True Christianity is all about grace—Christ taking our place and receiving the punishment that was due to us. This is an unquestionable and eternal truth so how and where does the suffering that the Bible talks about fit in? Here’s my best shot: Christ has perfected us through His Blood, but He did so in the outside-of-time realm of the spirit or “heavenly places” (Eph 1:3). In order for us to manifest the Promises in the time or natural realm the Truth of the Cross must have its affect on our minds, which is the realm of the soul. This is called mind-renewal, and walking out this process looks like denying and defying the inferior wisdom of this world alongside the leading of the Holy Spirit and I believe that this is New Testament suffering. Let me explain why.
“For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery to fear again, but you have received a Spirit of adoption as sons by whom we cry out, “Abba Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children then heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer [defy the old mind; limitation; the laws of the cosmos; wisdom of this age] with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.” Romans 8:14-17 (personal commentary added)
In this process of “suffering” or “defying” as the Lord put it with me today, we will no doubt experience emotions of fear and sometimes physical weakness or even pain. Why is that? Because our mind is still in process and where our mind is determines our limitation in the physical, here and now and in pushing the boundaries of possibility trepidation and pain is commonplace. The fear and pain is not from God, but He’s not opposed to us going through it because in that place we learn to trust in His goodness.