Suffering is of one of the most misunderstood truths in Christianity today. There are many beliefs about suffering. Some believe it is the will of God while others believe Christians are supposed to live a life full of roses with no thorns. As believers the Bible is the final authority in our lives so let’s see what the bible has to say about it. Hosea 4:6 states the following, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.” This verse tells us what the cause of our suffering is. God tells us our lack of knowledge causes it.
In the Garden of Eden, lack of knowledge caused the fall of humanity. In Genesis 2:16-17 God says the following, “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” This verse clearly states you shall not eat of the fruit, but when the woman was being tempted by the devil she says the following in Genesis 3:2, “And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’” In her response, she adds ‘touch the tree’. That right there shows her lack of proper knowledge of what God says. Because of her lack of knowledge sin came in the world and suffering became a reality.
Job is usually the first name that comes up in a discussion concerning suffering. When that happens, we must correctly divide the word of God so that we don’t go in error (2 Timothy 2:15). The major difference between us and Job is the covenant we are under. God relates to us through covenant. If you study the bible you will see God making different covenants with different people. The purpose of these covenants was to bring to pass the promised seed (Genesis 3:15). In the entire book of Job or in other scriptures we don’t see God making a covenant with Job. The only thing that keeps coming up concerning Job is his righteousness. God allowed the devil to test Job to see whether he will remain righteous (Job 1:8-12). That will never happen to us, Christians, today because we are not righteous based on us and our works. We are righteous because of Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” We are righteous because we are in Christ. If we were not in Christ we wouldn’t be righteous. If God was to test our righteousness, He must test Christ because He determines who we are. Christ confirmed His righteousness 2000 years ago when He lived this life free of sinning. Hebrews 4:15, “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.”
The covenant that we have today is based on Christ and what He did. Based on this covenant God isn’t the one causing us to suffer at all. The devil isn’t the one causing us to suffer either because Jesus defeated him. Luke 10:19, “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” Another verse that supports this is Colossians 2:15, “Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.” These scriptures show us the devil’s defeat, yet Christians continue to suffer.
The reason for that is because of the lack of knowledge among many Christians. It isn’t through a lack of knowing the bible, but of not knowing the covenant we are under. Many Christians read the bible, but few know what covenant we are under. That is why it is important to correctly divide the word of truth.