Purposes of Christ in Suffering
By Dr. Joel R. Beeks
Christ intends to use suffering in the lives of His people to sanctify them and to prepare them for eternal glory. Recognize how sanctified affliction is used to glorify God. First of all, sanctified affliction humbles you (Deut. 8:2), teaches you what sin is (Zech. 12:10), and causes you to seek God (Hosea 5:15). Affliction vacuums away the fuel that feeds your pride.
Secondly, sanctified affliction serves to keep you in Christ’s communion, closely by His side, to conform you to Him, making you partakers of His suffering and image, righteousness and holiness (Heb. 12:10-11).
Thirdly, sanctified affliction serves to wean you from the world and to cause you to work by faith. Perhaps affliction bites you so deeply because you are too little at home with the Word and ways of God and too much at home with the world. In prosperity you often talk of living by other-worldly faith, but in adversity you live your talk. Discover the truth of Robert Leighton’s words, ‘Affliction is the diamond dust that heaven polishes its jewels with.’
Recognize also that the end of all of His affliction, and ours, is eternal glory. Think more of your coming crown and your eternal communion with God’s Triune saints and angles. ‘He that rides to be crowned, ‘John Trapp wrote, ‘will not think much of a rainy day.’
Consider Christ: His afflictions, power, presence, perseverance, prayers, goals, and end. Seek grace to live Christianly today through and in your afflictions and you shall soon discover with the apostle, ‘For me to live is Christ and to die is gain’ (Phil. 1:21).