I listened to the podcast for about 10 minutes and gave up because the subject was on an entirely different subject. giggle However, I am rather perplexed that the person you heard suggested that preaching on the sovereignty of God "opened up a need for greater pastoral counsel especially when affliction took hold of a believer." scratch1 The doctrine of God's sovereignty, rightly preached/taught and understood is the greatest source of comfort any true believer could possibly have (cf. Rom 8:25-39). And it is likewise interesting that the Puritans were the greatest preachers in the history of the Church who addressed the life of true believers in great depth; their joy, temptations, sufferings, sorrow, despair, depression, war against sin from within and without, hope, privilege, etc., etc. They preached and taught on the Christian Life (praxis) more than any others have before or after them. What a treasury God has provided to us through those whom He raised up in those days.

What true believer would not quickly confess without reservation that any affliction that he encounters is most assuredly "deserved"? Remember that we are "justified" in Christ but not "purified" in ourselves, i.e., actually morally perfected. Yes, we are being sanctified, being made ready for heaven, but there is a remnant of our sinful nature that remains and thus we war against the flesh all the days of our lives. One error which is not uncommon is to associate suffering with some specific sin. This is a major error which the disciples of Christ made in regard to the man born blind (cf. Jh 9:1-3). Again, it is true that all suffering, even death comes upon all men because we are by nature sinners. But not all suffering comes upon believers due to a sin committed.

How do we cope? Here are a few texts which answer the question:

James 1:2-4 (ASV) "Count it all joy, my brethren, when ye fall into manifold temptations; Knowing that the proving of your faith worketh patience. And let patience have [its] perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, lacking in nothing."

James 5:10-11 (ASV) "Take, brethren, for an example of suffering and of patience, the prophets who spake in the name of the Lord. Behold, we call them blessed that endured: ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord, how that the Lord is full of pity, and merciful."

Hebrews 12:1-13 (ASV) "Therefore let us also, seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and perfecter of [our] faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising shame, and hath sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that hath endured such gainsaying of sinners against himself, that ye wax not weary, fainting in your souls. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin: and ye have forgotten the exhortation which reasoneth with you as with sons, My son, regard not lightly the chastening of the Lord, Nor faint when thou art reproved of him; For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, And scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. It is for chastening that ye endure; God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is there whom [his] father chasteneth not? But if ye are without chastening, whereof all have been made partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore, we had the fathers of our flesh to chasten us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened [us] as seemed good to them; but he for [our] profit, that [we] may be partakers of his holiness. All chastening seemeth for the present to be not joyous but grievous; yet afterward it yieldeth peaceable fruit unto them that have been exercised thereby, [even the fruit] of righteousness. Wherefore lift up the hands that hang down, and the palsied knees; and make straight paths for your feet, that that which is lame be not turned out of the way, but rather be healed."

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simul iustus et peccator

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