The Problem of EVIL and The Judgments of GOD
SUFFERING AND SHAME are not our portion at the dais. But they are our high privilege at present, in preparation for it. Instead of facing a future "hell" or "purgatory" or "judgment seat," with punishment as our lot, we may endure evil with the evangel now and, as a reward, we will reign together with Christ in glory.
One of Paul's latest letters is much concerned with the future and the requital of "that day." This phrase is found thrice in his second epistle to Timothy (1:12,18; 4:8). In each ease it is associated with suffering evil, (1:8; 2:9; 4:5). The suffering of the saint is not at the dais, but in view of it. It is not inflicted by God, but man, not for sin, but for faithfulness and endurance. It will lead, not to a second death, but to an abundant life and rare reward. We need not dread suffering at the dais, but endure it now, and enjoy it in anticipation of that day.
Shame, also, is associated with our service in view of the dais (2 Tim.1:8,12,16). The testimony of Paul is not a path to popularity. He exhorts Timothy not to be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of His prisoner (1:8). Paul himself was not ashamed, in view of that day (1:12). Onesiphorus was not ashamed of Paul's chains, and will find mercy in that day (1: 16). The Christian ministry is generally supposed to be one of the most honorable and dignified of all professions, as far removed from suffering and shame and evil as can be, yet here we have its greatest exponent suffering as if he were a criminal, an enemy of human society, so that he finds it needful to assure us that he is not ashamed of himself and to beg his son in the faith not to be ashamed of him, and to commend a household that stood by him and was not ashamed. How have the times changed!
I have just heard a story that gives us a hint of the average minister's attitude since then. A friend heard many a sermon from a clergyman several years ago, but cannot recall anything he said except, on one occasion, when he was inducting another clergyman into the pastorate of a neighboring church. Then he repeatedly expressed the wish that his colleague would have a good time during his term of office! Alas, how sordid has the spirit of Christendom sunk! A pastor true to Paul today is liable to lose his position and his salary and his reputation. Even in those days many of the saints were ashamed of the greatest and grandest exponent and example of God's glorious grace.
Suffering evil with the evangel is almost unknown. Instead, the "gospel" has often been made the stepping stone to a place of preferment and pelf. Is it not clear that something is amiss? The world has not changed its attitude toward God. Yes, and the saints have not altered their rejection of Paul (2 Tim.1:15). He had gone among them with great success. He had recently written to them of the highest truths ever made known. Would they not cleave to him through thick and thin? Would they not honor him above all men? No! The capstone of grace demands that he suffer shame from the hands of God's saints, the very ones who owed him all!
It takes power to suffer evil in God's service. This can come only through faith in His Word, especially in an appreciation of His Godlike dealings with us, entirely apart from our own consciousness or volition. The delicious thought that His grace toward us was exercised before eonian times (2 Tim.1:9) is a tremendous help to lift us out of our own weakness and stand on His strength. The mere fact that, at that time, when we had as yet done nothing amiss that called for it, His grace was given us in Christ Jesus, shows that our sin had as yet done nothing amiss that called for it, His was well known to Him, and was a vital factor in His purpose, for He could show such grace only to those who deserved the opposite. If He reckoned with our sins then, it is evident that He can cope with them now.
Paul himself is our example in this as in all else. He has the highest titles which a servant of Christ can obtain in this era. He has a triple crown, far more magnificent than that of the Roman pontiff today. He was a Herald, an Apostle and a Teacher of the nations. His parish was the world, including every nation on the inhabited earth. In time, his ministry extends through-out this era, for he did not only speak, but made his message immortal by his pen. He was the first to herald the abolition of death and to bring to light life and incorruption. None of the apostles before him had such a message. None had the scope of his, either in space or time. His teaching far transcends that of any other either before or after him. I feel sure that every saint will agree that he deserves the highest honors at the dais of anyone who ever lived.
And what was his earthly reward? Did they build him a vast cathedral, such as was later erected to honor Peter in Rome? Did they seat him on a jeweled throne with a glittering crown upon his head? Did they come to adore and kiss him as they now kiss St. Peter's brazen toe? Far from all this! When our Lord was crucified, his disciples left Him and fled. So also, when Paul was imprisoned, most of his followers forsook him and were ashamed to have anything to do with him. Indeed, he was so cut off from his erstwhile friends that it was hard to find him, even by those who were not ashamed of him (2 Tim.1:17).
