Sunday, December 09, 2012

The Glorious Outcome of the Suffering of Christ

Ephesians 2:1-22 
(read it here)

Before we believed in Jesus Christ, we were dead in our transgressions and sins. We followed the ways of this world and sought to satisfy our every craving, and we were therefore by nature objects of God's rightful wrath. But because of God’s great love and mercy, he made us alive with Jesus Christ who was raised from the dead, and he seated us with Christ in the heavenly realms so that “he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” Therefore, we should be mindful of the fact that we were once far off, separated from citizenship in Israel and in God’s kingdom, but “now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.” 

That is why it is said, “For he himself is our peace.” Jesus abolished the law so that the dividing wall between Jew and gentile would be forever destroyed. In him, the two became one and are at peace, and in this one body he reconciled both Jews and Gentiles to God through the cross, “by which he put to death their hostility.” He preached peace to them both, and now both have access to the Father by one Spirit. 

Therefore, we gentiles are no longer foreigners but members of God’s household, “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone,” a house which is rising to become a holy temple in the Lord, a house in which “God lives by his Spirit.” 

The severity of the suffering of Jesus is as nothing when compared to the glory of what he accomplished through his suffering. And the glory of what he accomplished was no doubt central to “the joy that was set before him" by which he "endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:1-2).

So again we see that, for Christ, suffering was not an end in itself but rather it was a path to other things that were much more valuable than suffering. The hope of glory gave him the strength to endure, and such is the case for us. The more we understand about the purposes of God in suffering, the more we are able to keep our eyes fixed on God in the midst of our suffering and enter into the hope of glory he's prepared for us in Christ.

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