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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].
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
Table of Contents
Now is the time to post a prayer.
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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