From Bondage to the Desert – 1.6 The Theology of Glory vs. the Theology of the Cross – 3

1.6.3 Suffering as Identification with Christ

Christians should not consider persecution as a tragedy, painful as it may be, but as an honour. The Bible talks in glorious terms about the suffering of Christians, viewed as a form of identification with the cross of Christ (Rom. 8:17; Col 1:24).

The martyrs of the first centuries gladly accepted suffering for Christ, as this identified them with the saints of God who had suffered before them (1 Thess. 2:14) and gave them a firm assurance of also sharing in the glory of Christ and of his saints. Thus, as the apostle Peter said, ‘Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange was happening to you, but rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed (1 Pet. 4:12–13).

Author: DanutM

Anglican theologian. Former Director for Faith and Development Middle East and Eastern Europe Region of World Vision International

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