QUESTION (1910)—1—If St. Paul’s filling up the afflictions behind of Christ, for Christ’s body’s sake, were on behalf of the Church, how can this Scripture be used to mean that the Church suffers on behalf of the world as the antitype of the Lord’s goat, while Paul said his sufferings were for the sake of the Church? Does the text apply to the Church or to Paul only?
ANSWER.—The Church and Christ all suffer the same suffering and for the same purpose. We are to be sharers in the sufferings of Christ and not in any other kind of suffering. You are not suffering for the world, and the goat did not suffer for the world—not at all. The sufferings are merely the killing. The goat had nothing to do with what was done with the blood. Some forget that. We are very apt to forget that all this typified back there was the killing of the bullock and the killing of the goat. Who did the killing of the bullock? The high priest. Who did the killing of the goat? The high priest. Then the goat did not kill itself, did it? No. The point to be seen is this: Our heavenly Father told Jesus he would be pleased to have him lay down his life in the interest of the Lord’s cause and the Lord’s people, and Jesus showed his loyalty in so doing; and Jesus told you and me that we might go and do likewise and lay down our lives in showing our loyalty for the brethren. Now that is all you have to do with it. You haven’t anything to do with how God shall reward that. The reward that God promises you if you lay down your life for the brethren, is, that you shall be a member of the Body of Christ, which is the Church. The promised reward to Jesus was that if he would lay down his life for the brethren, he should be the great Messiah, the King of Glory; the promise to you and to me is that we shall be members of his Body. It was not God’s promise to him that certain things should come to the world as a result. The blood of Jesus is going to bring forgiveness of the world’s sin, and what may be done with your sacrifice may be counted in by him really to the world, but you have nothing to do with that; that is not your part; you are laying down your life in the sense of sacrificing your life as the Lord commanded; you have nothing whatever to do with what he will do with the blood afterwards; that is not your concern. Your part is to do your part, and my part is to do mine. We are filling up the afflictions of Christ, the same afflictions that he had and for the same purpose; all of them go for the Body of Christ, which is the Church. You and I are serving the Church; we are not to serve the world. What God will do with the merit of that sacrifice is another matter altogether.