TRIALS, TEMPTATIONS, AND SUFFERING
Dr. Mike Johnston, Editor
For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18)
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
… there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. (2 Corinthians 12:5-10)
That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: (1 Peter 1:7)
Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (James 1:3-5)
My friend John Henry provides the following insights.
- Suffering Is Only For A Short While:
“Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of His, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holiness. For His anger endureth but a moment; in His favor is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” (Psalm 30:4-5)
“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at things which are seen, but at things which are not seen: for things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (II Corinthains 4:17-18; cf. Romans 8:18, I Peter 1:6, 5:10; Colossians 3:1-4)
Compared to eternity our sufferings are nothing.
- Suffering Can Not Be Compared With Our Future Glory:
* We will receive a new glorified body: “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when [the Lord Jesus Christ] shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is, and every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as He is pure.” (J John 3:2-3; cf. Romans 8:29; Philippians 3:20-21; I Corinthians 15:47-54)
* We will have a wonderful new home in Heaven: The Lord Jesus said: “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto My self; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:1-3)
* There will be unimaginable things that God has prepared for us: “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit …” (I Corinthians 2:9-10):
* There will be “… new heavens and a new Earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” (II Peter 3:13; cf. Revelation 21:1-3).
* “There shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, shallth ere be any more pain.” (Revelation 21:4)
* “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be My son.” (Revelation 21:7; Note: Victory is a gift and overcoming comes by faith in Christ. cf. Revelation 12:11; I John 5:4-5; I Corinthians 15:57)
* “And there shall be no more curse …” (Revelation 22:3, cf. 21:5)
* There will be special rewards for service to God while on this Earth: “Every man’s work shall be manifested: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide … he shall receive reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” (I Corinthians 3:13-15; cf. Matthew 3:11) “For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ; that every one may receive the thing done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” (II Corinthians 5:10; cf. Romans 14:10-12) The Believer’s judgement for his sins was placed on the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross (Isaiah 53:5-6; Colossians 1:20-21, 2:14; Galatians 3:13; I Peter 2:24-25). The judgement seat of Christ is a judgement of the works that Believers did after they were saved. It is not a judgement of his sin. Nonetheless, it will be a fearful judgement for many saved people, because most do not live for and serve God. They will be very mush ashamed at the judgement seat of Christ because 1) they did not study God’s Word to see what He required of them (II Timothy 2:15), and 2) they did not abide in Christ and do what they knew to be right (I John 2:28-29; John 8:30-32, 17:5-9). There will be no suffering in Heaven, but there will be shame and sorrow, at least until “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more … sorrow, nor crying” (Revelation 21:4). Every child of God who Jesus redeemed from Hell will be crowned with “lovingkindness and tender mercies” (Psalm 103:4), but there are other special rewards for living right and serving God. The ones listed in the Bible are:
– A “crown of glory” for faithful pastors (I Peter 5:4).
– An “incorruptible” crown for holiness an self control (I Corinthians 9:24-27).
– A “crown of righteousness” for “all them also that love his appearing.” (II Timothy 4:8).
– A “crown of life” for those that endure temptation and persecution even unto the death (Revelation 2:10; James 1:12).
– A “crown of rejoicing” for soul winners (I Thessalonians 2:19; cf. Philippians 2:16; Proverbs 11:30; II Corinthians 5:11, 18-20).
Good works have absolutely nothing to do with our salvation, but they are required in order to maintain rewards.
“Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.” (Hebrews 10:35-36).
“Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward” (2 John 8).
The Lord commended those of the Church in Philadelphia saying, “… thou hast a little strength, and hast kept My Word, and hast not denied My name … hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” (Revelation 3:8, 11). O God help us to keep Your Word, and not deny Your holy and mighty name, even in the face of suffering!!!