In the Bible, belief, or faith, is more than just thinking something is a fact. Faith has more to do with trust and personal acceptance, deliberate acts of one’s will. So, in Scripture, the sin of unbelief is not merely ignorance; rather, it is willfully refusing God’s free gift of forgiveness of sin—including the sin of unbelief. (excerpt from “got questions” link below)
How will you defend that choice before Christ on Judgement Day? Think about it…your eternity depends on it.
The Bible says that every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. That means, whether or not you’ve made a decision for Christ while you’re still breathing…in the end everyone will know that He is Lord. Those who trusted in His finished work on the cross before the end will get to spend eternity with Him…but if you didn’t, whoa to you!
Suffering for Christ isn’t what I was taught as a Catholic growing up. What I was taught was this: if you’re sick or in some kind of pain or tormenting illness you are given an opportunity to “suffer” for Christ. You can “offer” that suffering to somehow cover your own sins by linking it to what Jesus did on the Cross. Like God is giving you an opportunity to somehow pay for something He already charged His Son for…what kind of god would He be if that were true? Christ died once for all. And that is how we are to receive His free gift.
The suffering the Bible speaks of is the suffering the true believer will experience for standing up for this truth.
“So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you.”
1 Peter 4:19 NLT
I’ve used the NLT version here because I want to point out the part where it says, “In a manner that pleases God”. It doesn’t please God for you or me to suffer physically!
The Bible says this: Isaiah 53:10-11 (messianic prophecy about Jesus)
Yet it pleased the Lord to [q]bruise Him;
He has put Him to grief.
When You make His soul an offering for sin,
He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days,
And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.
[r]He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied.
By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many,
For He shall bear their iniquities.
It is so important to illustrate that it pleased God for Jesus to suffer and DIE for our sins. He bore our iniquities; He will justify many! We can’t bear our own iniquities or justify ourselves. (PERIOD!)
Who is He talking about justifying though? He says “many”. Christ died for the sins of the whole world but not everyone will receive His free gift of salvation.
He was the sinless, spotless Lamb of God…and it pleased Him that Jesus died to bring all who would believe back into right relationship with God.
God is not bringing about our physical suffering to give us a chance to enter into what Christ did for us, He’s just NOT. But we will experience persecution and suffering (hardship/harsh treatment) FOR THE TRUTH OF THE GOSPEL…and we are to continue to trust in His truth during that suffering. That is what will please God.
If you are suffering in your body, mind or spirit today, take heart…He wants to comfort you. To all who believe, He sends His Holy Spirit who IS the Comforter. When we suffer physically we need to know that it is not at God’s hands. We have physical suffering because we live in a fallen world and we still have an enemy (Satan). But Jesus reminds us that He has overcome the world…we can have peace in knowing we are His and we know the end of the story. Jesus WINS.
If you’re not a believer or if you’ve believed a lie that God wants you to suffer physically for Jesus, I urge you today to ask God to show you the truth. He is waiting for your invitation and He longs to show you!