Friday | 13 September 2019
Filling up the sufferings of Christ

Writing to the Colossians, Paul testified, ‘I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church.’ Col 1:24. Certainly, there was no lack in Christ’s one offering, which was finished as a completed work for every person; it is efficacious, forever. Heb 10:12,14. What, then, was ‘the lack’ to which Paul was referring?

We can best explain this principle using the example of Paul’s own conversion. The first point to note is that Christ experienced the sufferings of death that were caused by Paul’s self‑righteous persecution of Christians. Through this offering, Christ also endured and finished the sufferings of death for Paul’s salvation. Although Paul had violently persecuted Christians, his sin was injuring Christ. Jesus said to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ Act 9:4. Here is a key point. The people who were being abused by Paul were not suffering on behalf of Christ. Nor were they suffering something that Christ had not already suffered.

What was lacking was the manifestation of Christ’s sufferings in the life of Christians in their day. The Christians who were persecuted by Paul were revealing the sufferings that Christ had already experienced on account of Paul’s sin against others. They were joined to Christ’s sufferings for Paul, in their time of history. Through these sufferings, the word of the cross was being ministered to Paul, as Christ was portrayed as crucified to him through their sufferings. Gal 3:1.

The same is true for us. Each day, Christians are to manifest Christ’s sufferings in their flesh, for His body’s sake. In this regard, a member of the body of Christ does not suffer what Christ has not already suffered for them. Instead, in the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings, they are filling up and revealing what He has already suffered for them, and for those who are causing their suffering.


Further Study:
Acts 9
Daily Proverb:

References:
Col 1:24
I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church.

Heb 10:12,14
But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God … For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.

Act 9:4
Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’

Gal 3:1
O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified?
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