FAITH and REVELATION are activated by suffering

And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.

Mark 8:31

opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.

Acts 17:3

In a world of Greek philosophical heritage in which we live, where the purpose of life is to seek and achieve personal happiness and well-being, a statement like the one proposed in the title of this chapter would surely offend more than one and could be taken as religious nonsense.

Why should the Christ suffer? Unlike philosophies and religions of higher social projection in history, where their doctrines are based on the realization of man by observing the theosophical rules compiled by their founders, Christianity does not depend on what man does to get his spirituality and eventual salvation. It is widely known that in the Gospel of the Kingdom, salvation is by Grace, Gift of God, and consists in believing in the name of Jesus, precisely to avoid anyone to glory in his deeds.[1]

The Gospel only asks to believe. The apostle Paul summarizes in this unique expression taken from the book of Deuteronomy[2]  the key to salvation:

that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Romans 10:9

Simple. Believe and confess what is believed. Why then the need to suffer?

Man is a being that tends to gather all his knowledge and to reduce it to a systematic knowledge; by nature, he is very given to boasting about what he knows; thence, so that a knowledge that God gives him does not fall in the “library” of his knowledge, and the Revelation is lost, it is necessary for man to process his knowledge through “experiences” that lead him to put aside his tendency to boast about what he knows; in the process, man discovers God speaking to his spirit. The suffering that man faces is of the same degree as his resistance to depose his tendency to boast.

It was necessary for the Christ to suffer because only in this way man could understand the way of the Revelation of salvation, which is why we read in the epistles of the Apostle Paul that the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. [3]   If there were no suffering, the doctrine of Christ would be reduced to theoretical knowledge only.[4]

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

1st. Corinthians 2:14

Thus, suffering makes it possible for the knowledge acquired to be transformed into the Revelation of God’s purposes. It is not that we preach a doctrine of suffering, nor worse, that we exalt it, but it is the form provided by God so that by an attitude of submission to the Lordship of Christ, and by the decision to be participants in His sufferings, a person finds faith as a resource of trust in God; the apostle Paul established among the Gentile communities that it is necessary that through many tribulations we enter the Kingdom of God, note that according to the teaching of the apostle, to remain in the faith means to remain firm in the face of suffering.[5]

In the teaching about the life of the Kingdom set forth by the parable of the sower,[6] Jesus instructed his disciples that unwillingness to tolerate suffering for the sake of the Gospel causes the seed of Revelation and Faith to be lost. The seed that remains superficial on the road, together with the one that is choked by the rocks, and the one that is suffocated by the thorns, are the graphic representation of lives, although interested in developing a life of faith but unwilling to suffer for it; faith and Revelation are not the product of the theory of knowledge, but the experience of being participants in the sufferings of Christ;[7] in the experience of being ‘hidden’ in God is when the things are discovered that eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man.[8] A life based on the theory of knowledge is a life that lags behind and is immersed in religious rituals that only encapsulates its confidence in what it knows theoretically about God.[9]

It is not a matter of seeking and promoting suffering, life in Christ Jesus does not consist of suffering for the sake of suffering; the merit of the life of faith does not lie in pain. God determines which revelation needs to be processed by the experience of suffering, when it comes, not avoided.[10] The life of faith does not consist in reproducing stereotypical models of pietistic, silent, tolerant, medieval Christianity; the life of faith in Jesus Christ consists in activating in our own lives the conviction of Revelation that has been deposited in our spirit.[11]

The Revelation of His Word brings faith, but there are Revelations that need to be processed through suffering.

that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

1st. Peter 1:7

Faith is not a product of human endeavor; it is a spiritual virtue. God Himself subjects us to situations designed by Him to produce in us the Revelation of His Essence, and for us to believe in Him. It is not the logical, rational belief, product of the acquired knowledge, it is the Revelation of His Power, of His Sovereignty, of His Lordship, and through this Revelation the necessary Faith is activated to move us in His Grace.

