29. Is all suffering in life punishment for sin?
No, there is suffering that God, in His wisdom and love, brings on both unbelievers and believers.
Such suffering is supposed to bring about knowledge of sin, to purify and prove faith, to mature the inner man, and to awaken longing for our eternal home. There is also suffering through which God wants to show His power and glory, e.g. the healing of those born blind (John 9).
- For whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.”
Hebrews 12:6) – Suffering to help us mature as His children
- Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. (James 1:12) – Suffering to test and prove our faith
- Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. (1 Peter 4:1-2) – Suffering to purify us
- Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. (Isaiah 48:10) – Suffering to refine us
- And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. (2 Corinthians 12:7) – Suffering to protect us
- Rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. (1 Peter 4:13-14) – Suffering as a testimony of our faith