In times of difficulty and suffering Christians have the advantage of being able to go to God’s Word for comfort. The Bible is a treasure trove of truth, light, and blessed comfort for God’s people. Isn’t God incredibly gracious and loving to have provided such riches in His Word?
It is important to learn and meditate on the truths, warnings, promises and exhortations in God’s Word before challenging times arrive. To the degree that we have done that we will be better prepared to meet the “difficult providences” that God brings into our lives. As we remember and meditate on those things during difficulties and trials God will give us direction, wisdom, and comfort – especially by the power of the Holy Spirit working by and with the Word of God in our lives.
But whether remembering truths already contemplated or learning them for the first time, we will be better prepared to go through dark times. With that in mind I would like to list a couple of the many truths that we find in Scripture. In a future post I hope to list a couple more.
Forgiveness of Sins in Christ
1 John 2:12 states: “I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake.”
Everyone who repents of their sins and trusts in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is forgiven of their sins. That is because Jesus, as God in the flesh (incarnate) came to earth to save sinners. He did what we could not do for ourselves – fulfilled the law of God perfectly without fail. We all know that we have miserably failed at obeying God – even in the “little things”. Who has not lied or stolen or lusted after a person not their spouse at some point in their life? And these are just a few of the 10 Commandments. We all have sinned (Rom. 3:23) and therefore deserve punishment and condemnation. That is because God is just and holy. Though he is also love, He cannot overlook justice. As lawbreakers, we deserve judgement and the wrath of God.
But that is where an even more amazing truth comes to light: not only did Jesus fulfill the law on behalf of all who trust in Him, He also took the punishment and wrath that they deserve. Romans 5:6-9 explains that Christ died for the ungodly (sinners). When Jesus died crucified to a cross, He took the place of those who would be His own. He died for His people so that they might have eternal life.
That is a comforting truth. Because Jesus lived a perfect life in my place and took my punishment, I can have my sins forgiven and be given eternal life. That means that whatever trial or difficulty comes – even a terminal illness or death itself – I can know that what follows my earthly life will be an eternity with God in heaven, where there is no sin, pain nor tears.
Adoption as Sons
Another comforting truth for the believer is the doctrine of adoption. What that means is that we were all born spiritually dead in our sins and transgressions (Eph. 2:1) and were enemies of God (Rom. 5:10). But, despite that, God sent Jesus to redeem a people for Himself, adopting them as sons. All who put their faith in Jesus can be a son (or daughter) of God. The act of redemption means that someone “redeems” something. An example in the ancient world was when a man would purchase a slave or buy back something which he had put up for a pledge. Adoption entails that God purchased us out of slavery by the blood of His own Son and then adopted us as His own child. So all those who have repented and put their faith in Jesus are treated as sons! There is a reason why the Bible states that “God is love”! (1 Jn. 4:16).
One of the verses that brings out the love of God and our adoption is found in Romans 8:15, “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!'” Because God has redeemed His people, they do not need to fear Him as judge, but they love him as their Father.
A verse from the Psalms shows the depth of love that God has for His own:
“The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him” (Psalm 103:8-13).
God’s love for His people is like a father’s love for a little child!
These wonderful truths should be comforting to any Christian because they know that they are forgiven, have an eternal home in heaven, and are deeply loved by their heavenly Father.