Suffering as the Kind Intention of His Will

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Let us consider, now, the kind intention of His will – that which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord before the ages began (Ephesians 1:4-5; 2 Timothy 1:9).
This is the testimony that Paul shares with us, of which he tells us not to be ashamed (2 Timothy 1:8).
Now, is telling us this, Paul is not speaking of himself in circumstances which would be construed as benevolent – at least, not by the standards of the world.
When a person is suffering, we attribute such, most often, to the fact that there is something wrong, and that would not be an improper assessment here, for Paul suffered by reason of that which is wrong with the world; however, the world would not see that assessment as proper, for it sees nothing wrong with itself, and so it is a matter of perspective for we who have been bought out of that world by the life-blood of our Savior and Lord. Nor would the world note that this is according to the kind intention, or good pleasure, of the will of God, for the world cannot see that will of God which is a mystery revealed only to those the Spirit of God has regenerated and indwelt.
For the world, suffering is always a grievous thing, and most often associated with not the kind intention of the will of the Triune God, but because a thing is wrong with the person suffering. It could be their circumstances, or it could be the manner in which they take care of their health (or fail to take care of their health), but in any case, from the perspective of the world, it is, at the least, a very sad thing; at most, the well-deserved consequences of choices and actions that the one suffering has participated in to their own detriment.
Yet, it was through the suffering and death of our Lord of Glory that God purposed this kind intention towards us, and this purpose was before the world began; is it any wonder that the continuation of such suffering and death, though not vicarious, as in the death of our Lord, yet shows forth that glory of God’s grace in Christ Jesus (Colossians 1:24)?
We must not imagine that there was anything actually lacking in the sufferings of our Lord for the propitiation of God’s wrath, that He would then visit upon us the undeserved merits of our Lord’s goodness, righteousness, and holiness, as if it were our own, nor is this what Paul means when he speaks in this manner; what he does mean is that it is set to show that completely sufficient sacrifice, as pointing to our Lord’s particular and eternally effective atonement, that Paul suffers and, indeed, which all Christians are to not only be willing to suffer to show forth, but to even rejoice in such sufferings ordained of God, for this is what produces that character which is of the new man created after God in truth, righteousness and holiness, being renewed in His great knowledge (Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10); this is that which is emanated and mirrored from our renewed nature by the Holy Spirit of God who is in us (Romans 5:1-5).
You see, then, what we are pointing to: God, in the kind intention of His will, not only granted us the faith to believe through Jesus Christ our Lord, but deliberately, as He did with His preeminent Son, purposed, before the ages or world began, that a very primary manner in which He is to be continuously revealed to the world is through the suffering of His saints (Philippians 1:29).
Our Lord scorned what was set before Him for the glory of God that the suffering and cross He bore revealed, and it was according to the Father’s pleasure to crush Him; so our glorious and holy Lord of Life counted as of no esteem or worth that shame He endured, and He looks on the fruits – the results, the people He redeemed for Himself – with satisfaction (Isaiah 53:10-11; Hebrews 12:2).
How small a word can be in our estimation, and yet used by God, show forth infinite satisfaction – our Lord is satisfied – filled to the full with satisfaction – at what He had definitely accomplished, which was to glorify God, and subsequently give the benefits of His glorifying God, through His suffering, to us, His children of spiritual seed.
And He did it by suffering, after preaching the gospel for a few years – it was the primary reason He came (to glorify God, and give us, His beneficiaries, the results of that glorification – the gracious free gift of eternal life by His work alone).
Again: He did it by suffering. It was suffering for the infinite, eternal God the Son to even enter into the world of His creation after subjecting it to futility by the curse He put upon it; it was suffering for Him to continue to live among fallen man to bring to humankind the gospel of the kingdom; it was suffering for Him to be persecuted for righteousness and the gospel’s sake; it was suffering by which He made the reconciliation of His people with His Father and ours. This is the glory of suffering which God the Son undertook willingly; this is that which our faith will apprehend in both small and large degree, as the history of men made holy by the Most Holy God shows throughout church history, from the apostles to the Protestant Reformation and up to this present day. God has willed to use suffering to reveal His kind intention and patience to all the world, both those who will come to Him, and those who will not; it is foolishness most obvious to those who are perishing, yet it reveals the saving truth of God to those who are being saved.
The servant is not above his Master; it is enough that he be like his Master (Mark 10:24-25). It pleased God to crush His Son; how, then, is it that we expect an exception to this, particularly when, as we have looked at in some small detail, we not only see that we were promised such suffering, but also that it is the primary manner in which God shows forth His glory in this present age?
Since it pleased God to crush His Son, it certainly is not any trouble to look at the promises given us regarding suffering and seeing that it is indeed according to the good pleasure of His will that we go through such – it may not be popular in today’s facades of what is passed off as the true church of Christ, but it is indisputable, God glorifying truth, and we are to be joyful regarding these things.
As spoken by God to us through His apostle: Think (meditate) upon these things.
SDG – Bill

About lalvin1517

I'm married with two children and pastor McCall Baptist Church in McCall, Idaho.
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