Suffering plays a primary role in sanctification, conforming a believer unto our Lord’s death, Php 3:10. In short causing a believer to cease from sin and dying to the lusts of the flesh, 1 Pe 4:1-2. The subject matter of the articles are progressive in nature and the first ten or so articles should be read in order. Other articles that follow cover other areas of New Testament doctrine but the primary focus of the majority of the articles is the process of being justified and sanctified through the offering of the body and blood of our Lord, which his body the church has communion with.
Php 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
There are many scripture verses indicating the need for suffering in order to reign with Jesus Christ, Ro 8:17, 2Ti 2:12, 1 Pe 4:19, 1 Pe 5:10. Apostle Peter in 1Pe 4:2 gives the reason why it is necessary. That we no longer live the rest of our lives to the lusts of the flesh, but to the will of God. Paul in Php 3:10, uses the phrase “fellowship of his suffering”, and that suffering is instrumental in being made conformable unto Jesus death. Part of the Strong’s definition for fellowship is “partnership, i.e. (literally) participation”. This in fact, sheds some light on 1Pe 1:11 .
1Pe 1:11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.
The sufferings of Christ also includes the sufferings of the members of his body, the church.
Romans 8:17 KJVS
 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him , that we may be also glorified together.
1Pe 4:12 ¶ Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
The Greek word for fellowship G2842, is also translated into the English word “communion”.
1Co 10:16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?
17 For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.
18 Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar?
In a previous article I pointed out that the altar outside the camp of Israel, the sin sacrifice altar, is the altar that the body of Christ is to eat/partake of, He 13:10. Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ himself said:
Jn 6:56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.
It certainly stands to reason that the members of his body should have communion with the sufferings of Christ, because our Lord himself learned obedience and was made perfect or mature by the things he suffered, He 5:8-9. No one likes to suffer or be chastised but unless a person undergoes these corrections, it does not bring the peaceable fruit of righteousness, He 12:11. In Hebrews 12:6 it states that God scourges the sons he receives. This suffering is necessary and appointed for us, 1Th 3:3, 1 Pe 4:19, in order to conform us to the image of Christ, Ro 8:22&23, 29. Paul links the fellowship of his suffering with being made conformable unto Jesus death, Php 3:10. Which is just another way of saying conformed to the image of Christ. In order for the church to grow up to the head, Jesus Christ, Eph 4:15, it is necessary for sufferings to take place by the individual members of the body of Christ before the glory of God can take place on earth, which is the thousand year reign of Jesus Christ, Re 20:6. A somewhat convoluted set of scripture verses in 2Co 1:3-6 show how that if we share in the sufferings of Christ we also share in the consolation with Christ. Even the word often times used for patience in the scriptures, longsuffering, directly indicates the need to endure sufferings. We need to have longsuffering with the trials, tribulations, temptations and afflictions in life and most importantly with one another.
1Co 13:4-5 ¶ Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
A great deal of suffering and self sacrifice is involved with being able to love in this fashion. These sufferings need to be endured, keeping in mind that they are necessary for the manifestation of the sons of God, Ro 8:17-19. So comfort yourselves with these verses. Paul in Philippians 2:1-13 asks us to have mutual love for one another and that the same mind be in us, which was also in Christ Jesus. Jesus humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death on the cross. And then in verse 12, Paul asks that church to obey him and to work out their salvation with fear and trembling.
Php 2:12-13 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,
13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. ESV
The not so obvious point being made, is that suffering is a part of the process of working out our salvation. God allows the sufferings that are necessary in order to bring ourselves to the place as having the same mind and fruit of the Spirit as Jesus Christ. Jesus took on the form of humanity in his death on the cross, so that we, the body of Christ, could be made the righteousness of God in him, 2Co 5:21. Being made the righteousness of God in him, entails we have communion, with the sacrifice and offering of his body, whose body we are, on that altar outside the camp, He 13:10-11. I just ran across a interesting account concerning Apostle Peter. The following account can be found in Fox Book of Martyrs which can be read online.
“Hegesippus saith that Nero sought matter against Peter to put him to death; which, when the people perceived, they entreated Peter with much ado that he would fly the city. Peter, through their importunity at length persuaded, prepared himself to avoid. But, coming to the gate, he saw the Lord Christ come to meet him, to whom he, worshipping, said, “Lord, whither dost Thou go?” To whom He answered and said, “I am come again to be crucified.” By this, Peter, perceiving his suffering to be understood, returned into the city.”
Hegesippus was a Christian chronicler of the early church. The account of what our Lord said to Peter agrees with Jn 17:23, Mat 25:40 and many other verse but also makes clear that not only do we partake of the sufferings of Christ, but also our Lord partakes of our suffering. Enough so that Jesus considers anything done to us is the same as being done to him.
If one views the sacrifice and offerings of Jesus Christ for sin, only in the past tense, and endured by Jesus alone, then the power of the cross is absent in our lives. The early church understood the symbolism of animal sacrifice on the various altars and their partaking and being one with those altars, 1Co 10:18, Jew and pagan alike. Until you understand Christ in you the hope of glory. Until you understand that a seed has to fall in the ground, your flesh, and die in order to bring forth fruit. Until you have communion with the sacrificed body of Christ on the altar outside the camp of Israel, He 13:10-11, in a living way, Ro 12:1, by dying to the flesh. Until you see that your participation in the sufferings of the Christ is necessary for the sin nature in you to be destroyed, Ro 6:6-7. Then you are blind to the realities of God’s plan for the salvation of man through the cross.
2Co 4:10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
Hebrews 3:8-10 KJVS
 Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:  When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years.  Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.
Sufferings, trials, afflictions and even temptations are allowed by God in our lives for a reason. In the midst of a grievous trail it is easy to lose sight of that fact. For years the words “Harden not your heart, as in the provocation in the wilderness” echoed in my mind. A incomplete spinal cord injury can be quite painful and frustrating, naturally after 30 years a man can oftentimes become bitter and develop a hard heart. Many a time I have repented of having a hardening and embittered heart towards God. Many a time God has softened and lifted that great weight off my heart by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, Titus 3:5. The definition for the Greek word translated as “temptation” in verse 8 is full of meaning in regards of knowing the ways of God.
G3986 peirasmos pi-ras-mos’
a putting to proof (by experiment (of good), experience (of evil), solicitation, discipline or provocation); by implication, adversity.
KJV: temptation, X try.
God is putting to the proof the godly character He is instilling in those of us in the body of Christ. I remember Army boot camp in 1971, a war was going on, and the drill instructors made life very hard for every one involved. They were trying to get raw recruits ready for war. Obedience and discipline was hammered into every man. Not only was the body being brought into shape but a willing and obedient mind also. Back then I was in good shape, as my father worked me like a man since I was a child. I grew up along the Mississippi river, climbing the hills and bluffs, taking long walks in the woods. I could scamper up trees like a monkey. So in boot camp, I could easily do all the drills and physical training, obstacle courses and so on, quite easily. I had a little bit of a attitude, a bit cocky and towards the end of basic training the drill instructors kind of keyed in on me, even taking it to the point of trying to push me into a fight. They wanted to put me in my place, humble me. Even though I had done everything they asked of me and was in good shape, I was not torn down and humbled to the point where I was obedient from what they deemed the proper motivation driving the obedience. This is a apt analogy of what God is doing with justifying and sanctifying the members of the body of Christ. A humble Spirit and contrite heart is not something you can fake, especially with someone who knows the thoughts and intents of the heart, Heb 4:12 . Paul makes a analogy of being a soldier in 2 Timothy.
