Fellowship of His Suffering

By: Joseph H. Murray

   “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect (or, in obedience to the known will of God) be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing” (Phil. 3:7–16).

   Many people want to know the Lord in a limited measure – great were the crowds in His triumphant days of healing, and His working of miracles – and they want to make Him a king as the multitude did on His triumphant entry into Jerusalem, but when it came time for His suffering on the cross, all His disciples forsook Him and fled like a bunch of scared rabbits.

   To know the Lord in the power of His resurrection is to be baptized into His body and receive the power to obtain eternal life and be one worthy to be saved. Or, “The Lord [adds] to the Church such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47).

   To know Him in the fellowship of His suffering is to go to the garden where He agonized with God to let the cup of death pass from Him, then finally relented His will to the will of the Father to go through with His crucifixion on the cross and to accomplish the purpose for which He came into the world.

   Finally, our fellowship of His suffering is accomplished by taking our cross and being crucified to our will and becoming dead to our desires.

   Paul wrote to Timothy, “It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him” (2Tim. 2:11).

   “Know ye not,” Paul has written to the Romans, “that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death?” (Rom. 6:3). This is knowing Him in the power of His resurrection.

   Paul goes into this deeper when he continued his letter to Timothy in these words, “If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him: if we deny Him, He also will deny us: If we believe not, yet He abideth faithful: He cannot deny Himself” (2Tim. 2:12–13).

   In these statements, Paul leaves no one with an excuse not to follow Him all the way.

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