Experiencing the Power of the Gospel
Part 3―Biblical Doctrines in the Light of the Gospel
Part 4―Last Day Events (Eschatology)
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If God loves everybody, then why does He allow us to suffer?
“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”
Rom 5 (v. 3) And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; (v. 4) and perseverance, character; and character, hope.
So, suffering produces: Perseverance, Character, and Hope!
The King James Version lists it as: Patience, Experience, and Hope!
Webster's Dictionary defines each key word as:
Perseverance—to persist in a state or undertaking in spite of opposition or discouragement.
Tribulation—distress or suffering resulting from oppression or persecution
Experience—to undergo religious conversion, something personally encountered or lived through.
Rev 14 (v. 1) Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand....(v. 3) They sang as it were a new song before the throne,... and no one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth.
They sang a song no one else could learn, a song of experience, the ones redeemed had an experience with their savior.
Character—a person marked by notable traits, moral excellence and firmness, a person of sound character.
Hope—to expect with desire, accompanied by a belief in fulfillment.
Another bible verse about suffering:
Jam 1 (v. 2) My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, (v. 3) knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. (v. 4) But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
So, various trials test your faith and produce patience, so that you may be perfect and complete!!
More Webster's Dictionary key words:
Faith—firm belief in something for which there is no proof.
Patience—bearing trials calmly, steadfastness despite opposition or adversity, able or willing to bear it.
Steadfastness—firmly fixed in place, not subject to change, firm in belief, determination, loyal, faithful.
Remember Job's suffering, and Joseph who spent several years in prison as God prepared him for his lifework....You will notice that after Isaiah confessed his sin was unclean lips, God place coal on that specific place.
Isa 6 (v. 6) Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. (v. 7) And he touched my mouth with it, and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; Your iniquity is taken away, And your sin purged.”
You also notice that God uses hot coals to purify His people. The scripture tells us that God is coming for a church that is without spot or wrinkle (Eph 5:27). The way you get out most spots is with hot water. And the way you get out the wrinkles is with a hot iron.
Eph 5 (v. 27) that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.
Many christians are surprised when the Lord allows them to go through fiery trials to purify their faith and refine their characters, but the heat is God's blessed method of purifying His people.
God is using “suffering” to forge out our characters, restoring us back to the way we were from the beginning.
How were we, in the beginning?
Gen 1 (v. 26) Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness;"
Another verse about the believer's faith:
I Pet 1 (v. 6) In this you greatly rejoice,...for a little while....you have been grieved by various trials, (v. 7) that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, (v. 9) receiving the end of your faith--the salvation of your souls.
So, your faith is like gold being tested by fire, with the result of receiving the end of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
We need never feel that we are alone. Angels are our companions. The Comforter that Christ promised to send in His name abides with us....None need abandon themselves to discouragement and despair. Satan may come to you with the cruel suggestion, “Yours is a hopeless case.”....But there is hope for you in Christ....
Not only does Christ know every soul, and the peculiar needs and trials of that soul, but He knows all the circumstances that chafe and perplex the spirit. His hand is outstretched in pitying tenderness to every suffering child. Those who suffer most have most of His sympathy and pity....and He desires us to lay our perplexities and troubles at His feet and leave them there.
Not only do we need to take comfort in knowing that we are never alone, but we can also depend on Christ who knows the trials and circumstances of every soul! The Comforter is promised to abide with us, to all who believe.
II Cor 4 (v. 7) But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. (v. 8) We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; (v. 9) persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed, (v. 10) always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.
Christians are too apt to think they are the only ones who have a hard time, and some seem to think that it is a condescension in them to embrace unpopular truth, and profess to be Christ's followers. The road seems hard.
....If they are adopted into the family of God, what sacrifices have they made?
Their following Christ may have broken friendship with worldly relatives; but look at the exchange—their names written in the Lamb's Book of Life—elevated, yes, greatly exalted to be partakers of salvation—heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ, to an imperishable inheritance....in this life the christian has One upon whom to lean for support who will help him bear all his trials.
Rom 8 (v. 17) and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
This verse mentions that: "If we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified"....There seems to be an additional blessing to suffering with Christ.
Are you familiar with the 3rd blessing of salvation? Click below to review all three.
Let's review what we have learned so far:
So, what does suffering do to the flesh?
A review from Romans 5:3-4
It produces: Perseverance, Character, Experience, Patience and Hope
Then from James 1:2-4
That you may be: Perfect and Complete, like you were in the beginning
So ( I Cor 15:51-52 ), will restore the outside of this body, and God will use “suffering” to restore the inside of this being.
I Cor 15 (v. 51) Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— (v. 52) in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
Now that you know what God is doing; How should we respond, when going through trials of suffering?
What should be your attitude?
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1. quote from C.S. Lewis, on webpage: http://www.kevinhalloran.net/best-c-s-lewis-quotes/
2. Doug Batchelor, (2001). To See the King, p.63-64. Mountain Ministry.
3. E.G. White, The Ministry of Healing, p.249, par.1
4. The Review and Herald (28 Apr 1828). “The Sinner’s Trials”, par.5