June 9, 2021

Get Comfortable 

2 Corinthians 1–5

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Greeting

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,

To the church of God that is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in the whole of Achaia:

Grace to you and peace...

Greeting

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,

To the church of God that is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in the whole of Achaia:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

God of All Comfort

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 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. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 1 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. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.

For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, 2 of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. 10 He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. 11 You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.

Paul's Change of Plans

12 For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity 3 and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you. 13 For we are not writing to you anything other than what you read and understand and I hope you will fully understand— 14 just as you did partially understand us—that on the day of our Lord Jesus you will boast of us as we will boast of you.

15 Because I was sure of this, I wanted to come to you first, so that you might have a second experience of grace. 16 I wanted to visit you on my way to Macedonia, and to come back to you from Macedonia and have you send me on my way to Judea. 17 Was I vacillating when I wanted to do this? Do I make my plans according to the flesh, ready to say “Yes, yes” and “No, no” at the same time? 18 As surely as God is faithful, our word to you has not been Yes and No. 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes. 20 For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. 21 And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, 22 and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. 4

23 But I call God to witness against me—it was to spare you that I refrained from coming again to Corinth. 24 Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, for you stand firm in your faith.

For I made up my mind not to make another painful visit to you. For if I cause you pain, who is there to make me glad but the one whom I have pained? And I wrote as I did, so that when I came I might not suffer pain from those who should have made me rejoice, for I felt sure of all of you, that my joy would be the joy of you all. For I wrote to you out of much affliction and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to cause you pain but to let you know the abundant love that I have for you.

Forgive the Sinner

Now if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure—not to put it too severely—to all of you. For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him. For this is why I wrote, that I might test you and know whether you are obedient in everything. 10 Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, 11 so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.

Triumph in Christ

12 When I came to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ, even though a door was opened for me in the Lord, 13 my spirit was not at rest because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I took leave of them and went on to Macedonia.

14 But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, 16 to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? 17 For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God's word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.

Ministers of the New Covenant

Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you, or from you? You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our 5 hearts, to be known and read by all. And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. 6

Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses' face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. 10 Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it. 11 For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory.

12 Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, 13 not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. 14 But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. 15 Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. 16 But when one 7 turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord 8 is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, 9 are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. 10 For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

The Light of the Gospel

Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, 11 we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice 12 cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants 13 for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Treasure in Jars of Clay

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So death is at work in us, but life in you.

13 Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, 14 knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. 15 For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self 14 is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

Our Heavenly Dwelling

For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on 15 we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

The Ministry of Reconciliation

11 Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience. 12 We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart. 13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. 16 The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling 17 the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Footnotes

[1] 1:5 Or For as the sufferings of Christ abound for us, so also our comfort abounds through Christ
[2] 1:8 Or brothers and sisters. In New Testament usage, depending on the context, the plural Greek word adelphoi (translated “brothers”) may refer either to brothers or to brothers and sisters
[3] 1:12 Some manuscripts holiness
[4] 1:22 Or down payment
[5] 3:2 Some manuscripts your
[6] 3:3 Greek fleshly hearts
[7] 3:16 Greek he
[8] 3:17 Or this Lord
[9] 3:18 Or reflecting the glory of the Lord
[10] 3:18 Greek from glory to glory
[11] 4:1 Greek having this ministry as we have received mercy
[12] 4:2 Greek to walk in
[13] 4:5 Or slaves (for the contextual rendering of the Greek word doulos, see Preface)
[14] 4:16 Greek man
[15] 5:3 Some manuscripts putting it off
[16] 5:17 Or creature
[17] 5:19 Or God was in Christ, reconciling

Get Comfortable 



Key Verse | 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 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.

Bio | Jessica Henry

Hey, friends! I am wife to David and mom to Jack, Harper, and Millie! We have been members at Watermark for nine years and will forever be thankful for the people the Lord has brought into our lives through this church! They have walked with us through everything and have lived out Galatians 6:2 and Hebrews 10:24-25 over and over again. 

A few facts:

I would choose Taco Bell over a fancy restaurant any day.

My dream is to be a contestant on a game show; specifically, Family Feud.

I have seen the Backstreet Boys in concert three times.

Central Truth

God's comfort can be given and received through others as a result of what He has done for us.

Devotional | 2 Corinthians 1–5

As I have grown older, I've realized I'm a comfort seeker (is my Enneagram 9 showing?). This can present itself in simple ways such as my ever growing sweatshirt collection, making my home cozy, or...

As I have grown older, I've realized I'm a comfort seeker (is my Enneagram 9 showing?). This can present itself in simple ways such as my ever growing sweatshirt collection, making my home cozy, or indulging in my favorite comfort food. It can also present itself in more harmful ways like avoiding conflict, stress, and pain at all costs.

The dictionary defines comfort as "a state of physical ease and freedom from pain or constraint." Notice that word freedom. As we all know, pain is unavoidable. We will never have freedom from it while on this earth. In Acts 9:16, God actually promises the newly named Paul that he would indeed suffer greatly for the name of Jesus.

But while we are not promised an easy, pain-free life, we are promised that our God is a God of mercy and that He will comfort us. We are also promised that our suffering is producing for us "an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison" (2 Corinthians 4:17). Worldly comfort gives momentary "freedom," but God's comfort produces eternal freedom.

