Monday, April 12, 2010

Surprised by Suffering

from page 22:
"The Church is not Christ. Christ is perfect; the church is imperfect. Christ is the Redeemer; the church is the company of the redeemed. However, the church belongs to Christ. The church is redeemed by Christ. The church is the bride of Christ. The church is indwelt by Christ.
"In light of this solidarity, the church participates in Christ's suffering. But this participation adds nothing to Christ's merit. The sufferings of Christians may benefit other people, but they always fall short of the atonement. I cannot atone for anyone's sins (against a Holy God), not even for my own. Yet my suffering may be of great benefit to other people. It may also serve as a witness to the One whose sufferings were the atonement."

-- R.C. Sproul

We all suffer, it's true. At some point, every Christian has their Job moment(s). For some Christians, it's a lifelong experience. And every Christian has their Paul experiences of being hurt or betrayed by particular church people. But in any of this suffering, we are called to be martyrs. Not in the Joan of Arc sense, where we become more like marauders or vigilanties. Martyr is the foundation of the word witness. So to suffer as a martyr for the cause of Christ is to bare witness to the perfect Suffering Servant of God -- not ourselves.

Here is one more quote to this end from pg. 23:
"We are followers of Christ. We follow Him to the Garden of Gethsemane. We follow Him into the hall of judgement. We follow Him along the Via Delarose. We follow Him unto death. But the gospel declares that we also follow Him through the gates of Heaven. Because we suffer with Him, we also shall be raised with Him. If we are humiliated with Him, we also shall be exalted with Him. Because of Christ our suffering is not useless. It is part of the toal plan of God, who has chosen to redeem the world through the pathway of suffering." -R.C. Sproul

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