The Bible talks a lot about suffering as a Christian. However, many do not realize how much true Christians must suffer with Jesus. Many believe that suffering with Jesus means denying all natural pleasure of our body. However, many do not understand God’s word spiritually. Most interpret the word of God naturally. Those who interpret the word of God naturally corrupt themselves according to the book of Judas. They speak ill of things that they cannot understand without the guidance of the holy spirit. When one truly understands the hidden wisdom of God, he will suffer with Jesus as a true Christian.
How do we suffer as true Christians? First, we must realize that the word of God is a spiritual book that contains hidden wisdom. To do this, we must be born of the spirit of God. The Bible tells us that the natural man cannot receive the teaching of the holy spirit. We must have the spirit of God before we can receive the spiritual meaning of the Bible. Jesus must open our spiritual eyes. Those who do not have their spiritual eyes open, read the word of God naturally. They believe that they must follow God by keeping his commandments through their own works of righteousness. Many believe that they must live in a certain way to be or continue to be accepted by God. They do this because they do not understand the hidden meaning behind God’s commandments. They do not understand the hidden spiritual meaning. The Bible clearly tells us that God’s law is spiritual. However, most of the world tries to follow God naturally through their own works. However, we cannot earn or retain salvation by our own good works. Salvation is a complete gift from God. Jesus did all the work for our salvation, all we have to do is believe it. The spiritual meaning of God’s word is hidden from those who are lost. The God of this world has blinded their minds. When we receive the spirit of God, our spiritual eyes are open. Then, and only then, do we see what it takes for us to suffer as true Christians.
To suffer as a true Christian, we must proclaim or believe that faith alone in Jesus is sufficient for salvation. When we really do this, we will suffer as true Christians. Suffering will occur because the world will reject this idea. The natural mind will not be able to see how this is possible with all the commandments given in the Bible. They will insist that we must follow God’s commandments in the flesh through our own good works. Some will insist, those who are truly saved will have these works in the flesh. However, true Christians worship God in the spirit. True Christians understand that God’s law is spiritual. They understand that God’s only commandment is to believe and trust only in Jesus for salvation.
The world can never accept that faith alone is sufficient for salvation. This is because they cannot understand the spiritual meaning of God’s word without first receiving God’s spirit. When we follow God spiritually trusting only in Jesus, we will suffer persecution. Try it and you will see. Tell some professing Christians that you don’t have to live in any way to be saved. Tell them that they only have to trust Jesus for salvation. Tell them that you are free to live as you want without condemnation. They will think you are evil. They will think that you must be misrepresenting the word of God. They will think you are crazy. Many denominations will exclude you from their church if you speak this openly. The world believes that we must live a certain way to be accepted by God. This is because they naturally interpret God’s word for what it says and not for what it means spiritually. They do not understand that God’s law is spiritual, even though this is written in the Scriptures. They will not believe that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ, even though it is written in the Scriptures. The world relies on its own natural ability. They believe that they can begin to live a “good life” and that they will go to heaven. However, our own good works are not necessary for salvation. Only faith in Jesus is required for salvation.
When we abide in the truth of the gospel, we will suffer shame at the hands of the world. Many will speak ill of us. Some will cast our name as evil. They do this because they don’t understand us. They have a natural mindset, we have a spiritual mindset. The two are contrary to each other. The natural mind will not receive the things of the spirit of God. The natural mind can never see that God’s commandments mean to us that we trust only in Jesus when we understand them spiritually. For example, the Bible tells us not to lie. Many believe that we should not lie naturally. However, spiritually, a liar is one who denies that Jesus is the Christ. This is found in 1 John 2:22. Therefore, when we are commanded not to lie, we are commanded not to deny that Jesus is the Christ. When we are commanded not to lie, we are commanded to have faith in Jesus. When we carefully study the word of God with the guidance of the holy spirit, we can see the spiritual meaning of the word of God that is hidden from the natural mind. So, following this commandment spiritually is trusting only in Jesus for salvation. To follow him naturally is to try never to tell a lie naturally. That is why the natural mind will believe that we are twisting the word of God when we follow it spiritually, trusting in Jesus and not in our own works of righteousness.
If we add natural commandments and requirements to salvation, the world will accept us. Then they will welcome us. However, if we remain in the faith of the gospel, we will suffer. The gospel of Jesus offends those who are naturally minded. The world will never receive that only faith in Jesus is all that is required for salvation. The world will try to add natural commandments to live by in order to be or continue to be accepted by God.
Let people speak ill of us for the gospel of Christ. We suffer shame for the gospel of Christ. We suffer with Christ for the sake of his gospel. Remember, the religious leaders in Jesus’ day said that he could not be the son of God. They said that he was eating and drinking with sinners. That said, the son of God would never do such things. They believed in following God’s law naturally through their own deeds of the flesh. The world will do the same to us if we remain in the gospel. They said that Jesus had a devil. If we follow him, they will say we have a demon. They will say that the devil takes possession of us because they do not understand us.
If we agree with the world in believing that our own good works are a necessary part of salvation, we are denying Jesus. The Bible says that many profess to know it, but deny it with works. If we add one of our own works to the requirements of salvation, we deny Jesus. The Bible says, if we suffer with him, we will reign with him. If we deny it, he will deny us. We must believe and trust only in Jesus for salvation. There is no other way. If we believe this, we are true Christians. If we are true Christians, we will suffer. There is no maybe about it. If we truly follow Jesus, we will suffer. The Bible tells us that all who live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. If we try to live godly in ourselves through our own good works, the world will accept us. However, when we trust only in Jesus, the world will reject us. The suffering of this present world is not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us who are saved.
To suffer with Jesus is to remain in the faith of his gospel. Let’s never add our own works as necessary for salvation. Let’s not add to or subtract from the gospel of Jesus Christ. We suffer with him. He suffered for us. We suffer with him.