Wow, it's been awhile since I've had time to post. Still in the midst of my study in Revelation, having learned about suffering and what it means and how to get through it, how it should draw us closer to God and rely on His strength to endure knowing that in the end we will be victorious.
Suffering will always be a part of this world. It comes from sin, plain and simple. No one is immune. Good and not-so-good people will suffer, believers and non-believers. But those who know the Lord, believers, need not ask, Why, Lord, do You allow all the suffering and evil?
Awhile back I mentioned an email I received from a friend who asked that question. After giving him a somewhat detailed answer, I realize he still does not understand and also I cannot force the issue. But, oh, the answers I am getting to those questions through our Revelation study. It's amazing confirmation of what I have heard, the questions I am being asked (by others, too...same questions).
The answers to all the questions a person might have all starts with knowing Christ, receiving Him, following Him and learning through study of His Word, the one thing this friend commended me on. But you could see it was not for him. It could be for him or anyone if that relationship is developed first. It can only happen that way. We must have His desire to know His truth.
So, in the lesson I am working on the above scripture was brought up to help answer the question: What does it mean the followers of the Lamb "were purchased from among mankind?" Anyone who receives Christ becomes part of those called followers. We have received Christ, been redeemed (purchased) by His blood and made His children. Only through the blood of Christ can this happen. Only through His blood. His blood covers our sins, makes us whole, redeems us.
How this happens is our acceptance of Christ, our admission that we are as guilty of sin as the next, believing that we are born into sin. We realize a need for His forgiveness of that sin and then submit knowing only He can save us. We cannot work harder or be better givers, or better people. Only He can change us and create in us new hearts, new minds, new spirits. We realize only He can get us through our suffering, too.
I can't imagine someone having to go through some horrendous trial without God by their side. He's the only hope in any situation. No matter what the outcome we can know He has us in His hands...if we have received Christ. I'm glad I became a follower. I'm glad I received Christ on April 18, 1999. I'm thankful more for my spiritual birthday than my physical. The spiritual is eternal, the physical is not.
Through the blood of the Lamb. It is the only way. As Jesus Himself says: ...I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:6) The Lamb that was slain for the sin of the world. The blood that is applied upon our conversion to our heart to show we belong to Him.
Like sheep follow their shepherd, I will follow the Good Shepherd, the way to life. Search for His truth. The truth about sin, evil, goodness, righteousness, life...and death. Not everyone will go to heaven just because they were basically good people. They must receive Christ and be redeemed by His blood and become His follower.
Becoming His follower, again, does not take away suffering for if we follow Christ, know Christ, we also share in His sufferings. He is familiar with any and all suffering. He carried His own cross to His death. He was willing to die. He died partly because of the rejection of the truth He spoke. He couldn't convince everyone, not with His words or His miracles of healing, that He was the Son of God who came to take away the sins of the world. He lost His life...but He regained it. The same with those who follow Him. So part of my suffering stems from my adherence to His truth, His Gospel message that needs to be spread since it is a command for every follower! So suffer I will if I have to.
Matthew 10:38-39 - And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.