Sunday, November 10, 2019

The Holy Spirit

So far in Romans - bad news = all sin and are separated from God
                           - good news = in Jesus Christ there is forgiveness of sins, reconciliation with God

So --- have a new standing with God, but the still have same struggle with sin!   Rom. 7:15-25

NOW Paul presents a new helper --- THE HOLY SPIRIT - to help with this struggle
(Note:  chapters 1-7 of Romans - "spirit" only mentioned 43 times.  Chapter 8 "spirit" mentioned 21 times with new emphasis!)

Who is this Holy Spirit?  - He works within us to help with the battle against sin.
(1)  The Spirit of God  (often Christ, truth, eternal spirit, etc.)
(2)  3rd. member of the Trinity - (God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit) - 3 persons, one being.
(3)  living within the Believer!!

Quick look back to John 14:15-17 - day of Jesus' arrest.  Some last words:
(1)  another counselor (comforter, advocate) - like Jesus
(2)  to be with you - (in Jesus' absence - because He's leaving them tomorrow)
And: (3)  to be IN you!!   John 14:25-26 - New dispensation

Indwelling Holy Spirit to Assist in the struggle against Sin.  (see Rom. 8:1-17)
How does the Holy Spirit assist (in this struggle)?

#1.  He leads  (guides)
#2.  He illuminates  (light - gives new perspective)
#3.  He enables (strength) - ability
#4.  He assures - faith  (confidence in God)
Look for these in Rom. 8:1-17  (Rom. 8:8 = one of the strongest vs. in the Bible)

Holy Spirit's ministry = not just change you, but grow you into what you should be.  This process = sanctification.

This list = some of the Spirit's work within you.  - leading, lighting, encouraging, enabling

PROBLEM!!!  This is something HE does (within you)
However, He doesn't do it without your cooperation!
example:  Rom. 8:13  ".."(you) put to death..." = Do it!!  " ...By the Spirit"
A blend of (1) "Do" and (2)  "Let it be done to you"

Illustration:  on a lake - in a sailboat - no paddle, no motor, no oars.
Told to "go to shore!"
On one hand, you can't do it without WIND - the power is the wind
However, you must raise the sail, man the rudder, wait for the wind!!

Holy Spirit is faithful (will do His part)

Your part?

#1.  Position yourself for wind - places Holy Spirit is known to move.  ie:  the Word, quiet time, prayer, church
Must put yourself in a position to hear, feel, be moved

#2.  Be Open - attitude, heart and mind preparation.
IF He moves - are you OK with that??
IF He doesn't move - are you OK with that??  - many saints experienced what they called "The dark night of the soul" - example:  Job

#3.  Be Discerning - 1 John 4:1 (measure against the Word) - not every spirit that moves us is the Holy Spirit.

#4.  Be Responsive = Obedience - John 13:17

#5.  WAIT ... IMPATIENTLY!! - ie.  a healthy tension between
          A.  trusting God to work  (move)
and     B.  longing (anxiously waiting) for Him to work  (move)

Sometimes real growth is slow, so we wait impatiently!!

Closing Scripture:  Phil. 1:3-6


Monday, November 4, 2019

The Moral Law

Book of Romans:  B.N. (bad news) = all sinned and are separated
                            G.N. (good news - ie:  gospel) = forgiveness & reconciliation is available in Christ.
Paul emphasized THE problem in the first 7 chapters:  SIN therefore  Matt. 1:21

IF sin = violation of God's (moral) law(s) ...
THEN ... moral laws must exist!!!

MRP definition of laws:  (1)  Rules - not suggestions.  Are commandments.
(most Reverend Pastor)      (2)  Established by an Authority
                                         (3)  Which are obligatory - have to follow
                                         (4)  Carry a penalty for violation (or consequence)
                                         (5)  Authored for the benefit of society/individual/group

Question:  Does this definition fit:
                 A.  Man-made laws?  ie:  federal, state, etc.
                 B.  Physical laws?  - ie:  gravity
                 C.  The Mosaic Law?  - (10 commandments plus,  613 total)
                 D.  The Moral Law?   Definition of Moral Law - universal, fixed laws of right and wrong

All people of all generations and all races recognized SOME form of moral law!!

Will look at 3 views of moral law you are likely to encounter (in 21st. century America)

      ( A.)   There seems to be a universal sense of right and wrong
But, (B.) it originated in the evolutionary processes, not God or divine source.  Is in man for survival, etc.

