Apr
04

2015

Did Worthwhile Suffering End At The Cross?

Did Worthwhile Suffering End At The Cross? (1.8.10)

The apostle Paul at Colossians 1,24 emphatically says No! "Now I rejoice in my sufferings on your behalf, and I fill up in my flesh the things lacking of the afflictions of Christ."

I'll let Brother Nathan at reformationtheology.com in an article posted May 21, 2006 and entitled "The Blood of Martyrs" explain this difficult verse:

"This astounding assertion is nothing other than that, what the sufferings of Christ were lacking for the goal of bringing life to the nations, the analogous sufferings of the saints, as they [we] proclaim the gospel, are sufficient to fulfill. [selah- imagine that]

What could Paul have meant? It is not as though the sacrificial death was insufficient to accomplish new life, and that the ministers of the gospel [us] have to add their own sacrificial deaths to the purchasing power of Christ's redemptive work. It would be blasphemous even to consider such a possibility.

But Paul's statement must mean something [we can't just discard it as so much of scripture is discarded today]: it would appear that the only option we have which would both do justice to this text and not devalue the infinite work of Christ is to understand that in this statement Paul is teaching us that, just as Christ's death was necessary and sufficient to accomplish redemption; so the suffering and martyrdom of his witnesses is necessary and sufficient to carry out to the nations the application of that substitutionary, life giving accomplishment of Christ. ...

When his servants willingly die an unjust death, then the power of his word is joined to the power of their example, and the result is a living fact that turns the world upside down...."

Hey Brother Nathan, that's some good preaching!

Unless the grain of wheat falls to the ground, it remains just a grain of wheat. This was literal for Jesus, and perhaps for some of us, even today, when the gospel is so often treated as just another worldly commodity, something to buy and sell, on easy terms, rather than Jesus, someone to live and die for.

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THE FOUNDER

Tobin Hitt is the founder of the Zion Pentecost Mission. He is open to gospel partnership with all, and identifies with Paul's description of our mission as ambassadors for our king, Jesus, urging all to reconcile with God (2Cor.20-21). He resides in Cheshire, Connecticut.

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