Tag Archive: Suffering



“For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. 15What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means!” -Romans 6:14-15

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Once a subject comes to the Lord, and evil’s grasp over a person begins to weaken, the enemy reaches into his well worn bag of tricks to pullout a biggie. Those who come to the cross know that they are forgiven for their sins, and the newly created, not yet having moved onto solid food (Hebrews 5:11-14), may be approached with the temptation that Christ’s blood, which grants righteousness through faith, gives one freedom in sin. God’s perfect word addresses this very thing. Yet, even as I mentioned , that this is a common temptation when first coming to the Lord and knowing only the elementary truths, it can, in fact, afflict even those who have moved onto a more mature diet.

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As Romans 6:15 urges us not to sin while we are covered with grace, The Book of Hebrews reiterates the danger of using Christ’s blood as an excuse for iniquity:

“If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27but only a fearful expectation of judgment and raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.” -Hebrews 10:26-27

In Exodus 34:7, there are three kinds of sin that are mentioned. There are those sins, which result from the habitual acts and thoughts of the human nature, more or less, because of our “natural” faulty faculties, by which we fall short of the Glory of God. For instance, catching ourselves cursing at someone in traffic. I will refer to these sins as a “breach.” Though I may give these kinds of sin different terms, this is strictly for the purposes of differentiation, and by no means necessarily reflect how the Lord may judge these sins, which is not for me to say. These are just general categories that seem to be implicit in Scripture.

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The second category, and addressed throughout this entry, is iniquity. Iniquity is willful sin in the sight of God. The willful sins are of greater consequence. We know this, not only because of the dangers represented through God’s word, but as those who have engaged in willful sin under grace (as I have) should be able to testify, the conviction by the Spirit concerning such sin weighs more heavily than does the conviction of a breach.

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Thirdly, and yet first in terms of severity, is “transgression,” or willful rebellion. To rebel against the ways of God, is to rebel against the nature of God, and in such sin there is no forgiveness, for there is no repentance. True repentance is not merely the asking for the forgiveness of sin, but turning and walking away from it.

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The similarities of the last two examples reside in the fact that they are both willful. Yet, in the case of transgression, it is a willful rebellion against God. Between iniquity and rebellion there is a subtle difference, in which the degree of the rebellion is emphasized. In iniquity, while one does certainly rebel in the very act of the willful sin, and in fact all sin is disobedience, the rebellion in the heart may not be to the degree of transgression. The latter is often strove for in a permanent sense, that the transgressor is not willing to give all to God, or even allow God to work in that area of sin.

As with some breaches, iniquity too can be habitual by nature. This is usually due to our indulgences in that sin, either prior to coming to Christ, or those times when people fall away and rebel willingly, as I too am guilty of. So for such people like myself, where is the hope? Does it exist for those like me who, by my own admission, have rebelled and fallen away (more than once) having both iniquity and transgression represented in my life? It is somewhat distressing personally to read verses like the one contained in Hebrews. Is there any hope if one is guilty of iniquity?

By the grace of God, I am here to tell you, absolutely! There is still hope, for as I stated earlier, in regards to the convictions of the Spirit, which are manifest when those sins that reside in the scope of iniquity are committed, the conviction is a lot, “heavier.” By the mere conviction alone, we see the Holy Spirit still communicating with us and weighing a burden of conviction upon our hearts. Taking this into account, and knowing that the Holy Spirit is, “a guarantee of what is to come,” (2 Corinthians 1:22) we know by the Word itself we may still be under grace.

Yet, let us not undermine the danger in such intentional sin and disobedience. As with Samson, the Lord eventually left him, and as the Scriptures tell us, he was not even aware that this was the case, which is the biggest tragedy. Thus, when iniquity becomes so prevalent in our lives, we may not know when we have moved from under grace to under wrath. To which point this occurs is not for me to say, nor would I, lest by doing so I may cause a stumbling block for others, for man has a tendency to push the limits of what is right, edging as close as he can before crossing the ethical boundaries he perceives, or that which have been set by the Lord. This kind of knowledge is reserved for the Lord and is between the Lord and the trespasser. The fact is, with a willful progression and steadfastness in iniquity, Hebrews suggest that by engaging in this with abandon, there is no sacrifice to cover the sin!

