Therefore we must note in the first place that Christ by his suffering not only saved us from the devil, death, and sin, but also that his suffering is an example, which we are to follow in our suffering. Though our suffering and cross should never be so exalted that we think we can be saved by it or earn the least merit through it, nevertheless we should suffer after Christ, that we may be conformed to him. For God has appointed that we should not only believe in the crucified Christ, but also be crucified with him, as he clearly shows in many places in the Gospels: “He who does not take his cross and follow me,” he says, “is not worthy of me” [Matt. 10:38]. And again: “If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household” [Matt. 10:25].
Therefore each one must bear a part of the holy cross; nor can it be otherwise. St. Paul too says, “In my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions” [Col. 1:24]. It is as if he were saying: His whole Christendom is not fully completed; we too must follow after, in order that none of the suffering of Christ may be lacking or lost, but all brought together into one. Therefore every Christian must be aware that suffering will not fail to come. (“Sermon on Cross and Suffering,” April 16, 1530, Luther’s Works, v.51, p.198)