Hope of the Resurrection Part 2 of 2

by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)

15 For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.


In the opening clause Paul explains why he added “with you” at the end of the preceding verse: “for all things,” Paul’s suffering and service, and indeed all the saving work God is now doing through the apostle and will complete at the last day, “are for your sakes.” The hard blows and wearying labor are neither puzzling nor nonsense; through Paul’s suffering God is working out His purposes, and Paul gladly endures it all for the benefit of his churches. This letter continues to remind the Corinthians of Paul’s servant role. He had been sent by Jesus to serve them (2 Co. 4:1{6], 5{7]; 1 Co. 3:5{8]). All of the trials and difficulties he had endured were for their benefit—for their sake (2 Co. 1:6{9]). He bore everything in the conviction that through his sufferings they were being led into the light and love of God. When a man has the conviction that what is happening to him is happening literally for Christ’s sake he can do anything. He had planned on visiting them twice because he wanted to serve them on two occasions. He had refused monetary support when he had ministered among them in order to serve them free of charge (2 Co. 11:8{10]). As a servant, he was careful not to control the Corinthian’s faith but instead to assist them in maturing in the Christian faith. Although Paul was obviously insulted on his last trip to Corinth, he had ignored the insult and had forgiven the offender for the Corinthians sake (2 Co. 2:10{11]). At the beginning of 2 Corinthians, Paul had even insisted that his recent troubles in Asia Minor had been for the sake of the Corinthians (2 Co. 1:5-7{12]).

This passage explains that all he endured, all he said, all he did, benefitted the Corinthians. As more people heard of and accepted the grace of God—that is, God’s gift of salvation—more people would join the grand celebration before God, praising and thanking Him (v. 14). Thanksgiving would begin to overflow toward God. This would benefit the Corinthian Christians, for, through their prayers—they also had participated in Paul’s work in spreading the gospel (2 Co. 1:11{13]). The “many” who are being saved and added to the church “may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God;” the ultimate goal of all that the believer does. The increase of converts will cause ever-increasing thanksgiving. Thanksgiving may not seem to be a very profound result of making God known. But, when you think about it, it means that the truth has come home. It has rung a bell in the heart. The experience of redemption by the sheer love and pity of God has become real. Ultimately, God would be glorified through all of this. All Praise and glory would ultimately be His, for He is the One who sacrificed His own Son for the benefit of all who believe.

This verse parallels Romans 8:28: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose;” and it gives us the assurance that our sufferings are not wasted, for God uses them to minister to others and also to bring glory to His name. How is God glorified in our trials? By giving us the “abundant grace” we need to maintain joy and strength when the going gets difficult. Whatever begins with grace, leads to glory (Ps. 84:11{17]; 1 Pe. 5:10{18]).

The Living Bible seems to capture the spirit of the verse in this paraphrase: “These sufferings of ours are for your benefit. And the more of you who are won to Christ, the more there is to thank him for his great kindness, and the more the Lord is glorified.”

There is a saying we have all heard: “Great minds think alike.” Paul and David were great minds, and Paul must have been thinking of Psalm 116 when he wrote this short passage. It’s good for us to listen to God’s Word, for Faith comes from hearing God’s Word, and faith grows by hearing God’s Word. And let’s tell it to others, because the Holy Spirit can take the Word and apply it to a sinner’s heart and wipe it clean and cause it to love Jesus.

SCRIPTURE REFERENCE AND SPECIAL NOTES

Psalm 116 (NKJV)
1 I love the Lord, because He has heard My voice and my supplications.
2 Because He has inclined His ear to me, Therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live.
3 The pains of death surrounded me, And the pangs of Sheol laid hold of me; I found trouble and sorrow.
4 Then I called upon the name of the Lord: "O Lord, I implore You, deliver my soul!"
5 Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; Yes, our God is merciful.
6 The Lord preserves the simple; I was brought low, and He saved me.
7 Return to your rest, O my soul, For the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.
8 For You have delivered my soul from death, My eyes from tears, And my feet from falling.
9 I will walk before the Lord In the land of the living.
10 I believed, therefore I spoke, "I am greatly afflicted."
11 I said in my haste, "All men are liars."
12 What shall I render to the Lord For all His benefits toward me?
13 I will take up the cup of salvation, And call upon the name of the Lord.
14 I will pay my vows to the Lord Now in the presence of all His people.
15 Precious in the sight of the Lord Is the death of His saints.
16 O Lord, truly I am Your servant; I am Your servant, the son of Your maidservant; You have loosed my bonds.
17 I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving, And will call upon the name of the Lord.
18 I will pay my vows to the Lord Now in the presence of all His people,
19 In the courts of the Lord's house, In the midst of you, O Jerusalem. Praise the Lord!

{1] (2 Co. 4:10-12) always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus' sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So then death is working in us, but life in you.

{2] (2 Co. 1:13-14) For we are not writing any other things to you than what you read or understand. Now I trust you will understand, even to the end (as also you have understood us in part), that we are your boast as you also are ours, in the day of the Lord Jesus.
{3] (Phil. 3:10) that I may know Him and the power of His Resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,

{4](Rom. 1:16) For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.

{5] (Heb. 12:2) looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

{6] (2 Co. 4:1) Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart.
{7] (2 Co. 4:5) For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus' sake.
{8] (1 Co. 3:5) Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one?
{9] (2 Co. 1:6) Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.

{10] (2 Co. 11:8) I robbed other churches, taking wages from them to minister to you.

{11] (2 Co. 2:10) Now whom you forgive anything, I also forgive. For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ,
{12] (2 Co. 1:5-7) For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation.

{13] (2 Co. 1:11) you also helping together in prayer for us, that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the gift granted to us through many.

{14] (1 Co. 12:9) to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit,

{15] (Rom. 10:17) So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God
{16] (Luke 1:20) But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time."
{17] (Ps. 84:11) For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.
18] (1 Pe. 5:10) But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.

{19] (2 Co. 1:9) In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we learned not to rely on ourselves, but on God who can raise the dead.

{20] (2 Co. 4:8-12) We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; 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. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you.

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