2 Timothy 2:3-7 KJVS
 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.  No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.  And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.  The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.  Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.
God has chosen us to be soldiers in Christ but our warefare is not carnal.
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 KJVS
 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)  Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
And Paul’s words are still a challenge and call to duty for the body of Christ today. It is not a easy thing bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. Especially when we are being tested and tried. It is all about the heart. Those in the wilderness always erred in their hearts and we are warned not to develop a evil heart of unbelief.
Heb 3:12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
We are kept by by the power of God through faith and faith worketh by love, 1Pe 1:5, Ga 5:6. Keep in mind that the qualities God is developing in us, are the fruit of the Spirit. Love , joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. These are not the qualities with which the people in this world hold in high esteem but we are not of the world. If you look at the definition for the word “kingdom” as it is used in the New Testament, in regards to the Kingdom of God you will find a interesting fact.
G932 basileia bas-il-i’-ah
properly, royalty, i.e. (abstractly) rule, or (concretely) a realm (literally or figuratively).
KJV: kingdom, + reign.
The very first part of the definition is,”properly, royalty, i.e. (abstractly) rule”. The kingdom of God is largely associated with Jesus Christ and those that will rule and reign with him for a thousand years. The members of his body, the body of Christ, are being prepared by God for this task and a good many of the churches in this world have entangled themselves with the affairs of this world, 2Ti 2:4, and have lost sight of this fact. Maybe that is what it means in He 13:12&13, when it says we are to go outside the camp. In the coming age, the age of righteousness, things will be much different, in that those that rule and reign with Christ, will be no longer subject to the lusts of the flesh, as they will have died to the flesh. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh, Ro 8:3. It will not be the same old same old of the last 6 thousand years. Peace, equity and love for God and one another will rule in that 1,000 year long day. It helps if one keeps this in mind when he is being tested, tried and chastised by God.
Hb 12: 11, Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
Hebrews 12:5-8 KJVS
 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:  For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.  If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?  But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
When the Lord chastises you, it can produce varying emotions within you, during and after the fact. Shame, embarrassment and regret at first, and later there can be resentment, anger and bitterness. We are told not to harden our hearts when being tempted or tried earlier on in the book of Hebrews, and cautioned not to let a root of bitterness spring up in us, a few verse later in the 12th chapter of Hebrews, He 3:8-10, 12:15. Keep in mind our hearts are purified by faith, Acts 15: 9, and part of that process entails for us being tried, or put to the proof, by fiery trial, 1Pe 4:12. The peaceable fruit of righteousness, He 12:11, can only come about through chastening by the Lord. When we were reconciled to God by the blood of the cross, we were still, at times, enemies in our mind by wicked works, Col 1:21. But in time God will correct that situation if you continue in the faith and be not removed from the hope of the gospel, Col 1:21-23. It is amazing how many years you can read and study scripture and still come away with new knowledge and timely insight pertaining to yourself, in light of your individual salvation process. I suppose that is why it is called the living word. God scourges the sons he loves and due to the deceitful nature of sin, He 3:13, Ro 7:11, you can receive chastisement many times for the same sin or lack of holiness. A couple times in my life, the small still voice of the Spirit in my head gave a warning, and I either ignored it or did not catch the significance of it at the time. And then payed the consequences for my action. We are exhorted to lay aside the sin that so easily beset us, He 12:1, but not more than four verses later we are told to faint not when we are rebuked by the Lord. It is perplexing at times the struggle we face concerning sin in our lives. Paul tells us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in us to will and to do His good pleasure. To me, sin is the symptom of the underlining true problem God has with man. The hearts of mankind and what their heart’s motivates them to do, Mt 15:19-20. It is easy enough to have a heart overflowing with kindness and love when the sun is shining and everything is going your way. But when trial and difficulty is a part of your daily life it is a entirely different matter. Read the book of Job sometime. I know I have more than a few times trying to find insight on why I have had to suffer as I have. It would profit us to take a closer look at the Greek word and definition for that word which is translated into the English word chasten and its derivatives
Parts of Speech
1. the whole training and education of children (which relates to the cultivation of mind and morals, and employs for this purpose now commands and admonitions, now reproof and punishment) It also includes the training and care of the body
2. whatever in adults also cultivates the soul, esp. by correcting mistakes and curbing passions.
a. instruction which aims at increasing virtue
b. chastisement, chastening, (of the evils with which God visits men for their amendment)
The very last part of the definition jumped out at me a week or so ago. Odd that I noticed it now, but not so odd in light of a recent evil visited on me for my amendment. It would appear from the book of Job, that God doesn’t directly visit evil on a man but uses Satan, in his role as the adversary, to do so. And the evils visited on us are due to our being drawn away and enticed by our own lusts.
James 1:12-14 KJVS
 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.  Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:  But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
Keep in mind the good, acceptable and perfect will of God. The longer you are a child of God and continue to grow into maturity. The more knowledge you attain, the less latitude your are given in regards to behavior and feelings in your heart. You reach a point where you begin to comprehend fully these two verses mentioned previously.
Philippians 2:12-13 KJVS
 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.  For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
The trouble is, A person really has little power over themselves to generate a life that is pleasing to God. We are God’s workmanship in Christ Jesus. Our works of righteousness mean nothing and attempting to justify ourselves by observing the law and laws of religious organizations, using our own strength, actually makes us fallen from grace, Ga 5:4. Remember by grace we are taught, chastised and disciplined by God, Titus 2:12. The Greek word teaching in Titus 2:12 is G3809 whose Strong’s Concordance information is pasted just above in the article. If you have the time it would do you well to look up the verses in which that word is used in the New Testament. You can only learn true obedience and submission to God’s will through having been put to the proof, tested and tried, through suffering, afflictions, tribulations and perhaps even persecutions. The analogy the Marine Corps used in a commercial years ago, of a sword being forged through fire, hammered and shaped into a sharp, tempered instrument of great beauty and strength, lends itself well to how the body of Christ is being prepared for the age to come. But the weapons of our warfare are not carnal.
2 Co 10:3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. NIV
This war, a significant part of which is against our own flesh, can ultimately only be won by obedience to the will of God in our lives. Suffering, due to being scourged by our Father in heaven, is part of how God changes us into the new creature in Christ. So of late, I try and keep in mind the exhortation in Hebrews, and admonishment in Corinthians.
Hebrews 12:5-6 KJVS
 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:  For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
1 Corinthians 10:12-13 KJVS
 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.  There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
I have often looked at the previous verse for meaning and a hope for escape. I have suffered due a spinal cord injury for over 30 years, and at the beginning of this suffering, was encouraged by the Holy Ghost with this verse.
Hebrews 11:1 KJVS
 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
At the time I thought that if I had enough faith I would be healed. And I am being healed but not in the way I even slightly envisioned 30 years ago. We are being blessed by God, by Him sending His son to turn us away from our iniquities, Acts 3:25&26. In order to understand He 11:1, the verse needs to be read in context. The 11th chapter of Hebrews gives examples of the Old Testament saints who demonstrated faith and the last several verses in chapter 11 and first verse of chapter 12 puts the whole 11th chapter in context.
Hebrews 11:36-40 KJVS
 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:  They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;  (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.  And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:  God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
Hebrews 12:1 KJVS
 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us , and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
So how exactly are we to lay aside that sin that so easily besets us? A few verse later provides a answer to the question and offers this advice which brings us full circle.
