Useful Bible Studies > Hebrews Commentary > chapter 12

Why do Christians suffer?

Hebrews 12:5-6

The author of Hebrews has been explaining why Christians have troubles and difficulties in this world. Those troubles are the result of the battle between God and the evil forces that rule this world (Hebrews 12:3). These troubles do not come from God, because God never does anything evil. However, God uses them for his own purposes. Christians do not suffer in vain, because God uses their troubles and difficulties to teach them.

It was Solomon who originally gave this advice, in Proverbs 3:11-12. He was a wise king who wanted to teach his son to be wise. Solomon saw that God too is a father. If a father loves his son, he teaches that son. And sometimes that includes punishment. So, the son sometimes suffers because of his fatherís love for him.

In the same way, Godís people sometimes suffer. But that can be evidence that God really does consider them to be his children. He is teaching them because he loves them.

Sometimes Christians suffer after they have done something wrong. God allows this to happen because he loves his children. He wants them to be holy. He wants to teach them how they should behave. Then, in the future, they can do the things that please him.

But sometimes Christians suffer although they did not deserve it (1 Peter 2:20). God loves them too; he is teaching them to be more like Christ (1 Peter 2:21). During their troubles, they learn to trust God more. And the qualities in their lives that come from the Holy Spirit improve Ė for example, their patience, kindness and love (Galatians 5:22-23; 2 Peter 1:5-7).

Next part: How God uses a Christianís troubles (Hebrews 12:7)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.