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Friday, August 3, 2012

Wholly Sanctified # 27

He Suffers in Our Suffering

In our suffering, He suffers too. Not only does He suffer with us in all our trials, but we are called to suffer with Him and to "fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church" (Col. 1:24). How keenly we often feel the condition of others for whom we are called to pray or to minister! It is only the heart of Christ suffering in us for those whom He would let us help, by bearing their burdens or holding them up for His blessing.

By the suffering of Christ we do not mean sickness or calamity, but those sufferings that involve the sufferings of others, or sympathy with Him in some place where we can share His burdens. How touching His words to Paul when he was persecuting the saints, "why do you persecute me?" (Acts 26:14). This was the highest ministry of Jesus - to suffer. This is also the crowning ministry of almost every Christian life.

The last two Beatitudes are wholly about suffering, implying surely not only the climax, but a double climax. The dear Scotch martyr, dying at the stake in the Solway Sands, expressed it finely when looking at the little maiden who was dying near her and struggling with the waves in the last conflict, she said, "What do I see but Christ in one of His members suffering there?" It was not Margaret Wilson but Christ suffering there. And so, beloved, you never suffer alone if you suffer for Him and according to His will.

In our Faith, we will face trials as He did

Even the power to believe is the working of Christ within us. He is the author and finisher of our faith, and He will enable us to believe even as He. Christ is the great example of faith; He is its inspiration too.

How sublime the faith that trusted the Father through the testings of the enemy in the wilderness. That met the power of satan and sickness through all His earthly ministry with calm reliance upon His Father and victory over all power of the enemy. That stood at the grave of Lazarus and said, "I knew that you always hear me" (John 11:42), "Lazarus, come out!" That even upon the Cross would say, Father, into your ands I commit my spirit" (Luke 23:46). And afterwards could claim and promise to His disciples all the glories of His coming kingdom and the blessings of the gospel dispensation!

It is the same Christ who lives in us and inspires us with the faith of the Son of God, for our conflicts, testimonies and victories. He who says to us, "Have faith in God" (Mark 11;22) will not fail to impart it if we will receive Him and trust Him, and will enable us so to stand in all the hard places of our Christian lives, that as He is, so shall we be.

In Our Joy, We are Filled with His Gladness

The life of Christ was one of joy. Even in the darkest trials He often rejoiced in spirit. He had the inner and upper fountains of His Father's joy and love, and while He knew the depths of pain as no other spirit ever did, yet as is ever the case the pendulum touched both extremes. He also knew the heights of joy with equal intensity.

If we are filled with Christ we will have His joy in us and He has said it will be full. We won't have the hilarity of the world, and men may be unable to understand our happiness, but our deepest spirit will be filled with gladness and able to rejoice in the Lord when there is nothing else to light up the midnight of trouble.

In Our Love We May be Even as He

Indeed in no other way can we meet the law of love and the demands and tests of Christian life except by His indwelling and the shedding abroad of His love in our hearts. But this He is willing to do if we are willing to stand in His love wherever He places us, and we will be able to pass triumphantly through every testing, perhaps with keep suffering, but without disobedience or sin and ever say, "But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ" (2 Corinthians 2:14). No, i all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us" (Romans 8:37).

In His Glory We Shall be Like Him

"I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one" (John 17:22).

When Joseph rose from a prison to a throne his greatest joy was to share his glory with his Father and his Father's house. Even when we receive a great blessing we long to share it with those we love.

So our precious Lord is not siting amid the glories of heaven for His own delight as the ages go by. He is busy preparing our mansions and our crowns, and it will be His sublimest joy some day to open to us the vision of all He has been preparing for us during the years that we are suffering for Him below, and sometimes wondering if He had ceased to love us. Oh, how we shall fall at His feet in wonder and transport, and almost feel ashamed to take the crowns that He will place upon our heads!

That will be a happy day for us. But sometimes I think that it will be a happier day for Him, as He finds in our joy the consummation of His.

"What we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is" (1 John 3:2), "because in this world we are like him" (4:17).

~A. B. Simpson~

(The End)

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