The last step into the heart of God is oneness with God in His passion, one with God in His suffering and in His joy. All the other aspects of oneness with Him meet at the Cross, and the deepest fellowship that can be had with Him is found in fellowship with His sufferings. When Abraham was obedient to the Lord’s command: “Take now thy son, thine only son, whom thou lovest”, he certainly did reach the point of absolute fellowship with God, who Himself gave His only begotten Son.
Abraham had been called upon to make many offerings in his life; many sacrifices had to be made from the day that he left his own country, but there was no sacrifice like this one, which touched him at the point where it cost him more than anything else. This was more than all the other sacrifices, and so, at last, he stepped right into the heart of God.
That Scripture makes it very clear to us, that we are called into the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings. This is not His sufferings which were atonement for sin; there is never any atonement about our sufferings. But leaving that aspect out, it is quite clear in the Word that we are called into the fellowship of His sufferings. The sufferings of Christ are a gift to His people. The Apostle Paul says: “To you it hath been granted in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer in his behalf” (Philippians 1:29).
Jesus offers us the cup and says: ‘Will you drink of My cup?’ While it is the cup of remission of sins and we would grasp that with both hands He also says: ‘This cup is fellowship in My sufferings’, and too often our hand is very slow to take that cup.
Once as we gathered at the Lord’s Table in India, there were two very fine young Indian men sitting in front of me. I explained what was the meaning of the cup and the loaf, and then everyone rose to receive them. These two young men rose, and hesitated for a moment; they were weighing this matter up and then one of them bowed his head and accepted it. The other shook his head, as much as to say ‘No, I cannot.’ One went out of that meeting with much joy in his face, and the other went out with his head bowed and no joy.
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