Suffering In the Life of Believers

Contrary the to common belief of people, the Bible doesn't teach that all men are the 'children of God.' Consider that Jesus of Nazareth said to the religious leaders of His day: "Ye are of your father the devil" (John 8:44). By contrast, the Apostle Paul wrote to the Christian believers at Galatia: "Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus" (Gal. 3:26). As His children, the Lord has destined that we grow in our faith in Him and in our abiding in union with the Lord. The Lord sets the course of our lives using all the circumstances and situations of our lives to that end, that we learn to abide in union with Him...trusting Him... in the face of all situations.

The fact is that all mankind are born as children of Adam, so it's not strange that all men bear suffering. " one man (Adam) Sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Rom 5:12). The sorrows, sickness and death men suffer entered the world as the effects of Sin indwelling the flesh bodies of all men to produce self-serving and evil. And after the suffering, death ultimately comes "by Sin." "The sting of death is sin..." (1Cor 15:56)  We know "...all (mankind) have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Rom 3:23). Therefore "... in Adam all die,..." (1 Cor 15:22a). This same verse continues "even so In Christ shall ALL be Made Alive (eternally)." (1Cor 15:22b) and this is the confident expectation!

As His children, we are already been "made alive (eternally" and "blessed with all spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ." Thus we as believers being "in Christ" now have the resource to live Godly wise lives that will express the Lord to all His creation, in heaven and earth... "to the praise of His glory" operating in us (Eph 1:12, 14). God offers all men to receive Christ's righteous Life to Dwell In Them... as their New Life.

Many wonder why it is that God's children, whose greatest desire is to please Him, should have to suffer along with those who refuse His free gift of new and eternal life in Christ. The most significant answer is that believers still live in 'Sin' tainted human "flesh" bodies, thus they also are tempted of "Sin in the flesh" (Rom 8:3). Believers encounter the same hard situations and death, such as is common to man. But the growth we gain of the Lord through suffering teaches us how to live godly in spite of  "Sin in the flesh."

There are several other reasons for continued suffering after believing. Consider Job, God allowed His servant to suffer to prove to Satan that Job trusted God and that Job did not live a godly life for personal gain Job was richly rewarded later for all he had borne.

Consider also that regenerated believers could not be of much spiritual help to others if they were exempt from the sufferings all men have to bear. If believers were exempt from suffering the unsaved would say: "Yes, you can talk! You don't know what it is to suffer disappointments, sickness and pain, as we do."

Then too, it must be remembered that even the most godly believer isn't perfect and must at times be disciplined. This may occur only after we know we are living in some way against the will of the Lord and still repeatedly deny what we know... but even discipline is applied only in very rare instances in a sincere believer's life. "for whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth" (Heb. 12:6). God more often simply let's us reap the consequences of our foolish choices that we might learn. His chastisement is only occurs for our good, not as punishment. It is a remedial act by our loving Father. By this, He intends to keeps us from the most dangerous irreversible consequences of some gross and destructive sin.

Still, the most powerful purpose for believers suffering adversity is that it tends to make them grow in genuine faith and trust... and changing their view of things, it pushes them to a greater, more consistent, union with the Lord. Prayer in the form of honest talk with the Lord innately increases as one then leans harder upon the supply of Christ life within them. Therein lies our spiritual strength, blessing and growth in the Lord. Paul said: "I take pleasure in infirmities… for when I am weak, then am I strong" (2Cor. 12:10). Thus, our viewpoint toward life becomes changed to God's eternally based viewpoint.

Paul tells us there's a twofold advantage that the suffering Christian has over nonbelievers. First, the believer's sufferings are only temporary, in view of an assured eternity with Christ in heaven. Second, enduring suffering yields an eternal weighty, substantive expression of Christ's glorious life within believer's life.

"For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory" (2Cor. 4:17).