This is Part 1 of 5 parts answering the question, “Why does God allow suffering for new creations?” in the larger question, “Why does a loving God allow suffering?” Parts 2-5 will be posted on succeeding days.
We’ve looked at God’s purposes for suffering. In the last chapter we’ve examined unseen reasons for it that are accounted for only through the eyes of Scripture, and considered unseen forces. So, why do Christians, who are called “new creations in Christ” still endure pain? Paul wrote, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Cor. 5:17 NKJ) If a Christian is a new creation and the old things have passed away, then why is there suffering?
Should New Creations in Christ Suffer?
If a Christian is a new creation in Christ, that is, if Jesus Christ was the substitute for sins, why does the new creation (Christian) still suffer? Isaiah wrote, “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” (Is. 53:5 NKJ) Jesus removed the penalty for our sins and at death there will be no more effects on sin on our lives, so why should a Christian suffer now?
The reality is Christians DO suffer, so God must have reasons. In our finite understanding, there is something that we must be missing. Isaiah recorded,
8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. 9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts. (Is. 55:8-9 NKJ)
While it may not make any sense to us, there are many things that we might not understand. Job responded as we should – he trusted the Lord. But is there any way in which God is unfair when he allows trials in the lives of believers?
God is Not Unfair in Allowing Suffering
God cannot be unfair; we have addressed that. God can do no wrong, because He is righteous in all that He is and does. God cannot have malicious intentions against anyone, because even those who are cast into the Lake of Fire go because of their own willful decision to reject His grace and mercy. God is always fair, because He is just and merciful.
Therefore, God’s purposes in allowing suffering must be fair. He will always accomplish His purposes, even if they include allowing His children to be in pain. Paul wrote, “In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will.” (Eph. 1:11 NKJ) We may not understand His purposes, but He will bring glory to Himself and because of tremendous love, “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Rom. 8:18 NKJ) Hence, whatever may “seem” unfair is only that way because we do not have an eternal perspective or an understanding of the glory that is yet to come!