Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sorrow and patience

Calvin's Institutes (1559)
Book 3 of 4 - How We Receive the Grace of Christ
Chapter 8 - Bearing the Cross, a Part of Self-Denial
Matt 16:24.
God takes His adopted children through trials, as He put His own Son through.
Matt 3:17; 17:5; Heb 5:8.
He does this to make us like Him, in suffering, then glory.
Rom 8:29; Acts 14:22; Phil 3:10-11
He does this to keep our trust in Him, not our own power.
Ps 30:5-6; Rom 5:3-4; 2 Cor 1:4.
God gives us trength to endure these trilas, which we wouldn't have ourselves, teaching us all the more to trust Him - Gen 22:1, 12; 1 Pet 1:7.
God is justified in sending afflictions, for they teach us virtue we wouldn't otherwise learn. As trained horses grow insolent by indulgence, so do we - Deut 32:15.
God gives each the trial he needs and can endure - but all need the medicine of trial, for all are diseased with sin. Our trials also serve to "correct past transgressions," without condemning us - 1 Cor 11:32. Prov 3:11-12. He lovingly reproves us, instead of rejecting us - Heb 12:8.
Suffering for righteousness' sake is an honor and blessing - Matt 5:10; Acts 5:41. We suffer reproach, besides physical deprivation, all for Christ's glory - 1 Peter 4:12ff; 1 Tim 4:10; 2 Cor 6:8. Not that suffering isn't painful, but "the fortitude of the believing man... surmounts it."
We shouldn't condemn sorrow and mourning, as Stoics do - 2 Cor 4:8-9; John 16:20; Matt 5:4; Luke 22:44; Matt 26:37-8. Sorrow and patience co-exist in the believer's suffering - John 21:18. We do not bear trials patientily because we have to and can do no other. We bear them with patience, trusting God's good purpose for us.

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