Class Notes: 5/11/2011
God turns the curse into a blessing by making suffering an integral part of his plan for the believer's advance
In our study on the doctrine of suffering we left off last time with the principle that God has given us suffering as a parent or control for our lives for our benefit.
2Cor 4:15-18; For all things are for your benefit, that the grace impact which has increased through the agency of the many (invisible heroes) may cause the increase of thanksgiving resulting in the glory of God.
v16 Therefore we do not despair, but though our outer person is decaying, yet our inner person is being renewed day by day.
v17 For a momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison,
v18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
The disciplines and restraints of childhood imposed by our parents are replaced by the disciplines and restraints of suffering.
Suffering can be a warning that we're doing something wrong, or it can be a means of greater blessing. Parents don't always discipline; they also give us things. They are the source of blessing as well as discipline.
So with that same objective, God has provided for the entire human race the guardian of suffering after we leave home. The only restraint some people have after they grow up is the suffering that results from their bad decisions.
Therefore, suffering is a guardian, a parent, or referee that always makes good calls. Suffering is not a blind, it is an authority designed to challenge the believer to grow in grace by the proper utilization of the portfolio of invisible assets in the fulfillment of the protocol plan of God.
While suffering is a restrainer in life, as in punitive preventative suffering, it also plays a major role in accelerating the believer's momentum toward spiritual maturity.
Suffering for blessing is another guarantee from God that the believer can and does fulfill the protocol plan of God by advancing to spiritual maturity as a result, suffering for blessing becomes a major system for good and for the glorification of God.
We see this principle of God turning the curse of suffering into a blessing in Phil 1:29; Rev 2:7; and Rev 3:21;
Suffering is designed by God as a guardian in our life, it is for our benefit because it restrains us from sin, human good, and evil, just as our parents restrained us, and it challenges us to advance in the plan of God, just as our parents challenged us to grow up when we were under their authority.
Suffering also becomes an indicator of our spiritual life because suffering never leaves the believer the same as they were before the suffering. The suffering changes us and we are either the better or the worse for it.
If, during suffering, the believer reacts through arrogance, bitterness, vindictiveness, self-pity, or implacability, the believer becomes a loser and starts to go backward. On the other hand, if, during suffering, the believer responds through the application of metabolized Bible doctrine and occupation with the person of Christ, the believer eventually advances to the point of becoming an overcomer or winner.
We are instructed in Phil 3:13 to forget what is behind (our failures) and convert our sufferings into blessings through rebound, the four stages of the faith-rest drill, the categories of hope, and spiritual self-esteem.
The greatest converter of suffering into blessing is the spiritual self-esteem that is part of a personal sense of destiny where the believer begins to understand "why".
For the believer who is living inside God's power system and functioning under the enabling power of the Holy Spirit along with momentum from metabolized doctrine, all suffering is designed for blessing.
This means that if the believer is in the correct position and as a result is functioning inside God's power system when the suffering hits, and chooses to maintain that position through the application of the problem solving devices, the suffering results in blessing.
While the believer is in fellowship with God any suffering that comes is designed for your blessing, for your wisdom, for the function of your common sense, and for the correct application of Bible doctrine to your situation.
If the believer is in the wrong position and as a result is outside the divine power system, the suffering is still designed for blessing except in that case the blessing is on a limited scale.
In this case, the suffering is designed to bring you back to reality, to bring you to the point of rebound, to bring you to the point of recovery, and to show you that your scale of values is wrong and that you must change your priorities and regain your position inside God's power system.
This means that whatever suffering comes into your life it is all designed by God for blessing. Whether blessing is actually accrued from the suffering or not depends on the believer's response to it.
Punitive suffering originates from the believer's negative volition toward Bible doctrine and the accumulated bad decisions related to sin and evil. But punitive suffering is resolved by the rebound technique explained in 1John 1:9; and any suffering that remains after rebound is designed for blessing.
This is why God adjusts the suffering for the believer after rebound. The intensity of the suffering may be reduced since what the believer brought on himself was more than he could handle. But God reduces the suffering so it can be handled with the available problem solving devices. God never puts more suffering on the believer than the believer can bear and sometimes the suffering may be eliminated altogether.
The doctrinal application that is learned from punitive suffering includes the believer becoming resistant toward temptation where a self imposed restraint is developed because of the suffering and rebound when sin has occurred. Paul explains this in 1Cor 11:27-31; in the context of the mandate to participate in the Lord's table.
Blessing is accrued in either case under the principle that all suffering is designed for blessing.
Unchecked by rebound, self-induced misery from the law of volitional responsibility is parlayed into divine discipline in the three categories of warning, intensive, and dying.
All suffering designed for blessing in spiritual adulthood falls into three categories to match the three stages of spiritual adulthood.
There is providential preventative suffering for the believer in spiritual self-esteem, momentum testing for the believer in spiritual autonomy and evidence testing for the believer in spiritual maturity.
All suffering for blessing is designed by God for the believer's advance to spiritual maturity and the glorification of God. Suffering for blessing is always designed to advance you by adding strength to your spiritual life.
God never gives the believer more suffering than he can bear. 1Cor 10:13,NET "No testing has overtaken you but such as is common to mankind. Moreover, God is faithful, who will not permit you to be tested beyond what you are able (capable of handling), but with the testing, He will also provide a way out, so that you may be able to endure it."
This means that when your suffering is more than you can bear, the origin is your own negative volition, not the sovereignty of God. The believer, through bad decisions from a position of weakness, piles on himself more suffering than he can bear.
If we are suffering beyond what we can bear We are the source of our own suffering because of our own negative volition under the permissive will of God.
God never gives us more suffering than we can handle. So what God does not remove after rebound, He intends for us to bear, to endure, to handle, and to solve with the application of Bible doctrine through the problem solving devices.
It is the believer who resists, rejects, or reacts to doctrine who puts himself through the law of volitional responsibility to the point where he cannot bear the suffering and God permits it.
Since there is no suffering for the believer in the eternal state Rev 21:4; God can only use suffering to bless the believer during their life in time.
There is no suffering too great for the plan of God to resolve. Therefore, all problems of suffering are resolved in the mechanics of the protocol plan of God with its problem solving devices and its solutions that have been accumulated from Bible doctrine in the stream of consciousness.
Cognition of divine provision in our portfolio of invisible assets plus the mechanics built into the protocol plan of God are far greater than any suffering, pressure, or disaster in life.
There are five categories of suffering in the spiritual life:
Punitive Suffering where the believer comes under the law of volitional responsibility and/or divine discipline.
Suffering for Blessing takes the form of providential preventative suffering, momentum testing, and evidence testing.
The Law of Volitional Responsibility, the most common and primary cause for human suffering in general, and a specific cause of suffering for believers. Under the law of volitional responsibility every human being must take the responsibility for their own decisions and actions in life.
You must understand that you can never blame others for your misery, your unhappiness, and your suffering. You must take full responsibility yourself, based on your own bad decisions related to your associations, activities, motives, and functions in life.
Human volition is the source of personal sins, human good, and evil. In God's plan for your life, sin, human good, and evil are all forbidden and completely rejected, but because of the OSN it is inevitable that throughout all our life as Christians we will sin, perform human good, and fail in evil.
This category of suffering deals with the natural consequences of sin, human good, evil, and bad judgment in our lives.
All sins were judged in the person of TLJC on the cross. Yet all our sins have natural consequences in life, and the person who commits them must take full responsibility for them.
We must always link consequences with bad decisions rather than blaming someone else. A quick trip to unhappiness results from blaming others for your problems, rather than seeing them as a result of your bad decisions.
The innocent often suffer with the guilty because they are associated with someone who made a bad decision. An example of this is found in Rom 5:12;
The law of volitional responsibility is stated in Gal 6:7; "Be not deceived; God cannot be mocked. Whatever a man sows, this he will also reap."
Volition and decision are the source of both sins of ignorance and sins of cognizance. Therefore each person will be held responsible for their own decisions, whether or not they understand the sin or it's consequences. Rom 5:13-14;
The consequences can be classified as self-induced misery, self-imposed misery, and self-indulged misery.
Under the law of volitional responsibility, the believer inflicts on himself unbearable suffering from the following eight categories:
Personal sins, the function of human good, the function of evil, the function of moral or immoral degeneracy, living in cosmic one, or "grieving the Spirit.", living in cosmic two, or "quenching the Spirit.", lack of common sense and bad judgment, and subjective arrogance, where the person overestimates their own abilities, or failing to see themselves in the light of objective reality.
Both believers and unbelievers function under the law of volitional responsibility not only as it applies to sin, but also as it applies to the laws of divine establishment, the principles for the entire human race that function within the framework of a national entity.
There is intense suffering from violating the sacredness of life, property, and privacy in criminal acts. There is also suffering from rejection of one's responsibilities related to one's nation under the principle found in Luke 20:25;
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