Thursday, November 3, 2011

According to Paul:

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 — Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

This brief section of verses reveals a number of important truths about the purpose of afflictions.

1) In any and every affliction in life that anyone may encounter, regardless of the seriousness of it and its outcome, God is worthy to be blessed and praised!

2) There are seasons of life full of trials in which believers quite clearly learn that God is in fact the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort.

3) God comforts His own in all our afflictions. God doesn't leave His people. He certainly doesn't allow them to go through the affliction on their own. Rather, he comforts His people while in the afflictions. Note it doesn't say that God prevents His people from entering into afflictions. But while they are in the affliction—regardless of the intensity and extent of it—God comforts them all the while.

4) The purpose ("so that"; εἰς τὸ δύνασθαι) we may be able to comfort others who are in any affliction with the comfort that we have received while going through our own affliction. A wealth of pastoral wisdom comes from this verse. God allows suffering and then attends to His people in their suffering so that when others in their social sphere are going through sufferings, they may be able to comfort with the same amount of comfort which they themselves received.

Praise the Lord! Rightly does Paul state a little later on:

2 Corinthians 2:14-16 — But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things?

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