Suffering is the Christian’s Path to Glory

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Suffering is the Christian’s Path to Glory

 

Our hope as Christians is our future glory. We will have a new body patterned after the glorified body of Jesus Christ (Phil. 3:21). Our “hope of glory” is guaranteed by the present dwelling of Christ within the believer (Col. 1:27).

At the parousia, the second coming of Christ, those who died in Christ and the living believers will be given the final and full “redemption of our body” (Romans 8:23). That body will be prepared for and suited to the final state of the Christian believer (1 Cor. 15:23, 26, 54). “When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory” (Colossians 3:4).

The apostle Paul tells us that we shall be included in the radiance of the coming glory, which will put into perspective the present sufferings we experience. “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18).

As co-heirs with Christ (vv. 15-17) we are recipients of all spiritual blessings now (Eph. 1:3), and in the future we shall share with Him in all the riches of God’s kingdom (Jn. 17:24; 1 Cor. 3:21-23). In Romans 8:15-18 the apostle is stressing the assurance of the believer’s salvation, and in doing so says if we are true Christians we will also suffer with Christ. We will participate in Christ’s sufferings if we are believers. Being co-heirs with Christ requires that we share in His sufferings (Jn. 15:20; Col. 1:24; 2 Tim. 3:12; 1 Pet. 4:12). After suffering with Christ the believer will share in the glory of Christ (2 Tim. 2:12; 1 Pet. 4:13; 5:10).

There is no sharing in Christ’s glory unless there is sharing in His suffering. However, at the same time we must keep clearly in mind we do not contribute to the saving work of Christ Jesus such as the expiation, propitiation, reconciliation, and redemption. Only the sinless Substitute could ever accomplish such efficacy. Christ alone redeemed us by His blood.

However the apostle Paul does make it clear there are non-redemptive sufferings from which the sufferings of the children of God are to be classified with the sufferings of Christ Himself”

We should also remember the only suffering that fulfills the condition is, "suffering with Christ.” Only those who share in Christ's sufferings now will share in His glory hereafter. In order to share in that glory we must share in His sufferings here and now.

“We share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.” The apostle Paul expresses the same idea in 2 Corinthians 4:17-18.

Suffering is necessary in the Christian life (Jn. 15:20; 16:33).

Suffering paves the road to glory for the Christian. It proves to us that we are the children of God (Matt. 5:11-12; Jn. 15:18-20). It is a badge of discipleship.

Suffering is used of God to purify the believer. Some suffering comes to us from the hand of a loving heavenly Father to produce holiness and spiritual growth in us. God uses suffering to perfect us in the likeness of Christ. God purifies us until He can see the face of Jesus Christ in our lives.

Because He loves us God uses suffering to chasten and discipline us to become good soldiers of the cross (Heb. 12:7-11; 2 Tim. 2:3; 1 Cor. 9:27). God also uses these experiences in our lives to prepare us to minister in the lives of others who are suffering.

Glorification is our perfect unquestionable standing before God in the day of judgment. It is the perfection of our progressive sanctification. One day our inner character will be like that of Christ.

Suffering for Jesus Christ also enhances our Christian testimony. When we are suffering for Jesus Christ lost people will watch us carefully and listen to what we have to say.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8).

  

Selah!


Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

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Unless otherwise noted "Scripture quotations taken from the NASB." "Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE" © Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission." (www.Lockman.org)

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NET) are from the NET Bible copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://www.bible.org/. All rights reserved.

Wil is a graduate of William Carey University, B. A.; New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Th. M.; and Azusa Pacific University, M. A. He has pastored in Panama, Ecuador and the U. S, and served for over 20 years as missionary in Ecuador and Honduras. He had a daily expository Bible teaching ministry head in over 100 countries from 1972-2005. He continues to seek opportunities to be personally involved in world missions. Wil and his wife Ann have three grown daughters. He currently serves as a Baptist pastor and teaches seminary extension courses in Ecuador.

 

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