We Learn Obedience through Suffering

Hebrews 5:7-9 ESV

“In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him.”

Jesus Christ, the second person of our triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – left his throne in heaven, came to earth, took on human form, was despised and rejected of men and eventually he was put to death on a cross. But when he walked this earth he was fully God and fully human, and so he felt physical pain and suffering, even the suffering he was yet to undergo.

And so he cried out his pain and his suffering to God the Father saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done” (Luke 22:42). And God the Father did hear his prayer, but it was the will of God that Jesus Christ should die on that cross for the sins of the world. For in his death he who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).

And when we who are the faithful to our Lord cry out to him in our suffering, he hears our cries, too, but sometimes his answer back to us is, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness.” Now this does not relate to sin, i.e. God’s power is not made perfect in our sin. He does not give us a “pass” on sin just because we are morally weak and we don’t have the spiritual and moral strength to say “No!” to sin.

But just because we are walking in fellowship with him, and we are obeying his commands, and we are doing the things he has said we must do, this doesn’t mean we get a pass on suffering, either. Jesus didn’t! And he is our example to follow. For we are to share in the fellowship of his sufferings, becoming like him in his death. And Jesus promised us that if we follow him that we will suffer as he did, and that we will be hated and mistreated.

Jesus Christ, although he was fully God and fully man, and although he was perfect and he never sinned, still as a man in a flesh body he learned obedience to God the Father through what he suffered. For he was tempted just like we are tempted, yet without sin. And he hurt, and he felt pain, and he went through difficulties and persecutions and the mistreatments of others, so he sympathizes with us in our weaknesses.

But his sympathy towards us is not shown in tolerance of sin but in teaching us obedience through the things that we suffer, just like he learned obedience through suffering. And his sympathy towards us is what sent him to the cross to die for our sins so that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. For he died that we might be crucified with him in death to sin and be raised with him to walk in newness of life in him.

So, when we are suffering at the hands of sinful human beings, and we pray for relief from suffering, our Lord is not always going to relieve our suffering, because he knows that suffering is for our good to teach us obedience and to train us in holiness and in righteousness, and so that we will desire him above all else and so that we will not compromise with the world of sin, but so we will follow him in obedience to his perfect will for our lives.

And if you are following Jesus in obedience, and if you are sharing the truth of the gospel, and if you are showing people the way of righteousness and holiness, and if you are pointing out sin that needs to be eradicated from people’s lives, you are probably going to have people abandon and reject you and who will mistreat you and be hateful toward you. So you will have to choose to compromise to be accepted by other humans, or you will have to choose the way of righteousness even if all abandon and reject you.

[Lu 21:12-17; Jn 15:18-21; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 4:17-24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Pet 2:24; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; Rom 2:6-8; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 5:3-6; Col 3:5-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

Hebrews 5:11-14 ESV

“About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.”

So, if you are following Jesus in obedience, and if you are sharing the truth of the gospel, and so you are calling out sin, and you are pointing out what the Scriptures point out regarding the things that need to be cut out of our lives so that we can walk in holiness and in righteousness, not everyone is going to love and accept you. And even many professing Christians will stop up their ears and they will refuse to listen to what you have to say.

Why will they do this? Because they love their sin. And that is why so many people are now flocking to these charlatans who are serving as pastors of “churches,” because they are telling the people what their itching ears want to hear, and they are not calling them to repentance, and to submission to Christ as Lord and to obedient walks of faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord.

So, they will heap abuse upon you because they don’t want to be reminded of their sin and told that they must cut these things out of their lives so that they can walk in holiness and in righteousness in obedience to the Lord. They may verbally attack you, even in front of others, and they may slander you to other people so that others won’t listen to you, and out of spite. Or on social media they may just “unfriend” you and slam the door in your face.

But if you truly love your fellow humans you are not going to lie to them to make them feel good, and you will not compromise with the world so that they will like and accept you. And you will not dilute or compromise the truth of the Scriptures just so they won’t be upset with you, either. Now I am not advocating ramming the truth down the throats of people who don’t want to hear it. I am just saying we should make no compromises with the world.

And if they refuse to listen, then we should just walk away. But if these are people who are still in our lives, such as they are people with whom we have relationships or they are others who profess faith in Jesus with whom we gather for fellowship and for the study of God’s word, we are not to compromise the truth of the Scriptures just so they won’t be upset with us or just so they will accept us. We need to remain faithful to our Lord.

But it’s so sad to see so many who profess faith in Jesus Christ living no different from those who make no such profession of faith, and sometimes worse than them. And it isn’t just that they have remained spiritual infants, but many of them never did come to genuine faith in Jesus Christ, and so they remained living in their sins, even though they profess Jesus as Lord and as Savior of their lives. So, they do not distinguish good from evil.

So, if you are walking the walk, and if you are not just talking it, and if you are serious about the Lord and his word and about seeing people come to genuine faith in Jesus, and to be freed from their slavery to sin, then you may just have to accept that not everyone is going to change, and that many may heap abuse on you because of your stand for the truth and for righteousness, and you need to be at peace with that.

[Hated and persecuted: Matt 5:10-12; Matt 10:16-25; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 6:22-23; Lu 21:12-19; John 15:1-21; Jn 16:33; etc.]

Brighten the Corner Where You Are

By Ina Duley Ogdon

Do not wait until some deed of greatness you may do,
Do not wait to shed your light afar;
To the many duties ever near you now be true,
Brighten the corner where you are.

Just above are clouded skies that you may help to clear,
Let not narrow self your way debar;
Though into one heart alone may fall your song of cheer,
Brighten the corner where you are.

Here for all your talent you may surely find a need,
Here reflect the bright and Morning Star;
Even from your humble hand the Bread of Life may feed,
Brighten the corner where you are.

Brighten the corner where you are!
Brighten the corner where you are!
Someone far from harbor you may guide across the bar;
Brighten the corner where you are!

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