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Doctrine: Suffering/Testing
AUTHOR: Kennedy, Tod M.
PUBLISHED ON: May 12, 2003
DOC SOURCE: CCN
PUBLISHED IN: Bible Studies

            Doctrine: Suffering/Testing

    1.  INTRODUCTION:  Suffering/testing  is  pain,
pressure,  circumstances,  ideas,  or  people  that
challenge  the  believer to live the daily  plan  of
God.
    There    are    two    main    categories    of
suffering/testing. They are undeserved and deserved.
Undeserved  suffering/testing is the most  prominent
category for the believer.

    2.  UNDESERVED  SUFFERING/TESTING: 

          2.1.      The    CONCEPT:      Undeserved
suffering/testing  is part of the  normal  Christian
way of life. It glorifies God. It is not a result of
personal sin,  spiritual immaturity,  or failure  to
apply Bible doctrine (Gal 4.29;  Phil 1.29-30; 1 Pet
2.19-21; 3.17; 4.15-16).

          2.2.    ILLUSTRATIONS    of    undeserved
suffering/testing:
              2.2.1.  The  lives of Joseph (Gen 37-
50),  Ruth  (Ruth),  Mordecai  and Esther  (Esther),
Christ (Mtt 2.13-15;  Lk 23),  and Paul (Acts 14.19;
16.19-40).
              2.2.2. General persecution that tries
to stop the spread of the faith (1 Thes 1.6).
              2.2.3.  Unjust  imprisonment  (Acts
16.19-40; 20.23; Jer 32.1-5).
              2.2.4.  Personal  attacks  upon  the
believer (2 Tim 4.14).
              2.2.5.  Slander,  which  is  to  say
something that damages another (Rev 2.9).
              2.2.6. Attacks by religious people or
groups.    Religious  legalists  persecute  grace
believers (Acts 9.1-2; Gal 4.29; 6.12; Col 2.16).
              2.2.7.  Association  with  emotion
controlled people (Rom 16.17-18).
              2.2.8.  Forced  change  of  residence
(Acts 8.1; Dan 1.1-6).
              2.2.9. Poverty (Rev 2.9).
              2.2.10.  Mental  pressures caused  by
circumstances beyond your control (Phil 1.17; 2.26).
              2.2.11.  Illness  (Gal  6.11;  Phil
2.27).
              2.2.12.  Pain  associated with  death
(Acts 7.54-60; Rev 2.13).
        (who  is
now  seated  in heaven at the Father’s right  hand).
Christ  is  the  person in  whom  and  through  whom
believers  have the benefits.  Without being related
to Christ, no spiritual blessings will come.
              2.1.6.  The spiritual blessings  are
part of the Plan of God for the church age believer. 
HE  CHOSE US…HE PREDESTINED US…ACCORDING TO  HIS
WILL…HE FREELY BESTOWED  (Eph 1.4-6).
          2.2.  Revelation  2.9.  BUT YOU ARE RICH
refers to the spiritual wealth (spiritual blessings)
that  believers  have  even  though  they  may  be
materially poor.
          2.3.  2  Peter 1.3-4.  God the Father by
His  divine  attributes freely  gave  each  believer
everything  that  is necessary for eternal life  and
for  godlikeness now.  Believers know and use  these
benefits by a true knowledge about God and His Plan.

