Should We Question Our Salvation If We Hate the Idea of Suffering?
The following is an edited transcript of the audio.
Should we question our salvation if we hate the idea of suffering?
If wanting nothing to do with suffering and pain leads you to make lifestyle choices that are governed only by that escapist mentality, then over some time, yes, you should question your salvation.
The reason I'm pausing and hesitating is because I think all of us have seasons or brief moments where we don't feel very spiritual. We don't feel a lot of confidence in God or love and desire for heaven, and the thought of giving up what is presently satisfying here on earth is almost unthinkable.
But I don't think moments or brief seasons of struggle like that have to undo our confidence in God as our Savior. What we need to do at that moment is not question our salvation but repent! When God makes it plain to us that our hearts aren't right with him, instead of saying, "Oh I might not be a Christian," we should say, "I'm sorry! Father, forgive me. Restore to me the joy of my salvation." Overcome these temptations and fight back.
But if a person over time wants nothing to do with suffering or a lifestyle that involves hardship because of obedience to Christ, that person needs to check, "Am I in the faith?" The apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 13:5, "Test yourself to see whether you are in the faith." And so we should.
Is it OK to take comfort in knowing that Christ prayed to avoid suffering in Gethsemane?
Yes. When God calls us to make choices that involve laying aside security, comfort, family, etc. and to go to a hard and risky place where Christians aren't admired but shot, to think that a person can be breezy and lighthearted about that is stupid. We will have our Gethsemanes, and we may sweat blood as we ask, "Should I or shouldn't I go there?" And it's not a sin to face that struggle as long as we give God all of his sway in that moment.
Oftentimes it is just as hard for a relative who isn't going away to let a family member do a hard thing. It's never just one person who is affected by Christian suffering. Somebody else is always affected. And the person affected can experience a kind of suffering, perhaps, that's worse than that of the one taking the risk.