For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.
2 Corinthians 1:5
The work of the Holy Spirit is summed up in the word “comfort.” He consoles our souls, removing the years of disappointment, healing our deep soul wounds, lifting us from the ash heap of failure, restoring us to our inheritance of grace, and renewing our hope. In short He makes us new creatures.
In 2 Corinthians Paul outlines the Spirit’s work in our lives. Scholars often consider Romans Paul’s masterpiece on the grace of God, and if so, then we should consider 2 Corinthians his masterpiece on the Holy Spirit in us. But neither work should be seen as merely a man’s opinion, for they are both inspired of God, enlightening our minds that we can understand what is freely ours in Christ.
There is a point God is making by beginning this teaching with the idea of comfort and consolation. God the Spirit applies to our hearts the redemption purchased by Christ the Son. And He does so in an abundant fashion. Just as the grace of Christ overflows, in the same way the Spirit overflows in our hearts. Whatever Christ has purchased for us by His blood, the Spirit is able to apply this in the similar fashion.
This is wonderful news for us. For this means that wherever we feel limited in our Christianity, we are to realize that the Spirit is not limited. Do we feel sad? Are we angry? Do we find it hard to resist temptation? Hard to forgive? Are we prone to impatience? Are we quick to judge others? Whatever fault there is in us, we can let the Spirit apply God’s grace there and know that He will lead us in victory.
This is the comfort of God.
The Deeper Christian Life
For the Lord takes delight in His people.
If you struggle with significance, if you feel as though you matter to no one, if you feel sometimes lonely, forgotten, and isolated, take this verse into your heart. The Lord takes delight in you. He looks upon your faith in Him with intense interest. Your challenges evoke from within Him His Fatherly protection. Your disappointments secure His support and your victories He celebrates as well. No thought can enter your heart that is unimportant to Him. No fear can cross your mind that does not matter to Him. No sin can you commit that He cannot forgive, if you turn in faith and confession to Him.
This truth is given to us because the Lord knows how easily discouraged we are. We may have weeks and months of success upon success in all areas of our lives. We may be surrounded by faithful friends and and loving church community, but yet the fear of being forgotten can still cross our minds. And if things are not going as well as we would like them to be, this tendency toward discouragement is even more pronounced in our lives.
John was born into a poor family. When he was six years old his mother, feeling herself unable to care for her children, put him and two of his siblings up for adoption. Though his adopted family was kind to him, he later said that he felt something die within him the day his mother gave him away. As an adult he heard the gospel and trusted in Christ and he shared that it was as if God Himself said to his heart, “John, I know about the pain you have carried all of your life because of your adoption. I love you and will never leave you.”
Christ is the One who causes us to thirst no more after we have found Him. His is the love that satisfies the deepest longing of our heart. The Lord delights in you and this truth accepted in faith can enable us to face all the challenges of life. Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).