Well, our study group came to the end of our lessons on union with Christ. This past week we discussed how we share Christ’s death and His resurrection. This is a hard concept to grasp. We may tend to spiritualize it, but as humans, we are also physical. In the Bible, our bodies are described as temples of the Holy Spirit. So, we experience the sufferings and raising of Christ externally as well as internally.
What does this mean? Consider the example of Joseph in the Bible. Joseph is considered a “type” of Christ. This is a technical theological term which means that certain events or people in the Old Testament prefigure the fulfillment of God’s purpose in the New Testament. Like Jesus, Joseph is misunderstood, mistreated, and thrown in prison. However, we later understand that through his sufferings, he was elevated to a high position, and able to save his family from the famine.
Since we are united with Christ, we should expect to see similar things happening in our own lives. We may be persecuted, experience difficulties, or be humiliated (we probably will). However, in Christ, God works all of these things out for our good, and the good of others. We become like Christ through the cycles of death and resurrection in our own lives. This is the pattern God used with Jesus, and with us.
The apostle Paul said:
“… (we) boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 1:2b-5
In suffering we become more like Jesus, and more fruitful. We can comfort others in despair because of the experiences we have been through. Are you willing to suffer for Him?
For more about suffering see: