The Gift Of Suffering | The Institute for Creation Research
The Gift Of Suffering

"For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake" (Philippians 1:29).

According to the Bible, God both possesses infinite power and manifests infinite love. Undeserved suffering in the world, however, has long been one of the chief arguments of atheists. They maintain that if God exists, He is either powerless to prevent such suffering or is too unloving to care.

In reality, there is no such thing as unmerited suffering, "For all have sinned," and "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 3:23; 6:23). One person may indeed suffer because of the sin of someone else, but even that person has undoubtedly brought suffering to others on other occasions.

Neither is there such a thing as purposeless suffering, for God makes even man's wrath to praise Him (Psalm 76:10). When Adam sinned, God cursed the ground for man's sake (Genesis 3:17), and multitudes of lost sinners have come to Christ for salvation as a result of the sufferings they have experienced in a world under God's curse.

As far as believing Christians are concerned, they are given the privilege of being "partakers of Christ's sufferings" (I Peter 4:13). Jesus Christ is the only One who never really deserved to suffer, since He alone was sinless, but "Christ also suffered for us. . . . The just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God" (I Peter 2:21; 3:18).

Thus, our text assures us that the experience of suffering "in the behalf of Christ" is a gift of God's grace (the word "given" is, literally, "graced"). One day it will all be over (Revelation 21:4), but until then, "though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory" (II Cor-inthians 4:16-17). HMM

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