Why was Paul suffering these shameful indignities? Because he was God's ambassador to a rebellious world. Because, as the herald and apostle and teacher of the nations he was faithful to the evangel committed to him. Because he made God's purpose known, and the grace which is ours in Christ Jesus through His crucifixion and burial and ascension and glorification. Because he taught the abolition of death and the vivification of all in his evangel. Because this shameful treatment of God's most highly honored and supremely blest of all the servants of Christ is essential as a background for the revelation of His transcendent grace, not only to mankind, but to all His creatures in the celestial spheres as well, not only now, but in the eons that impend.
Paul himself knew this; therefore he insists that he is not ashamed (2 Tim.1:12). However, he was not concerned so much about himself as about the evangel which had been committed to him. What would become of it after he was gone? Timothy, indeed, was left, and a few others, but the great bulk of those whom he had reached seem to have forsaken him. Moreover, there were forces at work which turned the saints from him and his teaching. Phygellus and Hermogenes were but samples of the many in the province of Asia, where he had reached such numbers, and to whom he had sent his grandest epistles. But he was not ashamed, because he knew Whom he had believed, and was persuaded that He is able to guard what was committed to him for that day (2 Tim.1: 12).
Those who spread Paul's teaching must suffer Paul's treatment. The teaching and the treatment are close companions. The more gain you deserve at the dais the more pain you are likely to bear beforehand. Paul's case was not due to his person, but his message. The more you think about it, the stranger it seems that he exhorts his successor to suffer evil! How seldom is this note heard today in preparing for the ministry! Is it not because Paul's message is missing? There is no need to act so as to deserve evil because of our faults, or lack of loving consideration. That should never be encouraged. But when we are faithful to Paul's evangel, and the inevitable evil ensues, let us bear it and never shrink from suffering with the great herald and apostle and teacher. Rather, let us cherish it as a privilege, the highest honor which this era can confer on the sons of Adam.
THE SOLDIER, THE ATHLETE, THE FARMER
I am not a literal soldier or athlete or farmer, yet, figuratively, I am all three, in view of the dais of Christ (2 Tim.2:3-7). This group of figures, which applies to all who belong to Christ in this administration, whatever their station or means of livelihood, is not only most helpful in view of that day, but should assist us in understanding the function of figures of speech, for they are mutually exclusive if we apply them without limitations. No one can be similar to a soldier in all respects and at the same time be altogether like an athlete and resemble a farmer in every way. In each case the concordance is confined to a single feature. It includes nothing but the suffering of a soldier, the rules of the games, and the firstness of the farmer in partaking of his fruits.
SUFFER AS A SOLDIER
Timothy was not exhorted to emulate a soldier in every particular. He was not advised to take physical training to build up his bodily strength and learn how to fight and destroy and kill his enemies. Quite the opposite! But there was one phase of the soldier's life which would enter his experience, and that is suffering. We seldom picture an ideal soldier as a sufferer. We paint him as in the prime of youthful strength and vigor, with martial might, as the song says, "marching as to war." If I had any idea that it would be accepted, I would suggest that these words be changed to a more scriptural phrase, "suffering as in war." But who would want to sing about that? Alas, the "Christian soldiers" of today do not take their marching orders from Paul, so have little cause to suffer.
Millions upon millions of men living today have learned that Paul was right. The false glamor of war has been replaced in their minds by the realities of its results. What suffering has followed in its train! Hitherto there seems to have been little recognition of this aspect in military circles. Bravery and success were rewarded With medals and decorations, As they are now, but today wounds and suffering call for stripes and the purple heart. Whatever may be the outward symbols of combat, the most enduring are engraven on the hearts of those who suffered fatigue and hunger, disease and mutilation, nerve shock and utter spiritual devastation. Such is the picture put before us by Paul. just as some of the soldiers who suffered severely cheerfully faced their fate, so we should accept the suffering which comes to us with Paul with acquiescent fortitude and thankfulness.
Of course, the true servant of Christ, especially if he is a follower of Paul, will never think of misusing the evangel for his own material benefit. Yet there is the tendency in us all to abuse God's gracious gifts. If the prime motive in our hearts is to make an easy living by selling the truth, it may not land us in jail now, but it will seriously affect our reward in that day. It will do little good to preach grace if our acts do not correspond. Devoutness is not capital, and we should not expect to profit by it in a financial way.