        (A.)  morals have Divine Source  - example:  Declaration of Independence
But  (B)  only generally known  (principles)
Example:  Rom. 1:20,  Rom. 2:14-15
Theses principles can be known through;;;;
      Reason - (observation/experience/logic)
      Inago Dei - (with vestiges remaining)

So... to the original definition we now add...
            (6)  generally known to all men

III:  THE BIBLICAL VIEW = all the above definitions PLUS
            (7)  can be SPECIFICALLY known through Revelation.


#1.  moral laws exist - everybody admits to this
may not always know what's right, but do know that there is a right!!!

#2.  They are established by THE HIGHEST AUTHORITY.

#3.  They are not randomly chosen - (compare to Basketball rules)
They are:       (A)  an extension of God's Person, Nature, Character
Therefore are (B)  an expression of what = right/wrong!  (expressing His character)
Therefore are
#4.  Universal & Eternal
(God's nature, character doesn't change!!  So neither to these!!)

#5.  They exist for our benefit  (individual and corporate_
So we ought to seek to discover and live by them - if they are, in fact, for our good!
AND we ought to seek to use them as the foundation for our man-made laws
There has never been a law that doesn't have to do with right and wrong.
NOTE:  We may misunderstand the law, but it never changes.  God does not change!!

#6.  Violations are called "SIN"
This is more than a mistake.  It = Rebellion against God's Law(s).
(Changing the name of the violation won't change the nature  (example:  you can call a grizzly bear a teddy bear, but that doesn't make him one)
What does it say about Christians who violate this (water it down)

#7.  Sin has consequences - Example: Adam and Eve
maybe Penalty, maybe Consequence
#8.  Obedience also has consequences!!  (called Blessings) - Gal. 6:7-10
Works both ways!!!

The Moral Law is amply Revealed and Recorded in Scripture.

IF man without scripture can be judged as "without excuse" (Rom.1:20)

then ... how will we be judged who have Scripture??

(if they are obligated to the Moral Law... how much more are  we obligated to it)

Moral Law = powerful thing!!
BUT = limited in its power.  Rom. 8:3
This is true of the Mosaic Law and true of the Moral Law!
These LAWS can not save our souls.  Only Jesus Christ can save.

Moral Law does NOT have the power or the means to save.. It is weakened by our sinful nature.

Closing Scripture:  Eph. 5:15-17


Sunday, October 27, 2019

The Christian and the Law

Romans so far:  all have sinned and are separated  (Bad News)
                        Forgiveness and reconciliation is available in Christ  (Good News)

Primary focus of Chap. 1 - 7 has been THE problem ...... ie:  SIN 
It has skirted a parallel subject -  ie:  THE  LAW

Rom. 8:1-4 - IF Sin = violation of God's law.... then .... there must be  LAW(S)!!!

So we find "law/s" in Romans more than in any other book!!!  - (74 times)  - most in 1st. 8 chapters.
Why??  Because Paul is focusing on Sin and Sin = violation of the Law

"LAW" used of (1) man's laws (Chapter 13)
                        (2)  physical (natural) laws - Jeremiah - "fixed laws of heaven and earth"
                        (3)  The Mosaic Law - Law of Moses - (God gave to His people through Moses)
                        (4)  The Moral Law

Mosaic Law = the 10 words (commandments) plus - was developed over the years
Moral Law = universal, fixed laws of Right and Wrong - exist eternally and do not change.
(also called God's law, Christ's law, law of the Spirit)

NOTE:  can distinguish between the 2.  BUT cannot completely separate the 2..  Know they will overlap!!

Is a vast subject - so - today = Mosaic Law
                               next week = Moral Law

Definition of "LAW":

(1)  Rules - limits, boundaries, regulations, do's and don't's - (any law)

(2)  Established by an authority - (individual, governing body, majority, etc.)  And that authority has the right to enforce.

(3)  which are obligatory - mandatory, binding, not suggestions!!

(4)  carry a penalty for violation  - (punishment +/or consequences)
(5)  (supposedly) authored for the benefit of society  (household, community, nation)

Now:  Apply definitions to the Mosaic Law 
(1) Rules ?  613 laws
(2)  Authority?  God/YHWH
(3)  Obligatory?  10 Suggestions???
(4)  Penalty?  +/or consequence
(5)  Benefit?  to help God's People .... ISRAEL!!!  - not to harm but to help!
The Jews considered this the Law of God - given to them to obey!!

