Why does the apostle Paul state that we should glory in the Tribulations? Is it necessary to do it?

And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; Romans 5:3

In the previous study, can someone glory in the Tribulations? we discover that the subject is part of the sound doctrine, and that there is a way of Revelation through them.

However, today we want to answer several questions that arose as a result of the topic. Is it necessary to do it? Am I obliged to do it? Am I a lesser believer if I do not? What other reason is there, if there is one, for it to have a spiritual benefit in the tribulations?

The subject of tribulations, and the attitude of glory of them, or in them, is not in itself a requirement of salvation. As we established in the previous study, it is not about suffering for suffering, but about maintaining the convictions of faith in Jesus despite the tribulations and oppositions that arise to make us desist from our faith. It is the tribulation suffered by Jesus’ love, the only one that brings revelation of his Glory.

And that is what the apostle Paul poses. The, it is necessary that through many tribulations we enter into the kingdom of God,[1] it is not a doctrine of pain, or suffering, in which through pain as a means of purification perfection is reached, and finally salvation. Not through suffering is holiness and / or perfection achieved.

Clearly it is observed in the same text that the apostle exhorted them to remain in the faith. If by remaining in the faith I have to suffer the tribulation, I suffer for the love of Jesus, until He is formed in me.

In that sense, no tribulation, no pain, no suffering can, and should not, testing our convictions of faith, they are not subject to negotiation. Changing faith to avoid suffering only makes man sow for his flesh, for he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. Galatians 6:8

The tribulation that opposes our entering into the Kingdom of God, when it is resisted and overcome, becomes an element for the revelation of the formation of Christ in you;[2] because when we suffer together with Him, for his name’s sake, together with Him we will be glorified; and not only that, but we are also constituted as heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.[3]

And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. Romans 8:17

So, although not a requirement of salvation by itself, the tribulation by faith in Jesus is a bond of filiation, of spiritual growth, of maturity, of character development; above all, of ministerial development.

Those who flee to the tribulation for the sake of the Gospel of the Kingdom, not only reject their faith in Jesus, but also compromise their faith in negotiating with the world.

The saddest thing is that those who act in this way believe, erroneously, that by remaining in the world and being considered by him, they establish a testimony of their faith.

This ideology is a pagan and devilish strategy denounced since the time of the prophet Isaiah,

Because ye have said, we have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves: Isaias 28:15

The tribulation then becomes judgment and anger,

And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it. . Isaias 28:18

Not in all Christian communities was it well seen to suffer for the sake of Christ. The apostle denounced the marginalization, to which he was subjected even by other apostles themselves,

Mine answer to them that do examine me is this, 4Have we not power to eat and to drink? 5Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas? 6Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power to forbear working? 1st. Corinthians 9:3-6

There were even members of the same team who saw that the issue was unpopular, and that it kept them away from the acceptance of the people, and left them,

For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia. 2nd. Timothy 4:10

However, because of the spiritual nature of suffering together with Christ, as he wrote to the community of faith in Rome, enduring the tribulation became a strategy of spiritual warfare to break the power of sin,

If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ. 1st. Corinthians 9:12

The same doctrinal approach is found in the writing of the first epistle to the community of faith of Corinth,

But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void. 16 For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! 17 For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me. 1st. Corinthians 9:15-17

Why is this doctrine so ingrained in Paul? We will discuss three reasons on this occasion; the first one, due to the impact of his conversion,

  1. Because he is committed to God to proclaim the Gospel without receiving compensation in return or any personal benefit.

For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! 1st. Corinthians 9:16

Paul’s love for Jesus and for the proclamation of the Gospel of the Kingdom in favor of Jews and Gentiles has no rational explanation. It is simply the product of reconciling their zeal for Judaism with the revelation that Jesus is the Christ.

Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: 5Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; 6Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. 7But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Philippians 3:4-7

It was the same zeal with which he persecuted the church that made Paul an indefatigable proclaimer of the Gospel,

And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities. Acts 26.11

It was the revelation of Jesus on his way to Damascus, and the forgiveness he received when Ananias visited him from God, which made Paul understand that the only thing he could do for the rest of his life was to proclaim the love of Jesus, as he himself wrote to the community of faith in Rome, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.[4] Paul understood that no matter what he did in return, he could never compensate so much love, so much Grace, poured out to him, as he himself confessed,

For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 1st. Corinthians 15:9

And although he knew the Law, because of his Pharisee background, it was the revelation that he received directly from Jesus that made him a dispenser of the mysteries of God.

But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. 12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. Galatians 1:11, 12

The highest point of the revelation that Paul received, was when he understood that his zeal for persecuting the church was because he was still living according to the flesh,

But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. Galatians 4:29

From then on, the commitment that Paul showed about the proclamation of the Gospel was unprecedented,

I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. Romans 1:14

The gospel is, he established in several of his epistles, the power of God. In the epistle to the community of faith of Rome,

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. Romans 1:16

In the epistle to the community of faith of Corinth,

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. 2nd. Corinthians 4:7

In the epistle to the faith community of Ephesus,

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Ephesians 3:20

Why does Paul speak of the tribulation and establish it as a sound doctrine of the Kingdom?

