“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. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ” (2 Corinthians 1:4-5)
Men suffer for various reasons (1 Peter 4:15). Our text has reference to the “sufferings of Christ” – “as ye are partakers of the sufferings” of Christ; that is, “always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus” (2 Corinthians 4:10).
As Paul said “I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus” (Galatians 6:17); as Paul said again (Colossians 1:24c), “Afflictions of Christ in my flesh for His Body’s’ sake.” As Peter said (1 Peter 4:14a), “If ye be reproached for the name of Christ.” And (verse 19a) Peter said, “Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God.”
Men hate the Light, for it reveals their darkness and sin (John 3:19). Christ is the Light; Christ was God in the Flesh. Therefore His Words, Life, and Miracles reveal man’s sin, being the Light of The Truth. They hated Him for saying He was God, the Promised Messiah, and the King of kings and Lord of lords. He said He was the Lamb of God, The Sacrifice for Sins and the sinner’s Substitute. Therefore, his country men hanged him on a cross and crucified him (Acts 2:23). So the “sufferings of Christ” is a general statement for the hatred and persecution of Christ by men. He was Who He said He was. He was fully man, yet fully God, perfect and without sin. He came to establish the Kingdom of God in the hearts of men; and this He did, which began with His calling the Apostles, who later, after the day of Pentecost, were called His Body, The Church.
On the day of Pentecost, the 120 in the Upper Room who were waiting for the Promise of the Father (the Coming of the Ministry of the Holy Spirit) did in fact receive the Holy Spirit of God in Power. That day 3,000 were added to the 120, called now the Church. Later at the Church at Antioch, the Disciples of Christ (the Church) were called Christians (Acts 11:26). Then Peter said in 1 Peter 4:16a, “Yet if any man suffer as a Christian (a disciple, follower of Christ, a member of His Body, the Church), let him not be ashamed.”
Therefore, if you follow Christ, if you are a Christian, if you live Godly in Christ Jesus, you will suffer persecution (2 Timothy 3:12). You will know “the fellowship of His sufferings” (Philippians 3:10). You will be hated as Christ was (John 15:18-21). You may be persecuted in a multitude of ways for living for Christ in Word and Deed. In 2 Corinthians 11:23-28 Paul records some of the marks he suffered for Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:8-18) Paul said he was troubled on every side; perplexed, persecuted, cast down, always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, beaten, left for dead, etc.
If you are being persecuted for the Name of Christ, note the following words of promise in our text:
- In verse 4, “Who comforteth us in all our tribulation.” Child of Grace, here God plainly promises to comfort us, not in some times of tribulations, but in all times of tribulation. This should encourage you and give you confidence in God’s Promise.
- In verse 5, “For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation (comfort) also aboundeth by Christ.” Here Christ promises, the greater the trial, the greater His Consolation. Paul later recorded in (Hebrews 13:5c-6), “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” Paul said in (Philippians 4:13), “I can do (not if or maybe, but I can do) all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
Therefore Christian, disciple of Christ, think it not strange that you are experiencing the “sufferings of Christ.” For it is promised, it is designed to work patience in you, bringing you to perfection; and it will enable you to comfort others. Paul said in (2 Corinthians 1:4b-c), “that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”
Disciple of Christ, follower of Christ, the cost is great as we suffer for the Name of Christ; but the cost is only great to our flesh, not to the spirit. For Paul said:
“For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; 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.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” (James 1:2-4)
“And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” (Romans 5:3-5)
Therefore, be encouraged, (1 Peter 4:14), Peter said to the Church, “If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.” (Verse 16) “Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.” And (verse 19), “Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.”
Yes, here is the answer, “commit” your soul to God to keep you. He is well able, for He is God, Your God. Therefore rest in Him for He has promised to see you through your trial; for He told Paul “My Grace is sufficient” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
(This devotional was previously posted on August 17, 2010.)