Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church,
It’s a fine thing to say that Christ took all the sufferings for believers. Except if this were the case the Church would not have persecution, either that or the Church really is not the Body of Christ.
Paul suffered in the Body and claimed to be filling up the sufferings of Christ. Commentators are quick to tell us these sufferings are not meritorious or expiating sins, which I’d more than likely agree with.
But I think we throw this out without thinking on it. The literal translation is that Paul’s sufferings filled up the “deficiencies” of Christ’s sufferings. Christ’s sufferings were not complete in His physical, flesh body, He has more to endure.
I’ve heard many well-meaning believers claim that Christ suffered so we don’t have to. I fear this goes too far. I fear it eliminates the realities of being in the Body of Christ. I fear it leads to Joel Osteenesque false doctrines.
Let us be careful and correct in our pontificating about Christ’s sufferings. We die daily, we take up our cross, we mortify the deeds of the flesh, and this leads to suffering and it’s necessary for all members of the Body.
Is it worth it to you?