In What Way Are Christ’s Afflictions Lacking Towards The Church?

All true Christians know that Christ’s church was purchased by the blood of Christ. We know that our salvation could not be paid for by our own works, but only by the redemptive work of Christ on the cross. Christ alone is the only thing that saves us. The blood of Christ is sufficient to save the sinner from ALL sin:

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. (I John 1:7)

So therefore when we are saved we do not need to do any extra works to add to Christ’s salvation of our soul. All of the price for our sin is paid for by Jesus. But how then are we to understand Colossians 1:24, which indicates that there is something “lacking in regard to Christ’s affliction?”

 

Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. (Colossians 1:24 NIV Emphasis mine)

This verse above does NOT teach that the Apostle Paul’s efforts and sufferings were added to the sacrifice of Christ to help redeem the church from sin. Paul is not claiming to be personally providing atonement here. Paul was not crucified for our sins (I Corinthians 1:12).  Jesus’ sufferings are not lacking in redemptive power. Jesus did everything necessary to save the church from sin. However, Jesus did not personally, physically do everything necessary to build and edify the church while He was physically here on Earth. Instead, he left a lot of hard work undone. This is not because Jesus lacked the power to do all things Himself, but because He wanted to give us the privilege of being used to do God’s work. So when Jesus went to heaven He left us with the all important task of evangelizing the lost and discipling other believers. He left some of the greatest miracles–the miracles of changed lives–to be administered through us:

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. (John 14:12-14 NIV)

So, as we see clearly in the verse above, Christ left us some “greater things” to do than even He did while here on Earth. However, in the end, it is really not us or the Apostle Paul that is able to do anything, Jesus is really just doing it Himself, through our bodies, which is why Jesus is able to take credit for what we do:

You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. (John 14:14 NIV)

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