The consolation of Christ doesn’t come for no reason at all. It comes to us who believe by way of partaking in the sufferings of Christ. Sounds kind of strange doesn’t it? We’ll iron out the meaning of that thought in this post, as we explore what Paul has to say in 2 Corinthians 1, verses 5-7.
For the most part, the last page of this Bible study into 2 Corinthians concentrated on comfort, distributed to us through Christ. Not so that we’re simply comfortable, but is a means of divine aid while we are either in trouble, or some sort of tribulation.
We spent the entire page on verse 4, so here, we’ll be picking it up at verse five and through to verse seven. Well, at least that’s my intention as I sit and type this. If you’ve followed along from page to page of this study, you’ll know that if I do manage to concentrate on more than one verse on this page, it’ll b e a first!
2 Corinthians 1: King James Bible
5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. 6 And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. 7 And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.
When Paul says “abound in us,” he’s speaking of himself, and those who were his companions at the time. In verse one, he had mentioned Timothy, so we’re safe in assuming that Paul is referring to him in this verse. Jumping ahead though, he does make a mention of Silvanus along with Timothy in verse 19 of chapter one.
verb (used without object) From Dictionary.com
1. to occur or exist in great quantities or numbers: a stream in which trout abound.
2. to be rich or well supplied (usually followed by in): The region abounds in coal.
3. to be filled; teem (usually followed by with): The ship abounds with rats.
Observing to the definition above, then coupling it with scripture, Paul’s saying that he’s been experiencing great quantities, was well supplied in, filled and teeming, with sufferings. But not just day to day sufferings or inconveniences. He’s talking about the sufferings of Christ.
What’s the difference between suffering and sufferings of Christ?
This is the way I see it as it relates to us Christians. When we do something that warrants punishment, such as breaking the law, gossiping, looking for trouble, doing things unwisely, etc., otherwise going against anything that the Father has established for us to partake in or not, the suffering that may result would not fall under the sufferings of Christ classification.
When we are being obedient to the Lord and walking our Christian walk, and face any kind of persecution, or fall prey to some unknown spiritual attack, what have you, this could be considered “sufferings of Christ.” All things that Jesus suffered was due to his obedience to the Father. All things Paul suffered was due to his obedience to the Father through Christ.
1 Peter 2: King James Bible
19 For this is thank worthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. 20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.
Think on the things that you suffer from. Are they from the world’s reaction to your walk with Christ? Or are they resulting from something else? Which should it be? Bear in mind what I said about this up above. This is the way I see it, and that by no means makes my definition definitive.
And I’m not trying to say that if you are suffering from something that would fall outside of the sufferings of Christ, that you’re in the wrong somehow. Some people do have that view, but it’s a silly way to see things. Jesus made that perfectly clear in several places.
As far as Paul suffering for Christ’s sake, I’m reminded of one of my favorite pieces of scripture…
Philippians 4: King James Bible
12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
Is there any question whether or not the Apostle Paul suffered some of the things that Jesus might have suffered? Well, if you’ve got any doubts about whether or not Paul had his fair share of trouble, skip down the chapter to verse 8. Believe me, he suffered greatly for the cause of Christ Jesus.
In the previous page, we discussed the Lord comforting us so that we may return the favor to someone else who needs it. Being comforted to be a comfort to those who may be going through similar things that you’ve gone through. In verse 5, We hit another word worth defining:
Consolation / Console
Howbeit confusing, verse 5 is outstanding! The exact same principals that we’ve covered in “Why does God Allow Suffering,” as it relates to our suffering, causing us to be qualified to comfort others, is applied by and demonstrated, the Lord Jesus himself!
When we go through a tumultuous period in our lives, there are many different things that can happen as it would relate to working out our salvation. There are almost just as many different ways we can respond to what we experience. However, to simplify things for you, let’s just break the gambit of responses down to only two.
What Jesus would have you do, and what the world would have you do. What Jesus would have you do will lead you through the wilderness and cause for you to come out on the other side of it wiser, stronger, and through it all, comforted.
What the world would have you do, well, is everything else that would not result in a victorious outcome. You may not necessarily learn anything by the world’s solution, there’s no guarantee that you’ll come out of it stronger by worldly means, and if there’s any comfort, it’s as temporary as snow in Florida.
By rejecting the way Christ Jesus would have us do things, we cancel out the benefit of being comforted by him, which is far better than anything that the world could offer. When you think about it, why would he offer comfort to someone who doesn’t want to do things his way, or take heed to any of his counsel? I’m speaking to Christians, not someone who doesn’t believe in him in the first place.
The world and it’s systems stifle one’s growth in the Lord. ~B.R.
Being seated beside the Father, he has suffered anything that can be suffered, and can relate to all of it. Because of that, he can send consolation toward us who are suffering. As always, Jesus is our source for all things. Consolation and comfort are two important factors that he’s been given by the Father, to distribute as he sees fit.
Matthew 11: King James Bible
Hebrews 8: King James Bible
8 Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; 2 A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.
Jesus suffered anything that we could think of going through. Did he lose loved ones? Yes. Was he mocked and made fun of? Yes. Did some of his family turn against him? Yes. Did people hate him? Yes. Did he suffer humiliation? Yes. Did people try to kill him? Yes.
