Some Christians think that we also need to suffer with Jesus in this Christian life. We think that we also need to carry a cross to follow Jesus in suffering.
But the truth is that Jesus Christ’s suffering and death was for one purpose alone:
To bless us and give us great joy and prosperity because of His GREAT LOVE.
First of all, let us see why exactly did Jesus suffer?
Galatians 4 ” 4 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship“
Christ was born under the Old Covenant for the single purpose of redeeming mankind from the law to make us sons of God by faith in His name.
Why was being under the law (ten commandments, etc.) such a problem? It was not because of sins, but just simply being under the system of “works” was a CURSE. The law demanded perfection and therefore it was a curse for anyone who tried to impress God by their performance because they were always going to fall short. They were cursed for being imperfect!
Galatians 3 “For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law. 11 Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.12 The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.”
So then anyone who trusts in their works to please God is under a curse of physical suffering and problems on the earth (Deuteronomy 28).
This is why Jesus had to suffer and die brutally on the cross becoming a curse for our sake so that He could redeem us from the curse and BLESS us:
Galatians 3 “13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” 14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.”
He died for our sins of trying to measure up to God by our efforts – our entire flesh with all our efforts of trying to please God was CRUCIFIED with Christ on the CROSS. That is what Paul describes here:
Galatians 2 “19 “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who LOVED ME and gave himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”
When Jesus died, the believer also died with Him and our self-righteousness died with Him so that it is not us who lives but Christ who lives in us. Our performance DIED on the cross so that Christ alone can live in us without our help! We depend completely on HIS LOVE for us and not our performance. Otherwise, if our performance is needed in the Christian life, then Christ died for nothing!
This is why Jesus Christ suffered so horribly and died for our sake to give us GREAT JOY, SALVATION and REDEMPTION from the curse:
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” 8 Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices; together they shout for joy. When the Lord returns to Zion, they will see it with their own eyes. 9 Burst into songs of joy together, you ruins of Jerusalem, for the Lord has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem.
See, my servant will act wisely he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted. 14 Just as there were many who were appalled at him his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being and his form marred beyond human likeness—15 so he will sprinkle many nations, and kings will shut their mouths because of him. For what they were not told, they will see, and what they have not heard, they will understand.
Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? 2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. 4 Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us PEACE was on him, and by his wounds we are HEALED. 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished. 9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. 11 After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”
If we read the glorious passages above, we will see that JESUS SUFFERED FOR OUR SAKE so that we can PROSPER, REJOICE, be REDEEMED from the curse, and share in the spoils of His plunder. IT IS BECAUSE of HIS GREAT LOVE for us.
HE suffered so that we can be prospered.
He suffered far more than any human being so that we don’t have to!
Jesus ALREADY SUFFERED so that the believer DOES NOT HAVE TO DO SO!
Jesus ALREADY CARRIED the cross so that the believer DOES NOT HAVE TO DO SO!
We are not called to SUFFER and CARRY the CROSS when JESUS ALREADY DID IT FOR US!
A loving Father does not want His children to suffer.
A loving Savior does not want His bride to suffer.
But what about Job? Aren’t we called to follow his example of suffering? Job was living in the old covenant long before Jesus came. He was looking forward to His Redeemer!
Job 19:25-27 WEB “But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives.
In the end, he will stand upon the earth.
26 After my skin is destroyed,
then I will see God in my flesh,
27 whom I, even I, will see on my side.
My eyes will see, and not as a stranger.”
Job 33:21-26 WEB ”
His flesh is so consumed away that it can’t be seen.
His bones that were not seen stick out.
22 Yes, his soul draws near to the pit,
and his life to the destroyers.
23 “If there is beside him an angel,
an interpreter, one among a thousand,
to show to man what is right for him;
24 then God is gracious to him, and says,
‘Deliver him from going down to the pit,
I have found a ransom.’
25 His flesh will be fresher than a child’s.
He returns to the days of his youth.
26 He prays to God, and he is favorable to him,
so that he sees his face with joy.
He restores to man his righteousness.“
Job was looking for a ransom to deliver him from death and that is Jesus Christ who restores a man to righteousness as a free gift by faith in Him.
We see that God restored twice the amount back to Job because of Christ.
Job 42:10 NKJV “10 And the Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.”
We are not called to weep, mourn and fast as believers but to REJOICE because JESUS suffered for us to bless us! We are called to feast from His table and not fasting in sackcloth and ashes! We are called to feast in HIS LOVE and not suffer.
We are not carrying any cross, because Jesus did it for us and God RAISED us with Christ and SEATED us in heavenly places with Him because of HIS GREAT LOVE …. BY GRACE and not our efforts. We are completely in Christ and not in our performance!
Otherwise, we have to do EVERYTHING He did and redeem ourselves from the curse!
Ephesians 2 “Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his GREAT LOVE for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Even the works we do in the Christian life MUST BE Christ working in us and not our performance! It must be God’s handiwork and not ours.
