“Why Suffering & Sickness?”

Posted: October 24, 2014 in Christian Life, Death, Gospel, James, Resurrection, Salvation

The critics ask, “If God is so loving and kind, why is there so much suffering and sickness, disease and death in the world? If He’s all powerful, why doesn’t He put an end to all of it? How could a loving Father be pleased to see His Son suffering and dying on a cross? Why was it necessary for Jesus to die at all? Shouldn’t we follow the advice of some ‘preachers’ who tell us to claim (demand) and expect health, wealth, and happiness in this life?” *

James, the Lord’s half brother, tells us believers what we’re supposed to do when we’re suffering, cheerful, or sick (James 5:13-16). But first, we should consider some other important matters:

Suffering And Death. The Scriptures say it clearly. “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12). There was no death on earth before Adam and Eve sinned by eating the forbidden fruit. This refutes the evolutionary theory that often is presented as a fact. Both evolution and creation must be based on one’s faith since we weren’t there to observe what actually happened. That is the scientific method. As someone has said, “It takes too much faith to be an atheist and to believe in evolution.”

Like God. Even though the skeptics don’t like to acknowledge miracles (Acts 4:16), the Scriptures tell us that Satan used the serpent to deceive the woman (Genesis 3:1-5; Revelation 12:9). He convinced her that God was trying to withhold something good from her – the ability to know the difference between good and evil. She may have thought, “If I eat this fruit, I won’t have to rely on God anymore to let me know what is beneficial or detrimental to me. I can be an independent woman.” After eating the fruit, she gave it to Adam and he ate. She was deceived; he disobeyed with his eyes opened (1 Timothy 2:14).

Consequences. God had warned Adam (not Eve), “…for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:17). Adam had never seen death before and didn’t know what it was. Two kinds of death were involved: spiritual and physical. Spiritual death (separation from God) occurred immediately (Romans 6:23). Physical death came gradually (Genesis 5). This involves the separation of the spirit (that belongs to the mind – Ephesians 4:23) from the body (James 2:26). Contrary to what some cults and other religions teach, the Scriptures nowhere teach the annihilation of the wicked dead or reincarnation (Hebrews 9:27).

Reversed. Spiritual death (separation from God) is reversed today when a person places his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ who died for our sins…and rose again bodily from the grave on the third day (Acts 16:31; 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4; Luke 24:33-43). Physical death will be reversed at different times, not in just one resurrection at the end of time (1 Corinthians 15:20-26). Christ’s bodily resurrection assures us of our bodily resurrection. Do you know in which of the five resurrections you will participate? If not, ask for help. The second death is irreversible. Everyone who dies physically without Christ as his personal Savior enters “the second death” and will be cast into the lake of fire and will suffer there forever (Revelation 20:14; 21:8; Matthew 25:41, 46). No human being needs to go there. Contrary to what some churches teach (limited atonement**), salvation (deliverance from hell) has been provided for all of us sinners (John 3:16; 1 John 2:1). But this “ticket to heaven” must be received by faith and cannot be secured by our good works lest any of us should boast (Ephesians 2:8-10). Do you have yours yet? Can it be lost (John 10:28, 29)? Are you sure (1 John 5:13)? A person who believes in “Lordship for salvation”*** can’t be sure he’ll go to heaven when he dies. Do you know what this involves?

Christ’s Death. Some people think that God is a dirty bully.  They think Christ didn’t need to die for mankind.  They don’t like what they call “a bloody religion.” Some churches have eliminated the songs that talk about Christ’s shedding His own blood for our sins. Some parents are afraid to talk to their children about such things lest they become traumatized by His violent death. Instead, they like to talk about what a kind and good man Jesus was. But without Christ’s shedding His blood for our sins, there would be no remission of sins (Hebrews 9:24). Furthermore, because the Apostle Paul insisted that the bodily resurrection be a part of the Gospel message, he suffered persecution (2 Timothy 2:8-10). The Sadducees didn’t believe in the resurrection (Matthew 22:23) and neither did some of the Athenians of Paul’s day (Acts 17:32).  The Good News isn’t complete without it.  Proclaim it too!

Volunteer. Jesus wasn’t forced to go to the cross. He chose to be the member of the Godhead (Trinity) who would add to His Divine nature a real human nature and a human body so that He could offer Himself as our perfect substitute (Hebrews 10:7, 9; Luke 22:42; John 10:14-18; 1 Peter 3:18). The virgin, Mary is the mother of His humanity only, not of His deity. She referred to Him as her Savior (Luke 1:47).

Application. In addition to convicting unsaved people of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8-11), the Holy Spirit applies the blessings and benefits of salvation to the true believers (Ephesians 1:3, 13, 14). If you’re saved, how many spiritual blessings and promises can you enumerate?

Summary. Suffering and death are the result of sin. But believe it or not, while we’re here on earth “There is good in pain, privation, suffering and bereavement. They correct evil, prevent evil, develop character, produce sympathy, promote enterprise, and prepare us for eternity.” – Source unknown. And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). “And God will wipe away every tear from [the believer’s] eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4). But for unbelievers who die physically without Christ as their personal Savior, the future is dark and frightening. “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8).

Help. If you have questions/comments about this article, contact us at 805-238-3549 or visit our website at www.kelseypeach.com. If you’d like to receive future articles as they come out, click on “Follow.” If this article has helped you, share it with someone else.

*Faith Healers http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/doctrine/charis06.htm

http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/doctrine/charis06.htm (Note point # 7)

**Limited Atonement http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/doctrine/danger02.htm

***Lordship Salvation http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/salvatio/lordshrq.pdf

http://www.gracelife.org/resources/dissertation/?id=3

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