By Larry Ray Hafley
Many Scriptures testify to the suffering of our Lord Jesus (1 Pet. 2:21; 3:18; 4:1). We cannot imagine the depths of his pain and agony. However, that is not our duty. It is not our responsibility to conjecture or to sense his physical, mental and emotional torment and trauma. It is, rather, our task to partake in “the fellowship of his sufferings” (Phil. 3:10). We must share in the provisions, the blessings, that resulted from his sufferings. One might have himself mocked, spat on, beaten and crucified in order to parallel Christ’s abuse and death. This would not, though, allow one to participate in the true sufferings of Christ.”
The only way one may truly share in his sufferings is to receive the grace that his sacrifice secured. “Being made conformable unto his death” (Phil. 3:10) does not require literal, physical crucifixion. It does demand literal, spiritual crucifixion (Gal. 2:20; 6:14). The old man must be put to death. The body of sin must be shed and the new man must be put on (Eph. 4:22-24; Rom. 6:3-6; Col. 2:12,13; 3:1-10).
Christians have communion, fellowship, partnership, in the body and blood of the Son of God. This is no light matter. It is a supreme, sublime privilege (1 Cor. 10:16-21). Indeed, it is proper to reflect and remember the Lord’s death and its shame and humiliation (1 Cor. 11). Because of that, we are bound to look unto Jesus and consider him, “lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds” (Heb. 12:2-4).
One may despise the blood of the covenant and crucify to himself the Son of God afresh (Heb. 6:6; 10:29). This is not true appreciation. It is apostasy, abandonment. It is to join the mob that called for his death. It is to beat and spit on him again. Would you consider such a literal course of action? Would you voluntarily participate in killing Christ? God forbid! That is what we do when we obey lust and sin.
Sin and its consequences are bad enough, but the thought of crucifying the Lord makes it unbearable. Our sins put him on the cross once, and that is enough! God grant that we never do it again. Live unto him. Die unto the world. Be raised to walk in newness of life, never to die again. That is why Jesus suffered, and it is sufficient.
Guardian of Truth XXXV: 2, p. 41
January 17, 1991