Summary: Everyone suffers in our fallen world. Get used to it! It comes with the turf. But for God’s people, suffering is not merely a consequence of sin: it holds God’s eternal purpose,.
When We Suffer
Disciples of Jesus Christ, IF and WHEN you suffer, remember that...
1. Suffering with Christ is part of our inheritance.
2. Suffering with Christ demands sacrifice.
3. Suffering with Christ is practicing self-denial.
4. Suffering with Christ is identifying with the pain of others.
5. Suffering with Christ leads to our Glorification.
Did you realize that everyone on this earth receives an inheritance? In order to receive an inheritance, your name has to be in a will and in order for a beneficiary to receive anything, someone has to die. Christ HAS DIED in order for you to inherit part of HIS Father’s estate.
Everyone has one of two SPIRITUAL FATHERS: Your Father is either the God of the Universe, the LORD God ALMIGHTY as revealed through His Holy Spirit, the Bible, Creation, and in Jesus Christ, OR your spiritual father is the devil. God’s Word says that NOT all people are Children of God, but SOME ARE. Here are some of the ways you might know if you are His Child.
In Romans 8:10, we read: “IF Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit (God’s Spirit) is alive because of righteousness (HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS). 11 BUT IF the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead WILL ALSO give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. 12 SO then, brethren, we are UNDER OBLIGATION (we have a debt), not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh - 13 FOR IF you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but IF by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 FOR all who are being LED BY the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” (Our debt is to live for God.)
If you are an HEIR of God’s Heavenly Kingdom, some of the promises and benefits that you receive in Christ are mentioned in the context Romans 8:15:
Romans 8:15- “For you (you Sons of God, Children of God) have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption (SONSHIP) as sons by which we cry out, "Abba ! Father!" 16 The Spirit Himself testifies (He is a witness) with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, IF INDEED WE SUFFER with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.”
We could spend months talking about the benefits which we receive NOW IN CHRIST and we could spend a lot MORE time “IN WONDER”, considering what WE HAVE NOT YET received; the second half of verse 17 talks about SOME of our inheritance right now IF we are in Christ: “IF INDEED WE SUFFER with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.”
SUFFER? What KIND of inheritance is that? “Sins forgiven” and “eternal life” sound great but I didn’t sign up for SUFFERING! I signed up for benefits.
Reading the context in these verses you find that it is not IF you SUFFER, but WHEN you SUFFER because SUFFERING with Christ is part of our inheritance. You may not WANT to suffer, but it comes with being part of the family of God on THIS SIDE OF HEAVEN.
The root word for “suffer with” (“sympaschô)” in our text is “paschô”: “to suffer”. Suffering was certainly a part of Christ’s life: It was why HE CAME. It is interesting that the Old Testament word for the Passover Lamb has a similar sound: that word is “pecach” (pe sach). The Jewish people still refer to the lamb at Passover as the Paschal (pas-kuhl ) Lamb.
The Paschal PASSOVER Lamb was the sacrifice that God mandated to be brought on the eve of Passover, and eaten on the first night of the holiday with bitter herbs and matzo. The blood of this sacrifice was sprinkled on the door-posts of the Israelites as a sign to God, when passing through the land to slay the first-born of the Egyptians that night, that he should PASS OVER the houses of the Israelites (Exodus 12:1-28) The fulfillment of the Passover Lamb is Jesus, the Lamb of God. John the Baptist’s wonderful proclamation at Jesus’ Baptism to the crowds was: “Behold the Lamb of God which takes away the sins of the World.”
The life and suffering OF CHRIST demanded that HIS perfect sacrifice be made for sin, and for us, IF and WHEN you suffer, remember that SUFFERING WITH CHRIST DEMANDS SACRIFICE. The Church in so-called “civilized nations” know very little about SACRIFICE and sacrificial giving. We know all about sacrifice that is CONVENIENT for us and our schedules, but most of the time we know little about sacrifice, but suffering WITH CHRIST is ALL ABOUT sacrifice. Sacrifice means getting out of your personal comfort zone; For Jesus, there was nothing comfortable with the cross!