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1 Peter 3:17



17 For [gar] it is better [kreitton], if [ei] the will [thelema] of God [theos] be so [thelo], that ye suffer [pascho] for well doing [agathopoieo], than [e] for evil doing [kakopoieo]. KJV-Interlinear



17 For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong. NASB



In life there are only two forms of suffering.There is suffering for unbelievers and suffering for believers.


For unbelievers there is suffering for pain, suffering for death, and suffering by means of Gods control over history.


In suffering for pain wherein the unbeliever suffers due to the many difficulties of life that bring pain into the unbelievers life, demonstrating their inability to control their own life, and thus (hopefully), seek a solution that is greater than they, and that solution is faith in Christ, or the salvation message.


So life's suffering is a form of judgment against the unbeliever with the objective of getting their attention and getting them to listen to the gospel with the result that they believe in Christ and thus become saved and not lost for all of eternity.


Suffering by death is the only result of a hardened stubborn attitude against truth. If the unbeliever rejects Gods grace in the gospel and refuses to believe in Christ. The only recourse then is to remove them from history by death. This leads to their eternal judgment or second death, which will be the Lake of Fire.


In life, the unbeliever can expect only judgment from God.Any blessing they receive is merely because of their association with believers who happen to be living on the same planet as the unbelievers. By having believers here on planet earth, is the only thing that gives the unbeliever any form of blessing.


While the Ark was being built, Noah and his family were the only ones receiving blessing. Unbelievers enjoyed life only while Noah was constructing the Ark.Once they entered into the Ark, that blessing enjoyed by the unbelieving population, ceased and they all died.


When the Rapture occurs, all believers will leave the world, leaving only unbelievers. The world will deteriorate rapidly and were it not for folks recognizing their circumstances and coming to Christ, then the Tribulation would not last its designated seven years, but would end in a much shorter time.


The last judgment related suffering for unbelievers comes for God Himself. Jesus Christ controls history. And despite that it is Satan who currently rules the world, it is Christ who controls the flow of history.


Evil despises evil. There is no honor among thieves. One tyrant hates another tyrant. One unbeliever hates another unbeliever. And Christ allows these evil components to destroy each other.One evil nation may be allowed to rise up in order to destroy another evil nation. And so history moves along with Gods guidance, not mans.


As for believers, there are two forms of suffering.The first is for punitive purposes, and the second is suffering for blessing.


Of all the suffering categories just mentioned, the very last is the best form of suffering that one could have, because it is God who controls all aspects of it, and its objective is to aid and accelerate the believer in his spiritual growth.


Punitive suffering comes from Gods discipline toward the individual for the bad choices the believer has made.These bad choices are all related to not living in the fellowship sphere and not living in accordance with Gods mandates and will, for the individual. Simply put, when you do not live within your spiritual life, then suffering from discipline will occur.


There is a fine line that differentiates suffering from discipline and suffering for blessing. One person can lose their job and if they do not have a functional spiritual life, then their suffering is disciplinary purposes.Another person who lives within their spiritual life, can lose their job, and that becomes suffering for blessing.


The first looks at life and probably for excuses or blame.They should learn from the experience and begin to look to God through doctrine.The second person, looks to God and knows in his heart, that another job will become available, that God will not let him down.They advance in their faith and trust in God.


In either case, the mental attitude and stresses on each individual will be different. Much easier for the spiritually mature person than the immature person.


They both will have to go look for work, etc.Responsibility and the methods for finding solutions will not differ for either. The only real difference between the two, is Gods blessing or lack of it in their respective lives, and the intent that God has for each of them as a result of the suffering.


The negative person receives suffering in order to get their focus on God, doctrine, and their spiritual life.The positive person, receives suffering in order to strengthen their spiritual life and advance them even further in their faith.


If a person endures suffering and does not respond as God intends, then what have they gained by their suffering?Nothing.


If a person endures suffering and then responds positively toward God, then they stand to gain immensely in their life.


It is far better that God should be the one coordinating your suffering (resulting in a better spiritual life), than your simply stumbling along in life with no real solution forthcoming (no advancement or effect in your spiritual life).


This is the devils world.Satan rules and evil is his policy.Therefore, suffering will occur, because that is the only result that evil can produce. If you subscribe to satanic policies, then suffering is all that you will ever receive. All of the rhetoric for change, for the children, for humanity, for peace, for whatever, will make no difference. Rhetoric, intentions, or sincerity have no power to alter or improve evil.


The unbelievers only hope is the change that accompanies salvation.


The negative or immature believers only hope is the change that accompanies their positive response to doctrine.


The mature believers only hope is in the confidence that they are advancing in their spiritual life, and that God has given them an opportunity to see life without the fears and anxieties that suffering normally produces.God is in the drives seat and their confidence through their enhanced faith, strengthens their spiritual life to even greater levels.

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End Of Lesson

Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.

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