Hebrews 12:5-8 KJVS
 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:  For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.  If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?  But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.  Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
Ro 8:19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,
21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
In the previous article I gave a definition for the Greek word translated vanity in Romans 8:20, from a Greek and Hebrew Interlinear I download from the Internet. Part of that definition is “transientness; morally”, and I cited Apostle Paul in Romans 7:18-21, to show that mankind, including the body of Christ is saddled with temporary and short lived morality. I have plenty of time to mull over the scripture verses and these verses give us a peek at the methodology God employs in His strange work in the world, Isa 28:21. Short lived morality is ultimately the cause of much suffering, pain and evil in the world. Eve and then Adam certainly exhibited short lived morality in the Garden of Eden when they both ate the fruit. Both knew that God prohibited eating the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil and that there were consequences involved with that action. But one might also point out that since they did not have the knowledge of good and evil, did they have the capacity to know that their actions were wrong? Was it due to vanity that Eve and then Adam disobeyed? God clearly states He created evil in Isa 45:7 and also states that the knowledge of good and evil is characteristic of both Himself and the Word of God, and that the possession of the knowledge of good and evil made man as one of them.
Ge 3:22 And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
As a side note the StrongNote Definitions embedded in the Greek and Hebrew Interlinear I download from the Internet, is equipped with the Strong’s Lexicon and is the source for the definition I am citing for vanity. I urge you to download the Greek and Hebrew Interlinear at http://www.scripture4all.org/download/download_ISA3.php It is a useful tool for studying the bible and allows you to view the actual Hebrew and Greek text as it appears in the manuscript. After a while the mistranslation of the Word of God which supports some of the doctrines of man, Eph 4:14, will become apparent. So let us take a look at why God subjected the creature to vanity and the implications surrounding that fact. And we will do so by using the scriptures. It would seem that pain, suffering, affliction and being saddled with short lived morality is all integral to the outcome of the manifestation of the sons of God. Someone who is immature and naive can hardly be expected to make sensible choices and these poor choices negatively impact themselves and others. I know that is certainly true with me in the past and sadly enough at times true today. You can’t put the cart before the horse, you can’t make a omelet without breaking a few eggs. It also appears you cannot create a mature or perfect child of God without immersing them in a world filled with fellow human beings that also have short lived morality. Which contributes to a myrid of individual choices that results in various degrees of good and evil. Part of God’s purpose in Christ is to display His glory on the earth in the thousand year kingdom of God, Re 20:6. Which is where the subjection of all things under man’s feet, through Christ and his body, begins in earnest.
He 2:6 But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him?
7 Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands:
8 Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.
Why are all things not put in subjection to man at this time? Because they have to be disciplined, trained and matured to assume that role.
Col 1:12 at the same time giving thanks to the Father, Who makes you competent for a part of the allotment of the saints, in light, CLV
1Pe 5:10 Now the God of all grace, Who calls you into His eonian glory in Christ, while briefly suffering, He will be adjusting, establishing, firming, founding you. CLV
James 1:12 Happy is the man who is enduring trial, for, becoming qualified, he will be obtaining the wreath of life, which He promises to those loving Him. CLV
The primary definition of the Greek word translated into the English word trial is “an experiment, attempt, trial, proving”. This same word is used in He 3:8, and many if not most of the Jews who were tried and tested in the wilderness erred in their hearts because they did not know God’s ways. God’s ways are to allow difficulties, afflictions, sufferings and tribulations to come mans way for character development,for maturity and for the development of fruit of the Spirit, Ro 5:2-5. Paul in another verse, states we are to endure hardness like a good soldier, 2Ti 2:3, which brings the analogy of Army boot camp to mind. In which men are being trained for war but the weapons of warfare the body of Christ is being trained in, are not carnal, 2Co 10:4, but spiritual. The start of thIs growth process is to stop childish behavior and becoming well acquainted with the scriptures. The Apostle Peter puts this way.
1Pe 2:1 ¶ Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,
2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
What is our growth but growith in the fruit of the Spirit, Ga 5:22-23, Jas 5:7, 2Ti 2:6. When you have time, search the word “fruit” and read the scripture verses that come up in the New Testament that contain that word. All this growth in the fruit of the Spirit can only come about in a proper teaching environment designed by God for just that end. Does the end justify the needs? Of course it does but in the midst of it all it is easy to loose sight of the fact that God is making us with more godly character than we ever could achieve on our own.
Ro 3:26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
I have spent many hours awake at night when I could not sleep and during daily walks contemplating scriptures, attempting to answer why God had to subject the creation to vanity in order to accomplish the manifestation of the sons of God. The short answer is that God needed a teaching environment wherein He could teach, instill and bring to fruition the fruits of righteousness in His immature offspring. This short answer, is akin to saying a car runs on gasoline. But let’s open the hood and look at the moving parts, so to speak. Let us look again at the definition for the word vanity in Romans 8:20. “Inutile, figuratively, transientness; morally, depravity.” Inutile means of no use or essentially useless. The question arises in my mind, when in time did God plan to subject the creation to vanity? When using a reference bible to look at the Romans 8:20 verse, Genesis 3:19 is cited. But in my mind, when reading the bible, one should always keep in mind that God knows the end from the beginning. As such, everything that happened in the past, happened because God intended for it to happen, or allowed it to happen so as to serve a purpose in His overall purpose in the earth.
Isa 46:10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:
It states in Eph 1:4, that the body of Christ were known in Christ before the foundation of the world. Being found in Christ takes place at the first resurrection and is the manifestation of the sons of God mentioned in Romans 8:19. Since the manifestation of the sons of God is contingent upon man being made subject to vanity. It would seem to me that God’s intention to subject the creation to vanity was in the cards well before Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. Since scriptures state that man in himself has not the power to obey the laws of God because the flesh is weak in Ro 8:3. And that the weak moral condition of man was apparently present in man from the very beginning. It appears man has been placed in a conundrum of sorts and the reasons why, are subtle but are for good reason.
2Co 4;6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
A little more light is shined on this concept a bit later in the same epistle when Paul entreats the Lord the third time to remove a “thorn in the flesh”.
2C 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Are God and Jesus Christ egomaniacs that need to have mankind in abject subservience to themselves. No. Neither are the members of the body of Christ simply conduits for the power of God. They are to be in one accord with God and Jesus Christ and demonstrate the same godliness and holiness as they do, He 12:10. But man is carnal and before he will be allowed to rule and reign with Jesus, the flesh must die, which is the whole purpose of the cross. Let’s look at a few instances in the past of misconduct of previous sons of God.
Ge 6:1 ¶ And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,
2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.
3 ¶ And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
4 ¶ There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
And of course Psalm 82.
1 ¶ « A Psalm of Asaph. » God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods.
2 How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? Selah.
3 Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.
4 Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked.
5 They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course.
6 ¶ I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.
7 But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.
8 Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations.
These instances are a prime example of the adage that power corrupts absolutely and absolute power corrupts absolutely. It would appear the sons of God of old were also subject to the lust of the flesh. Upon reflection it seems to me that the flesh and lusts of the flesh were a necessary part of the nature of mankind initially, in order to make man more survivable as a species. To have a powerful mutual attraction between male and female insures that man would be fruitful and multiply. To amass food, shelter and herd animals and other forms of wealth, even to the point of coveting and theft, would be consistent with traits that would insure survivability. Many aspects of the flesh would help make a species better able to survive, adapt and in the long run would also ensured that man would have dominion over the earth. And that was God’s intent, Ge 1:26. But after a certain point in time, in the development of man, when mankind increased in population to the point where they lived in towns and cities, laws and the rule of law became necessary. You have to view what God is doing in this earth with man, on a individual level and at a societal level. How do you weigh one’s own self interest against the interest of God and others in a society?