In practice, Paul worked at his trade in order to provide for himself and those with him (Acts 20:34). Yet he never was involved or entangled by his business, so that it hindered his work. Even in those days the demands of business could involve a man to such an extent that he had no time or strength to give to the ministry to which God called him. At one time I was superintendent of a printing plant with about forty employees. I found this so strenuous that I had no vitality left for the work I loved, so I resigned and demoted myself to a common workman at a lower wage. But I had to suffer for this also, as it was misunderstood by those who did not sympathize with my work in the Scriptures. My fellow craftsmen thought I was mentally unbalanced, yet I felt a great relief. But it was a great blessing to me, as it left me time and strength for my main purpose in life, which was not to make a living, but to discover and publish God's truth.
This figure of a soldier can easily be perverted unless we hold it down to the points mentioned. Indeed, we are not to war with anyone, but to proclaim peace. Literally it conflicts with that of the ambassador. Only in respect to suffering and involvement does it find any parallel in God's servants today. Neither does it insist on abstinence from any gainful occupation, for this is expressly implied in the next figure, that of a farmer, and such abstinence directly denounced in some cases. Paul worked night and day, with toil and labor, so as not to be burdensome to anyone, and gave himself as a model in this regard.
COMPETING IN THE GAMES
Another phase of the dais, and the one which causes the most perplexity, is figured by the athlete. Paul had used this figure before, to illustrate the subjection of the physical body. Every athlete must observe training. He dare not pamper the flesh before contending in the games. But this phase is not before us here. Rather he adds one point which is closely in line with our present theme. He races and boxes so as not to be disqualified. He must observe the rules of the game. The A.V. rendering "castaway" gives an entirely false turn to the figure. No athlete was ever cast away if he failed to observe the conditions. He is not banished or executed, but disqualified. He loses the race even if he is first over the line. He is not acclaimed the winner in a boxing match if he strikes below the belt. So it will be at the dais. There will be much loss on account of lawless competition.
THE FARMER AND THE FRUIT
The toiling farmer must be the first to partake of the fruits (2 Tim.2:6). Rightly the farmer is entitled to nine-tenths of the fruit (1 Cor.9:7). So it was ordained in connection with the Circumcision. The Levites and priests were supported by the nation. But Paul refused to use his rights, because his was a message of grace. So now he gives the farmer the priority, but not all the fruit of his labors.
Paul's second epistle to Timothy is concerned with the last days, so applies to us in a very special way, for it is adapted to the conditions under which we live. It is the most perilous period in this administration. The truth is being withstood as never before. Sound teaching is not tolerated and many are turned aside to myths. Disorder is everywhere. Insubjection is rampant and even disguises itself as submission to the Lord. But the trials of the time give us an opportunity to endure suffering and shame, which will win a rich reward at the dais. May we have grace to take advantage of our special privileges, and use them to glorify His Name!
SUFFERING IN THE LAST DAYS
In some respects it is more difficult to avoid suffering in these last days than in Timothy's time. The Scriptures declare that, in these days, men will be selfish, fond of money, ostentatious, proud, calumniators, stubborn to parents, ungrateful, malign, without natural affection, implacable, adversaries, uncontrollable, fierce, averse to the good, traitors, rash, conceited, fond of their own gratification rather than fond of God, having a form of devoutness, yet denying its power. Such we are bidden to shun (2 Tim.3:1-5). Is it possible to live amongst such "saints" and not suffer? Thank God, the Scriptures do not say that all are to be like this. Nor does each one have all of these traits. Yet it behooves each one of us to be aware of this word, and to watch that we are not even tinged with such sins. But we cannot help suffering from their very presence. Until we become acquainted with them we may not even know that they are included in this list. Some sins, such as selfishness, are so prevalent, that they do not impress us at first.
Few of the saints seem to be aware of the stratagems of the adversary and the pain inflicted by his fiery arrows in case we are not shielded by faith. If they were more alive to the opposition of the world-mights of this darkness (Eph.6:11-17), they would not so readily yield themselves to their designs, and become his tools in opposing those who are standing in the breach for the celestial truths against which the enemy is arrayed. I once thought that, as soon as the saints realized the place of our work in this spiritual conflict, they would stand with us through thick and thin, and be alert to the stratagems of the adversary to draw them away, or, worse than that, to join his forces, and attack us from the rear. And, indeed, there are many who stand firm with us, facing the foe, and for these we are unutterably grateful. How sad that some have received the spirit of the adversary, and seek to wrestle with us and wound us, tricked by the adversary into opposition, because they fail to see eye to eye with us in non-essential details or on account of personal prejudices.
