Christian suffering and sacrifice is not a path to salvation!

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Salvation does not require Christian suffering

Christian suffering

Neither Christian suffering nor Christian sacrifice beyond that which Christ already suffered on the cross are required for salvation, but the kingdom requires sacrifice and sometimes Christian suffering.

Salvation does not require anyone to live in poverty.  No Christian really believes that in order to receive salvation he or she must sell all his or her material possessions, but Jesus said:

“And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (Matthew 19:24). 

During the last few decades, many rich and famous people have come into the church but never has anyone said, finally, the camel went through the eye of the needle.  Salvation is a gift.  It is not necessary to give or donate anything whatsoever to receive salvation since salvation has no relation to Christian suffering or sacrifice.

However, the kingdom is different.  If as a saved and born again child of God, I still manifest an attitude of greed and love of money, I would be acting like a defeated Christian and I will disqualify myself from receiving any reward.  It is quite difficult for a rich person to become an overcomer, because of the great love that the rich have devoted to money.  It is rare to find a rich man who is completely faithful in paying his tithe.  They give great amounts that do not even correspond to a tenth of a tenth of their income, much less the surpassing righteousness demanded to inherit the kingdom. If a Christian is greedy he will indeed “suffer” until his greed is broken. But this type of Christian suffering is not required nor is the path to salvation!

Jesus taught:

“For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother’s womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it.”  Matt.19:12

Salvation does not depend on one’s marital status nor is it necessary to make a vow of chastity, however to receive the reward, sometimes this is necessary.  For example, if you have never married, you should remain sexually pure until the day that you get married which can be considered Christian suffering for those who can’t imagine living a few days without sex.  Otherwise, to live in sexual impurity will indicate being a defeated Christian.

Revelation 20 shows us that the martyrs will receive the kingdom although it does not say that they will be the only ones who receive it (see verse 4).  The Bible, however, never teaches that a man must become a martyr in order to receive eternal life. Receiving the kingdom however, is different. In order to receive the kingdom, God demands that we put forth an effort, including possible martyrdom to receive it.

And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.  (Revelation 20:4)

On one occasion, the mother of James and John approached Jesus with a special request, she wanted the conquest of the kingdom to be given as the gift of salvation or in other words without having to pay the price of Christian suffering.

“And He said to her, “What do you wish?” She said to Him, “Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom.” But Jesus answered and said, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They said to Him, “We are able.”  So He said to them, “You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father.”  (Matthew 20:21-23)

The Lord did not grant this mother’s request because the kingdom is not something that is given as a gift or favor, it is something that is rewarded by works and performance both of which imply Christian suffering!  The kingdom is a reward earned by merit.  The two brothers even told the Lord that they would drink the cup; however, even so, He did not grant them their request.

Not all suffering is Christian suffering!

At the cross, just before death, one of the thieves crucified with Christ made the same request:

“Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”  (Luke 23:42-43)

The thief made a request concerning his status in the kingdom, but Jesus answered concerning his salvation. Concerning the kingdom, there was nothing more that he could have done at that point.  He had no chance to practice any works of righteousness since he waited until the time of his death to be born again.  He had no time to practice any works for which he could have received a reward. It was as if Jesus had said, “Today you will be saved, but as far as the kingdom is concerned, nothing more can be done, it is too late.  He would have the gift of salvation but not the conquest of the kingdom.

Many people in the church today are deceived concerning what happens at death.  They somehow imagine that death has the power to perfect them. The truth is that if we die ignorant of spiritual things here, we will be ignorant of spiritual things when God resurrects us there.  If we die without having practiced deeds of righteousness here, we will arrive there with no works.  In other words, death does not change our spiritual status.

“’Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.”  (Revelation 14:13) 

If the works of those who have labored in the kingdom will follow them in death, it is only logical to conclude that those who have no works here will have no works to follow them there.

Death has no power to add anything to us.  Those who die as children in the faith here will arrive as children in the faith there.  No one will acquire knowledge in the blink of an eye just by leaving their mortal bodies behind and taking on a glorified spiritual body.  Nobody will suddenly, acquire works before the Lord just because they died when they had no opportunity, or didn’t take advantage of the opportunities that they had to work while they were still here.  If death had the power to add something to us or to transform us, the Lord would not have had to die on the cross.

The Millennium will be the time that Christ will complete the work that He began in the life of many Christians.  He will fulfill His promise.  We know that many people die without having completed the work that God has entrusted to them.

“being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)

The Day of Jesus Christ comes at the end of the Millennium at the battle of Armageddon when the Lord takes vengeance over His enemies.

The Lord looks for fruit, as we see in the passage of the true Vine in John chapter 15.  Jesus stated clearly:

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.” John 15:5, 6

Whoever bears no fruit in this life, will pass through the fire of God’s discipline during the Millennium.  If we sin here on earth and go into the Millennium in sin, we will appear before the Lord in the same way.  If there is any unrepentant sin in the life of a Christian in this age, there will be discipline in the next age and possibly even in this present age.

The Lord said:

“Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison…” (Matthew 5:25) 

This exhortation affirms that we must settle accounts with those who have legitimate grievances against us.  If we delay, the other party may die then there will be no way to correct the problem, he will take the matter up with the judge.  “The way”, in this text, refers to while we are still alive here on earth.  If you die with any unresolved matter, on judgment day, the Lord will demand an accounting and consequently, He may mete out discipline and punishment.  Make no mistake thinking that death will free you from the discipline of the Lord.  The Father disciplines His children at any time He wishes.

However, this matter is not limited only to offenses committed against others; we also need to be careful to hold no grudges against others.  Jesus said that if we do not forgive those who offend us or who are our debtors in this age, He would deliver us to the tormentors in that day.  We may still receive the gift of salvation but not the conquest of the kingdom.

“And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.  So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”  (Matthew 18:34-35)

3 Responses to “Christian suffering and sacrifice is not a path to salvation!”

  1. Kelly Halluch says:

    Salvation is a gift, it has no relation to suffering or sacrifice. If a Christian is greedy he will “suffer” until his greed is broken. So in a way it is unnecessary many times christians bring suffering on themselves.

  2. Jonathan Lauriano says:

    Salvation is different from inheriting the kingdom; to receive the kingdom it’s necessary to go through christian suffering and sacrifice and Gods rewards will be given to us. Thats why the thief who asked jesus on the cross not to forget him earned salvation but not the kingdom. At that point he had no more to time to practice good works and live righteously because he was dying. So that shows that salvation and the gifts/rewards of the kingdom are completely different.

  3. Thayana Santana says:

    Though we might call it Christian Suffering, I have to say that through the revelation. of the Holy Spirit I have come to appreciate the things that are expected of us in this Earth. Maybe it’s because I have not had to experience that hardship and persecution that many of my brothers and sister in Christ have had to endure, but I can honestly say that I find pleasure in the work for the Lord and that I pray I am able to do more.

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