Affliction

    Affliction is part of the discipline of the life of grace. It is momentarily producing for us a weight of glory. In II Corinthians 4:17, the word for “moment” is parautika. It is an adverb meaning instantly, immediately, momentary, or transient. It is used only in this verse. Paul was speaking of the momentary lightness of affliction in view of the weight of eternal glory. Affliction, therefore, results in enriching the Christian’s spiritual life: “But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you” (I Pet. 5:10). The benefits of affliction are many:

  1. Affliction is a pathway to devotion: “Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word” (Ps. 119:67).
     
  2. It is to prove us: “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:10).
     
  3. Affliction is to furnish us with spiritual power. God’s strength is made perfect in human weakness (II Cor. 12:9).
     
  4. It polishes character (Rom. 5:3-5).
     
  5. It is a preparation for fruitfulness (John 15:2; II Cor. 1:3, 4). Affliction is like the pruning knife that removes the superfluous and useless but not always the evil things.
     
  6. Affliction is a pledge of coming glory (Job 23:10; II Cor. 4:17).
     
  7. It enables us to praise at the second coming of Christ (I Pet. 1:7). The grace of God will beat the spears of affliction into pruning hooks for Christians.

    Christians who magnify their afflictions do not have the Biblical perspective. The highest comfort human philosophy can give the afflicted is, if affliction is great, it is short; and if it is long, it is light. In other words, if affliction is severe, it will shorten life; but if it is of long duration, one will learn to bear it. However, Paul used the terms “light” and “momentary.” It is “light,” not in itself but comparatively, in respect to the excellency of the heavenly glory (Rom. 8:18), and copulatively, in respect to the support of the indwelling Spirit (Rom. 8:26, 27). It is “short” if it should last throughout one’s Christian life because it is only momentary compared with eternity. Affliction is long only when one measures it by time rather than by eternity. The longest time compared with eternity is nothing: “For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night” (Ps. 90:4).

Topics: Church Bulletin Articles
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