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Brethren in the World also Suffer Afflictions

Scriptures Expounded - Posted on Wednesday, March 16, 2016
by Temi Peter
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Brethren in the World also Suffer Afflictions

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
1 Peter 5:8-10

In the scripture above, Apostle Peter was encouraging the Church and by extension the early Christians. Like it is with us today, it is evident that they must have been passing through diverse afflictions. When people are being urged to give their lives to Christ, they are hardly ever told of a rough road ahead. There is this expectation of a life free of afflictions (challenges) all the way as soon as one has accepted Jesus Christ. Irrespective of the state of the fellow prior to giving their life to Christ – whether good or bad, there is an expectation that all their afflictions will disappear when they give their life to Christ and where there is no affliction, it always will remain so. The evangelist never intends to hide anything from his prospective convert. It’s just that as a Christian, he or she has come to realise that the salvation of one’s soul is worth more than any other achievement in life. Really, the greatest miracle is the miracle of salvation. With salvation comes the power to make heaven. With the hope of making heaven eventually, they expect that when afflictions come, they will be able to persevere and overcome them all. It will be counterproductive for any evangelist to begin to scare off a prospective convert with the reality of afflictions since the Bible states clearly in Psalm 34:19:
“Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.”
Hence, no preacher will tell you that becoming saved guarantees a life of bed of roses.
Looking at afflictions, they can come in diverse forms – poverty or lack, ill health, barrenness, loss (of loved one or possession), loneliness (due to marital delay), spiritual attack, depression, emptiness, mental illnesses/disorders etc. In fact, absence of affliction (problems or challenges) has been regarded by some as a form of affliction on its own. Many have committed or attempted to commit suicide that have absolutely no reason to do so. They just seemed to get tired of life.

In the scripture being expounded, Peter in 1 Peter 5:8 warned the brethren to be sober and vigilant as their adversary the devil was seeking whom to devour. Why? The devil is bound to use the afflictions suffered by the brethren as an excuse to have them fall away from the path of salvation. The devil will try his best to make them think that the salvation they have obtained is not worth it. With time if they are not careful, they will begin to get discouraged and consider going back to the world. Should they take this step, they will fall prey into the hands of the devil and he may devour them except they enjoy uncommon grace. The devil will not risk allowing such backsliding/backslidden folks get saved again. Peter then went ahead to urge the brethren in 1 Peter 5:9 to resist the devil steadfastly in the faith reminding them that the afflictions they suffer are also being suffered by brethren in the world (unbelievers). The devil always makes it seem like unbelievers are having a good time or brings to remembrance the ‘old the good times’ some believers once experienced before giving their lives to Christ. This is not new. The Israelites on their way to the Promised Land also remembered the fish they ate in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic (Numbers 11:4-6) in their quest for flesh(meat) thereby forgetting their over 400 years of agonising slavery. However, the truth remains that, right from the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, any man (human being) who comes to this world will be subject to a life of afflictions in diverse forms and magnitudes here on earth. It doesn’t matter whether you become born again or not. Even our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ wasn’t spared. He too had to pass through His’, though willingly for our sakes. What then is the essence of embracing salvation? You may ask. 1 Peter 5:10 answers that. Apostle Peter prayerfully assured the brethren that the God of all grace, who had called them unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that they have suffered a while, will make them perfect, establish, strengthen and settle them. Hence, there is hope for every righteous person, that irrespective of whatever they may be passing through, they will overcome. Proverbs 11:30 says:
“Behold, the righteous shall be recompensed in the earth: much more the wicked and the sinner.”
Also, most importantly, there is the hope of glory. Paul spoke about Christ being is us, the hope of glory in Colossians 1:27. The hope of glory is the hope that someday we shall be found worthy to be counted among the saints marching into heaven like the song says:
O when the saints, are marching in,
O when the saints are marching in,
O Lord I want to be in the number,
O when the saints are marching in

Our Lord Jesus Christ asks a pertinent question in Matthew 16:26:
“For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”
Our Lord Jesus Christ couldn’t just fathom that anyone would jeopardise their salvation just so that they can gain the world.

On the other hand, unbelievers are bound to suffer afflictions without any hope of either coming out of them unscathed or making heaven in the end of time. Unless they are led to Christ, they are bound to grope in darkness and seek help in the wrong places with dire consequences to suffer in the short or long run. Any outward appearance of unbelievers portraying them as being very well off will lose its worth when you get close to them and they open up to you. You may end up even thanking God for your current situation.
I close with Apostle Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 4:17:
“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;”
What we need to pray for is the grace, patience and longsuffering to go through the unpleasant moments and that they should shortened.
May God answer our prayers.




Posted by:
Temi Peter


 
 


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