15 who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint; 16 who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end;

Deuteronomy 8:15-16

These verses are widely known in the religious media, but they highlight only the end result of God’s action: to do thee good at thy latter end, but they deliberately ignore the way God used to achieve that result. That’s why we have many frustrated, disappointed, bitter, and depressed believers today, denying their faith and blaming God for all their misfortunes.

If the Scriptures themselves testify that it is through suffering that the believer receives and develops faith, why then the tendency to avoid it.

13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. 15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. 16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.           

Hebrews 11:13-16

How much Revelation does God have for you? Suffer patiently the race that is set before you, seek neither merit nor gain nor recognition; let it not be said of you that it is lighter work to put a camel through the eye of a needle, …

All biblical quotations are taken from the King James Version.

Pastor Pedro Montoya

Twitter: @pastormontoya

[1] Ephesians 2:8

[2] Deuteronomy 30:10-14

[3] 1st. Corinthians 1:18

[4] Ditto 1:21-23

[5] Acts 14:22

[6] Mathew 13:1-23

[7] Philippians 1:29: For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;

[8] 1st. Corinthians 2:9

[9] Mathew 13:19-23

[10] Ditto 10:38

[11] Jeremy 31:33

Why things are getting so messed up now that I’m seeking the Lord?

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

The proposed theme picks up the expression on the lips of many people who try to understand how soon as they decided to give their lives to the Lord, and put all their things in order, suddenly everything became so complicated, even financially.

Although it is not a general rule of the life of faith in Jesus, many people go through these experiences of disorder at the beginning of their walk with the Lord, provoking in many of them confusion and desire to give up their purpose of seeking the Lord.

What is serious is the absence of a pertinent explanation to understand what is happening to them, and how to deal with it.

There are at least three biblical reasons why these experiences of the beginning of many people’s life of faith are so complicated.


The purpose in life of developing faith in Jesus is to be pleasing to God. It is the theme that is repeated many times throughout the Bible, with greater emphasis on the New Testament.

A So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. Romans 8:8

Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. 1st. Thessalonians 4:1

But without faith it is impossible to please him: … Hebrews 11:6

To achieve this purpose is not enough with the good intentions of the person, nor is accomplished with tools of human inventiveness, the believer has to be taught directly by the Holy Spirit because to reach it is necessary a transformation of the sin nature that he drags as heir of Adam.

… seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; Colossians 3:9

When a person is born again, of the Holy Spirit, and begins to walk according to the Will of God, God cleanses (sanctifies) the person from all the pagan customs he acquired in his past way of living, customs all generated in the image of the evil one. The process of purification (sanctification) consists in subjecting him or her to various trials (difficult experiences) so that those sinful burdens which will not allow him or her to grow in faith may come out of him or her.

Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. 1st. Corinthians 3:13

Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 1st. Peter 4:12

So, the first thing we have to understand about walking in obedience to God, that the life of faith is a life of trials, and that if we are going through one of them, the attitude has to be one of joy,…

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

…And we rejoice, because we know that the critical process we are passing through is the fire of purification (sanctification) brought by God Himself so that as a bride, at His coming, we may be presented before Him without spot or wrinkle.

That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. Ephesians 5:27

The life of faith is a life of trials. God tries the faith of each one,…

Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. James 1:3

That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: 1st. Peter 1:7

…God tries hearts,…

But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts. 1st. Thessalonians 2:4

Why does God tries hearts? Because evil thoughts come from the heart; He tries hearts to purify (sanctify) the source of our motivations.