Mk 12:30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
This of course does not come natural to man, as man was made carnal and can not please God, Ro 8:7. Man can only change by being taught, disciplined by God and by dying to the carnal nature God initially subjected all mankind to, Ro 8:3, 8:20. When you view the Old Testament in light of many of the verses in the New Testament, often times one can ask themselves why God allowed the vessels of wrath to oppose His will for so long? It would appear it was for educational purposes. In the first verse that follows, God wanted to make His power known in the earth and the second verse God uses past sin and rebelliousness of those in the wilderness for admonition to the body of Christ.
Ro 9:22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
1Co10:11 Now these things happened unto them for ensembles: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world has come.
Most all scriptures in the bible and the New Testament in particular are for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 2Ti 3:16. But for myself personally, the scriptures mirror the condition of my soul and spirit at different times in my life. Understanding and insight of scripture verses become instruments of change in my life in a timely and determined fashion by God. When you run into the brick wall of wanting to do the good but finding yourself doing that which is evil, as Apostle Paul describes in Ro 7:18-20. When you find that you greatly desire to overcome and lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset you, He 12:1. And then run the race with patience, but have difficulty doing so. This internal and external conflict exerting pressure on you, brings you closer to God. Brings you to the point where you start to increasingly come before the throne of grace for help in your many times of need, He 4:16. When you become acutely aware of the lack of strength within yourself. When you begin to hunger and thirst for righteousness. When you fear that you will come short of the glory of God. Then you are in a position where God can begin to teach you and develop fruit within you. It is stated that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, Proverbs 9:10. Perhaps that is the primary reason why God subjected the creation to vanity. A aspect related to this is briefly mentioned by Paul in 2 Corinthians and goes hand in hand with Php 2:12-13.
2Co 7:10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.
Even repentance to salvation is a work of God in our lives and involves inner turmoil and fear. In short it is God purifying our hearts by faith. A person could go overly long on this topic but before I finish let us again look at a few scripture verses in the book of Hebrews directly related to why the creature was subjected to vanity. So that life experiences and God Himself using those life experiences, could teach us to make mature choices in life based on love.
He 5:13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
He 12:11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
Of course we should always emulate and keep our eye on the author and finisher of our faith, He 12:2 , and have the mind set of Jesus Christ to do the will of the Father. Who died in the flesh for us and his example encourages us to die to the flesh also.
He 5:7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;
8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
In the coming Kingdom of God, Christ will rule with a rod of iron with the body of Christ, Re 12:5, Re 20:6. But it will be a reign of righteousness. The fruit of the Spirit fully developed in the body of Christ will ensure that they will be mature, willing and perfect servants to Christ, mankind, and the purpose of God, Eph 1:10. We should all keep this in mind as we grow in the fruit of the Spirit and to humbly submit ourselves to the mighty hand of God working in our lives. The love of God in Christ Jesus entails our realizing the high potential God has in mind for us.
1Pe 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
1 Peter 5:8-10 KJVS
[ 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 .
Many times we cherrypick scripture verses out of context, then use them to draw certain spiritual meanings and lessons from these verses, and miss out on deeper meanings that otherwise could be acquired by reading them in context. Case in point is the oft mentioned phrase “your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour”. A deeper understanding may be had, by reading the verse in context and by study a definition of one of the words in a verse that follows. We are told to resist stedfast the devil in the faith. We are also told that being afflicted by the devil is the same afflictions accomplished in our brethren. The following definition of accomplished offers deeper insight.
From G1909 and G5055; to fulfill further (or completely) that is execute; by implication to terminate undergo: – accomplish do finish (make) (perfect) perform (X -ance).
to bring to an end, accomplish, perfect, execute, complete
to take upon one’s self
to make an end for one’s self
to leave off
to appoint to, impose upon
A online Greek Interlinear renders G2005 like this.
The the noun afflictions is the object of the verb G2005 and the meaning in that sentence is difficult for me to determine. G2005 is often in verses that relate to those in the body of Christ being completed, perfected or finished. I like how the Amplified Bible translates that verse.
1 Peter 5:9 | AMP
9 Withstand him; be firm in faith [against his onset–rooted, established, strong, immovable, and determined], knowing that the same (identical) sufferings are appointed to your brotherhood (the whole body of Christians) throughout the world.
This verse dovetails nicely with what is stated in the verse that follows verse 9.
1 Pe 5:10 KJVS
 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 .
A few more verses in other epistles that supply additional insight.
1 Thessalonians 3:3 KJVS
 That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto.
The Greek word, G2347, which is translated into the English word afflictions in 1 Th 3:3, is also translated into tribulation in a variety of other New Testament verses. Most notably the following.
Colossians 1:24 KJVS
 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:
Granted, Apostle Paul is not specific in regards to who is behind these afflictions or tribulations. Or in many cases what exactly these afflictions and tribulations are, when he mentions these words in many verses in the New Testament. But since Suffering plays a role in our development as children of God, Satan appears to have a role in it. Part of which is this.
2 Corinthians 4:4-6 KJVS
 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.  For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.  For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
All things are of God, 2 Co 5:18. Is it ordained by God for Satan to blind the eyes to the gospel of those not ordained to see the light? You can not go beyond what is stated in the scriptures. The body of Christ was known in Christ before the foundation of the world, Eph 1:4. The Greek word for foundation has the meaning of something conceived. So before the world was conceived, those in the body of Christ, were known in him. This is a important point that theology conveniently ignores. There are reasons for that. Money, control of people and men building their own kingdoms in this world. God of course foreknew, predestinated and ordained all that goes on in this world directly or indirectly. To ignore this fact is to limit a limitless God. Keep this in mind as we move foreword.
Romans 13:1 KJVS
 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
After reading Ro 13:1, one might ask if Satan is one of the powers ordained by God? Since he is the God of this world, and all things are of God, one would think so. It is commonly presented that Satan upset the apple cart of God’s perfect creation by enticing Eve and Adam to take a bite out of the fruit off the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Now granted, that act by Adam and Eve was in direct disobedience of God’s command. But the acquisition of the knowledge of good and evil made mankind like God and the Word, Gen 3:22. All that was lacking in humanity at that point, was individual maturity in men’s decision making ability in relationship with God and with one another. This lack of maturity is due to the flesh, Ro 8:3. The maturity God has in mind for man is experiential and can only be achieved a couple of different ways. By observing life around us, by being taught/disciplined by worldly authorities. And if one is in the body of Christ, exercised by God’s chastisements in the decisions we make in life. All of which results in greater or lesser degrees of good or evil in this cosmos. Individual thoughts and actions result in good or evil. The following verses apply more to the body of Christ but in principle, apply or will apply in time, to all men.
