The Promised Glory of Christian Suffering

Posted on December 20, 2019

16


By David Ettinger

Destined to Suffer
In John 14:1, Jesus tells His disciples, and, in essence, His beloved Church of all ages: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.” Jesus says this for good reason: He knows that from that time forth, until His return at the end of the age, Christians will be persecuted people destined for suffering. A few examples:

  • “Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory” (Romans 8:17).
  • “For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ” (2 Corinthians 1:5).
  • “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him” (Philippians 1:29).
  • “All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering” (2 Thessalonians 1:5).
  • “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps” (1 Peter 1:21).

The near future looks bleak as the world continues to reject Christ at a dizzying pace, but the eternal outlook is nothing short of glorious for God’s people!

Willingness to Suffering
Seven times in the Book of Revelation, the Holy Spirit tells believers to “overcome” the suffering and persecution they are enduring (Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21). This overcoming points to martyrdom, particularly in the end times, when the minions of the Antichrist will threaten Christians with death if they refuse to renounce their faith and take the mark of the beast (Revelation 13:16-17). Those who hold to their faith will be rewarded. This reward, ultimately, is eternal life with Christ in “Paradise” – Heaven (Revelation 2:7, 11).

Here’s something you need to think about: Will you ever face the kind of persecution of which the Bible speaks? It is difficult to say. Perhaps the better question is, Are you ready to accept persecution and suffering – even death – should God deem you worthy of such an honor?

Jesus encourages all who believe in Him to be ready and willing. When Jesus sent out His disciples, He warned them – and all believers in the ages to come – of what awaited them. The Lord said:

Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved (Matthew 10:21-22).

The word “saved” in this instance is not referring to physical salvation, as if saved from death. What “saved” does refer to is spiritual salvation – eternal life with Christ.

The Reward of Suffering
Make no mistake about it: As bad as Christian suffering has been throughout the ages, it will only get worse. However, take heart, child of God, for Jesus makes you this great promise:

Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going (John 14:1-4).

For Christians, days of suffering await, but to what degree, we don’t know. When compared to the future glory that has been promised to us, however, our trials will be but a fleeting memory that instantly fades in the eternal light of His glory, grace, and love!