John Carter – July 8, 2014 – Writings
Work and Suffering of Christ
The Work and suffering of Christ wasn’t just a quantitative difference. It was a also a qualitative difference. It’s not exaggeration to say that we could never do the work or the suffering of Christ if we had enough time. It isn’t to say that if there was enough time then you and I could but instead it is to say that we don’t have that kind of time. It is like saying no matter how long you squeeze an orange apple juice will never come out. Yes juice will flow. Even a lot of juice will flow but never apple juice. You and I can suffer and do good works. But these works and sufferings will never be of the same quality that Christ did.
We suffer just consequences, Jesus suffered undeserved wrath. We work from the Cross, Christ worked on the cross.
Working more to earn the favor of God is like squeezing more oranges because apple juice didn’t come out the first time. So stop trying to work for and earn your favor with God. Instead work for the Glory of God. Works that doesn’t earn salvation, but works that show the grace imparted on you and grace ready to be given to others.
This is why the unbeliever can never do any good that brings joy to the Father. Because only the work of a Christian can be rooted in the cross. Without the message of the Gospel as being the source of our good works then those good works will never show the Glory of God.
The Christians suffering is not an out pouring of the Wrath of God. It is the result of communal and personal sins. Some suffering belongs to us and other suffer is collateral damage of other peoples sins. We suffer, but we do not suffer to pay our debt. We can’t. Our suffering is that of apples and Jesus is that of oranges. So when we suffer we suffer knowing that this is only a light affliction which will soon pass away. Whether or not we are guilty of the suffering we are receiving it is a grace that we are suffering so little. For the suffering that we should receive is much more severe. Suffer knowing that the pain will end. Suffer like a patient in the Dentist chair. The suffering is because our broken past, but we have a future of joy. No will longer will we be hindered by the pain of bleeding gums, broken teeth, or invasive cavities. Although right now there is work that needs to be done and it is going to hurt until the work is done someday we will enter into eternity free from the burden of suffering and free to do good works unhindered by our broken bodies.
 These reflections come from reading Chapter one of Michael Horton’s The Christian Faith