Paul Declares his Sufferings are knitted to Christ and so are his Comforts
2 Corinthians 1:5 For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. NKJV
Paul in writing this next sentence was surely taken back in his heart and mind to the days before his eyes were opened to the truth and he viciously pursued the children of our Lord Jesus Christ filled with hate, rage, and all manner of evil intentions and motives which he carried out on numerous occasions. Paul at the time of his ignorance surely did not know that Jesus Christ who was crucified was the very God he thought he was worshipping but he was not. Paul heard from our Lord Jesus’ own lips His continual suffering here on the earth through His people or sheep that He has redeemed from their sin by the shedding of His Blood when He said these words to Paul as he journeyed along the Damascus road with the intention to kill and imprison more Christians, Paul (his name was Saul at that time) saw our Lord Jesus and heard these words as recorded for us by Dr. Luke, “As he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ And he said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, but get up and enter the city, and it will be told you what you must do’” (Acts 9:3-6).
Paul now having walked many years with our Lord Jesus now knows that because he is now “in Christ” that brings about suffering to him, that it also causes our Lord Himself to suffer with him and the record of Paul’s conversion on the Damascus road bears witness to the reality of this eternal knitting or linking or union between our Lord Jesus Christ and His people in every capacity. Our Lord asked Saul, “Why are you persecuting Me?”, because through this Mystical Union with Him in His Body, He feels every hurt that His children experience here on the earth. The Apostle Peter expressed the reality of this union perhaps in the best manner for me when he wrote, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you” (1 Peter 4:12-14).
The fact that Paul and these Corinthian believers and we are united with Jesus Christ by way of regeneration and the new birth, it is inevitable for us to share in the sufferings of Christ being that we are partakers of His Divine Nature and satan hates our Lord Jesus and all who are joined to Him. Likewise we also are blessed to share in all of His Comforts for the very same reasons we share His sufferings, as Paul put it in this manner when writing to the saints in Rome, “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us” (Romans 8:16-18). We have the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts or inner man that is the down payment of our future glory to come forever in our Lord Jesus Christ Presence and that is the comfort to beat all comfort that we can rest upon.
2 Corinthians 1:6-7 But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer; and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort. NKJV
Paul declares to them that everything he endures (even his afflictions) was endured for them to receive eternal life from our Lord Jesus Christ, knowing that our Lord Jesus would never allow him to be tested above or beyond what he could bear or endure, but would make a way of escape for Paul (2 Timothy 4:18) and all of his fellow workers, as Paul wrote them in his first letter regarding temptations to sin (1 Corinthians 10:13), but surely it applies likewise in suffering for the sake of the true proclamation of the gospel of Christ. Paul proclaimed to Brother Timothy these words, “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant of David, according to my gospel, for which I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal; but the word of God is not imprisoned. For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory” (2 Timothy 2:8-10). As Paul has already declared in 2 Corinthians 1:4, our Heavenly Father comforted him in his deep and painful afflictions and sufferings, so that he Paul would be equipped to comfort these Corinthian believers as he was comforted by the Father, as the Psalmist also declares with these words, “Thou shalt increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side” (Psalms 71:21) and also these words, “This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me” (Psalm 119:50).
“People are not prepared or able to rejoice in suffering unless they experience a massive biblical revolution of how they think and feel about the meaning of life. Human nature and American culture make it impossible to rejoice in suffering. This is a miracle in the human soul wrought by God through His Word.” John Piper
“Have you known fellowship in suffering with Christ? Known deep waters? You will have to go down to them. If you do not get sorrow in fellowship with Christ, you will get it in discipline.” G.V. Wigram (1805-1879).
“In the midst of the awesomeness, a touch comes, and you know it is the right hand of Jesus Christ. You know it is not the hand of restraint, correction, nor chastisement, but the right hand of the Everlasting Father. Whenever His hand is laid upon you, it gives inexpressible peace and comfort, and the sense that ‘underneath are the everlasting arms,’ (Deuteronomy 33:27) full of support, provision, comfort and strength.” Oswald Chambers
“Though poor in this world’s goods, though grieving the loss of loved ones, though suffering pain of body, though harassed by sin and satan, though hated and persecuted by worldlings, whatever be the case and lot of the Christian, it is both his privilege and duty to rejoice in the Lord.” A.W. Pink
“It is a simple fact that we who belong to Jesus Christ cannot escape sharing in His Sufferings and those who are not sharing in His reproach, then it must be because they don’t share His Nature (2 Peter 1:4).” Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ and His amazing healing power, pray this from your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ (you speaking directly to Him), Dear Lord Jesus, I confess to You that I am a sinner and I need Your forgiveness. I believe You shed Your Blood and died for my sins. I believe that You rose from the dead proving that You alone are God. I repent of my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I ask You Dear Lord Jesus to come into my heart and take control of my life. I want You to be my Lord, Savior, and my God. Amen...
Sincerely in Christ,
Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
Author of “Silent Assassins of the Soul - Are you Broken by Pornography and Masturbation? You can be Restored by the Lord Jesus Christ and brought into Deliverance, Freedom, and Victory! A Guide for Men and Women in the Enemy’s Crosshairs” e-book available now @ Amazon Kindle, @ Apple I Bookstore for IPod, Barnes and Noble for Nook, Reader Store for Sony Reade, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker and Taylor, and eBookPie…