““…we must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.”
Paul and Barnabas encouraged the new believers to continue in the faith, reminding them that they must enter into the Kingdom of God through many tribulations. They did not sugarcoat what these believers had to look forward to. They did not mince words, but told them the truth about what was coming. Paul and Barnabas did not want these followers of Christ to fail or be caught by surprise, especially after seeing all of the many miracles, signs and wonders that were being done at that time.
In the book of Acts, we see that tribulation, persecution and suffering were all part of the believer’s life. Peter and John were arrested and flogged. Stephen was martyred for his witness. Herod killed James and then Peter. Paul and Silas were thrown into prison and Paul was stoned, left for dead and eventually beheaded.
Tribulation, persecution and suffering are familiar words to Christians. We certainly are seeing that more and more around the world when it comes to physical suffering and death to Christians as they are martyred for their faith. Are these things that we have to look forward to as we walk with Jesus? Is this really part of God’s plan for us? Is He aware of how hard it can be and how much it can hurt? Let’s not be caught unaware. Remember what Paul said to the Corinthians: You can be sure that the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with His comfort through Christ. So when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your benefit and salvation! For when God comforts us, it is so that we, in turn, can be an encouragement to you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. We are confident that as you share in suffering, you will also share God’s comfort. (2 Corinthians 1:5-7)
So if you are suffering according to God’s will, keep on doing what is right and trust yourself to the God who made you, for He will never fail you. (1 Peter 4:19)
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