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20-07-2015 - Posted by Andre Piet

images8 The Bible leaves no doubt that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that will come. The previous week, when I said something about this, during the funeral of Esther, I was subsequently asked what is the point of the suffering? Why not start with glory? And when the glory begins and all the sufferings will be forgotten, what then has been the function of the suffering? Let us first establish that it is a Biblical rule that suffering precedes glory. On the day of His resurrection, the Stranger said to the  Emmaus-travelers, “Must not the Christ be suffering these things and [so] enter His glory?” (Luke 24:26). It was necessary, i.e., (literally): it was binding. No escape. In Romans 8:17-22, we see that this is a universal principle. The whole of creation is suffering and is subject to vanity, not willingly, but because of Him (= GOD) Who subjected it to this. There is no glory without prior suffering. Suffering is an essential component of future glory. God transforms suffering into glory. The best example of such glorifying we see in Christ. In his body of glory, suffering, obviously, is over. That body has no wounds, but it shows explicit the signs that recall His crucifixion (John 20:27). When John, in the book of “Revelation” describes the Lamb, he sees it “standing (thus risen!) as slain”. The crucifixion, in Christ’s resurrection, is glorified. It has become His ultimate glory! In His victory, the preceding battle gains significance. Adam and Eve, in the Garden of Eden, had no knowledge of good. They admittedly had a great deal of good, but they did not know nor realize it, as such. Only by means of evil, they would learn to know it. They ate of the forbidden fruit, through which they no longer had access to the tree of life and they and their descendants were doomed to die. But precisely in that way, they learned to know the good. Without this misery, man would never have gotten to know what compassion and mercy are. Without sin, there would never have been anything to forgive and, consequently, man would never fathom the depth of (God’s) love. Only through illness, one would learn to appreciate health. And through sorrow, we learn to appreciate joy. The universal principle is that we learn to know good by means of contrasts. The future glory will be no restoration of what it once was. It is not a return to the beginning. In that case, it suffering would have been in vain. That is unthinkable for a good God. God Who is good, would not have given a place to evil in His plan if it would have been essential for His plan to succeed. The suffering serves as a decorative foil for the future glory, even as a jeweller takes a dark background to make a diamond sparkle. God does not make mistakes!