Fellowship in the sufferings of Christ is something that is offered to us as a gift, and it is always fruitful. The sufferings of Christ are always fruitful sufferings. And we have a picture in the Word of God of how it will be in the end in Revelation 5:11; 7:9. Indeed, the sufferings of Christ are fruitful sufferings.
Although we may not always feel it to be so, fellowship with Christ in His sufferings is the way of fullness of blessing. Did you see what followed those words to Abraham about offering his only son? “And the angel of the Lord called unto Abraham a second time out of heaven, and said, By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore” (Genesis 22:15-17). Fellowship with Him in His sufferings is the way of fullness of blessing. There is always a second time with the Lord. The first time was: “Take now thy son… and offer him”, and the second time was: “Because thou hast done this thing… in blessing I will bless thee.” The Lord commits Himself to those who commit themselves to Him. You can see that in verse 16 of this chapter, and here is one of the many ‘I wills’ of the Lord. How often the Lord says ‘I will’ to His people! It is usually some blessing, but here it is Himself. The Lord gives Himself to those who share His sufferings.
But this blessing is not just a personal thing for ourselves. See how extensive this blessing was! ‘Abraham, however much you may be blessed, you will not just be one by yourself. Many, many others will come into blessing because you have shared My sufferings.’ It must be like that, because God is like that. If we want to be a blessing to others we must accept fellowship with our Lord in His sufferings, and if we will accept it, we shall certainly be a blessing. The Word of the Lord is not ‘I will bless thee’ only, but ‘I will make thee a blessing.’ The Cross always cuts deeper channels in our lives, but God does not cut deeper just in order to leave it like that. It is in order that there may be more room for His fullness. It is a universal law in all creation that increase only comes by travail. God only knows how much it may cost us, but where there is cost there is preciousness, that which is precious to the Lord.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon