Galatians 6:12 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Those who desire to make a good showing in the flesh try to compel you to be circumcised, simply so that they will not be persecuted for the cross of Christ.
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation
At the core of every persecution is a judgment. The Jews of that time pleaded with Pilate to crucify Christ. Having seen the resurrection they believed, so what is the problem here? Why do they fear being persecuted? Why do they seek to escape being judged?
A simple answer is that they have not forgiven themselves for what they did. The same sort of behavior exists today. We desire God’s forgiveness for the sins we have committed knowing full well there is nothing we can do to earn it and yet we still try.
Isaiah 65:5-7 (KJV) Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day. Behold, it is written before me: I will not keep silence, but will recompense, even recompense into their bosom, Your iniquities, and the iniquities of your fathers together, saith the Lord, which have burned incense upon the mountains, and blasphemed me upon the hills: therefore will I measure their former work into their bosom.
Those who invent penance to assuage their own guilt have not embraced the Cross of Christ in forgiveness. He paid our debt and we owe Him our lives. Our lives are His to use as He wills, but He does not desire to use a soul in bondage to the past. He has set you free from this guilt, so embrace it.