Saturday, May 28, 2011

Don't let your faith be shaken!

As Christians, we should not expect that we will never suffer, but in fact we should expect that we will have to undergo trials and tribulations and even persecution or painful suffering, just as Christ did. That is part of our calling and our walk with Christ (1 Pet 2:21; 1 Thess 3: 3-4).

But we should not be moved, meaning shaken or disturbed, by our trials, because we should have faith that God is working them together for our good (Rom. 8:28). The fear of persecution should not lead us to give up our beliefs or lose faith. It is part of our inheritance as children of the King to undergo trials as He did, and preachers who tell listeners that once they are Christians, their troubles will be over, are not preaching the truth.

Paul tells us that he would give up anything imaginable, even his physical life, rather than not have Christ in his life (Phil 3:8). After he was born again he was not only beaten, shipwrecked, persecuted, and imprisoned (2 Cor 11: 24-27), but he was most likely excommunicated by the Jews and rejected by his own family.
At the day of judgment, Paul, and all believers, should depend on salvation only through belonging to Christ.

As a Pharisee, Paul tried before he was saved to becoming righteous by works, namely by keeping the law, which because of man’s sin nature is impossible. The righteousness of believers is only possible through God’s grace by their faith in Christ’s finished work on the cross and in His resurrection.

Ephesians 2:8: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

When we are saved, we have the mind of Christ within us through the indwelling Holy Spirit. Our Christian walk, through prayer and studying the Word, should be to become more and more like Christ by knowing Him better, by putting aside our own fleshly desires and sin nature and yielding to God’s will, even if that means that He will allow us to suffer and to go through tribulation so that our character may be purified and our faith and compassion increase.

Phil 3: 10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.

As we have been studying, Jesus was the perfect sacrifice allowing reconciliation between sinful man and just, holy God. His physical suffering, humiliation, rejection by His people, His friends, and especially the separation from His Father (Matt. 27:46) as Christ took on all the sins of mankind -- past, present and future -- allows those who repent of their sins and trust in His finished work on the cross to have eternal life. As Christians, we will no doubt go through trials, but these serve to mold us more into Christ's image and to draw closer to Him

1 Pet 2: 21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.

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