What words come to mind when you think of God? Make sure the word 'comfort' is on your list!
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2 Corinthians 1 (ESV)
1 Paul, an apostle
of Christ Jesus
by the will of God,
and Timothy our brother,
the church of God
that is at Corinth,
with all the saints who are in the whole of Achaia:
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 may be able to comfort
those who are in any affliction,
with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings,
in comfort too.
6 If we are afflicted,
it is for your comfort and salvation;
and if we are comforted,
it is for your comfort,
which you experience
when you patiently endure
the same sufferings that we suffer.
7 Our hope for you is unshaken,
for we know
that as you share in our sufferings,
you will also share in our comfort.
8 For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia.
For we were so utterly burdened
beyond our strength
that we despaired of life itself.
9 Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death.
But that was to make us rely
not on ourselves
but on God
who raises the dead.
10 He delivered us from such a deadly peril,
and he will deliver us.
On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.
11 You also must help us
so that many will give thanks
on our behalf
for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.
12 For our boast is this,
the testimony of our conscience,
that we behaved in the world
and godly sincerity,
by earthly wisdom
but by the grace of God,
and supremely so toward you.
3 For we are not writing to you
anything other than what you read and understand
and I hope
you will fully understand—
14 just as you did partially understand us—
that on the day of our Lord Jesus
you will boast of us
as we will boast of you.
15 Because I was sure of this,
I wanted to come to you first,
so that you might have a second experience of grace.
16 I wanted to visit you
on my way to Macedonia,
and to come back to you from Macedonia and have you send me on my way to Judea.
17 Was I vacillating when I wanted to do this?
Do I make my plans according to the flesh,
ready to say “Yes, yes” and “No, no” at the same time?
18 As surely as God is faithful, our word to you has not been Yes and No.
19 For the Son of God,
whom we proclaimed among you,
Silvanus and Timothy and I,
was not Yes and No,
but in him it is always Yes.
20 For all the promises of God find their Yes in him.
That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.
21 And it is God who establishes us
and has anointed us,
22 and who has also
put his seal on us
and given us
in our hearts
as a guarantee.
23 But I call God to witness against me—
it was to spare you that I refrained from coming again to Corinth.
24 Not that
we lord it over your faith,
but we work with you
for your joy,
for you stand firm in your faith.
2 Corinthians 1 Summary
Like other letters, Paul begins 2nd Corinthians with a doxology - words of glory to God. Here it picks two significant attributes of God to focus upon:
God is the Father of compassion
and the God of all comfort.
We are to model this compassion to others, and it's in sharing in Christ's sufferings that we experience God's comfort.
The Bible contains thousands of God's promises (anywhere between 4,000 - 9,000 depending on who's counting system gets used). But all of those promises get answered with one Word: CHRIST (v20).
Even promises God has made, for example, to make all things new again, that have not yet materialized still can be considered fulfilled. Remember, God exists outside of time & space, so things which are in the future for us are experienced in an eternal present for Him.
This is why Paul reminds us that we can be comforted by this compassionate omnipresent (present in all times and places at once) God.
v20 - For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen / Ἀμὴν / אָמֵן to God for his glory.
This little four letter word we use so often is actually a Greek word that comes straight into English without translation (and the Greeks took it straight from ancient Hebrew). It's pronounced the same in all three languages, and it simply means 'so be it.'
This certainly adds to the power of our prayers, doesn't it! It's not just a signal that we can open our eyes again because the prayer is over, rather it's a way of claiming the promises of God through our participation in Christ.