For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: Mathew 15:19 (cf. also Mark 7:21)

…God proves our love for Him and for His work,…

Wherefore shew ye to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love, and of our boasting on your behalf. 2nd. Corinthians 8:24

There are many people who do not endure the trial, and give up on their interest in walking with Jesus, and it is because at the time of the trial, they cannot see God in the process,…

Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. Mathew 13:21

…, Or their love for money and/or loss of social status outweighs their love for Jesus,…

He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. Mathew 13:22

The trial processes result in a greater knowledge of God, a much stronger spirit, a particular revelation about God and his work, and mainly, instructions on the way of Truth to which the person is led,

… knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. Romans 5:3-5

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

Trials teach us to know God. The phrases rock,[1] castle,[2] refuge,[3] hiding-place,[4] to mention some of the expressions that appear in the psalms, are expressions that David coined under the processes of persecution by Saul; all of them show how David knew God in the midst of the siege trials.

The trials teach us to know God. We know God as the healer under the sickness trial; as the sustainer under the scarcity; as the provider under the persecution; as the refuge under the oppression. So, if you are in trial; prepare yourself, God is revealing Himself to you.


Every person born on this earth is born with a spiritual purpose from God.

The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil. Proverbs 16:4

That the wicked is reserved to the day of destruction? They shall be brought forth to the day of wrath. Job 21:30

But, although we often confess that we have a life with purpose, in reality only a very small group discovers God’s purpose with their lives.

God’s purpose, as we have called it since the importance of the subject was discovered, is actually a “calling” from God to perform a specific pro-ministry activity among a particular group, and/or to perform a unique function for the benefit of the inhabitants of a specific region.

The cases of Joseph and Esther are good examples of this. Joseph although sold by his brothers and taken to Egypt as a slave, his real calling was to provoke preservation of life to his brothers.[5] Esther’s case, though queen, her real calling was to denounce and dismantle Haman’s plot.[6] And so many other biblical cases that illustrate how each person have a calling from God as the purpose of existence.

The duration of the trial depends on how quickly the person discovers his calling. The reiterative nature of the same trial means that the person does not discover his real calling, because he reneges on it, or because he does not have the pertinent knowledge to discover his calling.

Jonah is the typical example of a person who reneges on his calling. Samson is the case of a person who has no knowledge of his or her calling.

In general, God always discovers each one what his calling is; some come to know it from a very young age, as in the case of the prophet Jeremiah,[7] others discover it in adulthood, as in the case of the majority of the apostles.[8] However, it is permissible for everyone to ask the Lord what his or her calling is.

The calling is discovered by the Lord through dreams, as in the case of Joseph;[9] through prophet, as in the case of Gideon;[10] through vision, as in the case of the apostle Paul;[11] through personal experiences, as in the case of Samuel;[12] and above all, by the Word of God, as in the case of the Ethiopian eunuch.[13]

The parable of the ten servants to whom their lord gives “pounds”[14] to invest with them, as he travels to a faraway region to receive a kingdom, brought to light that God’s selection process, and training, is based on periods of work under pressure to draw from people their true abilities for the work to which they are called. In the case of the parable, the lord had in mind from the beginning to put them as city administrators, but wanted to see how faithful they were first.[15] The trial enables the person to position himself and perform his or her calling properly.

The “calling” does not necessarily have to do with the pulpit, nor does it have to do with preaching. The calling is a unique and non-transferable operation that God delegates on the person to establish in its time the Truth that he bears on behalf of God. There are cases in the Bible, even of people not necessarily religious, and even little pious, who performed a particular calling. They are the cases of Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus. The prophet Jeremiah testifies to the calling of Nebuchadnezzar,[16] and the book of Daniel reports the awareness he had of God about the things he did,[17] as well as Cyrus king of Persia, God calls him his anointed.[18]

Trial processes direct a person to discover his or her sensitivity to a particular interest, to discover his or her ability to help in what attracts him or her, or simply to discover his or her ability to solve or manage a function.

In cases where the person cannot understand about his or her calling, it is necessary for the person to turn to a mentor who will help them discover their real calling, and lead them to perform it.


Not everything has to do with a trial or with a calling; many times things are also complicated because Satan is recovering all that he gave to the person when he arranged to serve him.

