What is Lacking Christ?


Bread From Heaven: But how can “what was lacking in Christ’s afflictions” possibly refer to a “lacking of time”? Can you support this with scripture?

Comment: Yes, Christ’s time on this earth was limited. His ability to walk and spread the gospel was limited.

Response: Of course I agree that His time on earth was limited. But I fail to understand how, limited time = what was lacking in Christ’s afflictions.

Comment: Lets put it in context:

Col 1:24-29 Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church….of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. to this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.

Paul is referencing His sacrificial service of spreading the gospel of Christ.

Response: I agree. And all that Paul suffered in this worthy endeavor, even simply the giving of his time rather than spending it upon his own desires was “filling up what was lacking”. This life was a concrete life of self denial, of taking up his cross and following Christ. This is a very good image of what we mean by beginning our purification in this life.

Comment: Paul is not saying that Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary was lacking.

Response: Well, what Paul says is,

Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church.

If what you mean, is that Jesus’ death on the cross accomplished all that God planned for it to accomplish. I agree. Absolutely. Amen! We do not in any way mean that His death fell short of what God planned. Or that Jesus somehow failed in His mission, goofed up, gave up too soon, blew it, fell short or anything like that. NOT AT ALL.

We say that, by the sovereign PLAN of God, Jesus would die to accomplish the forgiveness of the ETERNAL consequences of sin. He did that. Mission completed… perfectly.

But, the Catholic Church teaches, ALSO, that by the sovereign PLAN of God, all people, in order to enter into the presence of HIS GLORY, have to accomplish the forgiveness of the TEMPORAL consequences of sin, in order to be totally purified. Only God knows exactly what this entails for each individual. But, we do know we can begin the process of our purification by:

  1. Resisting sin so we don’t continue to pile on more and more of that which we will need purification.
  2. Self denial-Acts of charity, prayer, evangelization, acceptance of crosses from Christ, good works

Comment: IF that were the case, it would have been stated at least one more time in God’s word, and it just isn’t there.

Response: But surely you don’t mean that:

if something is in scripture only one time we can safely ignore it

OR

it is not true

or

something like that.

I am sure you do not know what the ramifications of this kind of hermeneutic is. Below are events, parables, etc. that are only mentioned once in Scripture. I am sure there are thousands more if we look at the OT or the other books of the NT:

Matthew

  1. Visit of the wise men (2)
  2. flight into Egypt (2)
  3. Much of the Sermon on the Mount is only in Matthew (Ch 5-7)
  4. Healing two blind men (9:27)
  5. The hidden treasue, dragnet, and pearl parables (13:44 ff)
  6. Shekle in the fish mouth (17:24)
  7. Parable o the laborers (Mt 20)
  8. Parable of the two sons-lazy and obedient (21:28)
  9. Parable of the 10 virgins (25)
  10. Last Judgement (25)
  11. Parable of the sheep & goats(25)
  12. Soldiers when tomb opens(28)
  13. Report of the soldiers to the Jewish authorities (28:11)

And these are just the ones we find in the Gospel of Matthew. Large sections of Luke and John would also be excluded if we reject, as scripture, that which is mentioned only one time.

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