There are some amazing principles presented in this first chapter. Paul says God “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.” We are able to bring the same comfort to others that God gives us, but that “comfort” must first come in “tribulation.” Any real believer would want to be able to bring the comfort of God to others, but first that comfort needs to be brought to us. Paul saw and experienced help, aid, protection, and provision from God in so many different trials; his faith and trust gained through these experiences is what brought so many others through the same type of trials. It’s not very productive to just beat people over the head and tell them to “trust God.” We need to believe God for them and with them and be an example of what it means to triumph through Christ in afflictions. Now look at verse 8 & 9 in the New Living Translation: “We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.” This great reliance they had in God came by learning to trust in very trying circumstances.
I won’t expound on the rest of today’s reading except I will make one point from 2 Corinthians 3:7 that may bring a little more clarity to you for your own study. The verse says “Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” When the verse speaks of the “Spirit of the Lord” I believe it is referring to our new born again spirit as it says in 1 Corinthians 6:17: “But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.” We have been given freedom from spiritual death and condemnation through Christ and by the regeneration we have received by the Holy Spirit. To clarify, this verse isn’t speaking of some liberty we are looking for by the Holy Spirit coming and touching us; no, this verse is speaking of the freedom we already have in Him.
Read through the Bible with us in 2012! The reading plan can be downloaded below; we are reading in chronological order. Check back often to read the blog posts on the Bible readings and discuss things in the "comments" section.
2012 Bible Plan