ENDURE AND REIGN
Those who endure shall reign with Christ for the eons (2 Tim. 2:12). It is a great pity to make this everlasting. Eonian life will, indeed, never end, because death itself shall be abolished at the consummation. Therefore it is unwise to overstress that the word eon does not denote endlessness in relation to our life in Christ, for it does involve it. But reigning is a different matter. All will be vivified eventually, but by its very nature, all cannot reign. Some must be subject. Reigning implies submission to intermediaries, and insubordination to God. When the kingdom is handed over to the Father, God cannot be All in all so long as some of His creatures reign over others. All rule, even that of Christ, shall cease when all authority is transferred into the hands of the Father, and political power gives place to paternal authority.
Endurance now is the proper preparation for reigning with Christ in the future. How different would rule be today if every office holder had to undergo a thorough course of training in patient suffering! A prominent medical specialist in Europe tried to express a similar thought when he said that every physician ought to be thrown out of the window before he should be allowed to practice on a patient. He should know what suffering is, to deal with it sympathetically and successfully. So it is with governing. Only one who has felt the pains and penalties of mortality, and has endured the consequent suffering and shame, is fitted to rule. Only such a one will reign so successfully that ruling will eventually be ruled out.
The reason why all mortal government must be a comparative failure lies in the unnatural conditions under which it operates. It arose from the estrangement of man from the Creator, and is only a temporal brake on his activities until he is in harmony with God again. Nature demands the submission of the lower creation to the higher and of man to God, not of man to man. All the futile aspirations and bloody battles for freedom arise from this faulty relationship. No mortal, save the rejected Son of God, is sufficiently superior to his fellows, or so free from sin, or so fully in fellowship with God as to the purpose of man's creation, as to provide a perfect rule. Man is given dominion by God to teach him his own incapacity by a vast and varied demonstration, from the deluge to the consummation.
The almost continuous clash between liberty and tyranny is much misunderstood because it is never absolutely one or the other, but always a mixture. Where there is government by man no one can be utterly free. The limits of liberty are not determined by the form of government alone, or even by its administrators, but by conditions and environment. One person, alone in the wilds, far from his fellows, is not under the same restraints as another who lives in the midst of a metropolis. He may shoot a gun in every direction without interference by the political authorities, whereas such a course would be criminal in a crowded place, and he might be executed for murder.
All forms of government are needed in God's great demonstration of human incompetence. Little as we may like some of them, let us recognize God's wisdom even in their faults, and be thankful for the lessons that they teach. The idea that authority resides in all the people who are mature, which the Greeks called the demos, has given rise to democracy. Theoretically this is the rule of the populace, but it is really the rule of the majority, and the subjection of the minority. Because of its impracticability in the case of great masses of men or the largeness of lands, it is usually modified by the choice of representatives who act instead of their constituents, which is better named a republic. Usually, these forms allow the most individual liberty. Yet, like all the others, the administration and the administrators determine the measure of freedom, rather than the written form. Especially in emergencies this may be evaded or ignored.
The kind of control of human over humans which is sanctioned in the Scriptures is that of a father over his family. This is to teach us of God's final place in the consummation. In both cases it is based on natural ties, creation and generation. Then there is that of the husband over the wife, which is based on the fact that he is her head. This is also used to illustrate Yahweh's relationship to Israel. Elders were to have the rule in the communities in Israel and in the ecclesia, due to their maturity and experience. Kings are a temporary interlude, from the deluge to the consummation. Even Christ reigns only in the last two eons. The superior authorities of the present are God's ministers, carrying out His intention, but they are artificial and unnatural, so have very limited basic qualifications for their positions.
Experience with evil, and character are the requisites for reigning. Neither great works nor success, neither great gifts nor the approval of others will prepare us for it. These will also bring a reward of some kind. Even prolonged patience is not enough. It is necessary for a ruler in that day to have stood his ground in faith, not only under the onslaughts of men, but under assault by the fiery arrows of the powers of darkness.