The Question:  Does the Mosaic law = Rules for Us?  today?
Are we Obliged to them?  or Freed from them?
If freed ... how free?  Example:  the 10 Commandments
If obliged ... how much?  ie:  food laws, etc

The Problem:  Scripture Sometimes indicates are obliged to, and sometimes points to freedom from?

A Helpful division of the Mosaic Law:

CIVIL - (laws)  - to govern society  - examples:  theft, property boundaries, etc.
CEREMONIAL (laws) - priesthood, sacrifice, holy days  (ritualistic laws)
MORAL (laws) - Right and Wrong!

I)  The Civil Laws (of Israel) - we're not obligated to these, but should
    (1)  examine the Moral laws the underlie the Civil laws
    (2)  seek to pattern our civil laws according to those moral laws!!

II.  The Ceremonial Laws - "fulfilled" (completed) in Christ - example:  passover lamb, scapegoat
Matt. 5:17 - He 'filled in' what was lacking!

So.... we are not obligated to the ceremony  However, are obligated to what the ceremony depicts - example:  Passover Lamb - "apply the blood"
The rituals they were obliged to keep were empty pictures.  Christ came and fulfilled these.

III.  The Moral Laws -  stand, unchanged, universal, eternal.  Nowhere have they passed away or changed in any form.
On the one hand, we are NOT obligated to the Mosaic Law
However, are Not free from the Moral Law contained therein!!
Rom. 6:14-15 = contract under law/under grace
(still UNDER .... rule, authority, obligation of grace!!)

Matt. 11:28-30 - change yokes!!!
1 Cor. 9:19-21 = free to practice, not practice Mosaic Law BUT never free from God's Law!!

Note:  what No LAW(s) can do!!!
Rom. 8:3 - Not man's law, Mosaic law, moral law - can never save you eternally.
Salvation is found in Christ Alone!!!

Closing Scripture:  Rom. 3:19-24

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Sin - The Ongoing Struggle

Romans so far:  Bad News = all sinned and are separated from God
                        Good News = forgiveness and reconciliation is available in Christ

in Chapter 7 - And STILL talking about SIN!!
Why so much about Sin??   Answer:  SIN is THE Problem!!
The problems in our life is ultimately the result of SIN.

so... Sin:
I)  Definition = (1)  any violation of God's law(s) - (missing the mark)
                      (2)  any lack of conformity to God's law(s)
Actions AND attitudes!

PLUS:  II)  (last week) Sin is more than rules, pushing boundaries, violations
SIN = a presence/energy/sinister force  (Chapter 6)
NOT alive, NOT a personality, BUT with personal traits!! - persistent, persuasive, demanding, coercive
Are not talking about Satan and demons

Last week  "Battling Sin" - (Chapter 6)
(1)  you are dead to sin - (not obligated to respond to it)
(2)  you are a new creature - example:  Born Again - are different, new heart
(3)  you have a new master - "Lord Jesus Christ"

BUT Sin is not dead to you!!!  will continue to harass and seek to dominate!!

Therefore:  you must "Reckon" yourself  dead to sin, alive to Christ
(example:  mathematical term - "count", tally, calculate)

On one hand, the Victory (over sin) IS Certain (but not yet).   (secured by Christ on the cross)
On the other hand, the Struggle Continues  (ongoing)

Rom. 7:15-25 - (read and see if you recognize yourself!!)   Sound familiar?  Recognize 'self? - Recognize your adversary??

Some things to recognize , anticipate, understand, and to Utilize in this struggle:

(1)  A knowledge of right and wrong (that there IS a right and wrong)
Doesn't mean we know all, always
Rather = we usually know - by means of....
    (A) inherent knowledge - conscience  everybody has one but it has been marred by sin.
    (B)  revealed knowledge - the Word and the Holy Spirit
    (C)  acquired knowledge - experience   Example:  Adam and Eve - got a new understanding when they sinned)

With that knowledge comes  (particularly for the Christian) -
(2)  A desire to do good (right)
on one hand, this is not exclusive to believers!  all = "in His image"
However, with the new birth comes renewed mind, heart, affections

AND... (3)  The presence of Evil  (Rom. 7:21)
On one hand this = a real and powerful presence  Compare  Gen. 4:6-7
However, it is NOT dualism!  Example:  Star Wars "FORCE" vs Dark Side

(4)  Feelings of guilt
On one hand is GOOD (IF) you are guilty!!
                                    (IF) it leads to "Contrition" - Isa. 57:15-19
(Contrition = being sorry for your sin itself, not that you got caught.)
IF Guilt leads to Contrition and that leads to confession which leads to repentance leading to correction = GOOD!!!