I choose to say “THANK YOU JESUS”, I do not trust in my own performance. I died to the law. I died to my flesh (performance). I am not going to do anything to please God but I TRUST ONLY 100% in what JESUS suffered and died for me! When Christ does the works in me then it will not be about my rewards or guilt but only His LOVE in me!
Just think of it: why did Jesus suffer on the cross? It was because He became a CURSE to redeem us. So then why do we need to add our suffering? Why do I have to curse myself by my useless performance? Didn’t HE SUFFER ENOUGH? Do we need to add to His work on the CROSS? If I have to suffer, then what Christ did was not enough!
NO, GOD FORBID…..I don’t want to add to His finished work and suffer but we want to receive every benefit from the CROSS that He lovingly and graciously purchased for us – His Righteousness, His Holiness, great health, peace, joy, blessing, prosperity, favor, protection, safety, glory, honor, etc.
In the old covenant, they had to suffer because they were unfaithful and that is why God made a NEW COVENANT to bless us by forgiving ALL our sins by the death of Christ on the cross:
7 For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. 8 But God found fault with the people and said”
“The days are coming, declares the Lord,when I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah.
9 It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord.
10 This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts.
I will be their God, and they will be my people.
11 No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.
12 For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
13 By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.
The old covenant was all about man’s unfaithfulness in their performance.
But the new covenant is all about God’s faithfulness to us in CHRIST’s death alone!
In the New Covenant, we are made holy and PERFECT by Christ’s death on the cross. His death removed the old covenant and took away our sins forever! That is why there is no more sacrifice for our sins – because our entire lifetime (past, present, future) sins were taken away once and for all! Our entire performance was replaced by Christ’s death!
9 Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. 10 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. 14 For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. 15 The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: 16 “This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” 17 Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” 18 And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.
This is the GLORY of the NEW COVENANT.
Christ’s death removed the LAW for those who believe, and therefore we are not under any curse or suffering in the NEW COVENANT. It is because there are no more sins to be forgiven. But what about our sins we commit after we believe in Christ? They are FORGIVEN forever by Christ’s blood – that made us white as snow, holy and blameless ONCE AND FOR ALL with no more blood-shed needed because no more sins are left to be forgiven! That is why Jesus will not die anymore because we are forgiven FOREVER.
But then why did the Apostle Paul talk about suffering here: why did the 1st Century CHURCH have to suffer and go through so many tribulations?
Romans 8 “18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us….35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”
It is because they were transitioning between old and new covenants.
Hebrews 8 “13 By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.”
In the time of the 1st century, the old covenant was made obsolete on the cross but it was “soon” going to disappear. It disappeared exactly within one generation of the cross when the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed (Matthew 24:1-34).
The Apostles and ALL those churches in the Bible were the last generation transitioning from the old into the new covenant. This is why Paul said that they were being transformed from the glory of the old covenant to the glory of the new covenant:
2nd Corinthians 3
7 But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones (TEN COMMANDMENTS), was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, 8 how will the ministry of the Spirit (NEW COVENANT) not be more glorious? 9 For if the ministry of condemnation (OLD COVENANT) had glory, the ministry of righteousness (NEW COVENANT) exceeds much more in glory. 10 For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. 11 For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious. 12 Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech— 13 unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. 14 But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. 15 But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. 16 Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as [b]by the Spirit of the Lord.”
The Old Covenant / Ten Commandments was a ministry of fading glory but it was a ministry of condemnation and curses – that included suffering!
The New Covenant / Faith in Christ is the ministry of exceeding glory, that is everlasting because it brings RIGHTEOUSNESS by faith and BLESSINGS – without any more suffering or curses!
So then Paul said that they were being transformed from glory to glory – from old covenant glory to new covenant glory!
This is why Paul wanted to suffer for Christ so that he would stop trusting in the righteousness of his works under the law & ten commandments BUT only trust in JESUS ALONE and be righteous BY FAITH alone.
Philippians 3 ” If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless. 7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.” 12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
Paul was the master at keeping the law/ten commandments and yet he considered all of that as garbage. He considered human performance as complete garbage compared to being righteous by GRACE through faith in Christ! That is why he wanted to suffer for Christ so that his righteousness of the law could be destroyed and that he could fully trust in JESUS CHRIST and be righteous by faith and not his own performance!
This is why they were suffering in that 1st century period between the Cross in AD30 and the destruction of the Temple in AD70 – that was the 40 year wilderness period for the Church to overcome their trust in their performance under the Law so that they would fully trust in Christ and be glorified. Just like the children of Israel were in the physical wilderness for 40 years, the 1st Century Church was in the spiritual wilderness for 40 years so that they could stop trusting in the Law through suffering and they carried the cross and followed Jesus.
1st Corinthians 10 “For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. 2 They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 3 They all ate the same spiritual food 4 and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness….11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come.”
The culmination of the AGES had ALREADY COME in the 1st century.
This was talking about the END of the AGE of the LAW of Moses.
For 1500 years, Israel and the world were under the law and its curse.