For his commitment to Jesus and to the people to whom He sent him. His commitment led him to be available unconditionally,

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 2nd. Timothy 4:2

To suffer tribulation,

For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! 1st. Corinthians 9:16

To be willing even to die for the cause of the Gospel,

Then Paul answered, what mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? For I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus. Acts 21:13

It is a commitment that is absent today in many communities of faith, and even among many apostolic and prophetic ministries.

A second reason why Paul speaks of the tribulation and establishes it as sound doctrine, by the level of revelation that he received,

  1. Because everything in the world is property of Satan, and it is necessary to submit to tribulation to prevent Satan claiming right over the son of faith for the material things he uses.

And the devil said unto him, all this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. Luke 4:6

The Gospel of the Kingdom is not a discipline of human development, therefore, fame and human ways to evaluate and measure it, are not forms applicable to it.

If fame comes to the ministerial activity, it does not come from God, but from Satan, who has wrapped the ministry in a cloud of glory to hold it and make it irrelevant spiritually,

The apostle Paul established the danger of being enveloped by human fame,

No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. 2nd. Timothy 2:4

The apostle John also established the danger of submitting to fame,

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 1st. John 2:15

Why submit to tribulation?

To break the bonds of property that Satan has over the material things we use. Put emphasis and love for material things, and even see them as necessary, gives legal right to Satan to claim right of use, and demand in return submission and obedience.

For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. Philippians 3:3

Hence the decision of the apostle,

But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, …. 12Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:7-12

The tribulation has the spiritual capacity to undo the power of the flesh,

Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. Romans 6:6

Job was the one who first established him,

Thou liftest me up to the wind; thou causest me to ride upon it, and dissolvest my substance. Job 30:22

Two elements that deserve particular attention, in terms of material things and love for them, are money and food,

For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 1st. Timothy 6:10

In terms of money, many ministries depend on him believing that they are their operating resources,

And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money20But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Acts 8:18-20

It is clearly stated in the Scriptures that God does not depend on money,

Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. 2Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Isaias 55:1, 2

As for the food, many have given in, and have sold their birthright,

Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentils; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright. Genesis 25:34

The Kingdom of Heaven does not depend, nor is carried out, by human resources, according to the rules of the world,

For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. Romans 14:17

The apostle showed that food has the power to enslave those who see it as a necessity of operation. This teaching is established in a text of the Epistle to the Philippians, which many versions of the Bible have inadequately translated,

Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things. Philippians 3:19

The apostle is not describing who his god is, but identifying the position of where his god is. The text should be read,

Whose end is destruction, whose God is in their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.

What indicates the level of slavery that Satan exerts on a person when he cannot go through the tribulation because of hunger, because he understands that it is too humiliating and because he cannot conceive that God wants to make him go through that condition; they do not know what the Scriptures have established about it,

And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live. Deuteronomy 8:3

We also know what happened with Judas,

And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, that thou doest, do quickly. John 13:27

A person of faith who for food sells his birthright enters into satanic slavery, and is subject to principalities that cause the same condition of scarcity over the region,

Why does Paul speak of the tribulation and establish it as a sound doctrine of the Kingdom?

Because it is the way to break the bond of property that Satan arrogates over them. In this way Satan cannot claim any property or right over the person.

The men and women of God must submit to the divine provision, and learn to live by it,

Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him. Matthew 4:11

As for the biblical and spiritual teaching of glorying in the tribulation, is it necessary to do so? Am I obliged to do it? Am I a lesser believer if I do not? What other reason is there, if there is one, for it to have a spiritual benefit in the tribulations?

The tribulations, and the attitude of glorying of them, or in them, is because of what we want to achieve in Jesus,

Jesus said unto him, if thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. Matthew 19:21

It is important to emphasize it, because of the belief that has been established within many communities of faith, that the tribulation has to do exclusively with persecution; and similarly, being under tribulation is not being accountable to God.

Deciding to face and submit to tribulation has spiritual benefits, spiritual maturity, the character of Christ, and discernment,

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; 2nd. Corinthians 4:17

Fleeing the tribulation takes away authority from our spiritual executions,

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7

  1. A third reason why Paul speaks of the tribulation and establishes it as sound doctrine, because it is a requirement of ministerial formation.

There is a category of people, men and women, of all ages, for whom passing through the tribulation is a requirement of ministerial formation.

Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. Isaias 53:10

These are people chosen by God, with or without a recognized ministry, to whom God himself submits them to the tribulation.

It is not an occasional, fortuitous tribulation, it is a process by which the person is formed and trained according to the ministry that he / she will develop. In the book of Deuteronomy we discover the basis of this formation process,

And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. 3And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live. Deuteronomy 8: 2,3

The prophet Isaiah also discovered this process when he describes that for someone who serves the Lord there is a particular type of food,

Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good. Isaias 7:15

For this class of people, the tribulation is part of their training and ministerial formation.

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2nd. Corinthians 12:9

The tribulation to which they are subjected is due to the work they are going to develop, and facing it develops a firm character to not give up during their performance.

There are all kinds of ministry, but stand out particularly those ministries that have a prophetic mandate.

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[1] Acts 14:22

[2] Galatians 4:19

[3] Romans 8:17

[4] Romans 5:8