Suffering 2

2 Corinthians

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 is very familiar to me and was mentioned a couple of posts ago. But verse 5 is one that has slipped by me that really stuck out this time.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5
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. 5 For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.

In Garland’s commentary on 2 Corinthians he says, “In describing his sufferings in Christ, Paul pictures a balance sheet of two columns: sufferings of Christ versus comfort through Christ. Ministering in this evil age brings him a surplus of suffering that becomes almost unbearable. But the consolation column also shows a surplus, and it more than balances the suffering.” (ultimately Romans 8:18)

What are sufferings in Christ? Garland says it is in part our being baptized into His death (Romans 6:3), share in His sufferings to also share in His glory (Romans 8:17) and being like Him in His death (Philippians 3:10-11).

If we are to be Christ-like, we will also, like Him deny ourselves, take up our cross daily (Luke 9:23), be poor in spirit (Matthew 5:3) and receive God’s strength through weakness which is a thoroughly counter-cultural view.

Garland quotes Hanson:

…because Christians do not merely imitate, follow or feel inspired by Christ, but actually live in him, are part of him, dwell supernaturally in a new world where the air they breathe is his Spirit, then for them henceforward suffering accepted in Christ must bring comfort, death accepted in Christ must bring life, weakness accepted in Christ must bring strength, foolishness accepted in Christ must bring wisdom.

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