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Thomas Schreiner – God’s Sovereign Rule Seen in Acts

1 Aug


God’s sovereign rule over all things does not mean that everything that occurs is intrinsically good. It was God’s plan that Jesus suffer and die for the sins of his people. A common theme is that believers must be prepared to suffer as well. The death of Stephen indicates that God’s plan is often worked out through the suffering of his own people. In Acts 12 Herod took action against the church and beheaded James the brother of John. Luke expresses no shock, recording the event abruptly and without detail. The death of James scarcely led to the conclusion that God is not in control, for Peter was released supernaturally, probably because of the church’s fervent prayers. Luke is not suggesting that the church failed to pray for James. He offers no explanation for the deliverance of Peter and the execution of James, proposing no neatly packaged answer for why some suffer and others are spared. God’s rule over the world does not lend itself to formulas by which evil can be easily explained. Given Luke’s worldview, he must have believed that God could have delivered James as well, and yet no reason for God’s actions are given. The rationale for much of what happens is obscured from human vision. Still, God’s control over all is conveyed powerfully by the conclusion of the story. The same Herod who executed James is struck dead by God when he fails to give God glory. God rules over the kings of the earth, and the evil that they inflict is under his hand, but God himself is untainted by evil.

~Thomas Schreiner~

New Testament Theology – Magnifying God in Christ (Grand Rapids, MI; Baker Academic; 2008) p. 141

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John Stott – Suffering and Glory

1 Oct

What was shameful even odious, to the critics of Christ was in the eyes of his followers most glorious. They had learned that the servant was not greater than the master and that for them as for him suffering was the means to glory. More than that, suffering was glory, and whenever they were “insulted because of the name of Christ,” then “the Spirit of glory” rested upon them.

~John Stott~

The Cross of Christ (Colorado Springs, Colorado; Navpress; 2011) p. 45.

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Jerry Bridges – Why Does God Allow Suffering and Pain?

19 Jun

God does not willingly bring affliction or grief to us. He does not delight in causing us to experience pain or heartache. He always has a purpose for the grief He brings or allows to come into our lives. Most often we do not know what that purpose is, but it is enough to know that His infinite wisdom and perfect love have determined that the particular sorrow is best for us. God never wastes pain. He always uses it to accomplish His purpose. And His purpose is for His glory and our good. Therefore, we can trust Him when our hearts are aching or our bodies are racked with pain.  

~Jerry Bridges~

Trusting God: Even When Life Hearts (Colorado Springs, CO; Navpress; 2008) p. 109

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D.A. Carson – Comfort Found Only in the Living Lord Himself

3 Apr

In the dark hours of suffering, Christians want more than the assurance that their beliefs are consistent. They draw comfort only from the living Lord himself, from the Spirit whom he has graciously given, from a renewed grasp, a felt experience, of the love of God in Christ Jesus ( Eph. 3:14–21 ). That is not to say, however, that the set of beliefs is irrelevant. It is to say that, in addition to holding that Christian beliefs are true and consistent, the Christian, to find comfort in them, must learn how to use them. Christian beliefs are not to be stacked in the warehouse of the mind; they are to be handled and applied to the challenges of life and discipleship. Otherwise they are incapable of bringing comfort and stability, godliness and courage, humility and joy, holiness and faith.

~D. A. Carson~

How Long, Oh Lord? Reflections on Suffering and Evil (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Book House Company; 2006) Chapter 1: First Steps – Hard Thinking

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