It’s All Good (Part Two) – 2Corinthians 4:7-18

To this point in our study, we have seen that God works “all things” for the good in the life of the believer and that God sees things as good when they are as they should be, as they are meant to be. We then answered the question of what we should be, and we should be the image and likeness of God, we should be just like Jesus. We then saw Paul’s explanation of how God goes about making us all we should be, and He does so through hardship and difficulty. We pick up Paul’s explanation again in verse 13, in which he quotes the Old Testament (Psalm 116:10), for with this he begins his explanation of why this is so, and what our response is to be in the hardship and difficulty. The verse which he quotes reads: “I believed; therefore I said, “I am greatly afflicted.” It is in the Hebrew term translated “greatly afflicted” which we find the reason God uses “affliction” in this way. The Hebrew here is anah, and it is used to describe two things: to be afflicted and to be humbled. This usage shows us a connection between affliction and humility, and humility is primarily an attitude. It is the attitude expressed by Jesus and admonished of us (by Paul in Philippians 2:5), the attitude through which He “humbled himself and became obedient to death- even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:8) The afflictions are designed to bring a change in attitude, to bring us to the end of our haughtiness and self-sufficiency, and to an attitude of humility and dependence on our Father, just as Jesus told us was true of Him in John 14:10, in which He tells us that He does nothing of his “own initiative, but the Father, living in me, does the works”. This is the attitude of humility shown by Jesus and admonished in all of us by Paul in Philippians 2. Paul then shows us, in verse 14-16, how this attitude toward affliction showed itself in his own life. The attitude expressed in verse 13 brings a change in perspective expressed in verse 14, and a change in behavior expressed in verse 16. This attitude of humility brings a change in perspective, we begin to see things differently, we see them from an eternal perspective, we understand that God will “raise us up with Jesus” (verse 14-15), that we will spend eternity in His presence, and the difficulties of this world prepare us for the world to come by making us more like Him. This attitude so controlled Paul that he was actually willing to suffer hardship for others (sound like Jesus?), that his sufferings were for “their benefit” (verse 15). This change in attitude and perspective then brought a change in behavior, for in verse 16 we read that: “therefore we do not lose heart”. Paul understood that God is sovereign, and that the difficulties come from Him also. His new attitude and perspective showed him that we are never promised a life of ease, comfort and pleasure (as far too much current teaching seems to believe), and difficulties did not cause him to “lose heart”, to turn his back on God and walk away because a few “storms’ had come into his life. Why did Paul live like this? Again because of his perspective (verse 16-17). He knew that the body was “wasting away” and bodily discomforts were temporary, but that the inner man was “being renewed”, for our “light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal weight of glory that far outweighs them all”. Once more, notice Paul’s attitude and perspective here, and focus on what he actually says in verse 17. He says here that the troubles are “achieving” (or producing) for us “an eternal weight of glory”, that our “troubles” in this world produce glory in the world to come. Why is this so? Because the troubles are what help to make us all we should be, which is, as we have seen, what is for our own “good” and also for God’s glory, for He is glorified most when we are all we should be and do all He created us to do. In verse 18, Paul then concludes this passage by emphasizing what is the most important thing, and that is perspective, what we “fix our eyes” on, and that our perspective should be an eternal one, that we should see all troubles in this world in the light of eternity. This perspective, however, comes only after a change in attitude, only after we adopt the attitude of humility which Jesus so clearly showed us, and Paul has shown us here that troubles and difficulties are God’s primary means of bringing us to this attitude of humility. From this perspective, the troubles are therefore good, because they bring us to the place where Jesus lived moment by moment, to the place of total dependence on the Father, to an attitude of humility willing to go to a cross, but also to a perspective that after the cross comes the crown, that the troubles of this life achieve for us an eternal “good” to which the troubles cannot compare.

1 Comment Conformed to the Image of Christ  //  Living with a Purpose

One Response so far.

  1. Slim says:

    Wow, this scripture says a lot about how Jesus orvmcaee the world. Jesus had to overcome many obstacles like rejection, tortured and etc, but the main thing is that he died for everyone. Love this scripture

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