But in the 1st century, Jesus suffered and died on the cross to end the law in 30AD.
The Age of the law ended after 40 years from the Cross until the Temple was finally destroyed in 70AD – thereby completely destroying the system of the law.
The Old Covenant ended and we are now in the NEW COVENANT.
In the New Covenant, God has forgiven ALL our sins by faith in Christ.
Therefore we cannot try to hang on to our performance under the ten commandments anymore. Otherwise, we will be under the curse and have to suffer.
There is a better way: Stop trusting in our performance and fully trust in the LOVE of Jesus on the cross – 100%, all throughout our Christian lives. We did not get saved by keeping the law but by grace through faith in Christ’s love for us. That is exactly the way we continue every day of our lives.
Colossians 2 “6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”
We are not under the law or ten commandments anymore!
Once Christ came, the law ENDED so that righteousness is given to ALL who believe – this is given only to those who truly stop trusting in their performance and FULLY trust in JESUS CHRIST ALONE.
Romans 10 “3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”
When we stop trusting in our useless performance and trust 100% in Christ, then the LAW ENDS for us…the CURSE ends for us…the SUFFERING ends for us.
And Righteousness is imputed to us with ALL its blessings! Good NEWS indeed!
Galatians 3 “24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian (law).”
A person in the New Covenant is NOT under the old covenant anymore.
But if a person believes in Jesus BUT also keeps trusting in his own performance then he is mixing himself in between the old and new covenants and will end up in failure and the suffering of the curse ( I experienced this painfully ).
Matthew 9 ” 16 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. 17 Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”
We either trust fully in Christ’s death OR fully trust in our obedience.
Either Jesus suffers for us OR we suffer for our own performance.
Which one do we want? I know that Jesus is better than anything I can ever do.
There should be no more “in-between”, no more mixture of covenants.
We cannot say that we are saved by grace but then say that holiness is by our efforts.
It is either 100% Christ or 100% me. No mixture but Jesus alone.
The old covenant was all about man’s performance.
The new covenant is all about Christ’s performance.
Therefore a believer cannot say “Christ saved me but that holiness is my performance.”
Let us make this confession of trusting in Jesus alone and not ourselves:
“I stop trusting in my own performance, I have suffered enough”
“I renounce all Christian obedience that was done to receive some reward or salvation.”
“I only trust in JESUS’s death and resurrection because I can do nothing and JESUS DID EVERYTHING”
“I confess that Jesus Christ alone did everything to make me Righteous”
“I confess that Jesus Christ alone did everything to make me Holy”
“My holiness is not my performance but it is Christ’s death on the cross alone”
“My righteousness is not my works but it is Christ’s death on the cross alone”
“My blessings are not due to my goodness but it is Christ’s death on the cross alone”
“I have nothing to offer Christ, I did NOTHING and can do NOTHING….but I will only rely on JESUS NAME alone”
“Whatever works I do will be Christ working in me and not myself, compelled by His great love and grace in me”
It is JESUS ALONE who is my righteousness, my holiness, my wisdom, my redemption
(See 1 Corinthians 1:30)
Not even 0.0001% of my works, but 100% of JESUS ALONE.
That is when we experience the NEW COVENANT and get out of MIXTURE of old and new! In the New Covenant, there are only blessings and no more suffering:
40 I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me. 41 I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all my heart and soul. 42 “This is what the Lord says: As I have brought all this great calamity on this people, so I will give them all the prosperity I have promised them.
GOD NEVER STOPS DOING GOOD to us in the NEW COVENANT. It is because Jesus completely suffered and died to take away our entire lifetime of sins, as long as we fully trust in Him and not our performance.
There is BLESSING and PROSPERITY from God in the new covenant because we are no longer under the curse of the law. It is because Jesus was already cursed and suffered for us so that we have the BLESSING of the New Covenant through the Holy Spirit who never leaves us or forsakes us:
Isaiah 59 ” 21 “As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the Lord. “My Spirit, who is on you, will not depart from you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will always be on your lips, on the lips of your children and on the lips of their descendants—from this time on and forever,” says the Lord.”
Revelation 22 “3 No longer will there be any curse. “
Isaiah 65-66 “18 But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy. 19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more. 20 “Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; the one who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere child; the one who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed. 21 They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. 22 No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat. For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the work of their hands. 23 They will not labor in vain, nor will they bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the Lord, they and their descendants with them. 24 Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. 25 The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, and dust will be the serpent’s food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,” says the Lord…..“I will extend peace to her like a river, and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream;”
Let us stop trusting in our Christian performance and fully trust in JESUS and HIS LOVE for us ALONE.
Christ suffered and died for our sin so that we are Blessed by HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS.
Jesus suffered so that we don’t have to suffer.
JESUS is LORD
JESUS is my Righteousness.
Jesus is my Holiness.
Jesus is my performance.
Not I but the GRACE of GOD in me.
Not I but Christ ALONE in me.
It is not I who live, but Christ who lives in me by His great love for me.