Thursday, November 09, 2006


Paul, in his second letter to the Corinthians, was seeking to encourage the Corinthians in Christ, so that they would be ready and willing to give the gift they had previously promised to the church at Jerusalem.

How did Paul do this? He begins by proclaiming that the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ is the “God of all comfort”, and he comforts us in “all” our afflictions. Often we think of comfort as having peace and rest, having everything taken care of so we don’t have to do anything - we can simply sit back and enjoy the ride, and as soon as we break from this pristine state our comfort is gone. But Paul tells us, that God comforts us in our afflictions, not for us to simply sit around and enjoy ourselves, but for the purpose of making us affective for the kingdom. Paul was seeking to encourage the saints in Corinth to give abundantly to the other churches that the kingdom may be built up.

God is not only the God of all comfort but of all afflictions as well. By being joined to Christ Paul teaches that the sufferings of Christ overflow abundantly to us by the grace of God. God afflicts us by allowing us to go through various trials and tribulations for the comfort and salvation of the world. Many of you may wonder from time to time why you have to suffer, and whether or not God is in control of those circumstances, and how they can possibly work out for the good. The fruit of sanctification though, is being able to see everything in light of God’s sovereign grace and believing that He is working everything out for the good. We need to be like Paul, who when utterly burdened beyond strength and felt the sentence of death upon him, knew that this was to teach him not to rely upon himself, but upon the God who raises the dead. Paul also knew that he would be faced with similar trials and that God would raise him again and again. This kind of attitude and behavior is impossible outside of a saving faith in the risen Lord. When man is afflicted with various trials and tribulations his capacity for life is taken from him, he wastes away not only outwardly day by day, but also inwardly. But for those who are in Christ and who are experiencing His death, their capacity for life increases. Like Paul we are wasting away outwardly but we are being renewed inwardly daily. Paul was teaching the Corinthians that those who sow bountifully will reap bountifully, that death precedes resurrection.

The churches at Macedonia were a perfect example of this. Paul explains that it’s God’s grace that has brought about a severe test of affliction upon these churches. For they were poor in comparison to the church at Corinth, but seeing that there was a need they rejoiced abundantly. Why would a poor, needy people, rejoice for the opportunity to give of themselves when clearly they are the ones in need? So often we sit back thinking that we have nothing to offer forgetting about the treasure which resides within jars of clay. But the impoverished churches in Macedonia begged Paul for the opportunity and honor to give their lives away for the relief of the saints. It brought them comfort knowing that they could give up their comfort for the sake of the kingdom.
What is brining you comfort today? Is it your job, house, is it your bank account, is it your health, your health plan, your education? Or is it the honor of knowing that you have been called this day to give your life away to God and knowing that it is pleasing to him because of Jesus Christ?

1 comment:

Roj said...

Hey buddy! Rob & I are going to be in Moscow tomorrow for the state football championships. We need a good place to eat. Got any suggestions?