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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Strengthened in Suffering

A couple of days ago we looked at the certainty of suffering.  Paul wrote to the Thessalonian believers in 1 Thessalonians 3:2 – 3, in order to strengthen their faith by reminding them that he, Paul, was destined to suffer.  On the surface one could wonder how that strengthened their faith.
Strengthened in Suffering
Paul often says that he is imitating Christ.  Christ led Paul in this.  Look at John 16:33.  Christ, speaking to the 11 and by extension us, tells us that He shares what He shares so that we can have peace.  Then He states that we are going to have tribulation in this world.  Which again could raise the question how that knowledge engenders peace.

I have just begun to work through this.  I wonder if the peace that Christ is offering is that certainty of the resurrection and our place in His kingdom.  It seems that one of the themes throughout the New Testament is His call to us to put His kingdom first, Matthew 6:33.  Paul picks this up in Philippians 3:20 – 21.  We are citizens of His kingdom.  We are not primarily citizens of the country that issues us our passport.  We are to put His kingdom first.

Our peace, our strength in facing whatever resistance, persecution, suffering, or tribulation may lie in the fact that ultimately it is His kingdom that prevails.  Our peace is that we will be secure in that kingdom.

1 comment:

  1. A very good (and encouraging) analysis and is certainly a strength to us. Along with the encouragement of the resurrection itself is the assurance that such suffering which seems often to be so pointless is really of eternal benefit (1 Cor. 15:58).

    Life often seems so futile. But it's not, when lived as best we can for Christ. That is a matter of faith.