A Short Study of 1st Thessalonians 3:3

“That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto.” 
(1st Thessalonians 3:3)


The abounding grace of God does not preclude trials and afflictions, but those who are the recipients of Divine grace have been “appointed thereunto.” Then let us not be dismayed or cast down by them, but seek grace to get them sanctified to us. Sufferings are necessary to the saints on various accounts. First and foremost, they are appointed in order that the members might be conformed to their Head. “For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings” (Hebrews 2:10). Sufficient then for the disciple to be like his Master, that he should be made perfect after he has suffered awhile. Peter himself alludes to this Divinely prescribed order in the way of salvation (namely humiliation, then exaltation, which applies not only to the Head but to His members also) when he refers to “the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (1st Peter 1:11). It was the Divine will that even the incarnate Son should “learn… obedience submission by the things which he suffered” (Hebrews 5:8). There was a turning point in His ministry when Jesus began “to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day” (Matthew 16:21). Why did He have to suffer thus? It is because God had ordained it (Acts 4:28). Was Christ tempted by the devil merely on account of Satan’s malice toward Him? No, for Jesus was “led up of by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil” (Matthew 4:1). Remember, dear saints enduring trials, that the Saviour Himself entered the kingdom of God “through much tribulation” (Acts 14:22), even as we must do. Thus, “in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succor (“relieve” or “help”) them that are tempted” (Hebrews 2:18). Therefore, let us “count it all joy when ye we fall into divers temptations” (James 1:2), for suffering “as a Christian” is a means by which we can glorify our redeeming God (1st Peter 4:16). The privilege of experiencing “the fellowship of his sufferings” is one of God’s appointed means by which we may know that we are in Christ, and no longer identified with the world that now abides under God’s wrath (Philippians 3:1-7). Hear the words of Christ:

“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”


Arthur Pink

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