“Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer.” 2 Corinthians 1:6
It’s easy to read about Paul’s missionary accomplishments and the trials he overcame and think he was a superhero of some kind. Compared to him we may feel weak or lazy, but throughout all of Paul’s letters he points attention away from himself and onto the life of Jesus that lives in him. In essence he tells us over and over, “This isn’t of me. Jesus confronted me and changed me, and I encourage you to do the same because it has made all the difference.”
John Calvin wrote (paraphrasing), “Paul’s personal consolation flows out to the whole church because believers can learn that the God who sustained and renewed him in his time of necessity will never fail them. Thus their salvation is advanced both by his sufferings and by his being comforted.” Paul’s Savior is our Savior, his God is our God, and the Holy Spirit who empowered Him is the same Spirit who empowers us. Paul wasn’t a superhuman, he just surrendered to the supernatural power of God and allowed Him to do His work through him. Paul Barnett wrote, “Great though our sense of weakness may be, the power of God is always greater.”
Join us on Sunday as we begin Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians. Although Paul had faced persecution from false teachers and even from the Corinthians whom he loved dearly, he didn’t begin his letter with words of bitterness and anger. Instead he decided to bring attention and praise to the “God of All Comfort”.
God bless you all and hope to see you on Sunday!