Blessings, Contingent upon Obedience
When I was a young believer I was told that when one become a Christian all their troubles were over and one would have a life of blessings and prosperity. The only thing that could hinder you was sin, especially secret sin. I had been told that all the promises to Israel were transferred to the Church because of Israel’s disobedience and they were tossed away, and God had replaced Israel with the Church. As I read the scripture, what I was told and what the scriptures say didn’t seem to line up. But it wasn’t until years later that I came to understand that God had different purposes for Israel and the Church and God does not throw away those whom He has covenanted with. Israel and the Church had different promises and were used differently, one as a nation and the other anywhere or in any nation in the world, but one people. The promises are both of enormous value, but not alike.
Well, one of the things I did to further search this out, was to buy a Knaves Topical Bible and do further research for myself. And to my utter surprise, I found something quite different than I expected. I found there were about 8 1/2 columns of scripture for “blessings” in the Old Testament for Israel, while only about 1/ 3 column of scripture in the New Testament for the Church. And the few promises in the New Testament to the Church were to encourage the believer to endure to the end, etc. I was shocked to find that our blessings as a Christian are to look forward to spending eternity with Jesus after this life, and not to focus on the here and now for our blessings.
After over 45 years as a Christian, I have experienced and know that Jesus has been faithful to me and astounded me with gracious gifts, a wonderful wife and great kids. But I also understand that we are in a spiritual warfare mainly in the mind and secondarily in circumstances to cause us to change our minds, and while God does indeed bless His people, there may be seasons of extreme difficulty and suffering. Jesus said that He would give us His peace, but not the peace of the world. His peace is internal, independent of circumstances. But the world can only offer circumstantial peace.
When we look at Job, his friends thought that God was the cause of his suffering because of disobedience or some secret sin. It is still seen in that light today, and when we should be giving comfort to those who are suffering, we are prone to accuse them of bringing it upon themselves by their “secret sin.” This is not what the Bible teaches.
When we remember the reformers who have been a blessing to the entire world and brought the Bible to us in the English language, their lives were extremely difficult as they were persecuted and many died by burning at the stake. And in the majority of the biographies down through the centuries, especially in the communist countries, there was tremendous suffering and persecution for the believers. As we look around the world today many of the countries are persecuting believers openly.
The scriptures tell us in
Matthew 24:9-10 (Historical Highway)
“Then they will deliver you up to persecution and tribulation, and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake. And then many will be offended, and will betray one another, and will hate one another.”
And then the end will come. We need to be prepared as we near the end of the age as described in scripture and we see these things play out before our eyes.
This is not an exhaustive study and there is much more to be seen in scripture touching on this subject. But this is a start to consider as you study to show yourselves approved to God.
This is to encourage you to trust Jesus and draw near to Him. When reading Psalms it is surprising how much suffering that the authors took to the Lord and how they found the comfort that they sought through scripture and from the Lord Himself.
Now may God richly bless and protect you as you read His word and allow Him to comfort you by His word and presence.
Captain Rick, a fellow soldier of Jesus Christ