Summary: how sin is the cause of all sufferings in the world, and how "suffering" is part of our lives.
The Molding Hand of God
Introduction (Part 1 of the series): Time and again, we are confronted with the question of purpose in our lives. WHY DO WE DO WHAT WE DO? We are contagious and people can almost get burned by our zeal when we are so excited in accomplishing a certain cause. But what about when the excitement is gone? How are we when under trials or sufferings? Our group’s and personal activities are sustainable only if they are aimed at the fulfilling of the grand design for which all of us are created in the first place.
~ In our Christian life, it is very important to understand the whole rationale of everything we do. What is the purpose of human life? Why do we exist?
1.) The human race is a special creation of a personal, loving God (Genesis 1:26-28).
2.) Our purpose as a race and as individuals is to glorify Him.
“For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.”
- Romans 11:36.
3.) As Christians, His purpose for us is that we be conformed to the image of Christ Jesus His Son (Romans 8:28-29).
4.) God’s desire is for us to live with Him forever.
“… He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” - Revelation 21:4.
“… there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of the lamp nor of the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever.” - Revelation 22:5.
This, in summary, is the whole purpose of life.
I. God Has An End In Mind.
If we were created personally by God, and if the reason for our existence is to glorify God, and that the only way for our lives to be glorifying to God is to be conformed to Christ’s image so we could live with Him forever, then God must be working towards that end. God created us for His glory as evidenced in Genesis 1:26.
“Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness….”
Everything at that time was described as “very good.” It was only when Adam and Eve sinned that death entered life and only then did curse was incorporated in human existence (Genesis 3). If not for sin, death and suffering would not be part of life’s landscape.
“… through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.” - Romans 5:12.
This is the reason why there is evangelism. The reason why the two primary occupations of the true church of Jesus Christ are evangelism and discipleship. Of course prayer is presupposed here all along. All of us and everything exist for the glory of God.
II. The Place of Suffering.
Let me cite to you three references from the Scripture which prove that suffering and trials are necessary part of the Christian life.
“In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” - 1 Peter 1:6-7.
“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” - James 1:2-4.
“And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope.” - Romans 5:3-4.
The phrases “If necessary” and “Knowing that” point us to two things that we must uphold to have a balanced perspective as we live out our faith.
1.) God knows exactly what is needed to secure in us Christ-likeness.
I am sure many here will affirm that it was when they were in a certain form of crises in their lives that they got to know Christ.
The fire of “various trials” or “the testing of your faith”, “tribulations” are all necessary and helpful to purify us and to produce in us “proven character”.
- Longevity (old age) will not (cannot) guarantee us proven character….
- Secular education will not produce proven character….
- Wealth will not either….
Some argue: “Money is everything… if one is wealthy, everything will be fine… problems will vanish.”