.
we pray for our persecutors, we love our enemies, because we want the name of Christ to be made great. but if we are not convinced of the greatness of Christ ourselves, we will never call others to see it. so today, be reminded of the lengths God went to in order to reconcile you, his enemy, to himself. and in his presence pray, in humility, for him to do the same for your enemy.
~ keith kozlowski