Christ Suffered To Bring Us to God
"For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing. For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit." (1 Peter 3:17-18)
Have you ever "suffered"? Some children have. You, or someone you know, may be fighting a battle against a painful disease. Some children have suffered under physical or emotional abuse. Maybe that has happened to you. Or maybe you have lost a friend or a loved one to death. You may have heard of families who have been persecuted for worshipping the God of the Bible.
But most children have not seen heavy, hard suffering – at least, not yet. Suffering is intense pain that we feel, either on the inside or outside. You might look and feel fine externally (on the outside), but you might be suffering on the inside, in your heart.
Very few people like suffering! Think about it. Let's say you are sitting in a lawn chair, sipping pink lemonade under the hot sun, when – all of the sudden – you hear a strange, yet familiar buzzing sound near your right arm. What!? It's a bee! A very large bee with a very sharp-looking stinger on his backside! What is your first reaction? Do you calmly say, "Mr. Big Scary Bee, sir, please do not poke me today with that painful stinger of yours! I'm right in the middle of my lemonade!"? No! You would probably jump out of your lawn chair really fast, screaming and swatting and running around in circles until you were sure Mr. Big Scary Bee, sir, had gone bye-bye!
Why is that your response? Because you hate pain. You dread it. You would never seek after it. You would be crazy if you did. Humanly speaking, suffering is always a bad thing! We never enjoy pain, and we always try to get out of it if we can!
But the Bible teaches in 1 Peter and in Hebrews and in several other places that Jesus Christ did choose to suffer. He had a choice, and He chose suffering! Why? Well, He was God, but He was also human, so pain and suffering were probably not enjoyable for Jesus Christ, either. Just because He was totally God does not mean that suffering did not hurt Him! He was also totally human, so He experienced fear and pain and probably never enjoyed either one. But the Bible shows us that Christ took on suffering, anyway, that He did it in order to bridge the gap between us and God.
Jesus Christ endured (kept on fighting through) the suffering because He really wanted what was waiting on the other side of suffering. The Bible says in Hebrews that Christ chose suffering "for the joy that was set before Him." In other words, our being able to be right with God meant more to Jesus Christ than His own comfort and safety meant to Him. His sacrificial suffering was what made it possible for us to be right with God. What a courageous and selfless and loving Savior we have!
Jesus Christ endured suffering in order to provide sinners a way of salvation.
» Do I ever spend time thinking about what Christ went through so that I could be right with God?
» When I go through suffering, can I find comfort and strength through Christ?
» Do I have good reasons to trust and obey this suffering Savior?
Truth In Real Life
“The grace or love of God, whence cometh our salvation, is FREE IN ALL, and FREE FOR ALL”
John Wesley was born in England on June 17, 1703. Born the fifteenth child in his family, John was a “pastor’s kid” and was taught God’s Word from the beginning of his life. At age 5, like the other Wesley children, John began being home-educated by his mother. This education, along with other life hurdles, prepared him for serving God as an adult.
After being rescued from a burning church building at age 6, young John had good reason to think seriously about heaven and hell. He had always been known as a good child, a smart boy, and a bookworm. He loved school. As far as he could understand, his life must be pleasing to God, and he did not worry much about his soul then…for a time.
As a young adult, Wesley attended Oxford University. He founded the famous “Holy Club” with his brother, Charles. This club had strict rules for its members, including a rule that all members stop for silent prayer at least one time every hour.
In May of 1738, after many years of serving God, Wesley attended a prayer meeting and understood something for the first time. He understood that it by grace through faith in Jesus Christ that we can be genuinely converted. Jesus Christ does the saving!
Rather than being good on your own or being obedient to a strict set of rules, you can and you must trust Jesus to save your soul for you. Wesley began preaching this truth. Some people got angry with him, and others understood God’s love for the first time.
John Wesley was not trying to start a new type of church, but because he was preaching truth that was “new” in his generation, the Methodist Church began. At this time in history, the Methodist Church stayed faithful in preaching the Bible while other churches often preached false ideas. The teachings of many Methodist churches have changed since Wesley’s days, but the doctrines that are really drawn from the Bible will NEVER change!
Rules are not necessarily bad. Rules are necessary for things to be done “decently and in order.” But rules and laws can never save your soul or take away your guilt! Jesus Christ is the only Way to salvation. By God’s grace, through faith, have you truly trusted in Jesus Christ alone to save you?
John 14:6 – Jesus said to him, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”