Suffering In Ministry
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, (Colossians 1:24, NKJV)
This word, afflictions, is never used for the suffering of Jesus on the cross. Most commentators see this as a reference to the affliction Jesus endured in ministry. These afflictions are not yet complete, and in this sense, Jesus still “suffers” as He ministers through His people.
“Paul attaches no atoning value whatever to his own sufferings for the church.” – A.T Robertson
“The term ‘afflictions of Christ’ is never associated with the redemptive suffering of Jesus upon the cross. It speaks, rather, of those ministerial sufferings which Paul bears because he represents Jesus Christ.” William Lane
Paul did not suffer for himself in the way that an ascetic might. Instead, he suffered for the sake of the body of Christ.
Ascetics focus on their holiness, on their spiritual growth, and on their perfection. Paul followed in the footsteps of Jesus and was an others-centered person. Paul found holiness, spiritual growth, and maturity when he pursued these things for others.
Abba Father God, help us to comprehend we will endure affliction as we serve You, our Lord Jesus, and The kingdom of God. We desire to serve You at whatever cost. In Jesus name, Amen.
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