However, IF guilt leads to feelings of despair, worthlessness, etc.??  Sin will use this to beat you down and make you useless in the kingdom.
Christ did not come to crush and destroy you!!!
Example:  contrast Peter and Judas Iscariot.  Peter repented and turned.  Judas went out and hanged himself.

Note, Observation:
The Closer to Christ you are, the more AWARE of and Sensitive to sin you become!!
Which will lead to:
(5) Mental (and spiritual) Distress - Rom. 7:24
OBJECTION:  I thought "Fruit of the Spirit" - PEACE!!!
There should be a healthy balance and healthy concern.
"healthy tension" leads to Matt. 5:3,4,6 - on one hand, "blessed", however distressed.
It's not all about "happy".

For the Christian this Distress should not lead to Despair!!!  (example:  never gonna get it right so why bother)
But to.....
(6)  HOPE - Rom. 7:25 with Rom. 8:1
In Greek this word = confidence in His Love, My standing, His Presence, the Ultimate, final Victory

1 Cor. 15:55 - "where O death is your victory?  Where O death is your sting?"
We need to know that He's right here with us, to deliver us

When we sin, fail, fall.. you should (as a Christian)
(1)  confess - to yourself, to God, (to others if appropriate)
(2)  accept forgiveness (wallowing in grief will not help!!)
(3)  get up
(4) "Reckon" - add it us, not responding to that anymore
(5)  re-adjust
(6)  Press on...

(Words from Paul at the End of his ministry!) - Phil. 3:12-16 - already know, already have received

Closing Scripture:  1 John 1:9-10, 2:1-2

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Battling Sin

So far in Romans..... why we need Salvation, How we obtain Salvation, and (some of) what we acquire at Salvation.  Example:  bridge illustration

Now.... How are we to live AFTER Salvation??
(last week "Sin" - again this week with additional perspective)

Sin = any transgression (violation) of God's law(s)
Also = any lack of conformity TO God's law(s).
ie:  sins of commission and omission.
Anything outside God's will = sin
Anything that should be inside God's will  = sin

In Addition:  Sin is often portrayed as a Presence!!
On one hand, is NOT (exactly) alive, NOT (exactly) a personality.
However, clearly a FORCE, Power, Energy which leads to persuasive, coercive, oppressing, demanding, relentless, strong
This is NOT Satan - no mention of Satan or demons in this text, although he makes use of this "force".

So.... "Sin" is NOT Satan or a demon, but is far MORE than breaking rules, regulations, boundaries, limits
Rom. 7:21
Is something NOT alive but Almost Alive?!  And YOU must fight against it!!!

IN this battle (and in this text) Paul emphasizes:
For the Christian --
(1)  You are (now) dead to Sin - sin is not dead to you.
Therefore, you don't have to respond to it.

(2)  You (now) have a new Master - the Lord Jesus Christ (have accepted Jesus and Savior and Lord)
are no long in bondage to/obligated to sin.

(3)  You are (now) a new man (person) = Born Again (new beginning, new start)
There has been a MAJOR INTERNAL change which should manifest itself in External behavior.  ie:  "fruit".
This "fruit" should match the change.

BUT!!!  The old man still persists!  demanding attention, seeking to dominate
AND you must (now) battle against that!!  (against him!!)
Col. 3:9-10 - off with the old, on with the new.    Eph. 4:22-24 - have to actively do this.

Important distinction:  on one hand you are dead to Sin!!   However, Sin is not dead to you!!  He'll pursue!!

In Rom. 6 we find a number of considerations in dealing with sin --- one of the most important =

"Reckon" - Rom. 6:11  *consider/calculate*
This = a mathematical term!  to calculate, tally, add up, compute, ... use your head.
Point??  "Add up all I've told you.  The Sum is You don't have to RESPOND to Sin!!"

