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April 25, 2022

Ep.1226: Am I Being Punished or Favored?

Understanding the purpose of our suffering and why God punishes us

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What is the purpose of our Christian sufferings?

Is Christian punishment a privilege?

How should we frame our internal thinking and how we talk to God when we face suffering?

Theme Scripture: 1 Peter 1:6-7

Nobody likes to suffer. Nobody wants pain, turmoil, uncertainty, tragedy or sickness to take up continual residence in their lives. When a Christian suffers by facing hard things in their daily experience, it is easy to look at it as punishment. We see these harsh experiences as a signal that something is wrong and expect them to sap the joy right out of our lives. Suffering is easily seen as have little to no redeeming value. We think that it signals that God has ceased protecting us, and that means trouble. Turns out, the Bible has a lot to say about suffering, trial and punishment. It explains in great detail the role suffering plays in our lives, and the how and why of punishments that come from God.

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When Christians ask about the suffering that comes to us in our lives, we often ask the simple question why. Why is this happening? Why can’t it be different? Why me? While these are important questions, they really can’t be answered until we understand the basis of suffering in our lives. This understanding is made clear when we stop looking at our own trials, difficulties and mishaps and instead look at Jesus.

Why did Jesus suffer if he was perfect?

Jesus suffered - and he suffered a lot. Why? He was perfect and therefore certainly didn’t need any kind of punishment! So, why suffer? On the contrary, Jesus preached the gospel - the good news - that would be for all people. With such a universally positive message, why did he have to go through the insults, the contradictions, the accusations and threats from those who opposed him? At the end of his ministry, why did he have to go through the humiliation, the false testimonies, the beatings, the whippings, and finally crucifixion?

Jesus suffered because that was part of the price that needed to be paid to bring full salvation to humanity. By willingly suffering, Jesus assured us he knows by his own experiences what the consequences of sin look like and feel like. This gives us confidence in Jesus on a very human level. He went through the kinds of things we go through and ALWAYS overcame them. If Jesus could so willingly embrace such hard suffering for the sake of God’s plan, then we are called to embrace it as well. “If we suffer with him, we will also be glorified with him” Romans 8:17.

We can now see that much of our Christian suffering is for the purpose of growing in Christ as we walk in his footsteps. But what about when we sin? What about God punishing us? Check out our April 25, 2022 podcast, “Am I Being Punished or Favored?” for more. God’s discipline in our lives is an integral part of our Christian growth experience. We dig into the why and how of this discipline, as well as several perspectives regarding the handling of our Christian suffering. Suffering is a privilege! Join us as we learn how to rejoice in all aspects of our discipleship.


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