Why We Can Rejoice In Suffering

     According to Pew research, USA today and other news agencies Christians remain the most persecuted group in the world. Just over the past week I have heard that California is potentially putting up a bill that could ban books such as the Bible and how GQ rated the Bible as overrated. Persecution in America is not bad compared to many other countries but it is steadily climbing and to be expected according to the words of our Lord, Jesus Christ. What I would like to do is give you some hope from the Scripture's.

   Paul stated in Romans 5:3, "Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance". When Paul states we can rejoice in our sufferings, he is making a huge and profound statement. What Paul is stating is that when we suffer we can do so with joy. We can be glad in times of affliction. We can be delighted in tribulation. We can celebrate when life is not going our way. What would Paul such hope?

    When Paul stated, "Not only that..." (Rom. 5:3), he means in addition to Romans 5:2, which states, "Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God". So in addition to rejoicing in hope, for Paul, because of the access he and we have through Jesus Christ by faith to grace he and we can also rejoice in suffering.

   Grace offers us so much. Grace gives us access to God's unmerited favor (Eph. 2:8,9). Grace gives us access to God's sufficient power in times of weakness (2 Cor. 12:9). And for Paul this enabled him to rejoice in suffering, and it should have the same affect on us as well.

   Secondly, Paul could rejoice in suffering because of what suffering accomplishes. Yes, suffering is not meaningless but actually has meaning and manufactures fruit in our lives. Paul stated, "....we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance". Suffering is productive. It trains us to be steadfast and perseverant under trials to come. And it does not cease there, it also "produces character and character produces hope" (Romans 5:4). Manufacturing greater hope within us is the chief aim behind suffering for a Christian. Leading me to reason three we can rejoice in suffering.

   Thirdly, we can rejoice in suffering because of the hope we have, for the hope we have as followers of Christ have will "not put us to shame" (Rom. 5:5). What hope do we have? We have the hope of Jesus Christ resurrected! And because Christ lives we can face tomorrow! What does Paul mean that hope will 'not put us to shame'? What he means is that the hope we have that Jesus is alive will not embarrass us, humiliate us or disappoint us. While we may suffer in this life as followers of Jesus we have a heavenly reward waiting for us! Jesus Christ is worth all suffering in this life to gain what we are getting in our heavenly home.

   While non-believers appear as though they are happy in this life and without suffering as those are who follow Christ, when they pass, they will be put to shame. While they pick at us and question us about our faith in the presence of suffering, they and not us will be put to shame. When it looks like they have their life together, while we, followers of Jesus get handed trial after trial after trial, we unlike they have a living hope and they do not! For when we die, we shall meet our Savior and walk in his glory, and when the unbeliever passes, those who have it good in this life, they will meet our Savior, except they will not dwell in His glory. They receive their reward here on this earth.

    Another reason hope will "not put us to shame" is "because God's love has been poured into our hearts." (Romans 5:5) Love flows from Heaven to Earth and not Earth to Heaven. God sent Jesus not because we loved God but because God loved us. And He demonstrated that love to us through His son on an old rugged cross.

  How does God pour His love into us? The answer is "through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." (Rom. 5:5) The Spirit of God is the means by which God's love is poured into each of us. He, the Holy Spirit, is the instrument by which God's love flows from Heaven to Earth!  Which begs this question, how does one receive the Spirit of God?

  The answer is found in Titus 3:6 by which Paul states to Titus, "whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior." The Holy Spirit is poured into us through Jesus Christ. One must have faith in the Son of God, Jesus Christ, in order to receive the Holy Spirit. Without faith in Jesus there is no Holy spirit, without the Holy Spirit there is no love in our hearts, without the love of God in us we have no hope and suffering goes without rejoicing.

  Once again this proves that Jesus is everything to the Christian faith! Being able to rejoice in suffering hinges on what one believes in regard to Christ! If your faith is in Christ Jesus you have every reason to suffer with joy, if you do not, then, you have no reason to be joyful in suffering.

 

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