Hebrews 5:13-14 KJVS
 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.  But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
Hebrews 12:6,11 KJVS
 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.  Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
Both sets of verses mention righteousness, which is the end result of being justified and sanctified, Ro 3:20-24. But the not so obvious point that is being made, is that being made righteous, made perfect or mature, cannot take place without the interplay of good and evil in the world. God then needed to create a environment designed to mature and bring many sons into glory,He 2:10&11? Satan as the adversary, has a direct role in the process of the children of God being made mature. Again, this is not obvious due to the fact that Satan is often misrepresented as the perpetrator of evil in this world. A free agent who is intentionally derailing God’s purpose in the world. That is partly true but scriptures indicate there is more going on here than that simplistic representation of Satan. Evil again, is a result of individual choices and actions that are made by all creatures in God’s creation. Choices made by Satan, by sons of God, by Eve and Adam and by all of us. I remember one of my sons complaining to me about a big fine he had to pay. He got a ticket for one thing or another connected to his automobile. He did not pay the ticket for years and down the line it caught up with him and he was forced to pay it, but it was considerably more than the original fine. I told him he learned a valuable lesson. Pay tickets on time. Obey the law. I have often told my two sons, neither of whom the Lord has yet called, that life would teach them everything they needed to know, but they needed to pay attention.
Romans 13:1-4 ESV
 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.  Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.  For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval,  for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.
Now granted, there are varying degrees of good and evil. Just as there are varying degrees of maturity. Maturity is gained by guidance from our parents and from life experience and from the school of hard knocks. Sometimes God’s authorities on this earth punish you in various ways for infractions against the laws. And if you are a Christian, God chastises you based on a more stringent sets of law, the royal law of love, Ja 2:8, and for lack of holiness, He 12:10. The book of James has something to say about man being tempted or being put to the proof, as the Strong’s Concordance defines being tried.
James 1:12-16 KJVS
 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.  Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:  But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.  Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.  Do not err, my beloved brethren.
According to these verses in James, God does not tempt any man but the first chapter of Job records a interesting conversation between God and Satan while both were present at the divine council. God draws Satan’s attention to Job and by accentuating how blameless Job is, God provokes Satan into tempting Job with various trials.
Job 1:6-12 ESV
 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them.  The LORD said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the LORD and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.”  And the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?”  Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason?  Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.  But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.”  And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.
Satan’s actions against Job, as the narrative progresses, extends to the point where Satan is allowed by God to torment Job directly by attacking his health.
Job 2:3-6 KJVS
 And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.  And Satan answered the Lord , and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life.  But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.  And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.
I have read the book of Job many times and have come away with a couple conclusions. God proves to Job that he did not established his own righteousness. What is not so obvious is that godly character needs to be put to the proof by adversity, affection and suffering. A important fact to notice in this account, is that Satan required God’s permission to tempt Job and God limited Satan’s actions. Satan is ultimately not a free agent acting on his own. Nebuchadnezzar arrived at the same conclusion regarding himself as a free agent after God had him crawl on his hands and knees eating grass for seven years to humble him. Keep in mind that he was the absolute rule of the known world at that time but he was also God’s servant, Je 25:9. Perhaps that is why God chastised him.
Daniel 4:34-35 KJVS
 And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation:  And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?
This divinely inspired conclusion is very similar to what Paul writes in Romans, Ro 9:19-21. A situation Apostle Paul found himself in comes to mind, that is directly related to this subject matter of this article, which demonstrates God’s authority over a messenger of Satan
2 Corinthians 12:7-9 KJVS
 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.  For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.  And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Who gave Paul this messenger of Satan to torment him is not made clear but again all things are of God. God gave all judgment to the Lord Jesus Christ, Jn 5:22. The Lord made this statement regarding Saul which is of interest.
Acts 9:15-16 KJVS
 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:  For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.
The gospels records many instances of the authority Jesus Christ had over devils and demons which are too numerous to list. Jesus Christ even instructed Satan to be quick in using Judas Iscariot to betray him.
John 13:26-27 KJVS
 Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it . And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.  And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.
Another interesting episode in the gospels comes to mind, that at first glance seems unremarkable.
Matthew 4:1 KJVS
 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
To have the Spirit lead Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil, demonstrates a certain degree of coordination between the Spirit and Satan in regards to time and place. When praying the Lord’s Prayer, we pray to the Father to be led not into temptation, Lk 11:4. There is of course a open conflict between the angels of God and Satan and his angels that emerges from the scriptures. The book of Daniel records one such instance, Da 10:12&13. Personally I view this conflict as real and necessary so as to allow evil to flourish in a controlled manner, so that the body of Christ and all creation to some greater or lesser degrees, achieve maturity due to having their senses exercised to discern between good and evil. In essence, you can’t make a omelet without breaking a few eggs. God apparently needs to immerse the members of the body of Christ in the crucible of suffering, affliction and temptation along with His Spirit poured in, in order to make the new creature in Christ, Ja 1:18. There is more at play here than that, but this article is complicated enough as is. A person can learn a lot when reading scripture by asking yourself questions. Why did God wait till the end of the age to cast Satan out of the third heaven to earth? Especially in light of the fact that both God and Jesus have the ultimate power and authority in heaven, Eph 1:20&21.
Revelation 12:10 KJVS
 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
The not so obvious answer is, that up until that point Satan had not completed his role as accuser of the brethren. The following definition of the Greek word translated into accuser is of interest, especially in light of the throne of God in the third heaven, and the proceedings that takes place there, He 4:16.
a. to accuse
before a judge: to make an accusation
b. of an extra-judicial accusation
Conversely we have advocate with God the Father who sits at His right hand.
1 John 2:1 KJVS
 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
That is why it is important to confess our sins, 1 Jn 1:9. I make a habit of saying the Our Father every morning for that reason. Satan’s role as accuser/adversary/prosecutor at the throne of God is necessary in the perfection of the body of Christ. And I admit, Satan’s role in this matter is not evident in a casual reading of scripture. But is apparent upon examination.
James 1:12-18 KJVS
 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.  Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:  But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.  Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.  Do not err, my beloved brethren.  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.  Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
God cannot be tempted with evil, neither does he tempt any man. Does that mean God does not visit evils upon man? Part of the Strong’s Concordance definition for the Greek word chastening in He 12:5 is pasted below.
b. chastisement, chastening, (of the evils with which God visits men for their amendment)
The definition seems clear on who visits evils on man for their amendment but conflicts what is written in Ja 1:13. Perhaps the distinction is that God leads us into temptation rather than doing the evil Himself. The dialogue exchanged between God and Satan in the first chapter of Job again shows the finer nuances on how God performs his will on this earth. Is Satan’s role as the adversary/accuser completed when he is cast down from heaven as described in the 12th chapter of Revelation? From my perspective, his role as the accuser is no longer necessary, since the rapture of the body of Christ takes place at the seventh trumpet, Rev 10:7, 11:15. Keep in mind the three woes are linked to the last three Trumpets, and the third woe is when Satan is cast down to earth, Rev 12:12. At that point the body of Christ, if in fact that is who the man child represents, is without sin and made perfect/mature as the work of justification and sanctification is complete in every member.
Hebrews 9:28 KJVS
 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
To be honest, it is unclear in the above verse that the second appearance of our Lord that is mentioned, refers to when he meets the Saints in the air, 1 Th 4:17, or steps down on the Mount of Olives, Zec 14:4. But this of course has not happened yet. So in the meantime, Apostle John tells us to confess our sins, 1 Jn 1:9. Apostle Paul, in light of what I have just written, gives us insight on why we should do just that.
1 Corinthians 11:28-32 KJVS
 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.  For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.  For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.  For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.  But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.
Apostle Jude understood Satan’s role in God’s creation and is in agreement with what Apostle Paul wrote in Ro 13:1.
Jude 1:8-10 KJVS
 Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities.  Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.  But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.
The Apostles understood that Satan is the god of this world, 2 Co 4:4, and understood his role as the accuser of the brethren. So then, a person can understand why Apostle Paul told the Philippians’s to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, Php 2:11&12. God knows what is in our hearts and minds and is growing the fruit of the Spirit in each and every member of the body of Christ. He allows any action He deems necessary in order for us to be qualified to rule and reign with Jesus Christ for a thousand years, Col 1:12.
