Tag Archives: suffering

Cultivating Christ, Our Outer Life


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In my previous study I wrote of the first four characteristics of a disciple of Christ that need to be added to his walk with Christ. Those four were part of the seven Peter mentions in 2Peter 1:5-7. In this study I wish to point to the final three of that seven, or godliness, brotherly kindness and love. These arise out of the first four and manifest our outer life in Christ. That is, the final three visibly characterize the believer who supplies them to his life in Christ. It is as the world sees him. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on March 3, 2017 in Epistles of Peter


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Peter’s Infectious Humility


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Peter concludes his first epistle by first addressing the elders of the church in each community (1Peter 5:1) and then the younger believers (1Peter 5:5). At first this may seem like he is merely referring to the aged and young believers, but this isn’t exactly true, because Peter reminds the elders of their responsibilities as shepherds (1Peter 4:2-4) Although it was usually the case that a church leader was elderly, this wasn’t always the case (1Timothy 4:12), so Peter begins his concluding remarks by addressing the officers of the local church bodies in the five Roman provinces of Asia Minor (cf. 1Peter 1:1). Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on January 30, 2017 in Epistles of Peter


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Suffering as a Christian


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In our 2000 year history the name Christian has become associated with followers of Jesus and, indeed, identifies us more than any other word. In some instances it has become associated with political power. Kings have had Christian leaders as their advisors and exercised their mighty power to satisfy Christian desires, whether for good or for evil. Even in modern America, presidential candidates dare not openly denounce the name for fear of that hurting their ability to successfully take hold of the Presidency. Nevertheless, Peter tells his readers in Asia Minor, if they suffer as a Christian, don’t be ashamed (1Peter 4:16). Why would he word this part of his letter this way? Earlier he spoke about the blessing associated with suffering for the name of Christ, but now he speaks of shame. How does shame enter into the context of Peter’s letter? Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on January 27, 2017 in Epistles of Peter


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What Type of Persecution Was Endured?


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Perhaps due to Hollywood productions that depict early Christians in Roman arenas facing lions and the like, we have come to believe persecution means persecution to the death, but this is not so. We are told that, because Jesus healed the afflicted on the Sabbath, the Jewish authorities persecuted him (John 5:16). The idea that they also sought to slay him is added to the fact that they were already persecuting him in some way or another. In one instance they claimed he was mentally unstable and had a demon (Mark 3:21-22). At other times the authorities stalked him, hoping for an opportunity to take him into custody (cf. Luke 6:7; 14:1; 20:20). They sought out people who would lie about him (Matthew 26:59-61), and provide “evidence” they could use in their effort to have him executed in their courts (cf. John 7:20, 25; 11:49-50, 53). Finally, they paid a large sum of money to have one of his own to betray him (Mark 14:10-11). All this, although culminating in Jesus’ death, was persecution, and Jesus tells us: “If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you (John 15:20).[1] Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on January 9, 2017 in Epistles of Peter


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The Context of Suffering for Christ


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The idea of suffering comes with a mixed bag of beliefs or practices that one has gotten and retained from being taught as a child and growing up in traditions coming from society. For example, if one has given himself over to be an athlete, he might have heard it said: “It isn’t working unless it hurts!” That is, if one is really interested in the prize, one must endure suffering along the way. This, of course, is also the goal of military discipline. So, suffering, although negative in tone, is often pursued in order to gain a desired positive goal. Jesus had a goal in mind, and he knew suffering was the only path to take in order to achieve that end. Therefore, he embraced the way of the cross, not because he enjoyed suffering, but because it was the only way of attaining the end for which he was born (John 18:37; cf. Luke 12:50; 22:15). The believer is called to follow Christ and, according to Peter, suffering has its place in the believer’s way of life. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on January 6, 2017 in Epistles of Peter


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Why Put Oneself in Harm’s Way?