Luke’s gospel shows that the owner of worldly riches is Satan, …

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

Jesus identified him as the prince of this world,[19] and the apostle Paul as the prince of the power of the air.[20]

The Bible states that if one person chooses to obey another, that person is made servant of the other.[21] Thus, if a person obeyed and submitted to the forms of sin and evil to act, and resorted to luck, magic, bribery, occult practices, theft, embezzlement, etc., to make riches, these riches do not belong to him because they were the payment for the covenant that the person made with Satan.

Covenants with Satan are not necessarily made under the person’s conscience. Acts performed according to the principles of evil turn such acts into covenants with Satan.

Things become complicated for the person when he is born again by the Spirit, because Satan recognizes that such a person is no longer under his jurisdiction, and if he cannot recover it, he will seek to strip him of everything he gave him while he was still serving him.

Thus, then, when a person comes to Jesus, and submits to His Lordship, all the material things he acquired in his past way of living have to be left in the way because otherwise they become ballast to continue to grow in the revelation of the Lord. He has to do it out of conviction if he does not want to be involved for the moment in satanic demands to recover his own.

We have the foundation in the decision of Zacchaeus, …

And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. Luke 19:8

Notice how Jesus himself certified the deliverance of Zacchaeus, …

And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, … Luke 19:9

The key to deliverance lies in the person’s ability to get rid of the things he acquired under the principles of evil. Clinging to them will only cause Satan to increase the legal right and strike with greater force.

Clinging to material things obtained under the principles of evil is a hindrance to spiritual growth,

No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Luke 16:13 (cfr. also Matthew 6:24)

The person enters into spiritual stagnation and numbness,

Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. John 12:24

Jesus’ recommendation is not to enter into concern for material riches, for the Father cares for His children, and will clothe them and provide for them in a timely manner,

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: Mathew 6:19

Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. Mathew 6:31-32

The Apostle Paul’s testimony is to consider all material things as rubbish,

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, Philippians 3:8

Why do things get complicated?

There is a purpose of God for everyone who has been born again by the Spirit; all that the person confronts are not circumstantial accidents proper to the very changes of the societies in which he is inserted.

Everything that happens to a born-again person has gone through God’s due scrutiny, and has His approval; it is the school of formation that He has designed to provoke in the person the proper spiritual development, to be revealed to him in the midst of the situation, to develop faith, to discover him a special calling, or to bring him to the consciousness of who is His strength and provision.

With good reason, we can now understand why the apostle Paul recommends glorying in tribulations, independent of the suffering suffered; the glory of the spiritual virtues received at the end of the tribulation does not compare with the tolerated affliction.

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

All biblical quotations are taken from the King James Version.

Pastor Pedro Montoya

Twitter: @pastormontoya

[1] Psalms 18.2; 18.46; 19.14; 27.5; 31.2; 31.3; 42.9; 62.7; 71.3; 73.26; 89.26; 94.22; 95.1; 114.8; 144.1

[2] Psalms 18.2; 31.3; 91.2; 144.2

[3] Psalms 9.9; 18.2; 32.7; 46.7; 46.11; 48.3; 59.16; 61.3; 62.2; 62.6; 62.7; 71.7; 78.35; 90.1; 94.22; 142.4

[4] Psalms 18.11; 119.114

[5] Genesis 45:5-7

[6] Esther 4:14

[7] Jeremiah 1:5

[8] Mathew 4:19

[9] Genesis 37:5-10

[10] Judges 6:8

[11] Acts 9:4

[12] 1 Samuel 3:9-10

[13] Acts 8:27

[14] Greek monetary unit equivalent to one hundred drachmas (equivalent to the salary of one hundred days of work of a day laborer)

[15] Luke 19:13-25

[16] Jeremiah 27:8

[17] Daniel 4:34-37

[18] Isaiah 45:1

[19] Cf. the following texts: John 12.31; John 14.30; John 16.11

[20] Ephesians 2:2

[21] Romans 6:16