Monday, December 27, 2021

Suffering Is As Much A Part Of The Christian Life As Faith

Philippians 1:29-30, For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake; Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.​

This is a remarkable passage of Scripture. The Bible teaches that it is God's will, not only for us to BELIEVE to be saved, but also to SUFFER to be conformed into the image of Jesus Christ:
Romans 8:24-29, “For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”
I absolutely love the preceding passage of Scripture? The Apostle Paul says we are saved by hope (faith in something that we cannot perceive with the five human senses). Paul explains that if we were already in Heaven, then why would we still hope to go to Heaven? That certainly makes good sense. So we hope, day by day, patiently waiting to someday go to Heaven in God's time to be with Jesus our blessed Redeemer.

I recently learned something beautiful about Fanny Crosby (1820-1915). Fanny was born able to see, but became infected with an illness. While the family doctor was away, another doctor who pretended to be a legitimate doctor was later proven to be a quack. That incompetent doctor applied hot mustard poultices (a thickened paste) to Fanny's eyes, which blinded her just six weeks after being born. When a preacher commented that it was a pity that she was blind, Miss Fanny gave the most astounding wise response:
"I think it is a great pity that the Master did not give you sight when he showered so many other gifts upon you," remarked one well-meaning preacher.

Fanny Crosby responded at once, as she had heard such comments before. "Do you know that if at birth I had been able to make one petition, it would have been that I was born blind?" said the poet, who had been able to see only for her first six weeks of life. "Because when I get to heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior." SOURCE: Christianity Today
Isn't that lovely? Sure it is. What a great attitude Miss Crosby had! One of my favorite preachers, Pastor Ralph Yankee Arnold, preached a wonderful MP3 sermon titled: 'The Call To Suffer.' I wrote this helpful article of the same title: 'The Call To Suffer.' ...
Romans 8:16-18, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. 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.”
The Holy Spirit (who is God in us), bears witness (testifies) with our human spirit that we are saved. Sometimes people ask me how they can verify that they have the Holy Spirit. Listen friend, if you have God's Holy Spirit living inside you, YOU KNOW IT! The Apostle John penned the Epistle of 1st John for this specific purpose, to help us individually as believers to KNOW that we are saved (1st John 5:13; 3:24).

I love Romans 8:18, “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.” Dear friend, I encourage you when you begin to sink into the Sea of Galilee in fear, as did Peter; and when you begin to falter in your faith, as did the apostles when Jesus was arrested; and when you begin to doubt Christ altogether, as did John the Baptist in prison—Have faith in God (Mark 11:22b).

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