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Jesus told us that, if someone struck us on our right cheek, we should then offer the other (Matthew 5:39). Isn’t that inviting persecution? Not really! It no more invites persecution than saying: “Don’t kill Bill” invites someone to kill Bill. All Jesus meant was, if what we do for him causes some to treat us unjustly, don’t cease from doing the good, simply because some are opposed to what we say and do. Jesus simply meant that we should be ready to receive insults in order to spread the Gospel.[1] As Peter writes to believers in Asia Minor, it seems the persecution being conducted there revolved around malicious slander (1Peter 2:12; 3:10, 16). The unbelieving Jews seemed to be trying to get followers of Jesus into trouble with the gentile authorities (cf. Acts 13:50; 14:2; 17:5-9; 18:12-13). Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on January 2, 2017 in Epistles of Peter


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Three Great Things

from Google Images

from Google Images

It is interesting to watch Peter’s behavior in the Gospel records. He is so impetuous, seemingly so ready to stand with Christ and declare his loyalty to him. Of all the Apostles, he is the most endearing, perhaps because, more than any of the others, he is willing to go on record, to act at once, rather than wait to see which way popular opinion was trending. No doubt, because of this characteristic, the Gospels record Peter doing three great things: making a great claim, making a great boast, and making a great error. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on October 31, 2016 in Epistles of Peter


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Learning Obedience

from Google Images

from Google Images

This is off the subject, but it speaks to the point I wish to make in the current theme of doing as Jesus did, or living out the Jesus Style.[1] Anyway, often when discussing the deity of Jesus with folks who don’t believe he is God (a god, perhaps, but not the God), I am told that he obeyed the Father, showing he was subject to him. How can God be subject to God? I reply to this by saying, “Of course Jesus obeyed the Father, because he took upon himself the form of a servant. Servants are obedient to a higher authority. If God became man (a servant), as a servant he would need to be obedient to the power higher than the status of the servant” (cp. Philippians 2:7-8). Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on August 30, 2015 in Jesus


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The Value of God’s Tests

Does God have a right to test us as he does? Did he have the right to ask Abraham to offer up Isaac, his only son, to him—God—as a burnt sacrifice? Some have expressed their own astonishment at such a thing and regard God as an evil entity, if he exists at all, if the account in Genesis 22 is correct. Such folks wonder how Christians and Jews could love and / or worship a God who is expressed in this way. Bestselling author and agnostic, Bart Ehrman comments on the “binding” of Isaac: “The idea that suffering comes as a test from God, simply to see if his followers will obey,” is illustrated perhaps “more clearly and more horribly” in the offering of Isaac.[1] What can we say of such things? Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on August 10, 2014 in Abraham, Walking with God


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Is Suffering a Sign of Divine Favor?

Obviously, not all suffering is of God, nor does it mean one is held in his favor. However, I have read, and I believe it to be true, that suffering in the midst of one’s devotion to God is not only a sign one is in the narrow path to glory but also a sign of divine favor. Certainly we exalt those men and women who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to risk life and limb for their country. So, there is reason to believe that suffering for one’s country or out of devotion to God is worthy of praise. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on April 7, 2012 in Kingdom of God


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Suffering, Time and God’s Omniscience

What about the proposition that, if God is omniscient, he could have prevented evil and suffering in the first place and controlled everything to a point that would have prevented man from going too far with his freewill, but also allowed him free moral agency within the confines of God’s perfect will for him. In this way seemingly unbearable, cruel and unnecessary suffering would have been prevented and God’s perfect will would have occurred within the parameter of man’s free moral agency, or so the argument is made. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on November 4, 2010 in Christianity, Religion, The fall of man


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Why Doesn’t God Prevent Some Suffering?

A map of German front of the Second World War ...
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Some folks may believe an argument could be made against point of view on suffering as expressed in my previous blog. It could be said that I dodged a more difficult proposition that, supposedly, God could selectively intervene in cases of extreme suffering, as the God of the Bible often did for various reasons throughout Biblical history. However, to claim that God can’t intervene because that would somehow make us less responsible would effectively be the same as a god that doesn’t exist. If we push the efficacy of God back to the unknowable afterlife, then what value is God here and now? Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on November 3, 2010 in Christianity, Religion, The fall of man


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The Problem of Suffering

An acquaintance of mine once asked how Christians deal with the question of suffering. She wondered, if God is all-knowing and sees all the suffering in the world but can do nothing to alleviate it, does he deserve to be worshipped? On the other hand, though he is all-knowing and all-powerful and sees all the suffering of the world but chooses to do nothing to alleviate it, does he have any right to be worshiped? When told that some suffering was necessary or had purpose, she claimed that, even if that were true, some suffering was completely gratuitous and unnecessary. Anyone who has watched a loved one die a painful death would know the futility of the ‘benefits’ of suffering. How do we answer this? Is there an adequate answer? Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on November 2, 2010 in Christianity, Religion, The fall of man


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