Quiet Suffering – July 26, 2019

I was asked to post a little piece I read last Sunday (July 21), here’s the set up:

I preached on what I called “Paul’s Creds” in Colossians 1:24-2:5.  It starts in verse 24 with this interesting statement about his suffering:

“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions.”

Which led to a discussion about suffering in the church age being the “birth pangs” of the next age (Romans 8:18-25) and while Paul was “taking a bullet” for the believers at Colossae in the form of persecution, suffering takes many forms…

Finally, we would be wrong to think of suffering only in terms of the direct outward persecution that professing Christians sometimes undergo because of their faith. The church must, it is true, always be ready for such persecution, and must support, in prayer and practical help, those who face it. But all Christians will suffer for their faith in one way or another: if not outwardly, then inwardly, through the long, slow battle with temptation or sickness, the agonizing anxieties of Christian responsibilities for a family or a church (Paul knew these, too: see 2 Cor. 1 and 2; 1 Thess. 2:17 – 3:1), the constant doubts and uncertainties which accompany the obedience of faith, and ‘the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to,’ taken up as they are within the call to follow Christ. All of these, properly understood, are things to rejoice in – not casually, flippantly or superficially, but because they are signs that the present age is passing away, that the people of Jesus, the Messiah, are the children of the new age, and that the birthpangs of this new age are being worked out in them. This knowledge about the two ages, as we shall see, forms the basis of Paul’s later appeal in 2:20 – 3:4.  (N.T Wright, Colossians and Philemon. Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, p. 90)

Hope it encourages you even as it encouraged me,

Pastor Scott

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