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Bible verses about Perfection Through Suffering
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Philippians 2:5-12

There is our example and the instruction as to the mind that we have to adopt and make our own. If we are going to go through this with a kind of growth that God wants us to have, it takes a certain mindset to be able to do it.

One of the things God wants us to get out of this is that He wants us to consider often that He, the Father, did not withhold suffering from His Son and our Savior Jesus Christ. He shared suffering with us despite His high status as God in the flesh and living a totally sinless life. We are neither God in the flesh nor have we led a sinless life. He did this to be our Savior. He did it in order to be our example, and He did it to be perfected to carry out His job as High Priest and Savior. He set His mind to be this way, and He carried through.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Wilderness Wandering (Part 5)


 

Philippians 3:16

Verse 16 adds an exhortation not to slip from what has already been attained. Our aim in life is to so know Christ—to be so united with Him—that day by day we share the life He lived, walk as He walked, even suffer as He did. We grow in His faith and come to share His hopes, joys, sorrows, and disappointments. We bear the stake and perhaps, as some have, die the death He died. In this way, we are sharing life with Christ, and through this process, we are perfected.

We are not complete yet, so we must press on. God has grasped us as well, not in the same abrupt manner He demonstrated with Paul, but He undoubtedly has laid hold on us. It is comforting to know that in Philippians 1:6 He tells us He is able to finish what He has begun. He will finish His creative work if we give Him the chance.

Because of Jesus Christ, God accepts us, and we have access to Him. As we are being perfected, we should see ever more clearly the standard of conduct God requires of us. It is indeed a high standard, but at the same time, our acceptance should give us peace to live confidently. The death penalty is no longer hanging over us; we do not have to feel guilty. Since the standard is to come "to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:13), we are given goals that will always be higher than we can reach. We will always have something to strive for, so we cannot honestly say we are "rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing," as the Laodicean so proudly proclaims (Revelation 3:17).

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Offerings of Leviticus (Part Nine): Conclusion (Part Two)


 

Hebrews 6:20

The Greek word for "forerunner" is prodromos, which is somewhat akin to archegos. Prodromos emphasizes the subject as a scout, one who goes ahead, making sure that the way is safe. How many Western movies have we seen where the great hero was the scout? He went ahead of the westward-bound wagon train to make sure no Indians were lurking on the trail up ahead. The scout was ensuring that the way forward was safe. That is the role that Christ performed for us.

Consider the Tabernacle or Temple. How often in a year's time did the high priest ever go into the Holy of Holies? One time a year, on the Day of Atonement. At the bottom of the hem of the high priest's robe were silver bells, ordered to be sewn there by God Himself. They were there primarily for use on the one day the high priest went into the Holy of Holies. Nobody else was allowed in there on the Day of Atonement, or any other day.

Because God is so holy, so pure, so far above us, it is not good for an impure human to be in His presence unless He permits it and turns the volume down, so to speak. Every time the high priest moved while in the Most Holy Place, the bells tinkled, and so his fellow priests knew he was still alive. It is said the high priest also tied a rope around his ankle just in case he died in the Holy of Holies and his body had to be dragged out! Nevertheless, the bells were on the garment so that the Levites would be assured that this sinful man, who was in the presence of God, had been accepted and allowed to live.

What Jesus Christ has done is similar but far more effective. God has accepted Christ's sacrifice of Himself, and now Christ has entered into the Holy of Holies. He is the scout—the prodromos—who went ahead and made sure that the way was safe for us.

We do not have to wait until the Day of Atonement to go into the presence of God because our prodromos, Jesus Christ, our Forerunner, went there before us, and God accepted Him. Now, under His blood, we can follow Him into the Holy of Holies, into the very presence of God. But for us to be there, He had to endure the sufferings that made Him perfect for the job that has been given to Him (Hebrews 2:10).

We are now in the same process. We are part of His spiritual Body, and to be prepared to work under Him, we must go through a measure of suffering—an intensity not equal to Christ's, but mercifully toned down—to perfect us.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Wilderness Wandering (Part 5)


 

 




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