SUFFERINGS AND GLORY 2
In our article last week, we saw that to partake of the glory of Christ, we must also partake of His sufferings of self-denial, persecutions and afflictions. Furthermore, we saw that if we suffer self-denial to give the extra time and strength to prayer and Word to release the power of God in sufficient measure, then we will reduce and easily overcome the sufferings of persecution and affliction.
This week, we will see why we suffer and how to overcome persecutions and afflictions when they come.
Firstly, it is instructive to note that Satan, not God is the source of persecutions and afflictions:
John 10:10 KJV: The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
If it steals, kills and destroys, it comes from Satan not God!
Lamentation 3:33 AMP: For He does not willingly and from His heart afflict or grieve the children of men. [Ezek. 18:23, 32; Hos. 11:8; Heb. 12:5-10; II Pet. 3:9.]
The Lord Jesus came to destroy Satan’s works of sin, sickness, ignorance and poverty:
1John 3:8 KJV: He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
God allows to us suffer affliction to give Him a legal basis to punish Satan, evil spirits and rebellious men with eternal confinement and punishment in hell and the lake of fire (Rev. 20:10).
2Thesalonians 1:4-6 KJV: So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: (5) Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: (6) Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;
It is vital to understand that the sufferings of the Lord Jesus on the cross and in hell (Ps. 16:10) gave God the legal basis to forgive us and free us from the punishment of hell:
Isaiah 53:4-6 KJV: Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. (5) But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. (6) All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
So, God legally cannot again punish Satan and his cohorts for their affliction of the Lord Jesus since that punishment has been legally credited to us for our freedom.
However, Satan’s afflictions against us can be legally punished; but for this to happen he has to be allowed to attack us with intent to kill and destroy. God can now legally punish when this happens, Satan and his cohorts both demonic and human.
Now, after (not before, to make Satan legally culpable) the affliction has been started God will deliver us, like He did for Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the furnace of fire (Dan. 3:16-30). So God allows the enemy to first come in, before He raises a standard against him to put him to flight (Is 59:19, Jam. 4:7).
This why God allows us to be attacked and afflicted.
Furthermore, Satanic attacks of affliction test our loyalty to God and trust in God’s love and faithfulness to deliver as we continue in the Word in spite of the affliction that arises for the Word’s sake (Mk. 4:17). Like, Job, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, we are to pass this test of loyalty to and faith or trust in God’s love and faithfulness in the face of afflictions:
Job 1:8-11 KJV: And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? (9) Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? (10) Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. (11) But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.
Job 13:15 KJV: Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.
Daniel 3:16-18 KJV: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. (17) If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. (18) But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
In our article next week, we will see how God delivers us in middle of afflictions.