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- By Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
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OUR FELLOWSHIP IN HIS SUFFERINGS
That I may know…the fellowship of his sufferings.
I would now like to emphasize our fellowship in Christ’s sufferings, and our fellowship even in His death. Paul says in Philippians 3:10, “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.” What great thoughts! We must work them out, think them out, and pray them out.
Paul put it another way in Colossians 1:24: “Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church.” I do not pretend to understand that fully, but I do know that there is no higher statement of the doctrine of the union of the believer with His Lord. The apostle interprets his own sufferings in the flesh and in the body as, in a sense, filling up what remains of the sufferings and the afflictions of Christ Himself. Paul is bearing that in his own flesh. The result of the mystical union is that he enters into this mystical fellowship of the sufferings of Christ. There were people living in the Middle Ages of whom it is said that they so meditated upon and contemplated their Lord and all that He had done for them that some of them even developed in their physical hands the imprint of nails, the stigmata. It is not impossible. Such things do happen.
But all I am concerned to emphasize is that the more deeply we realize the truth about this union between us and our Lord, the more we shall know something of the fellowship of His sufferings. In this world He was “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah53:3). That was because of the sin of the world. And because He saw the enmity of the human heart against His Father, it hurt Him, it grieved Him, and He suffered. There is no more delicate test of our relationship to Him and our union with Him than the extent to which you and I know something of His suffering.
A Thought to Ponder
The result of the mystical union is mystical fellowship with the sufferings of Christ.
From God the Holy Spirit, pp. 115-116.
Today’s devo is taken from Walking with God Day by Day © 2003 by Good News Publishers. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
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