However, even to those who have at one time in their life, “trampled on the blood of Christ,” or fallen away, you have hope abounding! This is because of our gracious, merciful God, to whom belongs all the glory! Even Samson, though the Lord left him, at his end called on the Lord, and by doing so, God gave him the strength to destroy the temple. In addition, as the parable of the prodigal son testifies, there is much rejoicing in heaven when a former son, or daughter, returns to the Lord. In fact, more so than that of the righteous.

Our Lord is gracious and loving, but He warns us sternly not to take advantage of the grace He has offered us. It has been wrought with the blood, pain, suffering and humiliation experienced by His one and only Son, our savior, Jesus Christ. Shall we choose to hammer the nails deeper into Christ by continuing to sin, knowing full well what Christ endured on our behalf?

The three types of sin brought up earlier can be recovered by grace with a repentant humble heart. Yet, man in his imperfection still continues to sin, but Christ’s blood has both covered the sins of the past, and of the future. The warning is powerful, as it should be, for as some will testify, including myself, with the indulgence of iniquity you by your own accord have departed from under the cleansing blood of Christ. If this is the case, and I pray it isn’t, then you may find yourself much like Samson, with the Lord leaving you and you being unaware. Woe to the man or woman who in such a state is perishing.


“And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.” -1 Corinthians 15:17

"Resurrection of Christ," by Noel Coypel. oil on canvas, c. 1700

Due to our sin and the guilt that remained a stain upon us, Christ had to die if we had any hope of being saved at all, but not just that. We find, even in His death, we are not saved, but rather it offered us the door into salvation (see my note concerning Romans 5:10, “On Holy Boot Camp and a Conversation With The Dark Messenger”). Yet, it is His resurrection that the gospel comes to a full fruition and we are saved. It is by His sacrifice, in which He endured great suffering and died that in His righteousness, He would rise again, the firstfruit of this same righteousness. When we come to the Lord, our sin, iniquities, and old selves die upon the cross, but in His life we began to truly live. Thus, because of Christ’s perfect obedience, in its time and season, we too will rise again with a new body, free from decay, a like kind of what Christ was awarded.

Romans Chapter 4, Verse 25, tells us:

“He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.”

May we praise and bless His eternal name, for His death provided the needed justification and His resurrection the righteousness, that we may be seen as clean and free from blemish in the sight of God. In and by Christ, both God’s justice and grace (see note on Romans 6:23, “On The Justice and The Gift”) were manifest to completion, in order that we may drink from the river of life, and to Him we return the glory. Amen.
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“‘He Himself bore our sins’ in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by His wounds you have been healed.'” -1 Peter 2:24

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"Christ on The Cross With Three Angels," by Albrecht Durer. sketch, c. 1525

Though I try not to look at Scripture in a purely aesthetic context, I am a nerd and there are times, or rather verses, where I feel almost overcome by its beauty. This verse is no different. Eons before the arrival of Shakespeare, the apostle Peter recounts something worthy of the “Hamlet” author, by the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 53:5). As Shakespeare liked to utilize compare/contrast and antithesis in his poems and plays, Peter and Isaiah do similarly with the phrases, “die to sins and live for righteousness,” and, “by His wounds you have been healed.”

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The antithesis represented by the words, “die,” “live,” “wounds,” and, “healed,” emphasize what Christ endured on our behalf, and for what cause. Christ was mocked, flogged, crowned with thorns, and crucified, in order that, by Him, we may be crowned by His glory and receive the gift of eternal life, returning the glory to its rightful place. In our salvation, we praise and glorify our savior, who bore incredible suffering for the likes of sinful, grotesque and undeserving man, that by His love, we may dwell with Him inside eternity. No praise seems worthy, for His glory far outweighs what we can offer. Yet, we strive to perfect our praise, love, and adoration in our hearts, spirits, minds and actions, for this is what God desires, commands and more than deserves. May our praises upon the alter of humility be a pleasant aroma unto our Lord and God whose glory and grace far outweigh what we could ever hope to offer.

