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Why believers suffer

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1. The first reason that we suffer as God’s children (and even as His mature sons) is because of our own stupidity and our own sin. 1 Peter 2:20

2. The second reason we suffer is for taking a stand for truth and righteousness. (1 Pet. 3:14).

Many people deliberately take a stand for God, and they have suffered for it.

However, we can be foolish and misguided in our thinking concerning this. One man came to me and told me that where he worked everybody was his enemy because he had stood up for God. Well, another Christian man who was an official in that same concern told me that this man was trying to lecture everybody—even during work hours! He was making an absolute nuisance of himself by attempting to witness to people while they were busy on their jobs. You see, he wasn’t really suffering because he took a stand for truth and righteousness.

3. The third reason we suffer is for our past sins. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Gal. 6:7). 2 Samuel 12:6, 10

David reaping fourfold:

1.  The death of his baby- 2 Samuel 12:12-25

2.  The rape of his daughter Tamar- 2 Samuel 13:1-21

3.  The death of his son Amnon- 2 Samuel 13:22-39

4.  The rebellion and death of his son Absalom- 2 Samuel 14-20   

God is able even to eliminate the consequences of our sinful actions if he chooses- This is what is called mercy Joel 2:25, 26; 2 Chron. 7:14; Psalm 25:7

God is able to use the suffering for past sins and use it for our blessing and promotion. Romans 8:28; Psalm 51:1; David did recover his joy after he confessed his sins. Psalm 32:11

David wrote at least 6 more Psalms after his confession.  Psalm 3, 4, 35, 41 Psalm 30 and Psalm 72

4.The fourth reason God’s children suffer is for some lofty purpose of God which He does not always reveal to the believer. Educational discipline.  God uses this form of discipline to increase our knowledge of him.  The classic example of educational discipline is Job.  Job 42:2-6

5. The fifth reason Christians suffer is for their faith.  (Hebrews 11) Some demonstrated their faith, and great victories were won. Some were delivered by the sword; some were slain by the sword. We suffer so that God can develop Christian character in us and mature us.  James 1:2-4

6. Preventive discipline.  This type of discipline prevents us from doing something sinful.  2 Corinthians 12:7 God gave this to Paul to prevent Paul from becoming arrogant.

7. The seventh and last reason God’s children suffer is for corrective discipline. That is what we have here in verse 6: “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” This means child training or discipline, not punishment.

Punishment is to uphold the law. A judge punishes, but a father chastens and he does it in love. God uses chastening to demonstrate His love for us. And the writer makes it very clear that you are an illegitimate child if you are not chastened by the Lord. Many people say, “Oh, why did God let this happen to me? I must not be a Christian.” The fact is that your suffering is the proof that you are a child of God.

[1] God uses discipline to correct us when we wander away into sin. David is a classic example of one who received corrective discipline. 

We find another example of corrective discipline in 1 Corinthians 5. 

1 Corinthians 11:30-32  God’s discipline has nothing to do with judgment.  God’s children will never experience divine wrath; he reserves that for unbelievers. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). 

In 1 Corinthians 11:30-32 we have 3 stages of divine discipline                                                   1. Weakness

2. Sickness 

3. Death

In Hebrews 12:6-9 we have 3 stages of divine discipline

1.  Chastening

2.  Scourging

3.  Death


[1]McGee, J. V. (1997, c1981). Thru the Bible commentary. Based on the Thru the Bible radio program. (electronic ed.) (5:602-603). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

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