A portion of this chapter forms the following chiastic structure with the end of 1 The 2:
1 The 2:19-3:5
1a) 1 The 2:19-20, You are our glory, joy, and crown in the Lord Jesus at His coming;
1b) 1 The 3:1-2, When we could no longer endure it, we sent Timothy, to encourage you in your faith;
1c) 1 The 3:3a, That no one should be shaken by afflictions,
central axis) 1 The 3:3b, For you know we are appointed to [affliction and tribulation];
2c) 1 The 3:4, For we told you before that we would suffer tribulation and it has happened;
2b) 1 The 3:5a, Therefore when I could no longer endure it, I sent to know your faith;
2a) 1 The 3:5b, Lest by some means the tempter had tempted you, and our labor been in vain.
Why are we appointed to affliction and tribulation? Why can’t life just be easy? First of all, life was easy. Adam and Eve had it easy as long as they obeyed God’s single commandment. The day they disobeyed that commandment, the ease of life went away. God is teaching us something about His commandments in this. He gives commandment, not to burden us as is commonly but wrongly thought today, but to increase and protect our ease of life!
But we are living in the world, not being a part of it. In fact the world is at enmity with God, and therefore by extension, at enmity with us. The closer we get to God, and to walking in His ways, the more we align ourselves in the crosshairs of this world. I think Chick- fil- a recently rediscovered this truth.
“In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Joh 16:33
Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 2 Cor 4:16-17
Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. 1 Pet 4:12-14
If we suffer affliction and tribulation, that is nothing strange or unusual, but common to the household of faith. Though the body may perish, our spirit lives forever in the presence of God, for which we are being strengthened by our afflictions to bear an eternal weight of glory, and where we will have ease of life once again. 🙂