Fellowship of his suffering

Php 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

There are many scripture verses indicating the need for suffering in order to reign with Jesus Christ, Ro 8:17, 2 Ti 2:12, 1 Pe 4:19, 1 Pe 5:10. Apostle Peter in 1 Pe 4:2 gives the reason why it is necessary. That we no longer live the rest of our lives to the lusts of the flesh, but to the will of God. Paul in Php 3:10, uses the phrase “fellowship of his suffering”, and that suffering is instrumental in being made conformable unto Jesus death. Part of the Strong’s definition for fellowship is “partnership, i.e. (literally) participation”. This in fact, sheds some light on 1 Pe 1:11 .

1 Pe 1:11  Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.

The sufferings of Christ also includes the sufferings of the members of his body, the church.

Romans 8:17 KJVS
[17] And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him , that we may be also glorified together.

1 Pe 4:12 ¶ Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

The Greek word for fellowship G2842, is also translated into the English word “communion”.

1 Co 10:16  The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?
17  For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.
18  Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar?

In a previous article I pointed out that the altar outside the camp of Israel, the sin sacrifice altar, is the altar that the body of Christ is to eat/partake of, He 13:10. Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ himself said:

Jn 6:56  He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.

It certainly stands to reason that the members of his body should have communion with the sufferings of Christ, because our Lord himself learned obedience and was made perfect or mature by the things he suffered, He 5:8-9. No one likes to suffer or be chastised but unless a person undergoes these corrections, it does not bring about the peaceable fruit of righteousness, He 12:11.  In Hebrews 12:6 it states that God scourges the sons he receives. This suffering is necessary and appointed for us, 1 Th 3:3, 1 Pe 4:19, in order to conform us to the image of Christ, Ro 8:22&23, 29. Paul links the fellowship of his suffering with being made conformable unto Jesus death, Php 3:10. Which is just another way of saying conformed to the image of Christ. In order for the church to grow up to the head, Jesus Christ, Eph 4:15, it is necessary for sufferings to take place by the individual members of the body of Christ before the glory of God can take place on earth, which is the thousand year reign of Jesus Christ, Re 20:6. A somewhat convoluted set of scripture verses in 2 Co 1:3-6 show how that if we share in the sufferings of Christ we also share in the consolation with Christ. Even the word often times used for patience in the scriptures, longsuffering, directly indicates the need to endure sufferings. We need to have longsuffering with the trials, tribulations, temptations and afflictions in life and most importantly with one another.

1 Co 13:4-5 ¶  Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5  Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

A great deal of suffering and self sacrifice is involved with being able to love in this fashion. These sufferings need to be endured, keeping in mind that they are necessary for the manifestation of the sons of God, Ro 8:17-19.  So comfort yourselves with these verses. Paul in Philippians 2:1-13 asks us to have mutual love for one another and that the same mind be in us, which was also in Christ Jesus. Jesus humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death on the cross. And then in verse 12, Paul asks that church to obey him and to work out their salvation with fear and trembling.

Php 2:12-13 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,
13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. ESV

The not so obvious point being made, is that suffering is a part of the process of working out our salvation. God allows the sufferings that are necessary in order to bring ourselves to the place as having the same mind and fruit of the Spirit as Jesus Christ. Jesus took on the form of humanity in his death on the cross, so that we, the body of Christ, could be made the righteousness of God in him, 2 Co 5:21. Being made the righteousness of God in him, entails we have communion, with the sacrifice and offering of his body, whose body we are, on that altar outside the camp, He 13:10-11.  I just ran across a interesting account concerning Apostle Peter. The following account can be found in Fox Book of Martyrs which can be read online.

“Hegesippus saith that Nero sought matter against Peter to put him to death; which, when the people perceived, they entreated Peter with much ado that he would fly the city. Peter, through their importunity at length persuaded, prepared himself to avoid. But, coming to the gate, he saw the Lord Christ come to meet him, to whom he, worshipping, said, “Lord, whither dost Thou go?” To whom He answered and said, “I am come again to be crucified.” By this, Peter, perceiving his suffering to be understood, returned into the city.”

Hegesippus was a Christian chronicler of the early church. The account of what our Lord said to Peter agrees with Jn 17:23, Mat 25:40 and many other verse but also makes clear that not only do we partake of the sufferings of Christ, but also our Lord partakes of our suffering. Enough so that Jesus considers anything done to us is the same as being done to him.

Matthew 25:40 KJVS
[40] And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

If one views the sacrifice and offerings of Jesus Christ for sin, only in the past tense, and endured by Jesus alone, then the power of the cross is absent in our lives. The early church understood the symbolism of animal sacrifice on the various altars and their partaking and being one with those altars, 1 Co 10:18, Jew and pagan alike. Until you understand Christ in you the hope of glory. Until you understand that a seed has to fall in the ground, your flesh, and die in order to bring forth fruit. Until you have communion with the sacrificed body of Christ on the altar outside the camp of Israel, He 13:10-11, in a living way, Ro 12:1, by dying to the flesh. Until you see that your participation in the sufferings of the Christ is necessary for the sin nature in you to be destroyed, Ro 6:6-7. Then you are blind to the realities of God’s plan for the salvation of mankind through the cross.

2Co 4:10  Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

Often times, well after the fact, I see something that needs to be added to an article. More often than I like, I see on YouTube videos where the the claim will be made that believers don’t have to be perfect. Which is contrary to scripture.

Hebrews 10:12-18 KJVSQ
But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; [13] From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. [14] For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. [15] Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, [16] This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; [17] And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. [18] Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.

Very long time ago, I ran into the following scripture that puzzled me.

Romans 15:16 KJ21
that I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the Gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.

In time, I realized since there is no more offering for sin , then the offering up of the Gentiles can only be in Christ.

Hebrews 2:11 KJ21
For both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of One, for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren,
John 17:23 KJVS
I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

Also a long, long time ago, I worked on the crew that built the house I was to live in. I learned the practice and value of countersinking a nail. I certainly pale in comparison to the master builder, Apostle Paul.

1 Corinthians 3:10-11 KJ21
According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. [11] For no man can lay another foundation than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

Also, in the past, I was a woodworker and used traditional joinery. And the Holy Spirit taught me how to compare spiritual things with spiritual, compare and combine scripture, which Apostle Paul wrote about in the previous chapter. Which, of course, is very similar to woodworking.

1 Corinthians 2:12-13 KJ21
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God, that we might know the things that are freely given to us by God. [13] These things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.