11 It is a trustworthy statement: For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him; 12 If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us; 13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself. 2 Timothy 2:11-13 (NASB)
My favorite book outside of the Bible is John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress. Bunyan, a Puritan, spent seven years in prison because he was a preacher, but a nonconformist in the eyes of the Anglican Church….
He preached the pure gospel unencumbered by the empty religiosity of The Church of England at that time. However, God used this persecution in the man Bunyan. When he came out of prison for the last time, he had with him the manuscript for The Pilgrim’s Progress ready for a publisher. God uses suffering to prune his people. We are the clay. He is the potter.
On the other hand, the majority of what calls itself the Church in our time is actually a form of idolatry called Churchianity, which is the worship of and faith in those who claim to be the “Body of Christ.” The focus of this form of idolatry is “relationships” above all. This religion has no concept of the holiness of God and the pursuit of His righteousness in obedience to Him. Instead, it is simply shallow religiosity coupled with relationships. They look upon those who live set apart in the sanctifying fires of the Lord as being holy rollers or people bound up in legalism.