Now I rejoice in my sufferings for you, and I fill up in my physical body – for the sake of his body, the church – what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ.
[Col 1:24 NET]
This is a strange saying of Paul’s in our reading today – that he must fill up on his part the afflictions of Christ.
Was Christ’s sacrifice insufficient for the redemption of the world? Was His work incomplete? Do others have to suffer also to fill up a lack in His atonement? No; on His cross He said, “It is finished.” He paid the whole price.
What Paul meant was that while Christ had made a full and glorious redemption, His followers must enter into His experiences in order to present the benefits of His redemption.
We can make men believe in the love of Christ only by loving as He loved. We can show them the cross truly only in our own lives.
Christ gave Himself once to redeem the world; now we, His followers, must give ourselves to make His redemption real to the world. When we ask Christ to have compassion on men, His answer is: “I have had compassion – My part is finished. Now do you have compassion and reach and save men?”