Rom. 6:1-23 - You are never your own master.  We will serve someone.  Biblical choices = Christ or Sin/Satan

You need to combat this "sin" (presence, power) with:

(1)  A new beginning  "Born Again" - change of who you are
2 Cor. 5:17 - why are you acting like what you were?
1 Cor. 6:11

(2)  A Spiritual awakening - Holy Spirit enters heart and something happens.  1 Cor. 2:9-12

(3)  right thinking - new knowledge and insight leads to changed mind leads to changed heart and changed hands!!.

(4)  a reckoning - add it up!!  tally!  calculate.
From Christian (Biblical) viewpoint - ALL SIN IS IRRATIONAL!!!

(5)  an offering ... ie:  of self ... TO God.  Rom. 12:1

(6)  an active, intentional pursuit of righteousness
Example:  Jesus - "why call me Lord, Lord and Not DO...."
               Paul = "Put off / Put on " - (lay down, take up) = action!

Christianity is more than head and heart ... it = HANDS!!

(7)  repetition - This is not a 1 time decision!!  (over and over again)
On one hand, you are NOT alone when you battle sin...
(have Scripture, knowledge - Divine Presence - Holy Spirit - church body)

However, you must decide what you are going to do with sin.
You must act ... Repeatedly!!!

Closing Scripture:  Rom. 8:12-14

Monday, October 7, 2019


Book of Romans - so far - Bad News = all sinned and are separated from God.  (relationship is shattered)
                                      - Good News = in Christ there is forgiveness and reconciliation

Rom. 5:1-2 - we have peace - many people claim to have this but is from their perspective, not God's

Paul already pointed out the extent of Sin - Rom. 3:23
No he expands on the subject.
Sin involves ALL people.  The entire bible deals with sin - from Eden to Revelation.

DEFINITION:  SIN = any transgression (violation) of God's law(s)
                                = any lack of conformity to God's law(s).
(Sins of commission and sins of omission)

God's Will therefore =
(1) action
(2)  in-action
(3)  Attitude  (example:  covet, adultery in heart)
(note:  boundaries are for protection NOT suppression) - example:  Adam and Eve and the serpent
God is NOT trying to keep us from enjoying life, but to enjoy it to the fullest according to His design and plan)

Paul points out (here) 2 problems we have with sin:

#1.  We all commit sins - compare  1 John 1:8, 10

#2.  We all inherit a sin nature / a tendency toward sin
ie:  Adam and Eve sinned - and it affected them in such a way as to pass that on to their offspring!!
(The Bible doesn't address 'HOW' - simply states as fact!)

More Bad News!!!  ie:  born with sin nature!!

But .... Good News = what God accomplished in Christ (grace of God, gift of God) FAR EXCEEDS the sins of Adam and Eve and all mankind!
ie:  God's GIFT is greater than man's TRESPASS!! 

Rom. 5:12, 15-19 - no matter how big the sin and damage of that sin, the gift far exceeds it.

What's wrong with this world?
Biblical Answer = SIN
ie:  Sin is the problem with government, neighbor, marriage, YOU!!

I)  Sin disrupts all peace and harmony - example:  Adam and Eve and their relationship with God ... one another ... themselves

II)  Sin has disrupted the creation - Gen. 3:17-18  (Rom. 8:20-21)
(again - no explanation as to 'how' .... only stated as fact.

THE REMEDY?    According to:

1)  the naturalist - "no God, no law, no problem"--- BUT there clearly IS a problem!!! - sin, evil, suffering

2)  the deist/universalist - "win exists BUT WE CAN FIX IT!!
ie:  through education and progress will eventually fix social ills and physical defects!

3)  Biblical View - the remedy is found in Christ - who defeated sin and died to eliminate sin and all the effects of sin!

I.)  He has already delivered us from the Penalty of Sin - we have redemption.
   (past tense - Justification)

II.)  He IS delivering us from the Power of Sin - (present tense - Sanctification - Romans chapters 6,7,8)

III.)   He will deliver us from the Presence of Sin in the end.  (future tense - Glorification)
   (the Restoration will be Beyond Eden)

According to the Bible:  "the process has begun, is ongoing, and will certainly find completion."

So .......... My part??   Your part??   Application?  Response?

#1.  Examine the Biblical Worldview
On one hand, it won't answer all your questions.
However, it answers more than alternative views.

#2.  Recognize and Admit your part in all this - ie:  Your Sin is part of the problem!!

