FRIDAY, MARCH 23
SCRIPTURE: 2 CORINTHIANS 1
Today we start a new book. Paul writes again to the folks at the Corinthian church. As is usually the case, there is much more in one of Paul’s chapters than we can cover on one page. He had the amazing ability of packing a lot of truth into a short amount of space. So, I thought I would pull out a couple of sections of the chapter and write about them today.
The first section starts in verse 3. Paul starts with the statement “Blessed be” or Praise be”. This is one of his doxologies in which he extols the virtues of God. We should praise Him because He is the one, true God. We should praise Him because He sent His only Son to us. We should praise Him because He is the Father of mercies. This phrase literally means He is the “Originator of mercies”. In other words, apart from God there is no mercy. All mercy shown to anyone is originated in God. We should praise Him because He is the God of all comfort.
The word comfort is an interesting word. It does not mean sympathy. It is not a reference to a pat on the back and whisper that everything is going to be OK. The word comfort actually comes from the same original word for Holy Spirit. It refers to a coming alongside to help. It alludes to being an encouragement.
In verse 4, we read that God comforts or encourages us in all of our afflictions. He does this for two reasons. First, it is His good work in our lives to help us. Second, it is so that we can help others. God comforts us so that we can be comforted but also so we can be a comfort to others. This is just another example of the fact that the things God gives us are never just for us. We are to be conduits of the blessing so that the things of God can flow through us into the lives of those around us.
The second part of the chapter that I want to point you to starts in verse 21. All of the verses of the Bible are important. So, forgive me when I say this verse is really important. The verse starts with the concept of God establishing us or making us to stand firm in Christ. This was actually a business term that referred to the guarantee of fulfilling a contract. It was the assurance that the seller gave the buyer that the product was genuine, that the service promised would be rendered as per the agreement.
Our relationship with God is not a business deal. It is not even a contractual relationship. It is a covenantal relationship. But the point of this is that God guarantees the fulfillment of His promises to us in Jesus. He is going to do exactly what He said He would do in the exact way He said He would do it.
God has anointed us. This is a reference to the Holy Spirit being given to us as proof of our standing with God and proof of our relationship with His ultimate purpose.
Next God has put his seal on us. This is a reference to the process of a king using a signet ring pressed into hot wax to prove the ownership and reliability of a document. The fact that we are saved means we do indeed belong to God and we can trust Him to do what He said.
Finally, we read where the Holy Spirit is given as a guarantee. The Holy Spirit is our earnest money, our down payment. He is the undeniable, irrefutable promise of what is to come. As good as the abundant life is that Jesus gives to His own, it is just a taste of the eternal life that is to come.