Pastor Tom Ascol continues in his series on 2 Corinthians teaching on Chapter 1, Verses 3 through 7 in a message entitled “The God of All Comfort.” The passage, so filled with promises of comfort for believers, provides readers with hope both for the present and coming days.
The obvious theme of this passage is comfort but what does Paul mean by “comfort?” It does not mean “at ease” as we might think today but rather to “encourage” or “to come alongside.” Paul uses it to describe the character of God and the work God undertakes on behalf of His own. Paul goes on to explain Who this God of comfort is. He is the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. Of course, this relationship is only possible through the Trinity. God, only as a person of the Trinity, can be both God and Father to the Son, Jesus.
Not restricted to comfort alone, God is also the Father of mercies. He is the source of all mercies. People look to medicines, friends, doctors, and so forth to relieve suffering not realizing that medicines, friends, and doctors are mere vehicles or instruments for the mercies God provides. We make the mistake of not recognizing mercies as from God at our own peril. Because of God’s comfort and mercy, the passage rightly opens with “Blessed.” God indeed is worthy of praise.
Verse 4 implies two important points. First, believers should expect afflictions. Other portions of Scripture reinforce this idea. But, the second point is that believers should expect God to comfort them in these afflictions. Whether we suffer directly for Christ, as we stand firm against the challenges to our Christian faith, or whether we suffer in Christ, as a result of living in a broken world, God promises comfort in “all” suffering. Paul, of all people, as we shall see later in this chapter and book, had first-hand experience in these matters! And yet he includes the Corinthians, true believers even with all their problems, as fellow beneficiaries of God’s comfort. In order to be a fellow-beneficiary you must come to God: you must know Him in and through Christ. The resulting salvation God offers to all who call upon the name of Jesus includes this comfort. Even today you may call upon that name.
Finally, God comforts His people so that they may comfort others. Just as with the medicines, friends, and doctors seen above, God often uses His people as a conduit of His comfort and mercy toward others. As we believers recognize and experience God’s comfort in our afflictions we become uniquely qualified to offer God’s comfort to others in their afflictions. This speaks directly to the interdependence of the Christian life. It is why God’s plan calls for Christians to band together in a church. It is why believers become involved in each others’ lives. Just as we share in each others afflictions so we can share in comfort. Even as God uses afflictions to make His children more Christ-like he uses comfort to draw them together. Are you part of such a community?