Obedience Through Suffering

Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
(Heb 5:8 KJV)

This verse has provoked me to think a lot over the years.  What does it mean that Christ learned obedience?  How would suffering teach him obedience?

Jesus did not need to learn to obey, as though he was disobedient.  As such, suffering could not teach him to obey.  Jesus learned experentially what it was to obey and to suffer because of that obedience.  We complain, often and loud, when our disobedience leads to our suffering.  Jesus did not complain when our disobedience led to his suffering.  This puts him in direct contrast to Adam.

Scripture makes clear that Adam was not deceived by the lies of the serpent.  He knew that God had not lied or withheld anything from them.  He knew they would not become gods.  He knew they would die.  Yet he went ahead and ate from the fruit.  Why?  I think Adam looked at Eve and loved her more than he loved God.  He chose to sin and join Eve in judgment, rather than obey and trust God.  He learned suffering through disobedience, rather than obedience through suffering.  Seeing no hope of saving Eve, Adam despaired and joined her in sin. Ironically, his love for Eve failed immediately, and he ‘threw her under the bus’, blaming her (and God) for his own sin.

The contrast goes further.  Adam attacked his wife, the one he had pledged to love.  By contrast Jesus suffered betrayal by Judas.  Judas is often shown in movies as a loner, always slinking somewhat outside the circle of the apostles.  This is mistaken in my view. David prophesied of Judas’ betrayal in the psalms, speaking of the one who went arm in arm with Christ to worship.  The new testament makes clear that James, John, and Peter were Jesus’ innermost circle of trusted disciples.  I think David shows Judas to be Jesus’ best friend among the disciples.  He is a countertype to the type of David’s great friend Jonathan.  Jesus suffered betrayal by His friend in contrast to Adam’s betrayal of Eve.  He chose Judas as a disciple even though He knew that Judas was going to betray Him.

What is the point of all this?

Are we willing to learn obedience through suffering?  Are we willing to obey the Lord knowing that doing so means that we will be betrayed?  That we will be scorned?  Are we willing to love those who spit on us?  Who viscerally hate us and want to kill us? Are we willing to lose everything we have, everyone we love, in order to have Christ?

Because if we are not, then we will have just the nation that we have today.

 

 

Word for the Day

Do we any longer have a sense of honor? What does it mean when we make a solemn promise? I know of several abandoned spouses—wives or husbands of adulterers—who have lost custody of the children, possibly because being abandoned by a lying and cheating lout or whore has the tendency to make you angry, and anger does not play well in court. How is this possible, unless we really no longer expect people to tell the truth and to abide by their promises?

Esolen, Anthony. Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture (p. 20). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Christ, Our Burnt Offering Part 3

And the LORD called unto Moses, and spake unto him out of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man of you bring an offering unto the LORD, ye shall bring your offering of the cattle, even of the herd, and of the flock. If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD. And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him.
(Lev 1:1-4 KJV)

Do you understand the requirement of worship and its impossibility for us?

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Christ, Our Burnt Offering, part 2

And the Lord called unto Moses, and spake unto him out of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man of you bring an offering unto the Lord , ye shall bring your offering of the cattle, even of the herd, and of the flock. If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the Lord . And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him.
Leviticus 1:1‭-‬4 KJV

Have you seen the exceeding sinfulness of your sin and the overwhelming wrath of the Lord of Glory?

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You must be born again

No rebels were ever stouter against their prince than an unrenewed soul against the Spirit of God: not a moment without arms in his hand; he acts in defense of sin, and resistance of grace, and combats with the Spirit as his deadly enemy: ‘You always resist the Holy Ghost; as your fathers did, so do you,’ Acts 7:51.

Stephen Charnock

What does it profit a man?

What the heart is to the body, the soul is to the man; and what health is to the heart, holiness is to the soul.  The state of the whole body depends upon the soundness and vigor of the heart, and the everlasting state of the whole man upon the good or ill condition of the soul.

John Flavel

A Son is Given

It is by the exercise and discharge of the office of Christ, as the king, priest, and prophet of the church, that we are redeemed, sanctified, and saved…the redemption and salvation of the church do not depend merely on this–that God has given one to be king, priest, and prophet of the church, by the acting of which offices it is redeemed and saved; but on the person of him who was so given unto us: as is fully attested, Isiah 9:6-7.

John Owen

Self deception

Men profess they know the truth; but they know it not in its proper order, in its harmony and use.  It leads them not to Christ, it brings not Christ unto them; and so is lifeless and useless.  Hence, ofttimes, none are more estranged from the life of God than such as have much notional knowledge of the doctrines of the Scripture.  For they are all of them useless, and subject to be abused, if they are not improved to form Christ in the soul, and transform the whole person into his likeness and image.

John Owen