So to recap (since we only get to look at this every few weeks), we understood in 1st John 2:17 that “doing the will of God” revealed whether we would be abiding forever, or passing away along with the world. Our first observation of what doing the will of God revealed that we should be being sanctified (1Thess 4:3). We have already studied John 17:17 that God’s Word sanctifies us and we have already studied Romans 12:1-2 that we are proving the will of God by offering our bodies as sacrifices (this is our spiritual service of worship) as we renew (transform) our minds through His word. In studying the will of God I copied a short article by R.C. Sproul that I believe is foundational to knowing and doing the will of God. This issue should be straight forward but I believe we blur the lines of distinction between the decretive and perceptive will of God. We then spent some time with AW Tozer as he explained through Ephesians 1 that based on what God has done for us our goal is not to know about God but “according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ” the mystery of His will has been made known to us” this mystery is an intimacy in relationship with the Father through His Son that raises us up above all reason and into a world of adoration and praise and worship. As with many illustrations it is hard to understand one side of the equation without the other. Think about hot/cold or light/dark or holy/sinful. My point is it is really tough to get your mind around hot, light or holy without being able to contrast cold, dark and sinful. This brings us to one of our final thoughts about doing the will of God before we move onto a short little series about our thought life. This week the Holy Spirit through Peter explains a “Not so hot of topic” (pun intended)
9 Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good. (1 Pe 4:19)
Suffering is not a popular topic. Nobody in and of themselves wants to suffer. So why is it so foreign of a concept that it might be God’s will we suffer? This theme is riddled throughout Scripture. Let’s just look at a couple of samples of other portions of Scripture that convey this topic. Paul explains to the Philippians: “29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake” (Php 1:29). Paul again explains to the Thessalonians:”4 For when we were with you, we kept telling you beforehand that we were to suffer affliction, just as it has come to pass, and just as you know.” (1 Th 3:4) The sanctifying process Paul defines in Romans 8 actually comes with a qualification of suffering: “16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” (Ro 8:16–17)
This little sample Is not exhaustive. So all of these verses beg the question why is suffering such a big issue in the Christian life? Let’s look at one verse I didn’t include that may help.
8 Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. 9 And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, 10 being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek. (Heb 5:8–10)
So I’m sure most understand the verse is talking about Jesus learning obedience through suffering so as our ultimate example (Rom 8:29) that we are being conformed to, if Jesus could learn obedience through suffering we are in the perfect place…if we too are learning obedience through suffering.
So how does this correspond to my hot/cold, holy/sinful analogy? Let’s close this circle by looking at why Jesus learned obedience through suffering. Paul explained in a corollary passage:
“8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Php 2:8–11)
Friend if you have been born again, your sin has been satisfied to a Holy God by one Who condescended to taste death so that we may have life, eternal life…for this was the will of the Father.