Thanksgiving: Part 1 of 4 (series: Lessons on 2 Co.)

by John Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)

March 8, 2014

Tom Lowe
The Second Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians

Thanksgiving (1:3–11)

2nd Corinthians 1:3-11 (NKJV)
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 tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ.
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.
7 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.
8 For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life.
9 Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead,
10 who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us,
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.

From verse 3 through verse 11, the apostle bursts forth into thanksgiving for the comfort that has come to him in the midst of his distress and affliction. Undoubtedly, the comfort was the good news which Titus had brought him in Macedonia. The apostle then goes on to show that whether he is afflicted or comforted, everything turns out for the eventual good of the believers to whom he ministers.

Past experiences encourage us to have faith and hope, and oblige us to trust God for all our remaining days. And it is our duty not only to help one another through prayer, but in praise and thanksgiving make suitable reparation for the benefits we have received from Him. Thus, both trials and mercies will end in good to ourselves and others.

One of the paradoxes of the Christian life is that the grace of God is most keenly experienced not in the best but what seems to be the worst of times. However much a Christian longs for rejoicing (1 Cor. 4:8), it is often in humiliation where he finds grace And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Cor. 12:9). That theme pervades this letter and finds moving expression in Paul’s thanksgiving.

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,

Blessed (the Greek word eulogetos, meaning “well-spoken of.”) is used in the New Testament as belonging to, relating to, or connected with God for example: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3).. It is a term of adoration and praise. Blessed be God is a phrase that typically began a worship service in the synagogue (see Ps. 66:20; 68:35). The use of this phrase in New Testament letters (see also Eph. 1:3) indicates that the phrase may have become a common expression in worship, perhaps a “call to worship” for early churches.

Paul praised the true God, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who revealed Himself in His Son, who is of the same essence as His Father And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14). He is the Anointed One

(Christ) and sovereign (Lord) Redeemer (Jesus). Although the Son enjoyed this lofty position, He was willing to become a servant and submit Himself in His incarnation. Christ is the ultimate example of selfless humility Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matt. 11:29). The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is the full title of Christ in the New Testament. No longer is He addressed as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, or the God of Jacob. Now He is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. This name, incidentally, implies the great truth that the Lord Jesus is both God and Man. God is the God of our Lord Jesus Christ; this refers to His relation to Jesus, the Son of Man. But God is also the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. This refers to His relationship to Christ, the Son of God. In addition, God is described as the Father of mercies and God of all comfort. This great benediction comprehends the entire Gospel.

The Father of mercies is a Semitic phrase for ‘merciful Father,’ and refers to God (the source of all mercies), and the mercies in view here include everything from deliverance from the world, sin, and Satan, to participation in Sonship, light, and life. But the force of the expression is even more than this; for the idea stressed is that the Father is characterized by mercy For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You (Ps. 86:5; cf. Dan. 9:9; Mic. 7:18).. The apostle may have borrowed the expression, “Father of mercies” from Jewish liturgical language and a synagogue prayer that called on God to treat the sinful individual with kindness, love, and tenderness.

Comfort often means softness and ease, but that is not the meaning here. For Paul, comfort flows from experiencing God’s mercies. Paul was saying God came to him in the midst of his sufferings and troubles to strengthen him and give him courage and boldness (vv. 4-10). Like a true man of faith, he mentions mercies and comfort before he proceeds to speak of afflictions (vv. 4-6). God of all comfort is an Old Testament description of God As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; And you shall be comforted in Jerusalem. (Isa. 66:13), who is the ultimate source of every true act of comfort. The Greek word for “comfort” is related to the familiar word “paraclete” “one who comes alongside to help,” another name for the Holy Spirit. A good example of the work of the Holy Spirit can be seen in the apostles understanding of the spiritual. The Holy Spirit energized the hearts and minds of the apostles in their ministry, helping them produce the New Testament Scripture. The disciples had failed to understand many things about Jesus and what He taught; but because of this supernatural work they came to an accurate and inerrant understanding of the Lord and His work, and recorded it in the Gospels and the rest of the New Testament Scriptures All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. (2 Tim. 3:16).

Paul’s expression of thanksgiving for his recent deliverance from a serious threat forms a suitable introduction for this letter, since one of his purposes for writing was to seek reconciliation and give his reasons for not having fulfilled his promise to visit them (vv. 15-24). Being brought through the desperate situation mentioned in verses 8 and 9 has deeply enriched his understanding of God’s character. We need to recognize that nothing in this passage implies that God rescues his people from every discomfort, but that he gives them the tools, the necessary training, and the essential guidance to endure the problems of this life.

4 who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

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