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"Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus." (Col 1:28)


The Sufferings of Glory

Suffering is a key part of our Christian walk.  In fact 1 Peter says that Christ suffered for us and left us an example that we should follow in his steps, He committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in his mouth.

Suffering and trials are not always viewed as the highlights of the Christian life.  Should this be our view toward suffering?  What is God’s view of suffering?  What role does suffering actually play in our lives as Christians?

Well, as Christ first loved us, this is how we know love and can show love to others…by experiencing the love of God in our own hearts and lives (1 John).  In a similar way, we can experience and endure sufferings because Christ first suffered and bled for us that He might take away our sins by His own blood, shed on the Cross.  It was this suffering and sacrifice that brought salvation and forgiveness of sins to all who will repent of their own ways and believe in the power of God--who raised Christ from the dead.  We see, in fact, that the power and glory of God was revealed the most through Christ’s sufferings.  For God did not let his Holy One see decay, but raised him from the dead on the third day.   So now, through the work of Jesus, we have true faith in God who raised Christ from the grave.  It is because of the obedience and love of Christ poured out abundantly for us that defines and outlines the lives we must live as Christians.

“But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. 21For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:

        22"Who committed no sin,
        Nor was deceit found in His mouth";

23who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; 24who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness--by whose stripes you were healed. 25For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”—(1 Peter 2:20-25)


13 And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? 14But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you are blessed. "And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled." 15But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 16having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. 17For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.  18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, 19by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, 20who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. 21There is also an antitype which now saves us--baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.”—(1 Peter 3:13-22)

 So what exactly does this Scripture say about suffering?  It says that we are called to suffer and to endure it patiently!  Yes, O Christian, this is your calling.  We will see why God has chosen this to be so.  Nevertheless, this is not the only Scripture that says we must suffer; there are many more.

It was foretold, hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus, that a Messiah must come who would come and suffer for the sins of the people, to bring them to God.  Peter was referring to this in the passage above.  This was Isaiah the prophet who foretold of Jesus’ coming and the sufferings that would follow.  Isaiah 53 is a record of his prophecy from God about the true depth of the sufferings of Christ:

1 Who has believed our report?
        And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
        2For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant,
        And as a root out of dry ground.
        He has no form or comeliness;
        And when we see Him,
        There is no beauty that we should desire Him.
        3He is despised and rejected by men,
        A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
        And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
        He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

        4Surely He has borne our griefs
        And carried our sorrows;
        Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
        Smitten by God, and afflicted.
        5But He was wounded for our transgressions,
        He was bruised for our iniquities;
        The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
        And by His stripes we are healed.
        6All we like sheep have gone astray;
        We have turned, every one, to his own way;
        And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

        7He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
        Yet He opened not His mouth;
        He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,
        And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
        So He opened not His mouth.
        8He was taken from prison and from judgment,
        And who will declare His generation?
        For He was cut off from the land of the living;
        For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.
        9And they made His grave with the wicked--
        But with the rich at His death,
        Because He had done no violence,
        Nor was any deceit in His mouth.

        10Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him;
        He has put Him to grief.
        When You make His soul an offering for sin,
        He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days,
        And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand.
        11He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied.
        By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many,
        For He shall bear their iniquities.
        12Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great,
        And He shall divide the spoil with the strong,
        Because He poured out His soul unto death,
        And He was numbered with the transgressors,
        And He bore the sin of many,
        And made intercession for the transgressors.”

 Scriptures teach that we are not only called to suffer but we are also granted and appointed to suffer.  If Christ so terribly suffered because of our sins, is it any strange thing that we should suffer by turning from sin and following the example of Christ?

29For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake”—(Philippians 1:29)


“1Therefore, when we could no longer endure it, we thought it good to be left in Athens alone, 2and sent Timothy, our brother and minister of God, and our fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you and encourage you concerning your faith, 3that no one should be shaken by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we are appointed to this. 4For, in fact, we told you before when we were with you that we would suffer tribulation, just as it happened, and you know.”—(1 Thessalonians 3:1-4)

Other Scriptures tell us of the wonderful effect of suffering and what it produces in our lives as we submit to God and to the place where God has put us.

  •  We will cease from sin -

 “1 Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. 3For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles--when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. 4In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you. 5They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit… 12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 14If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. 15But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people's matters. 16Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter,
17For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18Now

        "If the righteous one is scarcely saved,
        Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?"

19Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.”—(1 Peter 4:1-6, 12-19)

 Do you understand what I am saying?  Christ himself learned obedience and was trained by suffering that he submitted to,

“During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek. 11We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. 12In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”—(Hebrews 5:7-14)

 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
4In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons:
   "My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline,
       and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
    6because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
       and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son."
7Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. 12Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13"Make level paths for your feet," so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.
14Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. 16See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. 17Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. He could bring about no change of mind, though he sought the blessing with tears.  18You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; 19to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, 20because they could not bear what was commanded: "If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned." 21The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, "I am trembling with fear." 22But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, 24to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. 25See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? 26At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, "Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens." 27The words "once more" indicate the removing of what can be shaken--that is, created things--so that what cannot be shaken may remain.
28Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29for our "God is a consuming fire."”—(Hebrews 12)

 We will be submitted to God and the role he has us in as a citizen, servant, wife or young person so we are able to properly stand against the schemes and attacks of the devil.  If we think we are submitted to God and cannot submit to the God-ordained authorities in our lives, then we are deceiving ourselves and our faith is not based on truth but only fantasy.  And then why not turn to science-fiction and other forms of alternate reality.  This is why so many lose sight of the truth of God’s word.  The book of James says that it is like looking at your face in a mirror and forgetting what you look like.  Do you remember what you look like in the mirror?  Do you know what you look like in light of God’s Word?  Do not forget what God shows you, do not let men or false teachers dissuade you from thinking that you need to change.  You see, if you look in the mirror and see that something is out of place then you need to correct it so you will not be ashamed when you go out in public.  In the same way, we must be diligent to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (for it is God who works in us).  We must abide in Christ and the power of his sufferings and be conformed to his death so that we will not be ashamed at his coming and so we may attain to the resurrection of the dead on the last day.  Do not be deceived, the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor 6:9).  If you know that God is righteous, then you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of him and that everyone who does not practice righteousness is not truly born of God.  For everyone who is born of God overcomes the world.  And this is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.  Who is the one who overcomes the world…only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

1 The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: 2Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; 3nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; 4and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.
 5 Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for
        "God resists the proud,
        But gives grace to the humble."
6Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
8Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. 10But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 11To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”—(1 Peter 5:1-11)


3You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. 5And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. 6The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops. 7Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things.   8Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel, 9for which I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained. 10Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
11This is a faithful saying:
        For if we died with Him,
           We shall also live with Him.
        12If we endure,
           We shall also reign with Him.
        If we deny Him,
           He also will deny us.
        13If we are faithless,
           He remains faithful;
        He cannot deny Himself.”—(2 Tim 2:3-13)


10 But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, 11persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra--what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. 12Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”—(2 Tim 3:10-12) 

So what should our attitude be toward suffering?  If we have the Spirit of Christ then his glory will be revealed through us when we are suffering.  The scriptures give us clear examples of the attitudes that we will have:

·        Thankfulness - 13 For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe. 14For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus. For you also suffered the same things from your own countrymen, just as they did from the Judeans, 15who killed both the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they do not please God and are contrary to all men, 16forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved, so as always to fill up the measure of their sins; but wrath has come upon them to the uttermost.”—(1 Thessalonians 2:13-16)

·        Patience - 2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”—(James 1:2-4)

·        Joy inexpressible and full of glory - 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
6In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7that 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, 8whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9receiving the end of your faith--the salvation of your souls. 10Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, 11searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.”—(1 Peter 1:3-12)

May you stand fast in the place that Christ has called you.  Do not let suffering or persecution discourage you from the upward call that we have through Jesus Christ.  We have been called to share in his sufferings.  Hold fast to the Word of truth, do not let anyone lead you astray.  Christ is our redeemer and our glory.  “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.  Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.  This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.”—(Proverbs 3:5-8)  “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.”—(Philippians 3:10-11)  “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”—(2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

In summary, we see that suffering is something that God has provided for our strengthening and our increased understanding of our need to depend completely upon Him.  Even Christ entrusted himself to the Father and did not seek to do his own will.  He came to do the will of God and he left us a perfect example that we should follow in his footsteps.  We need to find out what pleases the Lord and put those things into practice by faith.  Whoever claims to live in Jesus must walk even as he did (1 John 2:6).  Therefore, put on the Lord Jesus and make no provision for the flesh to fulfill it in its lusts. (Rom 13:14).


Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor [hate] what is evil. Cling to what is good.
(Rom 12:9)

"Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”
(John 6:27)

 "Be perfect therefore, even as your Father in heaven is perfect."
(Matthew 5:48)

"Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God--I say this to your shame."
(1 Corinthians 15:34)

"But the path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.
 The way of the wicked is like darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble."
(Prov 4:18-19)

"You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone."
(James 2:24)

"Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.."
(2 Peter 1:10-11)


Grace to all of you who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity and truth--Ephesians 6:24 * 2006 *
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