Jesus was made perfect through sufferings; there is no other way for us. We are not already perfect, but we do stand on the same ground of Divine method. … made perfect through suffering. This manhood, this heavenly manhood, is only going to be produced through suffering. You had better settle it. We do not like it. It does not seem to be the kind of Christianity that we had offered to us in the popular terms. We have been promised so much if we become Christians, it has all been made so rosy. No, He never did that. He said, ‘You cannot be My disciple unless you deny yourself, you have to say No to yourself, and take up the Cross; you cannot be My disciple unless you hate your own soul and are prepared to lose it’ (meaning, to lay it down unto death: Luke 14:26, 27, 33; Matt. 10:38, 39; Matt. 16:24). It is suffering, deep inward formation according to Christ, God’s heavenly Man, by outward separation, inward separation and suffering. That is the way that Christ went. He has offered no other way to His disciples and to His servants.
Of course, to leave it there seems rather gloomy, not very attractive; but we have not finished by a very long way. Oh, what this Man in Christ, this corporate Man, this Body of Christ, is destined for! ‘What is man, that Thou puttest him in charge of all the inhabited earth to come, whereof we speak?’ (Heb. 2:5, 6) And, more than that, “know ye not that we shall judge angels?” (1 Cor. 6:3) I am not going further with that. I simply indicate it, to set that as an offset to what might look like rather a gloomy situation over this suffering business. “If so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified with Him.” (Rom. 8:17) “If we endure, we shall also reign with Him.” (2 Tim. 2:12) You see, it is not just again putting somebody into an objective position as a reigning monarch. It is spiritual character. “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matt. 5:5)
What the Lord is saying to us at this time is, ‘Do you know what you are in this world for? Do you know why I have reached out and laid My hand on you, why you are a Christian, a child of God? Do you know the meaning of it all? It is to make you a man according to My original and abiding thought and intention, to bring you into that Man’. Yes, it applies to all of us. It is a man-hood, a kind of humanity God has ever intended, and if you think this is theory, have you no experience that corroborates what I have said?