The Cross: Why Bad Things Happen to Good People

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by Travis Bryan II  (radio version at bottom)

rom 8-29cThe Cross: Why Bad Things Happen to Good People

• The Cross must come to everyone.  It comes against the entire old man, old self and old nature in order to purge and sift it away.  Even those who are seemingly innocent like Job must suffer.  The evil sinner must suffer too.  All suffering of any kind is actually the experience of the cross of Christ.

• For instance, discipline for sin allowed by our Heavenly Father is the scourging of the cross.  This discipline through the cross against sin always comes from the hand of a loving Father.  See Heb 12:1-11.

• The cross is always a judgment against the sin nature or the flesh, as Paul calls it.  John 12:31.  It is always restorative justice, never retributive.  It always comes to us for the purpose of freeing all humanity from the law of sin and death. Rom 8:1-4.  Satan, God’s ugly tool, is the direct cause of all suffering.  God is never the direct cause but He takes the blame for it because He allows it. It is allowed by God so that the old self will be brought to death in order that the new creation self can spring up out of death and live. 

job 13-15• The cross brings the Christian a test as it did to Job: do I worship God for who He is (His loving character) or for what He can do for me–like bless me with eternal life and keep me out of hell? The cross constantly asks us, “Have you died to selfish motives in your relationship with God?” Self-gain and self-protection are not real worship. This was what Satan charged Job with before God in chapters 1 and 2 of book of Job. “The only reason Job worships you God is because You bless him and protect him,” in effect. This was Job’s test.  Job passed the test of the cross. He proved he worshipped God for who God is and not for what God could do for him.  Avoidance of torment in hell can be a self-protective motive. The reward of eternal life can also be a motive of self-gain.  Self-gain and self-protection are both still selfish.

1 pet 5-10 suffering• In summary, the cross answers the great mystery of why bad things happen to good people and why bad things happen to bad people.  We must all go thru the cross, dying and rising with Christ, in order to reach the new creation, a new humanity.  We escape the Kingdom of this world and enter the Kingdom of God thru the cross.  

Downs (cross) and Ups (resurrections) of Job

The putting off of the old man thru the cross is putting off of all facets of the old man including goodness.  Goodness is not Godliness.  Eph 4:22-24; Col 3:9-10; Rom 12:1-2; 2 Cor. 4:7-8.

I-Die-Daily-Cover-upright-smaller.jpg19Examples:  Conditional love is good but it is not God.  Rewarding good behavior and punishing bad is a good approach but it is not God’s.  Threatening someone to keep them from invading your or others space is good but it’s not God.  Controlling people to get them to do the right thing is good but it is not God.  Competition in free enterprise is good but it is not God.  Comparison of my stuff to someone elses can be okay but it is not God’s way.

We must put off the goodness of the old man as well as the evil.  We must put on the new man mind: unconditional love, forgiveness seventy times seven, the agape of 1 Cor 13 ie keeping no record of wrongs, exalting others at expense of self, eating with sinners and people who can’t be networked for profit, sharing the wealth, associating with the lepers of society, bias toward those on the bottom, etc etc etc.

Hebrews 12

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. 4  Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. 5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. 9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. 11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” Hebrews 12:1-11

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