Hebrews 12:28-29 KJVS
 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:  For our God is a consuming fire.
What is being consumed is our flesh, and what is being grown in us is the fruit of the Spirit. What I see in scripture, is that all things are of God, and even though the struggle between good and evil is diverse and complex, it presents most individuals with a wide range of choices. The overall Matrix, if you will, exposes most all to a reality wherein they acquire varying degrees of maturity due to making choices and suffering the consequences of poor descisions and rewarded for prudent ones. A complex environment that could only come from the mind of God. Since Yeshua is the beginning and the end, everything in between ultimately leads to God’s desired end which fulfilles his purpose in Christ.
Ephesians 1:10 KJVS
 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?
A good deal of the Christian world fails to understand completely or misunderstands the communion with the body and blood of Christ. Roman Catholicism views the bread and wine as the actual body and blood of Christ. There are a couple scripture verses that support this viewpoint , , , but there is also deeper spiritual truths associated with communion. Let’s read a definition of the Greek word translated into the English word communion.
1. fellowship, association, community, communion, joint
the share which one has in anything, participation
b. intercourse, fellowship, intimacy
The deeper significance of communion was given by our Lord himself.
 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.  Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.  For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.  He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.
Dwelleth in me, and I in him. Later in the gospel of John he had this to say.
 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
I in them and the Father in Jesus brings to my mind a mental image of the layout of the tabernacle in the wilderness and Herod’s Temple. As a side note, the gospel of John is the most theological complete gospel, because it was written after Apostle Paul received the revelation of the mystery of God. Which is Christ in you the hope of glory, . Those two scriptures in John, clearly point to the mystery of God.
Apostle Paul in Ephesians write this.
 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.  For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.  This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
One aspect of being in Christ it that we sit in heavenly places in Christ.
 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)  And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:  That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Since we sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, this opens up even deeper aspects of the crucifixion of Christ. Number one is that we partake of his sacrifice in a living way.
 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
Number two is that our Lord’s death is our death in God’s eyes.
A key to begin to understand this is to see animal sacrifice in the way a Jew viewed it under the law. Thayer’s definition for the Greek word translated into the English word propitiation in .
a. used of the cover of the ark of the covenant in the Holy of Holies, which was sprinkled with the blood of the expiatory victim on the annual day of atonement (this rite signifying that the life of the people, the loss of which they had merited by their sins, was offered to God in the blood as the life of the victim, and that God by this ceremony was appeased and their sins expiated); hence the lid of expiation, the propitiatory
The sprinkling of our Lord’s blood represented OUR blood being shed in payment for the penalties of OUR sin, and as such, God is appeased, . But the offering of our Lord’s blood in heaven is for the forgiveness of sin past, once we are baptized into his death., . That is the true nature and meaning of a sin sacrifice. We are reconciled to God, through the body of his, Jesus, flesh through death, , precisely for that reason. More than a few times in the New Testament we are told that we are crucified with Christ, , . Are we not baptized into his death by water baptism, ? These are not just figures of speech but a firm reality. The tendency to put the sacrifice and offerings for sin by Jesus Christ largely in the past tense, and as a substitution for us, negates the power of the cross in our lives. Since we sit in heavenly places in Christ, and are dead in Christ, we can be judged by God, &28, , &32. A verse in Romans points to another dimension of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, which points to the destruction of the flesh.
 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him , that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
That the body of sin might be destroyed was one of the early scriptures along the trail of my understanding of the work of the cross more fully. The subject matter of this article, up to this point, did not start to become apparent to me until about 15 years ago. Much pain and suffering over the course of 34 years ultimately led to what I know now. Let me explain. In 1984 I was in a car accident and broke two vertebrae in my neck in three pieces each. I was paralyzed for ten days but by the grace of God I walked again but have been saddled with weakness and moderate to severe chronic pain due to nerve damage from a spinal cord injury. A couple of events prior to the accident were unusual and ultimately led to the writing of this website. A couple of weeks before the accident a verse kept running through my head while daydreaming. I was boning hams second shift at a meat packing plant. It was line work and you stood along a moving conveyor belt removing the hip bones from sawed of portions of hogs above and below the hip joint as they came down the belt. Then the piece of meat was made into a ham. Plenty of time to daydream in a eight hour shift. The scripture was from Colossians.
 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:
I owned a hard copy of The Strong’s Concordance at the time and looked up the Greek word translated into the word behind and read that it meant lacking. A obvious question came to mind. What was lacking in the afflictions of Christ for his body’s sake? That question was a long time in being fully answered. The day of the accident a Christian woman called me and said she had a vivid dream the night before, in which I was involved in a car accident and was badly injured. She implored me to be careful. As the busy day progressed, the phone call slipped from my mind. Over a dozen hours later, I lay in a car that was upside down, paralyzed as a result of driving recklessly at a high rate of speed. Years later I came to realize the woman’s dream was prophetic. I was paralyzed for ten days and movement, sensation and strength slowly returned in the months ahead. Life became a struggle for me after that. It took three months of intensive Physical Therapy, while hospitalized, for me to be able to walk a hundred feet on my own. The left side of my body took a long time to return and to this day is weak with diminished movement and coordination. Raising two boys is demanding enough without a spinal cord injury. But while laying in bed paralyzed, I vowed to be responsible towards them and a loving father if the Lord would allow me to walk again. It was a effort for me as they grew older to coach baseball, go to sporting events and plays they were in, and the many parent teacher conferences. But as difficult as it was, it was very much a labor of love. We lived out in the country so thankfully there was little peer pressure from other kids. There are fewer bad influences on children who live in the country than children raised in the city. They are now in their 30’s, married with careers in software. One in engineering related software the other is a front end developer in webpage creation. It was not until they were in college that I again turned my attention to the study of scriptures. I had received the baptism of the Holy Ghost a couple years before the aforementioned car accident and it was a powerful experience, wherein I spoke in tongues. The two fused vertebrae from the 1984 injury to my neck were in bad shape and by the middle to late 90’s. There was 30% compression of my spinal cord from the warping of the two fused vertebrae from too much lifting over the years. As a result my whole body below that point tingled and burned. The surgeon preformed what is called a corpectomy and fused four vertebrae to correct this problem in 1997. He drilled and removed bone from the body of the two fused vertebrae to make more room for the spinal cord, inserted a cadaver bone to fill in some of the bone he removed and then screwed a plate made of titanium over the top, spanning C-4 to C-8. That procedure took 2 years to heal and I have been much weaker since. I spend a lot of time in bed and before I got a iPad I read the scriptures from a small vest pocket bible because it was light and easy to hold in my right or left hand. I can not read a full sized Bible or book in bed for any length of time without increasing pain and tingling. These small bibles have the New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs in them. It has really been the last 15 years living alone that gave me the time to study the scriptures. Obviously the scriptures about suffering and afflictions jumped out at me in my daily reading and study of the Word. Due to reading from these vest pocket bibles I am well versed in the New Testament. I am a fast reader so I have read and continue reading the New Testament countless times, largely focusing on the epistles. Let me pick up where I left off with , now that I have given some background information that shows what motivated my study of the Word of God in light of suffering. That the body of sin might be destroyed brought questions to mind. What exactly did might be destroyed mean? How would the body of sin be destroyed? A good deal of Christian teachings does not definitively answer that question. I then noticed and after that became familiar with the importance of the mystery of God, Christ in you the hope of glory, in salvation. It took a long time, at least for me, to fill in the gaps. At night when pain kept me awake I would put verses together in my head and felt the unction, &27, of the Holy Ghost teaching me. Often times I disagreed with the Spirit because of the doctrines of man, , that had indoctrinated me in the past. It was slow going because what I was seeing in the scriptures was not present on the internet and at times I feared the direction I was going in was heresy. And yet scriptures kept propelling me forward. I lived largely in isolation with plenty of time to study and read the scriptures but I have now come to realize that you cannot really understand a scripture unless God has worked the understanding of what that verse means into you, &13. A lot of the time verses just stare back at you. Your just reading to be reading. And then there are times God does a mind trick on people that prevents them from understanding. Point in fact, the mystery of God, and scriptures related to the mystery.
