“What Is Lacking In The Afflictions of Christ”—Colossians 1:24.

In Colossians 1:24, Paul says, “I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh WHAT IS LACKING IN THE AFFLICTIONS OF CHRIST, for the sake of His body, which is the church.

What meaning does Paul seek to convey via the words “what is LACKING in the sufferings of Christ“? Does he mean that Christ’s atoning afflictions for His Church were somehow not enough? And that he (Paul) needed to fill up what was lacking in the same?

This is not the case. Paul is speaking here about his passion and desire to serve Christ more. What is lacking “in the afflictions of Christ” refers to what is lacking in Paul’s own afflictions for the sake of Christ!

The New Living Translation of the Bible bears this out better, “I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am participating in the sufferings of Christ that continue for His body, the church” (Col 1:24, NLT).

So Paul seeks to suffer even more for the sake of Christ and His Church. He had endured much hardship for the sake of the Gospel (see 2 Corin 11:23-28), yet he reckons all he has gone through so far as still insufficient. This is “what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ.” These afflictions are his own, for the sake of Christ. Paul fondly called those persecutions which he faced “the sufferings OF Christ” (2 Corin 1:5, Gal 6:17, 2 Tim 1:8). He seeks to continually be persecuted until he is FULLY conformed to the Lord, even in death (Phi 3:10-16). Paul counts Christian suffering a great privilege and looks forward to more opportunities to suffer for Christ’s name. This is what he means by “what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ” i.e. there was still much more affliction to endure for serving Christ.


© Josh Banks Ministries. 2022.


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