Holiness is the end of the sequence. It is the completion of your goal. When these two final steps are manifest in your life, then you know that you have run the race. You are not done by any means, for you always need to be continually going through this series of steps in every area of life. But these last two mark the finishing of the promise. This is God’s reward for you on earth, strange though it seem.
Matthew 5:10-12 Blessed [are] they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are ye, when [men] shall revile you, and persecute [you,] and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great [is] your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
For the longest time, I was unable to discern why these two steps were two instead of one. They really were the same thing to me. It was not until I began this study was I able to figure it out, and the lesson was amazing!
There is one main difference between verse ten and verse eleven: the reason for the persecution. In verse ten the reason is righteousness, in verse eleven the reason is Christ.
The world will not like us if we are in it, but not of it. It will make fun of us and try to make us do things its way. It does not like non-conformists. But we need to stand strong and do right anyway. We are not to bow to it, but to God.
The world will hate us if we show them Christ in our lives. This is more than just hating us because we do not agree with them, or because we convict them by living right. We are declaring direct war upon them, and they will react in kind. But this is good, this is right, this is glorious!
John 15:18-21 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.
21 But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.
John 17:14-16 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
I hope that my study made any sense to you. It is rather clipped and short in places, for which I apologize. There is a ton of stuff to talk about in this very short passage.
With joy and peace in Christ,