 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:  To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
God has to will a individual to know what is the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you the hope of glory. The knowledge pertaining to the word mystery points to when in time the Lord appears in the clouds and gathers his Saints unto himself at the seventh trumpet, &53, . But prior to that, you have to be equipped, made worth to reign with Jesus Christ for a thousand years, , by having your heart purified by faith and die to the lusts of the flesh. and Romans12:1, along with the many verses about suffering, all pointed to a aspect of theology that initially piqued my interest when I first noticed , just prior to the car accident that dramatically changed my life. Then verses in Hebrews grabbed my attention. The whole book of Hebrews is rife with symbolism surrounding Jesus Christ as the High Priest of the New Testament in contrast with the Old Testament tabernacle High Priest and the day of atonement sacrifice. I have read and studying verses in Hebrews countless times, especially the 10th chapter. Subject matter that many teachers of the law and other men misunderstand and misinterpret, . Specifically interpreting types and shadows of the OT tabernacle and applying them to NT theology, erroneously using them to show how we are to approach God.
 Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.  We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.  For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp.  Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.  Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.  For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.
There was a altar outside the camp of the tribes of Israel in the wilderness and then outside of the ceremonial clean area surrounding Herod’s Temple in Jerusalem, where the bodies of the various sin sacrifices were burned because they were considered unclean. This altar is only indirectly mentioned one other time in the NT.
 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:  How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
Purge your moral conscience from dead works points to , it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace, not by any works of righteousness which we have done. I view Jesus offering himself without spot to God in concert with the following verses.
 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:  So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.  For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,
 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all .
Few Christians are aware of the symbolism involving the offering of the body of a sin sacrifice on a altar outside the camp. I view the body prepared for Jesus Christ in He10:5, as the body of Christ. Those who were known in him before the foundation of the world, . By extension the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross and the offering of his blood and body represent our blood and body, due to the fact we in him, , . There again in is the word mystery, pointing to the union of Jesus Christ with his body the church. The Christ in you hope of glory. The types and shadows one can draw largely from within the book of Hebrews regarding the law, need to be governed by .
 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.
You have to be careful of how you extrapolate meaning from types and shadow of the Old Testament Law and apply them to New Testament theology. Because these types and shadows from the law are not the very image of the sacrifice and offerings for sin that Jesus Christ was and is. Obviously there is no actual altar where the collective body of sin, of the body of Christ, is being burned up by fire. There need not be because of . There are a few verses that mention fire as a symbol in connection with sanctification.
 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:  Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
The chaff is a metaphor for the flesh. The sufferings in life is the fire.
 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:  But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
This verse points to the partaking that the body of Christ have in the sufferings of Christ. Apostle Paul in the verses pasted below, calls it the fellowship of his suffering and the word fellowship is translated from the same Greek word that is translated into the word communion in . Which is the verse I used to start this article.
 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;  If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
The aim or goal of suffering is given not only by Apostle Peter but also by Apostle Paul. Ceasing from sin and denying ungodliness and worldly lusts.
 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;  That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.
 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,  Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
The Greek word translated into the English word teaching in verse 12 is also translated into the different forms of chastise as these words appear in the New Testament. Chastisement involves suffering.
 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.  For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.  But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.
 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.  If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?  Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
God scourges the sons he loves and all the powers that be in this world are of God, . If you do wrong they do not bear the sword in vain. So chastisement by God may or may not appear to be coming directly from him. It can come from civil authorities for you amendment. It took me over 20 years to realize that the car accident in which I was so badly hurt in, was a chastisement by God. I was driving much faster than the posted speed limit, listening to hard rock music. Extremely irresponsible for a man with a wife and two sons. There were other, personal things, going on in my life that the small still voice of the Spirit was cautioning me to stop that I ignored. If it sounds like I am being too hard on myself, I am not. There is One who can be very hard on us for a very good reason.
 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:  For our God is a consuming fire.
This article is just a bare bones approach in showing the role suffering plays in salvation. The first nine articles on the home page goes into deeper detail regarding this matter. Ideally they should be read in the order. There are articles that follow after these articles that delve into other aspects of New Testament doctrine.
Php 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
Why is it that we have to work out our salvation with the mindset of fear and trembling? A scripture in Hebrews shows this to be also true with the author of our salvation, the head of the body of Christ, Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 5:7-10 KJVS
 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;  Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;  And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;  Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.
Obedience is not a easy trait to acquire due to the vanity of the flesh we were subjected to, Ro 8:20. In a previous article I mentioned Psalm 82, wherein the sons of God in the past had a judgement placed on them because they did not rule with the fruit of righteousness. Probably due to the fact that these fruits were never fully grown in them.
Hebrews 12:6-8 KJVS
 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.  If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?  But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
Philippians 3:9 KJVS
 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
There is little chance of a person growing in maturity without being taught, disciplined and chastised for their wrong behavior and immaturity, Titus 2:11-12, 1Co 11:31-32. That is readily apparent in the real world, where you see many a little child in public, who are acting out and making a fuss in order to get what they want. Little children with immature and selfish egos that are intent on self gratification. Petulant, sulking and angry children that need correction. Now, many adults are not all that more mature, just a little better at hiding their true natures. Those of us in the body of Christ are facing God’s judgement as they live because they are dead in Christ, Gal 2:20! He 9:27, 1 Pe 4:17, He 3:6. One set of scriptures that show this judgement by God are in 1 Corinthians.
1 Corinthians 11:29-32 KJVS
 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.  For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.  For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.  But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.
Primary definition from The Strong’s Concordance for the word “condemned” In verse 32.
1. to give judgment against, to judge worthy of punishment
For a more detailed explanation see this article. http://www.justifiedfreely.com/?p=182 So you can see judgement is corrective and aimed towards character development in the individuals being judged. It is wise to understand the consequences involved with sinning against the law of Christ, and put away inconsiderate behavior towards other members of the body of Christ. Peter lists some of this childish behavior and exhorts us to start to grow in the godly character and maturity that will be necessary in the kingdom of God.
