I’ve been reading different authors’ perspectives on Joseph’s life. This post is from thebrokenchristian2016. Enjoy!
Recently I’ve been reading the story of Joseph in Genesis. I’ve honestly read this story hundreds of times, each time with a different emphasis. This time through I noticed that I wasn’t really enamored by all of the suffering that Joseph went through. I wasn’t enamored by the fact that he was sold into slavery, […]
When I’m biking I occasionally see deer grazing on the surrounding hills. I love watching them bound uphill, gracefully jumping over brush. If only I could painlessly leap over problems like that, I think to myself. But that rarely—if never—happens, unless God removes the obstacle(s). It’s not that God doesn’t grant strength, He does when asked. But rough terrain is par for the course during our earthly journey.
In fact, the Bible doesn’t promise believers that problems and trials will dissolve once we place our trust in Christ. Rather, God challenges us to embrace suffering as a source of joy (James 1:2-4; 1 Peter 1:6-7). Why? The results from Christian suffering bring spiritual maturity. This is another benefit of justification (God’s act of declaring us “not guilty” for our sins), along with a new relationship with God, access to God, and peace with God.
A New Understanding in Suffering
In this passage Paul—who was no stranger to suffering—outlines a linked-chain process of Christian suffering:
- “Suffering produces perseverance” (vs. 3): Suffering translated is pressure, distress from outward circumstances.
- “Perseverance produces character” (vs. 4): Character translated describes the quality of being approved. “Endurance brings proof that we have stood the test” (vs. 4, NEB).
- “Character produces hope” (vs. 4): Paul tells us that this hope “does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us” (vs. 5).
My NIV Study Bible says it well: “In the future we will become, but until then we must overcome. This means we will experience difficulties that will help us grow. We rejoice in suffering not because we like pain or deny its tragedy, but because we know God is using life’s difficulties and Satan’s attacks to grow our character.”
I hope you’ve had a great summer. The glory of summer is soon fading. I enjoy summer, but I really love the changing colors and weather fall brings. I’m thankful for the changing seasons.
Speaking of fading, my computer’s hard-drive died. I’ve told myself that I will never take my computer for granted again! 🙂
Since my hard-drive crashed last week I’ve been using the library’s computer. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to post pictures. With limited time I will also be posting weekly for a while instead of twice a week.
As I write about change and seasons I’m reminded of what my pastor said: “Knowing what season you’re in (spiritually) is important.” He suggested that our lives won’t be in perfect balance as we journey here on earth, but we usually have a rhythm in our spiritual growth. Knowing which season we’re in will determine how we respond.
On the tail of verse 17 in Romans 8, after writing about a season of sharing in Christ’s suffering, Paul sets up three reasons for encouragement: 1) the glory that will be revealed (vs. 18-25); 2) the Holy Spirit’s help (vs. 26-27); and 3) all things work together for good (vs. 28-30).
Hope of God’s Final Victory
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from the bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” –vs. 18-22
Genesis 3:17-19 sets the background for this passage. Paul makes three observations about creation:
- It eagerly awaits the revelation of God’s children.
- By God’s will, it was subjected to frustration.
- It will be set free from decay’s bondage and share in transformation along with God’s children.
Paul ties the believer’s present trials to creation in verses 23-25. Similar to creation, we groan inwardly as we await the full adoption as God’s children that will happen at the resurrection. Our present hope is “the first-fruits of the Spirit”, God’s promise of our total victory with Christ in the end.
Through sin, all creation is subject to frustration and bondage to decay. But one day all creation will be set free and transformed. Because believers look forward to a new heaven and earth that God promised we can be filled with hope now.
Believers resurrected bodies will be glorified like the body Christ now has in heaven (1 Corinthians 15:25-58; 1 John 3:2). Believers have the down payment, “first-fruits”, of the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of being resurrected (2 Corinthians 1:22; 5:5; Eph. 1:14).
If you are a believer who is currently suffering, hold on to hope. Ultimate victory is your final resting place through Jesus Christ!