The same kind of a character and experience is needed by the rulers in the messianic kingdom on earth. Our Lord told His disciples: "You are those who have continued with Me in My trials. And I am covenanting a covenant with you according as My Father covenanted a kingdom to Me, that you may be eating and drinking at My table in My kingdom. And you will be seated on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel" (Luke 22:28-30). That part of their preparation which they least enjoyed was the most essential. Many others were with Him at first, but they did not continue in trial. This disqualified them for any official position in the coming kingdom. So it is with us today. Our failure to endure does not affect our salvation, for that is altogether and directly the result of His sacrifice. But rule in the eonian kingdom is only for those who have been tried and who have stood the test.
The fact that physical well-being sometimes seems more desirable than individual freedom of action has led to so-called "socialist" forms of government. In this form, society, or rather, the state, controls much that is usually left to the individual. In the case of overcrowded countries, whose resources need to be carefully conserved, this may be a vast advantage, but only in the hands of a capable and unselfish administration. The fatal defect in this is its antichristian attempt to bring blessing to men apart from Christ, and in independence of God. The goal set is far too low. As our Lord said, "Seek first His kingdom and righteousness, and these all shall be added to you" (Matt.6:33). The physical blessings of the earthly kingdom come from submission to and worship of God, not in planned economies or in the use of technology.
Even an ideal form of government, a heavenly utopia, would fail to function as it should in the hands of mortal men. The millennium will be headed by immortals, and the celestial realms by death-defying saints. No man lives long enough to accumulate the necessary wisdom. Even while he lives he is continually harassed by the operation of death in his body, so that he is prone to do evil and sin. The subjects of the best of states are by no means ideal. They form one long funeral procession of decaying flesh. And, not only the ruler's body, but all of his accomplishments, are doomed to sink down into ruin and corruption.
In the divine chronicles of Israel's kings we are shown what is the vital factor in human government. When the people and the king submitted themselves to Yahweh Elohim, then all went well. When they turned against Him, all went ill. The Jews are a living example of this during the succeeding centuries, until this very day. The highest point in the history of their kingdom was reached when Solomon and the people exhausted their energies and wealth in building the house of Yahweh. This did not impair their power or lower their standard of living, but quite the reverse. And so it was in Israel on other occasions. A return to Yahweh involved a revival of prosperity. This is not so evident among the nations today, for God is not judging now, and He demonstrates such matters by means of the people He has chosen to dominate the earth, when they are in fellowship with Him.
A good definition of endure, would be suffer evil with patience or fortitude. In the original it literally means UNDER-REMAIN, or remain behind, as when our Lord stayed in Jerusalem after His parents had left to return to Nazareth (Luke 2:43). The meaning endure is a faded figure. It is a great pity that the AV alters it to suffer in the passage before us, and there only. This spoils the very striking contrast between the evangel of the kingdom and that of Paul. Our Lord told His disciples, "he who endures to the consummation, he shall be saved" (Matt.10:22). But now salvation does not depend on endurance, so Paul writes to Timothy, "if we are enduring, we shall be reigning" (2 Tim.2:12). In one case salvation depends on holding out to the end. In the other salvation is not in question, but reward. Endurance is requited with a place of rule.
Government is essentially the restraint of evil by evil. Without it evil was rampant before the deluge. After the eonian times, when evil vanishes, government also disappears. Our rule among the celestials will be concerned with evil. The best preparation is an acquaintance with it and patiently coping with it while on earth. That is why endurance, is the requisite for rule. We may be patient in our waiting for His coming. That also will have its reward. Those who keep the faith will be paid with the wreath of righteousness. Indeed, it will be the portion of all who love His advent (2 Tim.4:4). But endurance finds its field in affliction (Rom.12:12). Those who have gone through this school are ready to cope with the evil that still prevails among the celestials and bring it to a conclusion.
Government uses evil to restrain evil. An individual who kills his fellow is a murderer and must himself die. But the executioner who kills him is an official, and does not commit murder when he kills. But the authority to do evil may be much abused, as when one nation wars against another without just cause. This will nearly cease in the millennium, though even then Gog and Magog will attempt to despoil Israel. Even the reign of Christ will use evil, for He will control natural forces, and compel attendance to the worship of God by with-holding the downpour, or, where this is not essential, as in Egypt, with a stroke (Zech.14:17). Let us not imagine that His rule is all sweetness and light. It also is enforced by evil. He sends evil that good may come of it.
