In this article I want to address some of the ideas mentioned in Part 1 of this series that I forgot to elaborate on.
Should Christians feel shame? Is the feeling of shame a form of chastisement from God?
A Christian might experience some form of shame before turning to Jesus, but once we have received mercy from God and forgiveness of sin should we continue to feel shame? I think it depends on the person. For some, shame is a nearly crippling force in their life already. Finding forgiveness from Jesus is a much-needed relief that makes a person free and able to begin a journey of healing from pains of the past. For others, a little bit of shame can be productive because it fosters humility, zeal for righteousness, and compassion.
In any case, a Christian is not bound to shame. In Jesus, we will move past all shame as we learn to trust in Him better. We learn that He knows everything about us, and He loves us anyway. He intends good things for us, and so when we make a mistake or struggle with sin, we can approach Him boldly and without shame. However, if we were to make a large mistake that brings dishonor to Jesus, then some feelings of shame might be appropriate. It depends on the individual circumstance.
Is shame a form of chastisement? The Lord convicts our heart of sin as His Spirit shows us the truth of our state and the truth of what God’s will is. I think the shame that follows is a natural human emotion, not something that God places in us as a form of chastisement.
God is love and He only wants good things for us. When bad things happen, Satan is to blame. Is this true?
I believe that the scriptures paint a picture of a fully sovereign God. I believe that God created Satan for a purpose, and God knows everything Satan will ever do—just as God knows everything we will ever do. God inhabits all time and all things are made by Him, upheld by Him, and fully known to Him. All things are created for His purposes, and the scriptures reveal that His purpose in creation is to “bring many sons of God to glory.”
All things, including Satan, were created as part of God’s plan to bring up His sons in Jesus Christ. All things, including Satan, are ultimately working together for our good.
Therefore, it is true that God is love and He wants good things for us. However, God’s ways are not our ways. What He deems good for us in the long run might be a form of evil in the short-term. Enduring difficulties teaches us to love righteousness, to hate sin, to lean on Jesus, and so much more.
When bad things happen to us, it is because God is angry with us. Good things in life indicate God’s blessing and approval. Is this true?
Sometimes we suffer because of chastisement. This is true. Sometimes we suffer for the namesake of Jesus and not because of any wrong we have done. If we do well, then God will bless us. This is also true. However, the blessings of God can vary a great deal depending on His purposes for each person.
Some blessings come in the form of prosperity that man deems good such as financial stability, but the most important kinds of blessings we look for are those of the Spirit. We want to find greater meaning in our Christian walk and greater service—and sometimes that means our blessing is found in suffering and poverty in this world. Many servants of Jesus have suffered and many more will suffer, not because they have done wrong, but because they are blessed.
It is a shame when we esteem so-called servants of God as blessed and approved because of their prosperity and popularity in this world when the opposite is usually the truth of the matter.
God has not appointed us to wrath; therefore, a Christian should not expect suffering. Is this true?
It is true that God has not appointed Christians to wrath. However, He does appoint us to chastisement and suffering. It can be easy to confuse the two, but they are not the same. The wrath of God is judgment and condemnation of the wicked. The chastisement of God and the suffering Christians endure brings life, not death. For context, go to 1 Thessalonians 5.
Christians have always suffered and died for the faith. Some have suffered extraordinary persecution and pain.
In the West, we are used to living in a largely Christian-friendly society. That does not mean that we are owed such an existence. In-fact, Christianity is built for persecution and hardship. Jesus teaches us to expect suffering, but He also teaches us that in Him we find the strength and the peace necessary to endure all things.
Here are additional scriptures not mentioned in Parts 2-3 that informed my view on Christian chastisement and suffering:
2 Corinthians 7:8-11
8 For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season.
9 Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.
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.
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
21 But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.
These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended.
2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.
3 And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.
40 And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.
41 And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.
42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.
7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
9 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:
10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
1 Peter 3:13-17
13 And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?
14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;
15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.
17 For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.
1 Peter 5:8-10
8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
10 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.
16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17 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.
18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
8 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;
9 I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.
10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.