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The Daily Word of Righteousness
For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18)
At least one aspect has changed (we think) of the original Gospel of the Kingdom. The Gospel has become a means of enabling us to have a happier, more successful life now.
In the beginning it was not so. We can see from the eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews that the Gospel is and always has been a hope for the future a hope for people who are counted as sheep for the slaughter.
"The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us."
The reason we have converted the Gospel is that we are rich, relatively speaking, and the rich have a difficult time entering the Kingdom of God. Riches are deceitful.
By means of riches we can imitate now what the afflicted peoples of history hoped to gain by dying.
Even the fabulously wealthy Abraham chose to live in tents because of his vision of the new Jerusalem.
Moses, raised in the opulence of Pharaoh's court, chose to suffer affliction with the people of God, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than all the treasure of Pharaoh. He was looking for a reward in the future.
We may find that if we decide to seek Christ fervently we will encounter fairly severe trials. Instead of becoming healthy, wealthy, and wise we are surrounded by many troubles.
Don't panic. This is the way it is supposed to be. God is giving you a chance to prove yourself worthy of the Kingdom, the same Kingdom entered by the saints killed in the amphitheaters of ancient Rome.
But there is absolutely nothing that can happen to you that is worthy to be compared with the Glory of almighty God that is to be revealed to the world through us.
We do not realize it but this present world is an absolutely miserable place to be. We humans cling to our rags. The ambassadors of the King of kings come to our hovel, our converted chicken coop, ignore the pigs and chickens rooting in the yard, brave the dirt and smells, roll out the purple rug, and invite us to come to the Palace.
We look around at our impoverished, animal surroundings, our tarpaper shack, our garbage heap, and contemplate whether we should abandon this splendor.
You say, "But I have a nice home and yard in a beautiful neighborhood."
Compared with what is being offered you, you are in the most squalid of slums.
Of course you will be tested by various sufferings. God doesn't want self-centered, conceited, lazy, good-for- nothings in His Palace. Your character will be examined again and again to see if you are worthy of the Kingdom.
Don't be so stupid as to return to your squalor, like the dwarfs in Lewis' The Last Battle.
So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: (II Thessalonians 1:4,5)