2 Corinthians 1:3-7 – The God of All Comfort
2 Corinthians 1:3-7 – 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.[a] 6 If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. 7 Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.
God of all comfort
Paul describes God as the “God of all comfort.” Then he expounds on this thought for the rest of this passage. It is not a character quality that people often think about in relation to God. However, Paul had been thinking about it since he himself had recently experienced God’s comfort in the midst of an affliction that he faced (8-11).
However, when you think about this statement it is clearly true that God is God of all comfort. There is no real comfort apart from God. The Bible tells us that every person is a sinner and will face judgment for that sin. Apart from Christ, each person will face an eternity in hell. What comfort can be shared with a person who is on their way to hell? Or what comfort can be shared with a person who lost a relative who went to hell?
There is none. If a person is dying with cancer and doesn’t know the Lord, there is no real comfort for that person. If a person has lost a parent who doesn’t know the Lord, there is no real comfort for that person.
Now certainly in this world people would try to offer comfort to others. A person loses his job. “Don’t worry, you will find another one.” Someone gets a bad case of the flue, “It will pass.” But this is only temporal comfort. It doesn’t address a person’s real issues.
Think of it in this way. If a mother with cancer stubs her toe is it comforting to tell her that her stubbed toe will feel better soon? This isn’t her real problem.
So some also try to hide the facts. In Asian countries, when elderly people get cancer or other terminal illnesses their family will often cover it up and lie to them that “everything will be OK.” Again, it is temporal comfort. But it isn’t real. It’s a lie. It’s a facade. That illusion of comfort will at some point be taken away.
In a similar way, many live in “ignorant bliss” about their spiritual destiny. They try to comfort themselves by ignoring the spiritual reality and repeating to themselves over and over, “everything will be OK.” But it won’t be OK.
There is no comfort for a person who is still living in sin. Often times when people die others will say “RIP.” Rest in Peace. And they will say, “at least he is not in pain anymore.” But you can’t say this about an unbeliever. They are not resting in peace. There is no comfort for them. And there is no comfort for their family.
Apart from God, nothing will be OK. There is no real and lasting comfort apart from what God can give. And it is given only to those who experience salvation and have a relationship with Him.
If a person comes to God for comfort, he will receive it.
Matthew 5:4 – Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
If you mourn over sin, you will receive comfort.
God promises forgiveness of sins. There will be a final comfort for believers when every tear is washed away, every pain gone, every sadness turned to joy, and every sin confirmed to be paid for as we are made perfect forever in God’s presence. But there is also a comfort now to those who mourn for sin.
God does not hold your sin against you. When you confess, He removes it as far as the East is from the West. There is comfort in the promise of forgiveness.
If a loved one passes away who is saved, we don’t grieve as those who have no hope. Knowing that person is in heaven with Christ is a comfort (1 Thessalonians 4:13).
God gives real comfort to those who repent of their sin. And though they may face temporary afflictions, these pale in comparison to the eternal blessings in store for them.
If you are facing trials or pain today and you are in God’s kingdom already, be comforted by this verse. And use it to comfort others.
Reflect: Share various ways God comforts believers.
Who comforts us in our affliction –
Here are some of the ways He comforts us in affliction:
- He promises that our pain and tears will be wiped away.
- He promises that our sins are forgiven if we confess.
- He promises that He will cause everything to work together for good if we love Him.
- He promises that He will never leave us or forsake it.
- He promises that He will strengthen us to be overwhelming conquerors.
So that we comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort we have received –
Paul says explicitly that one reason God comforts us is so that we can comfort others. It is difficult to pass on something you don’t have and have never experienced. While it is not impossible for a single person to teach on marriage (by expounding on God’s Word), it is more difficult than if that person has been married and has been able to apply firsthand the lessons in the Bible on marriage.
It is also easier for a person who has experience applying biblical principles to raising children to teach others how to do the same.
One common sentence people use to comfort others is, “I know how you feel.” And the normal response is , “You don’t know how I feel!” But when you have received comfort in God’s promises, answered prayer, intimate friendship, and Spirit giving power to overcome, you will have something real and vibrant to share with others who have faced similar afflictions to you. You can honestly tell them, “When I faced the biggest trial of my life, this is how God comforted me.”
Reflect: Think about and thank Him for specific ways He has comforted you in the midst of affliction or difficulty.
Through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too
Throughout the Bible, we learn that God expects us to pass on what we have received. The man who was possessed by a legion of demons was saved and the demons were cast out. He was commanded to go and tell others what God had done for Him (Mark 5).
As believers, we should speak in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs (Ephesians 5:19). We are to actively seek to encourage each other by sharing testimonies and passing on what we learn from Scripture. And to unbelievers, we share the gospel.
In this verse, we are reminded to comfort other believers. We have to be sensitive and observant. When we see those hurting, we should take initiative to reach out. It could start as simply as making a friend and listening. And when someone tells us of a difficult thing in their life, then you can stop right there and say, “Let me pray for you.” Do it right away.
Application: Consider how to put in practice what you have learned from this passage about comfort. How can you comfort other believers? Is there a specific person who is in the middle of a trial whom you can reach out to? How can you grow in compassion toward those around you? The very best comfort you can ever offer is to share the gospel of Jesus, who offers forgiveness of sins and eternal life. So go deeper than the surface and share the good news. Bring people to the God of all comfort!
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