For feelings come and feelings go,
And feelings are deceiving;
My warrant is the word of God,
Naught else is worth believing.
Though all my heart should feel condemned,
For want of some sweet token;
There is One greater than my heart,
Whose Word cannot be broken.
I’ll trust in God’s unchanging Word,
’Til soul and body sever;
For, though all things shall pass away,
His Word shall stand forever.
holy, because I am holy’ ” (1 Peter 1: 15, 16). Much of Scripture
(especially the New Testament portion of our Bible) is designed
to teach us what is right and wrong—how to live.
Some context may help this conclusion and answer some
objections. If God created the inhabited universe (the material
entity and the people) and established Himself as the standard
of holiness, how does one explain the obvious fact that there is
wickedness in the world? By whatever standards, some people
have committed atrocious acts, at least one of which must be
judged contradictory to God’s standards of holiness. Why does
God allow such acts? Couldn’t He prevent such things? Yes, He
could, but what would that prove? Only that God is bigger and
stronger than people. He prefers, however, to enable a loving
choice of obedience.
From the beginning of the Biblical story, God has known there
would be those who would rebel, thus incurring the rebel penalty
of death (“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord,” Romans 6: 23). The gift to which
Romans 6: 23 refers is God’s forgiveness for acts (or thoughts) of
rebellion against the Creator as well as the eternal gift of life in
Heaven when a believer dies. (The Bible uses multiple analogies
to describe this gift, including “being saved,” “born again,” “being
regenerated,” etc.) A key factor in all of them, however, is Jesus’
death on the cross to provide the attendant gift. No gift comes
totally free. The cross, so important to Christians, refers, not to a
mythical story, but to a real, historical event that took place in the
first decade AD—one so real that you could have gotten a sliver
from the wood from which the cross was made (Francis Schaef-fer’s expression). The cross is too big a topic to explain in such a
brief focus here (it is the focal point of all human history), but it
is essentially Jesus’ sinless substitute for guilty people that enables
people to stand before a holy God to receive the gift of eternal
life. 5 This gift is not automatic; it must be accepted individually by
faith: “To all who received him [ Jesus], to those who believed in
his name, he [God the Father] gave the right to become children
of God” ( John 1: 12).
5. There is obviously a lot of symbolism and theological truth wrapped up in
these few words, though they are no less true for speaking of such metaphorical matters. This is no different than speaking of the laws of logic, which no
one has ever seen.
If, as Scripture teaches, there is a good and loving God Who
created the universe, then the believer—the person who has
accepted God’s gift of forgiveness—can trust that an omnipotent
God (“with God all things are possible,” Matthew 19: 26) has a
plan for His creation; He did not “birth” it to allow it to end up
in tatters. Scripture says it this way at one point: “one purpose of
him who accomplishes all things according to the counsel of his
will” (Ephesians 1: 11). In other words, God has an overarching
purpose for the universe He created, and He will see to it that it
will come to fruition. Did we not have the assurance of a sovereign
God Who is also kind and loving6, we could not have confidence
that He were working all things toward the good of His people
(Romans 8: 28). Yet the Bible tells us that the Most High (i.e.,
God) “is kind to the ungrateful and wicked” (Luke 6: 35, italics
What about a Christian view of suffering? The most extensive
statement is found in Romans 8: 10–39.
But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit
is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised
Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the
dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who
lives in you. Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not
to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according
to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death
the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by
the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that
makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship.
And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with
our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we
are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share
in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with
the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager
expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was
subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the
one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated
from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom
of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been
groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not
only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan
inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption
of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen
is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope
for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. In the same
way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we
ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans
that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows
the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in
accordance with God’s will.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who
love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those
God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness
of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also
justified; those he justified, he also glorified. What, then, shall we
6. 1 John 3:1: “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us.”
7. This does not mean that sin will go unpunished, but that the kindness of
God is designed, in part, to lead people to repentance. “Or do you despise the
riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the
goodness of God leads you to repentance?” (Romans 2: 4).