IN GOD WE TRUST is found on every dollar bill in the United States. Personally, I don’t think that it’s an accident that all the letters are capitalized. If they weren’t, I’d bet that “G” in the word God would be a lowercase “g.” If you understand all of the symbolism that is peppered all over the dollar, you’d understand that the god that is being represented there is not the God of the Bible, but is instead the god of this world. Regardless, it’s there, so I digress…
We Christians will declare our trust in God as a knee jerk reaction. We all know that we need to place our trust in the Father, don’t we? We hear about trusting him all over the place. On Christian TV, radio, the web, books, CD’s, and all over the Bible.
But do we place our trust in God the Father as we should? What does it mean to place all of our trust in Him? Does our trust and faith in the Father cross the boundaries from natural to supernatural? The Bible is packed full of accounts of believers placing all their trust in the Father, especially the Lord Jesus Christ.
It goes without saying, the Apostles did their fair share of trusting in the Father as well. The Apostle Paul is no exception. In this post, we’re going to take a look at what Paul had to say to the Corinthians about his experiences up to the time of his writing this letter. We’ll find, in most cases, the trust that Paul placed in the Lord resulted in supernatural or divine intervention, allowing Paul to stay his course on behalf of Christ Jesus.
2 Corinthians 1: King James Bible
8 For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: 9 But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead:
10 Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us; 11 Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf.
Wow! What a sentence! There are many things being touched upon in these four verses, so as is the fashion in these parts of the 2 Corinthian study, we’ll break it down verse by verse. Preceding these verses, Paul just finished telling the Corinthians about the Father, being the God of all comfort and mercy, about why he allows for us to suffer, and how he consoles those who do suffer for the sake of Christ.
In the verses above, Paul is either reminding, or explaining to the Corinthians, why he is qualified to be an authority on the subject of suffering, consolation, mercy, and comfort through Christ Jesus. Detailing reasons why he knows what he’s talking about.
Trouble in Asia
8 For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life:
If you’d like to get a recap, or learn some particulars, of the different troubles that came to the Apostle Paul and his contemporaries, it’s outlined very well in the book of Acts. Here, he’s just giving us the brunt of his experiences.
“Pressed out of measure” and “Above strength” in my opinion could be otherwise stated as tormented beyond his ability to bear or to handle. “Insomuch that we despaired even of life” is actually a tragic thing to contemplate.
Have you ever suffered so badly that you wished you were dead? That’s what “despaired even of life” means to me when I read it in this verse. We can see in Acts, that wherever Paul traveled, there was a season of revival, followed by a season of persecution. Beaten down, ridiculed and rejected, at one point even stoned to death!
The Sentence of Death – In God we Trust
9 But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead:
Is Paul saying that he was suicidal? No way. How can someone already dead be suicidal?
Romans 6: King James Bible
4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
7 For he that is dead is freed from sin. 8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:
11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Colossians 3: King James Bible
3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
When we count ourselves dead, as Paul puts it, to have “the sentence of death in ourselves,” He’s talking dead to sin, dead to worldliness, dead to the flesh, his life not his own, but is alive in, of, and through Christ Jesus. And if the result of that is physical and literal death, so be it. To live is Christ and to die is gain!
God’s Word is True
Who was he not placing his trust in? Himself, his friends, or anyone else save God alone, as he is the only one who can raise them from the dead. Imagine going through life with that outlook? What manner of faith in the Father he had, to count death as an annoyance or a speed bump, opposed to envisioning it as an end all.
Sure, I may get killed, but so what, the Lord can bring me back and let me finish the job. Not a problem. You see, at some point, the Holy Ghost informed Paul that he was going to stand before Caesar. With the Word of the Holy Ghost spoken into his future, death itself wasn’t able to stop Paul from fulfilling that prophetic utterance.
Much in the same way that many of the Patriarchs and Prophets escaped either death or the finality of death, was because of the future that the Lord declared into their lives. I give you Abraham, Samson, Peter, Jesus himself, Noah, so on and so forth.
A real prophetic Word of the Lord over your life and your future, when he speaks it as a sure thing, can not be made void or be undone. I’m not talking about prophecies that he gives that have an either or, but when he says “YOU WILL DO” you can bank on it. Even if it’s 100 years down the road, you will not die or stay dead, until it comes to pass.
Proverbs 3: King James Bible
5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Paul knew that he couldn’t do anything of his own power to save himself or his companions, but only God had a hold of that department. Do you have that same understanding? Join me in that contemplation.
Delivered Then, Delivering Now, and Will Deliver
10 Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;
Here is a great sentence that we can find a past tense, current tense, and future tense! This brings into remembrance the post I did a while back about the Helmet of Salvation. In that post, we discuss scripture that points out that we were saved, are continuously being saved, and will be saved as we move onward.
We see that pattern showing us the stability of God’s Character. If he did it then, he’ll do it now, and he’ll continue to do it. This is what Paul knows as a staple, or a sure thing through trust in the Lord and also trust that the Word of the Lord is true.
Malachi 3: King James Bible
6 For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
Hebrews 13:8 King James Bible
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
James 1: King James Bible
17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
Revelation 1: King James Bible
8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
Playing our Part
11 Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf.
What would the members of the Body be without the support of the Body? In the verse above, Paul is thanking the Corinthians for the prayers of the Saints. He is expressing the importance behind prayer and supplication in the spirit on his behalf. He’s placing the issue of prayer right there beneath the importance of his trust for the Father. This is alluded to as he says,”Ye also.”
It’s kind of a tricky verse when you look at it. He’s also giving importance toward the gifts given by the “means” of many persons, assumably including the Body of believers in Corinth. The gifts came to his ministry, then out to another group of many persons. So the ladder is blessed by the former. I kind of envision an hour glass with Paul (or rather his ministry) as the slim neck between the two bulbs.
That about does it for this (Part 7) of the dive we’ve taken into 2 Corinthians 1. It never ceases to amaze me, just how much can be said about each and every individual verse. It’s no wonder that the Bible is our life long study manual between us and the Creator of all the Universe, and all that rests within.
If you have found value in any of these 2 Corinthian Bible Studies, please leave a comment below, and share it with your friends on Facebook, G+, Twitter, wherever you’d like. I’d certainly appreciate it! You can do so by using the buttons to the left, or the share options below this page.
I’ll do my best to get to work on part 8 in the days ahead, as the Lord wills. But until then, thanks for checking out “In God we Trust – 2 Corinthians 1 Part 7!”