Everything – everything – that Christ accomplished for us sinners he accomplished by suffering. Everything that we will ever enjoy will come to us because of suffering.
I read the statement above and sat back to mull it over. It comes from Suffering and the Sovereignty of God edited by John Piper and Justin Taylor. As I continued to read I began to appreciate an aspect of suffering that I had never considered before. Not only does suffering have a purpose, but my Savior knows what it is like to suffer. And, as one who suffers, as we all do, that is comforting to me. What exactly are the achievements of Christ by his suffering? I have reproduced them below:
Christ absorbed the wrath of God on our behalf – and he did it by suffering
The wrath of God that should have caused our eternal suffering fell on Christ. This is the glory of grace, and it could only come by suffering. Galatians 3:13
Christ bore our sins and purchased our forgiveness – and he did it by suffering
Christ provided a perfect righteousness for us that becomes ours in him – and he did it by suffering
The obedience of Christ by which many are counted righteous had to be an obedience unto death, even death on a cross. This is the glory of grace, and it would come only by suffering. Philippians 2:7-8; Romans 5:19
Christ defeated death – and he did it by suffering
Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through the fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.~Hebrews 2:14-15; 1 Corinthians 15:55-57. This is the glory of grace, and it would come only by suffering.
He disarmed Satan – and he did it by suffering
Satan has only one weapon that can damn us to hell – unforgiven sin. This weapon Christ stripped from Satan’s hand on the cross. This is the glory of grace, and it could only come by suffering. Colossians 2:14-15
Christ purchased perfect final healing for all his people – and he did it by suffering
The Lamb was slaughtered and the Lamb was raised from the dead, and the Lamb together with the Father will wipe every tear from our eyes. This is the glory of grace, and it could only come by suffering. Isaiah 53:5; Revelation 7:17
Christ will bring us finally to God – and he will do it by his suffering
The ultimate achievement of the cross is not freedom from sickness but fellowship with God. This is what we were made for: seeing and savoring and showing the glory of God. This is the glory of grace, and it could only come by suffering. 1 Peter 3:18
The section of the book ends with this paragraph:
The ultimate purpose of the universe is to display the greatness of the glory of the grace of God. The highest, clearest, surest display of that glory is in the suffering of the best Person in the universe for millions of undeserving sinners. Therefore, the ultimate reason that suffering exists in the universe is so that Christ might display the greatness of the glory of the grace of G0d by suffering in himself to overcome our suffering and bring about the praise of the glory of the grace of God.