The reason why is because of the use of the word ALL along with the harsh word “suffer persecution.” In order to combat the unfortunate conclusions drawn up by the non-sufferer of persecution, two main diversions will be employed:
1) Deny the truth of the verse. This is the most common tactic. People will say, “Well, yeah, in the days of the early church this was true, but it’s not true anymore.” This would be fine if Paul had said “all that will live godly in Christ Jesus in my day shall suffer persecution,” but he did not.
2) Invent persecution. Many will trivialize the notion of persecution and say, “Oh, dude, this one time? I wore this Jesus shirt to the mall? And, like, totally, this clerk would not help me find some jeans. I was like, ‘Dude, do you hate me cuz I love Jesus?’ And they were like, ‘sh-yah.’” And thus goes our persecution.
Again, as I said two days ago, the word means to actually pursue, to hunt down, to press toward. It’s not merely wearing a Jesus shirt into a hell-hole and getting a rise. They aren’t hunting you, you specifically went to them to annoy them.
Furthermore, the word also carries the idea of suffering, not being mildly inconvenienced.
Persecution is one of the greatest evidences of faith God could invent! Sure, Joel Osteen thinks being rich and happy are evidence, but that’s easy. God chooses what is foolish with man to prove things. God says, “Hey, want to know if you’re doing faith right? You’ll be in pain.” This makes total sense coming from the God who died on a cross for the remission of your sins.
Persecution accomplishes four things:
1) It shows the true threat that Jesus and Christianity are to the world system.
2) It proves that true faith leads to suffering, hardship, sacrifice and other tough things.
3) It embraces resurrection and other biblical promises (see Hebrews 11 about better countries to come!)
4) It keeps the riffraff out. Count the cost!
2 Timothy 3:12 says persecution should be expected by the faithful, godly follower of Jesus Christ. Paul is either lying or we got something wrong. As John Wesley said about 2 Timothy 3:12 and the use of the word “all”:
“There is no exception. Either the truth of scripture fails, or those that think they are religious, and are not persecuted, in some shape or other, on that very account, deceive themselves.”