CCLXX. Partaking Christ’s Suffering.

1 PET. iv. 13. “But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers
of Christ’s sufferings.”

THE Christian faith gives dignity to every kind of suffer-
ing. So the apostle says the trial is an angel messenger,
with a certain definite mission to you. But he rises
higher, and says, “It brings you within the charmed circle
of fellowship with Christ.”
I. In what sense is it true that the Christian can have a
partnership with the sufferings of Christ?
1. The apostle is not speaking of the ordinary sorrows of
life, but of the sufferings which we suffer as Christians.
2. Nor does he refer to the sorrows that Christ under-
went in the course of that work which was peculiarly His
own. There is not in the sufferings of the saints of God an
accumulation of meritoriousness which completes the work
of Christ.
3. What it means is, the sufferings that are the necessity
of the growth of Christianity. Christ’s Church is built up
in suffering. Every truth of Christianity has been con-
solidated by the blood of suffering men and women. If ye
be reproached for the sake of Christ, happy are ye.
4. All Christian life is progressive, and so the capacity
of sharing a certain order of Christ’s sufferings is growing
within us. In the proportion in which sin is pain to us, we
share the sufferings of Christ.
II. What are the sources of the joy?
1. That we are suffering with Christ. The great sub-
sidiary idea to all the apostle’s teaching is the love which
the Christian has for Christ.
2. Love desires that the bond between it and its object
shall be strengthened and intensified.
The link with Christ must be suffering. Love and
suffering are always correlatives in life. It was not because
your life was easy and smooth together that you loved one
another so intensely; it is because you have fought to-
gether, because you were partners in the same sorrow and
in the same care.
W. Boyd Carpenter, M.A.

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