The secret of Christ reveals His celestial glory, up over every sovereignty and authority and power and lordship and every name that is named (Eph.1:21). These are various forms of restraint or rule among the celestials. The sovereignties are the highest of all, who delegate some of their rights to authorities. Except for one reference in Jude 6 to the messengers "who kept not their first estate" (sovereignty) we never read of these heavenly realms in the Circumcision writings. They come before us only in Paul's epistles. These sovereignties, probably the most mighty of all God's creatures, cannot separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Rom.8:38). All sovereignty, as well as all authority and power will be abrogated at the consummation (1 Cor. 15:24). We will not reign for eternity. Our rule is limited to the eons. It is eonian. Even at the present time we are serving as an object lesson to the sovereignties and authorities, making known to them the multifarious wisdom of God (Eph.3:10). And even now we come into contact with these sovereignties and authorities, the spiritual forces of wickedness among the celestials, who are our real adversaries, although they work through blood and flesh in order to harm us (Eph.6:12).
In Israel, celestial messengers were almost always beneficent, and bore tidings of good. Not so with us. The denizens of the spirit world are our chief adversaries. They doubtless know that some of us are destined to take their place of rule, and this may account, in part, for their antagonism to the saints of the celestial calling.
These mighty spiritual governments seem to occupy the heavenly realms which are promised to us. They are like the Canaanites in the land of promise, who opposed Israel until Joshua led the nation into their allotment. We cannot count on peace with them so long as we are on earth, and have not displaced them among the celestials. Meanwhile, however, we do not merely withstand them and shield ourselves from their fiery arrows, but we are a blessing to them by manifesting God's wisdom now, and by taking over their rule in the future, under the headship of Christ. Just as He will assume the headship of earth's sovereignties and authorities in the day of Yahweh, and install His apostles and faithful followers in the places of rule on earth, so will He do in the heavens also.
In that glorious day we will not need our armor or our shield. We will be invulnerable, with far more power to do evil than the celestial hosts. There can be no doubt that there, as on earth, evil will be used to compel obedience. Even a father uses force to discipline his child for good. How much more a king! These sovereignties and authorities, judging from their present conflict with the saints, will need severe measures to correct their present course, and change it from enmity to peace. Part of this will probably be done, even before our advent, when Michael and his messengers battle with the dragon and its messengers, and they are cast into the earth, and their place was no longer found in heaven (Rv. 12:7).
We can hardly imagine the magnificence of the millennial reign. Prophet after prophet has extolled its varied glories. But it is confined to a minute part of God's creation. Compared with the orbs of space its size is insignificant. Our celestial realm is unutterably greater and its glories grander. It is amazing how much a man will hear and what risks he will take to seize the reigns of even the smallest of earth's governments. No wonder Paul reckons that the sufferings of the current era do not deserve the glories about to be revealed for us (Rom.8:18). We should not look upon these trials as a penalty for past sins, or as a punishment of any kind, but rather as a privilege, which may benefit ourselves as well as celestial creatures, and play a small part in God's great plan of blessing to the whole creation. Let us glory in afflictions which produce endurance (Rom.5:3) and put a crown upon our humbled heads.
THE FATE OF THOSE WHO DISOWN HIM
We have already pointed out that endurance is essential for salvation in the case of the Circumcision, at the crisis when the kingdom comes. But it is essential for reigning for the Uncircumcision in their celestial realm. But what becomes of us if we do not endure, but disown Him? He also will disown us. Until I considered this matter carefully in its context, this statement was filled with terror, and I trembled for my salvation. But later, when I came to be established in the great truth that our acts have nothing to do with our deliverance, which depends entirely on His faithfulness to His Word, it dawned upon me that, if we disown Him we forfeit our right to reign, not our other blessings.
The very next sentence should keep us from questioning our safety and security: He is remaining faithful--He cannot disown Himself. It is His work and His word that saves, not ours. We do not need to endure or do anything else to be saved. Not even the quantity or quality of our belief or unbelief is vital. If we lack sufficient faith to endure, that does not affect our salvation, but our reward. The least spark of confidence in Him is all that is needed to share in the infinite value of His sacrifice. But more is needed to have a part in this glorious universal reign for the eons of the eons. Only the apostles and faithful will reign on earth. Only those who endure suffering for His sake now will rule in the heavens among the celestials.
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