Archive for February 5th, 2006

Suffering for Righteousness’ Sake

Sunday, February 5th, 2006
1Pe 3:14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy [are ye]: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;
1Pe 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and [be] ready always to [give] an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
1Pe 3:16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.
1Pe 3:17 For [it is] better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

We should carefully consider, before claiming that we are suffering for righteousness’ sake, the nature of our suffering:

  • Are we experiencing the common troubles that have come upon all mankind since Adam’s fall?
Job 5:6 Although affliction cometh not forth of the dust, neither doth trouble spring out of the ground;
Job 5:7 Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.

As we read in the Shorter Catechism, Question 19: What is the misery of that estate whereinto man fell? All mankind by their fall lost communion with God, are under his wrath and curse, and so made liable to all miseries in this life, to death itself, and to the pains of hell for ever.

  • Are we suffering because of wrongdoing on our part? If so, we cannot claim to be suffering for righteousness’ sake.
  • Are we reaping the fruits of prior sins? If so, we cannot claim to be suffering for righteousness’ sake, though we have repented of those sins and they have been forgiven us.

We must examine our hearts carefully before claiming that we are suffering for righteousness’ sake. Is our daily life one of purposeful obedience to Christ? Is the fruit of the Holy Spirit – love, joy, peace, longsuffering (patience), gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance (self-control)(Galatians 5:22,23) – evident in our life? If we have done what is wrong, and are suffering some consequences, such as criticism from others or damage to our reputation, we are not suffering for righteousness’ sake, regardless of our status as Christian, elder or minister. We profane God’s name when we claim to be suffering in service to Him, when it is our own weakness, sin or folly for which we suffer.

Phl 1:27 Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
Phl 1:28 And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.
Phl 1:29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;
Phl 1:30 Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear [to be] in me.

The Wise Man Receives Correction

Sunday, February 5th, 2006
Ecc 4:13 Better [is] a poor and a wise child than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished.
Lev 19:17 Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.
Pro 9:8 Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.
Pro 9:9 Give [instruction] to a wise [man], and he will be yet wiser: teach a just [man], and he will increase in learning.
Pro 13:1 A wise son [heareth] his father’s instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke.
Ecc 7:5 [It is] better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools.

Some Verses on How Wrong it is to Tell the Righteous They are Wicked

Sunday, February 5th, 2006
Pro 17:15 He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both [are] abomination to the LORD.
Pro 24:24 He that saith unto the wicked, Thou [art] righteous; him shall the people curse, nations shall abhor him:
Pro 24:25 But to them that rebuke [him] shall be delight, and a good blessing shall come upon them.
Isa 5:20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
Isa 5:23 Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!
Mal 3:18 Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.
Pro 18:5 [It is] not good to accept the person of the wicked, to overthrow the righteous in judgment.