Friday, January 8, 2010

What could be lacking?!

Now I rejoice in what was suffered 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)

I have been cogitating this scripture for a while now (it is actually the search that recently led me to start my Joy Journey) and I think I may have found my sought-after understanding, today in my lunch quiet time.

When Jesus died on the cross he said, "It is finished" (John 19:30), and we, who care about the accuracy of such things, believe the afflictions Jesus suffered were complete with nothing lacking for an unhindered relationship with God.

So what could Paul have meant when he said he was filling up that which was lacking in Christ's afflictions for the Church?

The answer is in looking at the context from Colossians 1:21 through Colossians 1:29. I don't think Paul was talking about salvation, but the fulfillment of his own "dispensation" (Greek word, here, meaning "stewardship") of the word of God. (Colossians 1:25).

Jesus did his work in his flesh (Colossians 1:22), now Paul is completing in his flesh the remainder of afflictions required for the distribution of the good news about that "Mystery" Christ enabled.

Jesus did his required part, in his flesh, purchasing the reconciliation (Colossians 1:22), and Paul is gladly doing the remaining work to make it known to all. (Colossians 1:24-25).

Christ's work is complete, and continuing at the same time. Complete in Him, continuing in us as we fulfill our stewardship of the Mystery!

- Fritz

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