What about sickness and disease? Did Jesus suffer any of the thousands of sicknesses and diseases that are out there? In my opinion, Yes. All these things funneled through him while being on the cross. Examine Psalm 22 closely if you haven’t already.
There is nobody more worthy or qualified to distribute consolation or comfort than the Lord Jesus, because there’s nobody that has suffered more than the Lord Jesus.
Soldiers are better trained after boot-camp, not before suffering through it. The same applies to tribulation. ~ B.R.
To sum up verse five, it could be said that if we are suffering the sufferings of Christ, we will be granted the consolation of Christ. A manner of cause and effect.
6 And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.
There are a few things going on in verse six that we should take a look at. First thing that I’d point out about this verse, is that the words consolation and comforted are both brought together here. Verse 4 (as we’ve covered in the previous page) concentrated on comfort that comes from the “God of All Comfort,” and in verse five, as presented to you above, concentrates on consolation. So perhaps it could be said that this is a sum up of verses four and five.
But there is one word thrown into the mix that hasn’t been mentioned up to this point, and that is the word “salvation.” Including salvation into this verse changes the context of what we’ve been looking at a little bit, because salvation is a much different dynamic than something like being consoled or comforted.
The more I think on it, I can see only two different paths to take as to why Paul says that his affliction is for your salvation. The first path I’d mention would be from a mental standpoint. Salvation being used differently than the “saved from hell and death,” salvation available through Christ. But more of an emotional salvation.
The other path I’d propose (which is the one I’d go with to be honest,) is that when Paul was being afflicted, he was consoled and comforted by the Lord, giving him a witness to share from there forward. This goes from affliction to salvation tool, as not only is there a problem, but a magnificent solution to that problem, and a testimony to God’s willingness to help us through Christ Jesus.
My favorite of the two different paths to take, as we peer into why salvation is being brought up is (as I said above) the second path. But that doesn’t mean it couldn’t mean both. There could be another two or three different ways to take it, as the Word of God in many areas is multi layered.
This verse is promoting the adoption of the same mindset. What he’s describing is this… I do this for you, so I can help you through it when it happens to you. Because the same comfort and consolation that the Lord gave me, I’m going to give to you, to help you to endure when you face the same thing I did.
For a Crude Example
Say there’s several people sitting next to each other on one side of a long table, but at the head of the table is Christ. The Father walks in with a bowl of grapes and hands it to Jesus and says,”I give this to you, do with it what you will.”
Jesus takes the bowl, and hands it to the first in line and says,”Take a handful then pass it on to the next.” The first in line is Paul, he takes a handful then having the bowl in his hands, he gives it to the person next to him. That person takes a handful and passes the bowl to the next. So on and so on.
The bowl in this case is the comfort and consolation, having it given to someone, so that someone can draw from it and pass it on to someone else that needs it. I’m not too sure how helpful that example was to help anyone understand what’s going on with these verses, but I enjoyed it!
My Hope for You
7 And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.
Knowing is a great word. It cancels out anything foggy or mysterious. When you know something, it’s as good as expected. Paul knew that the troubles he faced throughout his walk with Christ would be joined together with the consolation of Christ.
As far as the way it appears that Paul was concerned, if someone was suffering in Christ, it was a given that consolation is coming. Not a guess or a shot in the dark, but he knew it was next on the list of things to happen.
Putting it into Practice
This is a “rubber meets the road” moment. Think on this… When you’re neck deep in some form of persecution or trouble, are you mindful of the consolation coming your way? Come on, be honest with yourself!
Here’s a good practice. Pray whether or not you should partake in this, and if it rests well with your spirit, then give it a try. When you are in a position that lands you as a partaker of the sufferings of Christ, take a breath and follow these steps.
- Identify the trouble’s cause. “Lord, am I being Tested, Tempted, or Tormented? ( The three T’s. One’s of the Lord, the other two aren’t.)
- Instead of “Why me?” think and pray more along the lines of,”For Who?” and “What For?”
- Instead of looking for the escape route, seek the Lord for all things, and stay diligent for a strength building opportunity.
- Be mindful of who’s watching you go through your struggle. How you respond might just save their lives some day… Might just lead them to the Father.
- When you get to the other side of the issue, keep your eyes open, because it is likely that you’ve developed a new spiritual skill set, and you’re scheduled at some point to share with someone else who is going through what you’ve experienced.
Most of the time it’s extremely difficult to see the forest for the trees. I’ve been there many times in the past, and may just wind up there again someday. In a place where everything going on around you is either painful, overwhelming, heart breaking, etc…
If we can find a way to remember that the Father is in control, and has plans for you depending on how you react and respond to what you’re going through, and even more importantly KNOW that there is consolation coming from the Lord, it may wind up changing how you perceive what’s going on.
What a comfort we have in the Word of God, that the Father himself is waiting to comfort us in our tribulations, and teaching us at the same time to comfort those who also suffer the same! This is a reusable gift that the Father has given us who suffer for the cause of Christ!
Thank you for reading this sixth addition to the 2 Corinthians chapter 1 Bible Study. I do hope that it wasn’t too long for you. Please consider sharing with your peers and helping me to spread these messages around to others. I sure do appreciate it, as it helps to get the Word out.
Thanks again for reading Consolation of Christ – 2 Corinthians 1 Part 6!