#3.  Recognize and Admit your need  Example:  Step #1 in A.A. = "I'm an alcoholic".  Step #1 in salvation = "I am a sinner and I can't fix it."

#4.  Accept Christ  (as Savior)  John 1:10-13
Receive forgiveness, start anew, be 'born again'

#5.  Follow Christ  (as Lord)  which = "live for Him according to His law/rules ... preview ... Rom. 6:12-13

#6.  Promote Christ = evangelism, discipleship.  shape the world, build the Kingdom
(is ongoing task - because Every generation must be evangelized anew!!

#7.  Wait for Christ in faith - final redemption will be at His return.
Rev. 6:9-11 - The Kingdom is NOW .. but NOT YET!!    It's not over.  God is in control.  Be assured the it will come to pass.

Closing Scripture:  1 Tim. 1:15-17

Monday, September 16, 2019

God's Presence in Our Suffering

Book of Romans so far:
Bad News = all sinned and separated from God
Good News = reconciliation is available!!  - by grace, through faith, in Christ!!!

So... Rom. 5:1-2 - can have Peace - Access - Hope
and Rom. 5:3-4

Last week = 2 reasons to "rejoice in sufferings"

#1.  Suffering can be productive - Rom. 5:3 with Rom. 8:28

#2.  (today)  God is with you in the suffering.  
Rom. 5:8-10   IF He did this while you were separated from him, "how much more" now that are reconciled?!!  Do you think He would abandon you now??

Rom. 8:31-32, 35, 37-39  - He is not going to withhold His presence from you.

The study of evil and suffering often is divided into 2 parts:
#1.  the Why - why does God allow evil and suffering?  - theodicy - argument or intent to explain why He permits this.

#2.  the Wherefore - how are we to respond to evil an suffering?

Short version = we are to respond as Christ responded! - 1 Pet. 2:20-21  Example:  "suffer well" - He suffered perfectly - the way suffering should be handled.
As a Christian, we are called to suffer well.  To this you are called.  Christ left us an example.

When suffering ... knowledge, confidence, faith, surety ...  helps!!

When you suffer, you can be sure of:
#1.  God's Permission - is a *hard pill to swallow!!*
Example:  Peter's sifting    Job's trial   Christ's crucifixion
Satan couldn't do any of this without God's permission.

Either it happens with His Permission,  OR He is NOT God!!
And (then) you have NO HOPE!!  example:  naturalism, dualism

BUT - with the worst come the Best --
#2.  God's Presence - examples:  Matt. 28:20, Heb. 13:5
Isa. 43:1-3  - "... your Savior"
Isa. 43:5  "... with you."

The Good News = presence always with us.
Bad News = not always FELT!! - Examples:  Job's complaint  "dark night of the soul"
Know He's with you in you head, but no feeling of His presence.

Can also be sure of:
#3.  His Care   (provision, assistance)
Throughout scripture "go and I'll go with you"
Examples:  Moses, Gideon, Jeremiah, Disciples

This is more that His Presence .. = His Assistance!!  - ability to push through
Jer. 1:6-8 - strength, courage, guidance, comfort
Preached 4 years - not a single convert recorded

Which leads to:#4.  His Ability  (re-visit Moses, Gideon, Jeremiah, disciples....)
His Presence was more than to strengthen, comfort, etc.
His Presence = to Accomplish His will, purpose!!  - He worked through them!!

His plan is more than to work in/on you, it is to work through you!! - 1 Pet. 4:10

#5.  Personal Compensation
Mark 10:28-30
2 Cor. 5:10 - rewards or loss of rewards
Rom. 8:18 - present suffering not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed
2 Cor. 4:16-18 - light and momentary troubles achieving for us eternal glory

and ..
#6. Final Victory
Rev. 1:17-18, 20:14, 21:3-5 - all that is wicked and evil
This = all things made right!!
This = (1) the Christian HOPE
       = (2) your soul's anchor - Heb. 6:19 - "...firm and secure"
Knowledge of this helps to carry us through.  Doesn't relieve the pain, but carries us through.

Suffering is inevitable  (in this life)

BUT ... in God's hands and with God's Presence - suffering = Bearable, Valuable

Question:  How then will you suffer??  well?? Properly?  as a Christian should? as Christ did?
"to this you are called"

Closing Scripture:  Psm. 33:18-22