2Co 1:3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
2Co 1:4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
The doctrine found within 2Corinthians may seem puzzling at the outset of the first chapter of 2Corinthians to some who are experiencing “trouble,” and “tribulation” in their lives, and need the “comfort,” and “salvation” from this type of sufferings, but as God our Father has designed; once we progress from the beginning of 2Corinthians chapter 1 through the end of chapter 13, we will be well equipped to fully understand and appreciate, and find the salvation and comfort in God’s word just as it was designed to have an impact on us as “sons.” And the only way the son will know The Father as “The Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort,” is that the son would have to NEED Him as “the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort” when he suffers, and as we will see; there is a “effectual” way of “enduring of the same sufferings” that even Paul endured “for Christ’s Sake.”
2Co 1:5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.
2Co 1:6 And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.
2Co 1:7 And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.
The Apostle Paul saw the godly value, and heavenly impact that was accomplished when he experienced the “sufferings of Christ,” this was because Paul “learned” to change his way of thinking about himself, and the way this world views the afflictions that come our way. The Apostle Paul knew that the only way we can get to ‘know’ our Father in His capacity of being the “God of all comfort” is that we must also become “partakers of the sufferings.” And as we ‘get to know’ our Father in this capacity, we receive “consolation and salvation” just as our Father has promised us in His word, and it is our “enduring” of the “sufferings of Christ” with God’s word, and our being “comforted” by it that acts as an example unto the other saints that need the “salvation,” and “comfort” from their sufferings just as verse 4 says.
2Co 1:8 For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life:
2Co 1:9 But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead:
2Co 1:10 Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;
And as the son that is in “trouble” reads the first chapter of 2Corinthians, his thinking ought to be “wow, how do I possess such a gift; you mean I can find comfort and a salvation from what I am going through.” Then as the son reads on to verse 10, he sees that God our Father gives us the deliverance that we need from any, and all of our sufferings that we may experience, now the son ought to be thinking by now; “I must possess this; but how?” The Apostle Paul says in 2Corinthians 1:8, “we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life:” And it is the things that Paul went through that are recorded in God’s word that we are not to be ignorant of, and it is those very sufferings of Paul, that is our ensample that delivers us also when we “trust” that our Father’s word will work for us, just like it did for Paul.
2Co 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
2Co 4:8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
2Co 4:9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
2Co 4:10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
Therefore, the key to possessing this gift of our Father comes by way of the son changing his way of thinking just like the Apostle Paul did, even though Paul suffered to the extreme where he “despaired even of life,” his attitude was not as the natural man. The first thing that we need to do is come to the realization that just as Jesus Christ sacrificed Himself for us, we being members of His body ought to possess an unselfish attitude concerning the “power” of God. Our thinking ought to be “renewed” toward the “will of God” in everything; including our sufferings, and when we suffer (even though we can experience very trying troubles in our lives), we should realize that “the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” Notice the attitude that Paul has toward his sufferings in verses 8-10, that no matter what he goes through, he has a comforting and positive outlook upon each situation, this is so that “the life of Jesus also might be made manifest” in his body.
2Co 4:15 For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.
2Co 4:16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
2Co 4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
2Co 4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
Furthermore, because of the “all things” that we have in Christ that are for “our sakes,” (these “things” are found in Romans 8:29-31) how could we selfishly expect an “outward man” deliverance from our sufferings? And because God has promised to renew the “inward man” only, sometimes our thinking always seems to cater to our “outward man” more times than we ought to, but we must look at the benefit that there is verse 17; which actually works “for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” So when we “look at” our sufferings through the eyes of the “inward man,” instead of through the eyes of the “outward man,” we will see all of “the things” that are ours “in Christ,” and our enduring of our sufferings produce an “eternal” reward benefit; which we cannot see through our outward man eyes, but it is real and has great eternal value “for us.”
2Co 11:23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.
2Co 11:24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.
2Co 11:25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;
2Co 11:26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;
2Co 11:27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
2Co 11:28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.
2Co 11:29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?
2Co 11:30 If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.
As we look at the sufferings that Paul went through in the above verses, you wonder how Paul could call these things “light affliction,” well this is because of the renewing of his mind with the doctrine which is according to godliness was operating effectually within him; notice how Paul says that he “will glory of the things which concern” his infirmities. To acquire this type of thinking comes from the son’s doctrinal growth from the ‘milk to meat’ design that are Father has given us in His word. And it is impossible for a son who is operating upon Romans through Galatians doctrine to be able to fully learn to glory, and rejoice in the “sufferings of Christ” at that edification stage in his sanctified life. But just as 2Corinthians 4:16 says, our “inward man is renewed day by day,” and it is this daily doctrinal edification that we grow by, and grow up into.
2Co 12:5 Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities.
2Co 12:6 For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me.
2Co 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
2Co 12:8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
2Co 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2Co 12:10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
Finally, once the son has learned the effectual doctrine of sufferings found within Romans through Philemon, he will also learn to “take pleasure” in his sufferings knowing what the bigger picture is all about. And that is knowing that we are to look at our sufferings through our “inward man” eyes, and when we do this we will see that our focus should be on “Christ’s sake, not ours. Also when we learn how to use God’s word the way it was designed to work for us, we will see what a big part we play in putting the “power of Christ” on display. All one has to do is read verse 9 carefully to understand and appreciate just how important the “sufferings of Christ” is in our sanctified lives, and what great value that our sufferings have to Christ Himself. But the only way we can see such great a gift is when we look through the eyes of the “inward man,” because like the thinking of most of this world, the “outward man” has no desire to go through these sufferings, failing to understand and appreciate God our Father as “the God of all comfort,” and having a part to put the “power of Christ on display. And just as the Apostle Paul “learned” to be “content” in whatever he went through, we ourselves ought to possess that same type of thinking, and this is done through God’s word, so that we too can do “all things” (all the sufferings) through “Christ which strengthenth” us.
Php 4:9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
Php 4:10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.
Php 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
Php 4:12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
Php 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.