1 Peter 2:1-2 KJVS
 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,  As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
Reading the Word is essential for the maturation process. About 12 years ago I started reading the word daily. I have a spinal cord injury and due to pain, around noon everyday and again later at four in the afternoon, I lie down for 30-40 minutes. It helps with the pain and weakness associated with the nerve damage that I live with. I had and still have a couple of vest pocket New Testaments. I can’t lie on my back as that makes the pain worse. So I lie on my side. I had a corpectomy and a four level fusion C-4 to C-8 in 1998. I am only suppose to lift ten pounds with either hand. So it is easier on my neck holding the small vest pocket bible than a full size bible while in bed. I am a fast reader and it was not unusual to read a couple epistles a day. Reading mind you, not understanding. I had a rotation of sorts which I followed and now know the New Testament well. I am 64 years old and have lived with a spinal cord injury for 31 years. Every year it gets harder and harder for me to live on my own. I am also a woodworker, although I have not built anything in the last couple years due to pain and increased weakness. I usually make Shaker or Mission style furniture using traditional joinery techniques. The trouble I had with scripture, was fitting all the verses together and arriving at comprehensive whole. The woodworker in me kept trying to assemble verses by words and concepts. It took a long time for the Holy Spirit to teach me the word, 1 Co 2:13, largely due to the indoctrination of the religious institution I grew up in. It is important to ask for for wisdom and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, and then believe what the Spirit of truth is teaching you. Great familiarity with the word is important and I now have a ten inch iPad with a bible app with The Strong’s Concordance embedded into the bible app. I write most my articles on it now, lying in bed or sitting in front of a small table using the iPad. Typing with a stylus due to nerve damage in my left hand. I have found there is more pain sitting at the computer than using the iPad. I have fallen hard a couple times in the last month. On concrete both times. If you think of it, say a prayer for me. The reason I bring it up is I am starting to really identify with working out my salvation with fear and trembling. We through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. But being a member of the “me generation”, like the spoiled children I mentioned before, At first I wanted instant gratification. Wanted to be able to call fire out of the sky, Lk 5:54-56, so to speak. A individual is rarely capable to objectively judge their own spiritual maturity, for good reason.
Jeremiah 17:9 KJVS
 The heart is deceitful above all things , and desperately wicked: who can know it?
The Strong’s primary definition for the Hebrew word translated into the English word “wicked”.
to be weak, sick, frail
Well that certainly hits the mark with me, plus couple the above verse with what James wrote.
James 1:23-25 KJVS
 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:  For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.  But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein , he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
This working out your salvation with fear and trembling, encompasses so much it is hard to confine it in one or more posts. But now that I think about it, it is what this web site is all about. Salvation is the process of God purifying our hearts by faith and being sanctified by the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all, Acts 15:9, He 10:10. Which is a painful process in itself that involves affliction and suffering, Isa 48:10, 1Pe 4:1-2. So this whole salvation process is ultimately learning to be obedient to the will of God and the law of Christ. But this obedience is not brought about by the will of the flesh of a man but by God, Jn 1:13. If you examine the fruit of the Spirit they are positive expression of the heart. Hurting the feelings of, or causing other members of the body of Christ to stumble, is more grievous to God than the offenses of the holiness standards of many churches. Taste not, touch not, handle not rules and bylaws, are often the work of man, Col 2:21-23. Abstaining from something does nothing towards curbing or eliminating natural desires and lusts of the flesh for the things of this world. Only through the Holy Spirit mortifying the deeds of the flesh, can we crucify the flesh with its affections and lusts, Ro 8:13, Gal 5:24. We are cautioned to use meekness and fear when trying to restore someone who is overtaken in a fault, Ga 6:1. Meekness is a fruit of the Spirit and one can learn much by examining the verses where that word is used in the NT. Human nature being what it is, a person should examine their heart very carefully and see what is the motivating reasons behind attempting to restore someone who is overtaken by a fault. God certainly does. If your heart is not motivated by the fruit of the Spirit, you might do well to leave the person alone. I grew up in the country where it is common knowledge and common sense not to poke a hornets nest with a stick. Heavy handedness can hurt and cause a fellow member of the body of Christ to stumble and lose their way by provoking wrath and pride. The intriguing aspect of all of this, is that God intentionally subjected the creation to vanity, part of which is transient morality. When a man is separated from his mother’s womb and called by God’s grace, the inward man in us desires to do the good and be obedient to the law of God but the sin that dwells in him is constantly warring against his mind, Ro 7:19-24. This is the struggle I have found myself in for quite some time. The scriptures bear it true that external and inner conflict on, and in a man, leads to change in a man, when that change is being facilitated by the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:3 states that natural man is too weak in the flesh to obey the law of God. So God sent His son as a sacrifice and offering for sin, to condemn sin in the flesh. But the sacrifice and offering for sin still has to be worked into the flesh of the members of the body of Christ, Ro 12:1, He 10:9-10. Remember that presenting of our bodies as a living sacrifice takes place at the altar outside the camp, He 13:10-13. Now at some point I came to realize that because of this fact, the flesh being too weak to observe the law, a person could hardly expect the Jews of the Old Testament to faithfully observe the law. Why? Because they were given the role of the vessels of wrath fitted for destruction, Ro 9:22, who God used to show His wrath and make His power known in the earth. Obedience is motivated by several factors. Love, respect and fear. Fear of the consequences involved for not being obedient. But the fear of God chronicled in many episodes in the scriptures, is a fear with a good deal of awe and trembling involved due to the power and presence of a immensely powerful creator or His angels, He 12:18-21. Da 8:17&27. Read the book of Job. I have many times, trying to determine why Job had to suffer so. There is a couple verses that comes to mind from the book which shows the power of God and the effect it has on a man.
Job 42:5-6 KJVS
 I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.  Wherefore I abhor myself , and repent in dust and ashes.
In any Army, there is a chain of command and the Army in heaven is no different. You have to have a powerful leader in charge of a Army that commands respect, loyalty and obedience. To ensure that a thousand year Kingdom of God functions as God intends, there will be no place for ego, self interests and other aspects related to the flesh, otherwise it will be the same old same old of the last six thousand years. Everyone who rules and reigns with Christ, in the age to come will be dead to the flesh, obedient and will know their place in the scheme of things. Humility will need to be learned, 1 Pe 5:6, 1 Co 12:14-18, Phil 2:3. Another aspect apparent in Job and is also a recurrent theme throughout the NT, is that God is the determiner of a man’s righteousness, not man. As a General rule people do not like change in their lives, much preferring remanning in the status quo. Unless some form of conflict forces change, it likely does not happen on its own. So when you read the Ro 7:19-24 verses and see that same conflict that Paul describes within yourself, you can certainly identify with this dilemma, where the flesh is too weak to observe the law of God, Ro 8:3. But at the same time the inner man delights in the law of God, due to the indwelling Holy Spirit. I know the conflict in me is quite troubling at times and precipitates groanings in the Spirit, Ro 8:26, and causes me to come before the throne of grace in times of need, He 4:16. Given some thought, a person realizes that positive change can only come about through God using discipline and teaching from the scriptures and His Spirit. Using 20-20 hindsight, a good deal of the problem in the past for me, has been the focus on the Old Testament prosperity doctrine in many of today’s churches. If you give 10% to God he will bless you with ten fold or maybe even a hundred fold back in return. So you buy lottery tickets, pray and wait in misspent hope. What I did not understand until the last decade or so, is that in the New Testament, God blesses us with the blessings of Abraham.
Acts 3:25-26 KJVS
 Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.  Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.
Galatians 3:14 KJVS
 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
The Strong’s definition of the Greek word translated into the English word iniquities in Acts 3:25.
depravity, iniquity, wickedness
evil purposes and desires
We are blessed by God in the New Testament through the redemption process that is in Jesus Christ. Wherein the Holy Spirit working in our lives, turns us away from our depraved and wicked behavior. God scourges every son and daughter whom he receives and has very stringent code of behavior and fruit He expects and instills in His sons and daughters necessary for the coming of His Kingdom on earth.
Galatians 5:22-24 KJVS
 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,  Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.  And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.