To comfort those who are in any affliction
2 Corinthians 1:1-11 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
To the church of God which is at Corinth with all the saints who are throughout Achaia:
2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 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. 5 For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. 6 But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer; 7 and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort.
8 For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; 9 indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; 10 who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us, 11 you also joining in helping us through your prayers, so that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the favor bestowed on us through the prayers of many.
In today’s text Paul says: 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. Just as the spiritual gifts we are given by God, through the Holy Spirit are not for ourselves alone, but rather to share with and serve the body, and to help others to know and believe the good news of the gospel; so too, the comfort we receive from God, to overcome our afflictions, is also something we are to share with others. In Matthew 10:7-8, when Jesus first sent out the disciples to minister, He said: “As you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give.” All that we have received from God, whether provision, spiritual gifts and blessings, comfort and healing and the knowledge of Christ as savior through the mercy and grace of the cross, all of these, we are to freely give to others as we have freely received from God.
Often, in churches we are encouraged to give our tithes and offerings in response to Malachi 3:10-12, where God says: Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows. Then I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of the ground; nor will your vine in the field cast its grapes,” says the Lord of hosts. “All the nations will call you blessed, for you shall be a delightful land,” says the Lord of hosts. The same principle that is true regarding our giving back to God’s storehouse, that you can’t out give God, is also true in every other area of our lives that we receive from the goodness and abundance of God. We cannot out give Him. In Luke 6:38 Jesus says: “Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” There are many examples in scripture of those who freely gave of all they had and all they received never running out of God’s provision. In 1 Kings 17 there is an account of a widow who provided for the prophet Elijah, even though she didn’t have enough for herself and her son. Her oil and flour never ran out. When Jesus fed the thousands, the disciples gave all that they had, a few fish and loaves; then when all had eaten and were satisfied there was more left over than what they started with. Whether provision, spiritual gifts and blessings, comfort and healing and the knowledge of Christ as savior through the mercy and grace of the cross, you cannot out give God.
Isaiah 53:5 speaks prophetically of what Christ would do, what now He has done for us. He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. All the evil that Jesus received in His body because of sin, He turned to good for us. Romans 12:21 instructs us also to be like Jesus, saying: Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 8:28-29 says: We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren. The end result of all that we are given is to be that we are conformed to the image of Christ, that like Him, we would give all that we have so that others too might receive what we have received, whether provision, spiritual gifts and blessings, comfort and healing and the knowledge of Christ as savior through the mercy and grace of the cross.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. In Christ, I have all that I need. My cup overflows. Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Like Christ may grace and mercy and all the blessings I have received overflow from me and through me to others. May I share God’s blessing and abundance and like Christ may I overcome evil with good. Freely I have received. Freely I will give. Amen.