The Banner Of Truth 2014
Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. (Psalm 60:4 )

"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear Thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth" (Ps. 60:4).
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An Unworthy Comparison
By Michael Zaucha
 

“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 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. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Rom. 8:16-18).

 

By the grace of God and to His glory and honor, we begin with the main or supporting truth of the revelation: the foundation is about suffering with Him, with Jesus. All other sufferings do not count unto the glory which is to come. The suffering with Jesus that the children of God partake of acts as an identifier: to our adversaries, our sufferings reveal their end – perdition, lest they repent – but, to the children of God, they reveal whose we are and the benefits that are ours - because of the sufferings of Jesus and our suffering “with Him.”
 
“And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God. For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake” (Phil. 1:28-29). To our adversaries, the sufferings of the children of God are a recognized witness against them unto the day of judgment when they will partake of the vengeance of the Lord in our behalf.  But unto the sons, our suffering is a confirmation that you are truly a partaker of God’s so great salvation and that you are a son of God. This evident token may not be seen of men, but the truth of the matter is that it is evident to God, and to the angels, and to the principalities and powers in heavenly places (Eph. 3:10).
 
Suffering with Jesus brings us into a place of everlasting favor with God and in fellowship with His holy Prophets. Jesus said: “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake.  Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” (Mt. 5:10-12).
 
To the world, the revelation that suffering with Jesus is a blessing is an absurd and opposing thought. The world reckons that this cannot be so, and has no desire to even contemplate the truth, let alone partake of any kind of suffering. But to the children of God, this revelation brings hope and strength to endure to the end.
 
Again, that we might partake of the benefits of the truth, the sufferings revealed are “with Him.” So then, this text is neither speaking of sufferings common to all mankind (physical sickness – even those unto death, calamities of life), nor are they the sufferings “as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters’ (I Pet. 4:15). These have absolutely nothing to do with the sufferings of the Christ, and they bring no benefit in the eyes of the Lord, for they are the sufferings of sinners and Jesus always has been and forever will be “without sin” (Heb. 4:15).
 
The sufferings spoken of here are directly associated to Jesus and His sufferings – and, in measure – praise God for His tender mercies, for we take up our cross not His - we partake of them because of our being joined to Jesus (Rom. 6:3-5). Jesus said; “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.  Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you” (Jn. 15:18-20). The sufferings of benefit – to the sons of God – are those which Jesus Himself partook of Himself while on the earth.
 
In our Lord’s sojourning on the earth, Jesus was a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief (Isa. 53:3). Every day in His pilgrimage, the Holy One of God (Lk. 4:34) encountered the sin and waywardness of men, even His people Israel. And it grieved Him. On the earth, Jesus was despised and rejected of men, the very ones He came to save: “He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not.  He came unto His own, and His own received him not” (Jn. 1:10-11) - even Israel, whom God Himself birthed, and increased unto the receiving of His Son (Isa. 49:13-16; Rom. 9:4-5).
 
Jesus not only felt the sorrows of rejection and of being hated by men in His spirit, but He also partook of the verbal and physical persecutions, even unto the death of the cross.  All of these sufferings were very real to Jesus which caused Him grief, pain, and suffering. And God, His Father saw it all.
 
There were, however, specific sufferings that Jesus was sent to bear – for He alone was able to do so (Isa. 59:16-20), these having to do with the putting away of sin: “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit” (I Pet. 3:18).
 
Nevertheless, do you think that God didn’t notice His Son in the Garden of Gethsemane, when Jesus came face to face with the cup that He was to drink? Do you think the Father’s ear was inattentive to His Son’s crying out unto Him that was able to save Him from death (Heb. 5:7): “Saying, Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from Me: nevertheless not My will, but Thine, be done” (Lk. 22:42). Do you think His Father didn’t see Him “being in an agony He prayed more earnestly: and His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Lk. 22:44). Did God not see His Suffering Servant? God forbid! God saw it all! God saw the travail of His Beloved Son’s soul.
 
Upon Jesus’ betrayal, having to bear up under false accusations and false witnesses against Him, do you think His Father was unaware of those things and that which followed: “Then did they spit in His face, and buffeted Him; and others smote Him with the palms of their hands, Saying, Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote Thee? (Mt. 26:67-68). “Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto Him the whole band of soldiers.  And they stripped Him, and put on Him a scarlet robe.  And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon His head, and a reed in His right hand: and they bowed the knee before Him, and mocked Him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!  And they spit upon Him, and took the reed, and smote Him on the head.  And after that they had mocked Him, they took the robe off from Him, and put His own raiment on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him” (Mt. 27:27-31). Did God not see the persecution of His Son? May it never be! God saw the travail of His Beloved Son’s soul.
 
Do you think that His Father had no interest when by wicked hands they nailed Jesus to the tree? By no means!! And for that we shout: Hallelujah!! For it is in the Father seeing the travail of His Son and being satisfied that your sins are put away! For it was on the cross that God “hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (II Cor. 5:21). It was while, in “His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree’ (I Pet. 2:24), that Jesus was stricken, smitten of God and afflicted (Isa. 53:4), for our transgressions, for our iniquities. Yes, praise God, God did see it all – God saw the travail of His soul and was satisfied! (Isa. 53:11).
 
I bring these things up to you by way of remembrance of the revelation of the Holy Scriptures, and bring the testimony of the sufferings of the Christ to bear on the text: “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Rom. 8:18). The point being that the sufferings themselves are not that which is declared “not worthy.”  God forbid! It is the comparison that is not worthy! It is the comparison of the sufferings to the glory that shall be revealed in us that is not worthy.
 
When the truth of the coming of the Lord Jesus is known and believed by the sons of God – on that day “when the Son of Man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him” (Mt. 25:31), “When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory” (Col. 3:4). In the light of the glory to come – “the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God” (Rev. 21:3) -  and all that which accompanies that blessed condition, we can affirm with the Apostle Paul: “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment” (II Cor. 4:17), agreeing that our sufferings are not a worthy comparison to the glory that awaits the sons of God.
 
Because of what Jesus suffered, in that it was good and right, He found favor in the eyes of the Lord, His Father, and God’s dealing with His beloved Son after His sufferings and death demonstrated this truth: “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name:  That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:9-11);
 
 “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.  Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins” (Acts 5:30-31); “ The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on My right hand, till I make Thine enemies thy footstool?” (Mt. 22:44); “(God) raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places,  Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:  And hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the church” (Eph. 1:20-22); when he had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; “Being made so much better than the angels, as He hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.  For unto which of the angels said He at any time, Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee? And again, I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son” (Heb. 1:3-5).
 
This revelation to the sons of God - of His faithfulness unto the suffering of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ - is our source of edification and hope. Knowing God and His ways reveals that our suffering is not the end in itself. Rather our sufferings “worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (II Cor. 4:17). Brethren, this is not a world view, but the revealed heavenly view.
--Michael Zaucha
 

"Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;  and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately" (Lk. 12:35-36).