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"Deposition," by Albrecht Durer. engraving, c. 1512


“For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.” -2 Corinthians 5:4

After my conversion, the Lord guided me to the letters of Paul and gave me an unquenchable thirst for the Word. Some of my first God led studies put me in 2 Corinthians and my spirit was elated by the truths contained therein.

This verse amazed me so much that I wrote down that its implications were staggering and I spent quite some time in healthy meditation letting the Spirit teach me through the words in the verse. In it, and especially considering where I was in my life, it gave me hope and filled me with a desire to press on.

The verse implies that the life we lead now is not true reality, but rather a “poor reflection as in a mirror” (1 Corinthians 13:12). It is not until we experience death in the physical, that we will then, in Christ, experience true life. “Then we will see face to face” (1 Corinthians 13:12). Therefore, all that’s considered pure and good by man, in this “life,” is merely an abstract representation of truth which we will come into at the time of our passing from this world into the glory that lies beyond.

Though at times we desire this because of our worldly suffering, that is not the only reason we do so. Paul, whose close relationship with the Lord made him content in all things, did not desire to leave the world due to his suffering, but rather He longed to lay his eyes upon the author and perfecter of his faith. He longed to see Christ and though we shall all have to stand in judgment, let us have complete confidence in the salvation promised us by faith in Christ and guaranteed by the presence of the Spirit in our hearts, which is the deposit of what is to come (Verse 5, see my note, “On Purpose and Love”). Therefore friends, may we all be as Paul and by love long to see the King of Kings in that unknown day and hour, or at our appointed time. Amen.


“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” -Hebrews 13:8

"Christ on the Sea of Galilee," by Tintoretto. oil on canvas, c. 1575-1580

As I have mentioned before, and indeed will probably mention again, Hebrews remains one of my favorite Books in the Bible. Chapter 12 especially was instrumental at leading me to the Lord. This particular verse I didn’t stumble upon until later, after the initial encounter, but it certainly added to my realization that God was real and not some made up thing, though I honestly thought for a while if I was putting it all in my head myself and I struggled with this, but when resolution came it pushed all doubts out of my mind. This verse is beautiful in form, in simplicity, and in meaning. I will tell briefly about some of my testimony and why this verse is so important to me.

For a time, during a particularly dark period in my life, I cried out to God for deliverance. He answered me not in just resolving my troubles, but He also spoke to me. As much as I would like to hear from Him again in like manner, to this day He hasn’t spoke to me the way He did in those dark days. I don’t know why, though I am sure He still does, but not in the same “hearing” sense.

Let me explain a little what I mean by “hearing.” When the Lord speaks to you in words its usually not a booming voice that comes out of the sky. It is a booming voice in your heart, mind a spirit. In fact, looking back I am not so sure that it wasn’t audible, but it was powerful. At the risk of sounding like I am some esoteric mystic, its really hard to describe unless it has happened to you. At any rate, in one word spoken from God I felt that I would be delivered, and I truly was by His grace. What was spoken and in what context I will save for another time, but I will say it was directly linked with Hebrews chapter 12.

The second time the Lord spoke to me was a time when I finally understood what Christ has done. It humbles one to a Godly sorrow, and it was in the midst of this sorrow, and me asking why, stating that I wasn’t worth the torture He suffered and it should have been me  instead, something only a Christian can understand (it is commonplace within the faith), that He answered: “I would do it yesterday, today and tomorrow.”

"Christ on The Cross," detail from the center panel of the Isenheim Alterpeice, by Matthias Grunewald. oil on panel, c. 1512-1515

At this time I was far from being a biblical scholar, and still am, but the Word was absolutely foreign to me, which is my shame because I did go to a Christian school, but my conversion was long after. When I eventually did come across this verse sometime later, I almost fell out of my chair, for the Scripture and what God spoke to me (I made sure to write it down) are in essence, identical. As far as I knew then and know now, I had no previous knowledge of this verse, I was never the sort to engage in any sort of memorization except the best places to go party.

There are a couple other times God spoke to me, but the last time He did, it was a little less positive. He indicated that due to a situation I was willingly walking into that, if I continued, I would, “suffer.” Indeed I did, and backslid heavily. Yet, the Lord by His grace has called me to Him once more. Looking back, its seems so amazing that I am tempted to think perhaps I was nuts, or somehow arranging past circumstances, either consciously or subconsciously in a way to make it appear I was in touch with some hard to reach mystical realm. However, my volumes of journals testify to the reality of the occurrences, the words given to me, and there are even witnesses that can testify to it as well. In full disclosure to the reader, I am actually quite hesitant about sharing all of that and posting it to complete strangers. In fact, I feel a little sick to my stomach due to the influence of my old friend cowardice.

With that foreknowledge, let’s turn to the verse. In life everything can at times feel like it is out to get us. The trust we place on people and possessions is so powerful that when we are let down, when we find our bank accounts lacking, and when people we thought would be there aren’t, our hearts get hardened, so that the resulting pain may never be felt again. We feel in essence that a hardened heart will act like a giant Tylenol that will elevate the pain in our lives and spirit. It doesn’t, for out of that only comes self-destruction and despair.

Christ went through the most ghastly experience, by being tortured and mercilessly put to death on the cross, but even in His suffering He did not harden His heart against man, nor does He even regret what He went through! In fact, He would do it tomorrow if it were required, but as He said, “it is finished.”


Christ is a truth we can rely on when others fail us. This doesn’t mean that we will always get what we want or that we will be spared pain, rather realize that because of what Christ has done pain isn’t eternal for those who believe upon Him and we will someday receive a gift that is beyond description and beyond what we could even dream to want, salvation in eternity with our Lord and all those who we know in Jesus Christ.

The banks may fail, but we can always bank on Christ. His blood is still flowing over us, cleansing us of the tarnish of sin and iniquity, just as it was decreed at the beginning and as it will last forever. We won’t have absolute happiness until we get there friends and cross the finish line, but in our silly “little” suffering, we can take heart that the Lord is there to comfort and guide us. We have a God that cares for us, is interested in the little things we go through day after day, and is eager to hear from us. Such a Lord no other can boast, but we can boast in Christ, who is the same yesterday, today and forever, and who would do it all over again yesterday, today and tomorrow.

"Christ on The Cross," by Albrecht Altdorfer. c. 1520


“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in he Spirit.” -1 Peter 3:18

Though we all suffer for our sins due to the discipline of God, realize its also an inevitable outcome of sin, that is suffering. Sin brings about suffering in many ways, spiritually, mentally, physically, emotionally, which is manifest in our lives and actions, separating us further from God, our lives entangled in a hedge of sin and impeded by willful iniquity.

To which of us has not experienced such things or indulged in the worship of the self. Yet, it is to those like us Christ came to save, and though He was just, He choose to take the just punishment for the unjust, which He accomplished by allowing Himself to be nailed unto a tree, and becoming subservient unto physical death despite His divine nature. This action of pure love was followed by a earthquake and darkness when that part of the trinity gave Himself over to death. There was bound to be some momentous physical manifestation of the event if Christ who was who He said He was. These manifestations are not only recorded in the Bible, but also in independent sources as well.

"Crucifixion," by Georges Rouault. oil on canvas, c. 1937

His purpose was to offer all men and all manner of sinners to become reconciled to God. Make no mistake, you, as an individual, we’re clearly in the mind of God, even as Christ laid and bled upon the cross. Christ became obedient to the rules of man, and physicality, when he was covered with a shroud by mourners and placed in a dark cave.

Yet, his ascension and resurrection was planned since from the beginning and the stone was rolled away, so that though He was put to death, in the same way, by faith upon Him, we too can die to the flesh everyday while we reside in this age where we continue to strive to look past the pure physical and unto Him. Amen.

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