God’s Compassionate Purpose in the Trial
God’s Compassionate Purpose in the Trial | James 5:10-11
Four Facts to Remember About Suffering
- Suffering is a result of the curse of sin in general, not necessarily a result of sin in particular. cf. Gen. 3:1-19; Jn. 9:1-3
- Christ overcame the world through his suffering, removing the curse of sin for all who repent and believe his gospel. cf. Jn. 16:33; Heb. 13:10-16; Gal. 3:13-14
- Our hope in the trial is not to be removed from the trial in this life but to inherit and enter the Kingdom of Christ. cf. Acts 14:21-22; Rom. 8:18
- In Christ, we are never alone in the trial. cf. Jn. 14:16-18; Rom. 8:26; Matt. 10:19-20, 28:20
10 As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful. (James 5:10-11 ESV)
Suffering is a reality for disciples of Jesus Christ in this life.
…through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. (Acts 14:22b ESV)
God is sovereign over our suffering, and he reveals his compassion and mercy in the midst of it.
8 And the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job?" (Job 1:8a ESV)
Lessons from Job:
- Anger at God is never the solution.
9 Then his wife said to him, "Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die." 10 But he said to her, "You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips. (Job 2:9-10 ESV)
“[In the psalms] there is desperation, grief, anxiety, frustration, and lament. But in none of it is there justified anger against God. There is a world of difference between “How long, oh Lord” and “How DARE you, oh Lord?” … The Psalms are doing their level best to show us that no matter how low we feel, no matter how low we go, God is good and holy and trustworthy in all that He is and in all that He does. The faithful response to affliction is to believe in God’s goodness and faithfulness no matter how bad things get. This is the fight for faith that all of us have to wage when the chips are down.” -Denny Burk
- Through suffering, God reveals his compassion and mercy…
- Through his discipline and comfort.
5 I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; 6 therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes." (Job 42:5-6 ESV)
- To others through our faithful witness.
8 Now therefore take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and offer up a burnt offering for yourselves. And my servant Job shall pray for you, for I will accept his prayer not to deal with you according to your folly. For you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has." 9 So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did what the LORD had told them, and the LORD accepted Job's prayer. (Job 42:8-9 ESV)
- In our eternal vindication and glorification.
10 And the LORD restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before. (Job 42:10 ESV)
25 For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. 26 And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, 27 whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me! (Job 19:25-27 ESV)
For those who are steadfast in faith—that is genuine disciples of Jesus Christ—suffering produces an eternal joy that far outweighs the comforts of this life.
16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 ESV)
An in-depth study of the book of James.