    3. Categories of Spiritual Blessings in Christ.
          3.1.  In the Plan of God.
              3.1.1.  Eternal Plan: The decrees and
will  of  God before time began and after time  ends
(Jn 1.1-4; Eph 1.3-6; Col 1.15-17; Heb 2.10).
              3.1.2.  Historical Plan: The movement
of  events in time as part of the angelic  conflict,
theocratic kingdom,  and dispensations (Job  1.6-11;
2.1-6; Eph 6.10-12; Gen 12.1-3; Acts 1.6-7; Eph 1.7-
12; 3.1-6; Col 1.24-27).
              3.1.3.    Daily  Plan:  The  mission,
preparation,  practice,  and  environment  for  each
believer  in  his day to day life with the Lord  (Jn
13-17; Eph 1.13-19; James 1.21-25; 2 Pet 1.2-4).
          3.2.  Solution to the sin problem.
              3.2.1. Reconciliation (2 Cor 5.21).
              3.2.2. Redemption  (Eph 1.7).
              3.2.3. Unlimited  atonement  ((1  Jn
2.2).
              3.2.4. Substitution (Jn 1.29).
              3.2.5. Regeneration (1 Pet 1.2-3).
              3.2.6. Propitiation (1 Jn 2.2).
              3.2.7. Imputation (Phil 3.9).
              3.2.8. Justification (Rom 5.1).
              3.2.9. Forgiveness (Eph 4.32).
          3.3.  New home and citizenship.
              3.3.1. In God’s kingdom (Col 1.13).
              3.3.2. Heavenly citizens (Phil 1.27;
3.20).
              3.3.3. Fellow  citizens  and  God’s
household (Eph 2.19).
              3.3.4. Delivered from Satan’s Kindgom
(Col 1.13).
          3.4.  New relationship.
              3.4.1. Adopted (Eph 1.5; Gal 4.5).
              3.4.2. Children of God (1Jn 3.1-2).
              3.4.3. Sons of God (Gal 4.6-7).
              3.4.4. Heirs (Rom 8.17; 1 Pet 1.4).
              3.4.5. Oneness  (Jn 17.21,  23;  Eph
4.3).
          3.5.  A new position or status.
              3.5.1.  A new creation (2 Cor 5.17).
              3.5.2.  Alive (Eph 2.5; 1 Jn 5.11-12).
              3.5.3.  Circumcised (Col 2.11).
              3.5.4.  Complete (Col 2.10).
              3.5.5.  Dead to sin (Rom 6.1-11).
              3.5.6.  Free from the Law (Rom 6.14).
              3.5.7.  God’s people (1 Pet 2.9-10).
              3.5.8.  Light (Eph 5.8).
              3.5.9.  Qualified (Col 1.12).
              3.5.10. Resurrected (Eph 2.6).
              3.5.11. Righteous (2 Cor 5.21).
              3.5.12. Royal priests (1 Pet 2.5,9).
              3.5.13. Sanctified (1 Cor 1.30).
              3.5.14. Seated (Eph 2.6).
          3.6.    God’s  provision  for  living  the
Christian way of life (CWL) now.  These include all
the  resources God has designed and freely given  to
believers in the church. The provision includes:
              3.6.1.  The  Daily  Plan of God  with
the mission,  preparation,  practice, environment (2
Pet  2.2-4;  1  Thes  3.3.5-10).
              3.6.2.  A  leader to  follow,  Christ
(Occupation with Christ, Heb 12.1-2).
              3.6.3.  Instructions in writing (Word
of God, Col 2.7; 2 Tim 3.16-17; 2 Pet 3.18).
              3.6.4. God’s promises which believers
can rely on and rest (faith rest,  Rom 8.28-32;  Col
2.6; 1 Pet 5.7).
              3.6.5.  Fellowship  with God  through
confession of sin (1 Jn 1.1-10).
              3.6.6. The Holy Spirit to indwell and
control  believers (walk by the Spirit,  1 Cor 3.16;
Gal 5.16; Eph 5.18).
              3.6.7. The right to talk with God the
Father through prayer (Jn 15.7; 1 Thes 5.17).
              3.6.8.  The  opportunity to serve God
(ministry, Col 3.17,23; 1 Pet 4.10-11).
              3.6.9.  All the Bible principles  for
the believer’s life (1 Cor 2.6-16;  Col 2.2-3; 2 Tim
3.16-17; Heb 5.11-14).
          3.7.  A future.
              3.7.1.    Resurrection  and  eternal
residence  with the Lord (Jn 14.-3;  1 Thes 4.13-17;
Rev 21.1-7).

    4.  The spiritual blessings form the  believers
spiritual  position  of strength.  This  means  that
believers  live  life from a strong,  reliable  base
that will support,  protect,  and provide  continued
momentum for the Christian way of life.  The outline
for  the position of strength includes the  plan  of
God  (eternal,  historical,  daily),  union  with
Christ/family of God, God’s blessings (spiritual and
physical),  and heavenly citizenship with (spiritual
base, mission, confidence).

    5.  Application:  Believers  have  everything
necessary  (spiritual  blessings)  to  live  the
Christian way of life and therefore to fulfill God’s
purpose,  to  enjoy  stability,  contentment,  and
happiness,  to  live  as winners in time  on  earth.
Since this is a fact,  believers should be know what
the blessings are and fully use them.

Copyright 1986 by Tod M. Kennedy

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