When we attempt to avoid suffering, we miss out not only on experiencing the gift of God's love for us, but also on giving away that gift to others. One of the greatest blessings of my life has been the faithful people the Lord has given me, who have walked before me and beside me in affliction, to comfort me, strengthen me, and point me back to the greatest Comforter of all. Without the Lord and His people, my suffering would have swallowed me whole. I would be depressed, anxious, and controlling. But God.

In Philippians 4:10-13, Paul reflects on his life in Christ, one marked with an unimaginable amount of suffering and hardship, and yet he rejoices and shares that he has learned to be content in any situation because of Christ's strength and comfort alone. In a world that demands comfort and happiness, may we find our hope and help in the Lord alone.

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Discussion Questions

1. Comfort in and of itself is not sinful. When that comfort becomes a need and an idol, however, it can become sinful. What comfort in your life are you not willing to give up in order to be fully dependent on the Lord?

2. How are you using your story and your sufferings to share the goodness of God?

3. The Lord has blessed us with relationships and community. Are you utilizing that gift, sharing your struggles openly with others, and allowing them in to help comfort you?

9 Comments available

Linda Green 4 days ago

And 2 Corinthians 5:17 (Equipped Disciple verse!) is a beautiful counterpoint to 2 Corinthians 4:16. Great verses for comfort as we get old! Also loved the reconciliation verses- only possible with God! (2 Corinthians 5:18-21)

Sue Bohlin 5 days ago

Thanks, Jessica!

Paul’s statement about how we are the aroma of Christ takes on new meaning these days. To those who are saved, if we smell like Jesus it’s a delightful fragrance. To those who are destined for destruction, we stink of death. No wonder believers can be offensive to those who don’t want Jesus or anything that smells like heaven.

Remembering this helps me release the sting of being the reason Probe Ministries has been slimed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the ugly, vulgar names I am sometimes called in emails. Reason? Smelling like Jesus means that to some people, I stink.

And I’m good with that.

Deborah Muse 5 days ago

Miss you Jess! Thank you for sharing!

Linda Green 5 days ago

Oh Jessica, you picked one of my favorite verses in these chapters! (There are so many good ones!) Someone said that God never wastes our suffering when we bring it to Him, and I have seen the truth of that over and over.

Childhood heartbreaks, the brokenness of sinful choices, lost friendships, being disappointed- God has comforted and often corrected me at the same time. And has given me the privilege of pointing other believers to Him when they are suffering. Psalm 56:8 promises that God cares when our hearts are breaking.

Sometimes my sorrow isn’t because of my sin, but lots of times it is. Romans 2:4 has spoken to me more times than I care to admit. God is merciful and kind- how much sweeter life is when I come to Him first with my disappointment, instead of going everywhere else.

Michael Scaman 5 days ago

God comforts the aflicted and partly does it using the aflictions experienced by a person like Paul to soften his heart toward others increasing his ability to empathize.

The first positive purpose of God had for aflictions in the book of Job is by Elihu in “He delivers the afflicted by their affliction and opens their ear by adversity.” Job 36:15

We also have a model prayer of one alficted in Psalm 102, by title “A Prayer of one afflicted, when he is faint and pours out his complaint before the Lord.”

These go along with a positive purpose of suffering God has in using it change hearts and comfort others

Greg Jones 5 days ago

1/1 Josiah a king who did good in the sight of the Lord has his death linked to this, Nevertheless, the Lord’s fierce anger, burned against Judah because Manasseh had done to aroused his anger.(2Kings23:27)

An alliance between Egypt and Assyria is in the air Josiah has died fighting. Josiah’s servants, bring his body to Jerusalem in a chariot to be buried.(2Kings23:30)

Paul knows the back story of Judah and Israel’s history. When he says, “For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.” Part of his veiled gospel is I’m not a servant to a king of Israel or to Caesar, but a servant to their servants. To those who refuse to be a servant to Caesar or his appointed rulers in Judea/elsewhere, and insist on being their enemy, they are perishing.

Greg Jones 5 days ago

2/2 Revolt against Rome and it’s appointments is in the air. Paul’s not advocating military funerals, but he’s not endorsing the practices of Rome and her appointments either. His gospel, a gospel not endorsing the power (god) of this age 2Corintians4:4 is causing him problems.

Paul could have become anonymous and faded into the background of his age knowing this 2Corintians4:6. In his letters we see what it was like not to.

Hugh Stephenson 6 days ago

2 of 2

Reflecting today on the “God of all comfort”.

If I was asked point blank about the characteristics of God I probably would not come up with “God of all comfort”.

Years ago I heard the saying “God comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable”. I was convicted in my comfort. Soon enough, I became mighty afflicted.

In that, I learned I could not comfort others as I had no real empathy. Certainly, no humility. I am struck by Paul’s deep emotional connection to his sheep.

Convicted again. Too often I am box-checking rather than shepherding.

Now I love the saying: Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

A friend notes, “Comparison is the thief of joy”. Boy is that ever true.

2 Timothy 3:16 – My “comparisons” are wrong headed and don’t matter. My afflictions prepare me for an eternal weight of glory BEYOND all comparison.

https://www.gotquestions.org/Book-of-2-Corinthians.html https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3lfPK2vfC54

Hugh Stephenson 6 days ago

1 of 2

GM Jessica.

Restaurant: Flying Fish Game Show: Jeopardy Concert: Jerry Jeff Walker

Love your focus on comfort and suffering. It’s been a long journey for me to embrace God’s purifying fire of suffering, (James 1:2-4, Romans 5:3-5, Isaiah 30:20-21)

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