Incompleteness of Christ's suffering


Colossians 1:24 says that what is missing in Christ’s suffering is to be completed in us for the sake of His body the Church. Does not this contradict the completeness of his suffering and death which redeemed mankind of all sin? (Eph1:7, Col 1: 20-22)


I think what youre assuming is a Protestant error, if Im understanding your correctly. Protestant theology often creates dichotomies that dont really exist. Yes, Christ did all that was needed for the salvation of mankind. BUT we as individuals are required to respond, we are expected to “complete” our responsibilities as members of the Body of Christ. Our salvation is BOTH Christs death and resurrection AND our response to it! Some Protestant theology denies any human action is necessary other than our initial act of faith in Christ. This is simply not what Christ told us and is not biblical. The proper interpretation of this bible quote shows the error in the supposed contradiction that you raise. There would be a contradiction if you accepted some Protestant tradition instead of the fullness of the Catholic Tradition and Her infallible interpretation of the bible. But Catholic Tradition shows how there is no contradiction in Scripture when you incorporate the bible as a whole and not just pick and choose Scripture that supports your particular sect’s tradition.


I recommend the Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary for this and other such difficult biblical passages:

Ver. 24. And fill up those things…in my flesh for his body, which is the church.[5] Nothing was wanting in the sufferings or merits of Christ, for a sufficient and superabundant redemption of mankind, and therefore he adds, for his body, which is the church, that his sufferings were wanting, and are to be endured by the example of Christ by the faithful, who are members of a crucified head. See St. Chrysostom and St. Augustine. (Witham) — Wanting. There is no want in the sufferings of Christ himself as head; but many sufferings are still wanting, or are still to come in his body, the Church, and his members, the faithful. (Challoner) — St. Chrysostom here observes that Jesus Christ loves us so much, that he is not content merely to suffer in his own person, but he wishes also to suffer in his members; and thus we fill up what is wanting of the sufferings of Christ. (St. Chrysostom) — The wisdom, the will, the justice of Jesus Christ, requireth and ordaineth that his body and members should be companions of his sufferings, as they expect to be companions of his glory; that so suffering with him, and after his example, they may apply to their own wants and to the necessities of others the merits and satisfaction of Jesus Christ, which application is what is wanting, and what we are permitted to supply by the sacraments and sacrifice of the new law.


He allows us to join in his suffering. it’s a gift we can accept gratefully.


Thanks Della, you have explained it so beautifully.
Thanks Robert. My Protestant brothers are also seeking. If they seek sincerely, surely they will find the way.


If we are all truly part of the Body of Christ, then we must also participate in, and willingly accept, our part of his suffering. I expect all of that suffering will be completed at the Final Judgement.


You’re welcome, but I only quoted a Bible commentary. :slight_smile:

I’ve heard it also explained that our sufferings, added to Christ’s sufferings, are our debt of gratitude to him for becoming one of us solely for the purpose of saving us. He certainly had no other reason. God could have chucked the lot of us and started over again by creating another sentient race of beings who would obey him. But he loved us–something beyond our understanding–so much that Christ came to ransom us from our sins. The least we can offer him in return is our own poor sufferings.


I am not a scriptural scholar nor a scholar of the church’s teachings. That is not my field of specialty. However, I try to live my catholic calling seriously out of my love for the one who has loved me. I try to go deep into a subject whenever I am drawn to it in my practical living. So my questions would not be motivated by academic persuasions but a desire to know what I do not know yet which I need to understand for me to make my journey and for anyone else who might need a basis for that walk. So I was really thankful for your guiding me precisely to the reference of authority that I needed to read which would have otherwise taken me ages to find. Of late I seem to be drawn to the cross of Christ and therefore the role of redemptive suffering. Thanks for introducing me to Haydock’s commentary.


You’re welcome. :tiphat: There are modern commentaries, as well, but not many online. I like Haydock’s because he quotes the Doctors of the Church and other scholars closer to the time the NT was written.


=Loyalowl;12587001]Colossians 1:24 says that what is missing in Christ’s suffering is to be completed in us for the sake of His body the Church. Does not this contradict the completeness of his suffering and death which redeemed mankind of all sin? (Eph1:7, Col 1: 20-22)


John 19:28
“Afterwards, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, said: I thirst”

What Jesus accomplished was exactly and precisely sufficient for the completion of His Mission from the Father for man’s Redemption.

What Jesus is saying in His :“I Thirst” ; which follows His giving humanity His Mother [John 19:26-28], is an affirmation of HOW he WOULD “do more” by giving His Mother to us and the Sacraments. There is no insufficiency present here; just an evident desire for Jesus to Do more, and to save more souls.

God Bless you,



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