Thursday, 30 July 2015
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 2 Corinthians 4:17
Using language which is filled with beautiful expressions and contrasts, Paul now explains the words of the previous verse concerning the perishing outward man and the renewed inward man. He tells the Corinthians that “our light affliction” is “but for a moment.” The idea of a light affliction is something that is troublesome without being overly burdensome. He is shrugging off the life of death which they live with words that say, “Heck, this is just temporary and not that bad at all.”
In support of such a thought he says that it “is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” Not only was the current state temporary and merely a “light affliction,” it was serving a good purpose towards a glorious end. In their trials they were heading towards a time of magnificent wonder. The words he uses for “far more exceeding” are hyperbolen eis hyberbolen – “in excess unto excess.” It is a superlative way of saying that what is a trial now can’t even compare to the glory which lies ahead.
It should be noted how Paul’s words contrast in the two clauses – “moment” with “eternal,” “light” with “weight,” and “affliction” with “glory.” Further, the word “glory” to the Hebrew mind of Paul would have a higher meaning. It comes from another word meaning “weightiness, and so he was most likely thinking of the surpassing glory which would make any weight in this life seem like nothing at all.
Paul’s words of this verse are of comfort and reassurance in a world which is filled with trials and hardships. Despite what we often hear, Christians are not intended to be exempt from difficulties. We are not saved to “thrive” in any earthly sense. We are saved to continue on in this veil of trials and tears until the day we truly thrive in our new heavenly abode.
Life application: If the world seems to be over burdensome, remember that no matter what you face, it is incomprehensibly light in comparison to the majestic glory which lies ahead. Everything here is temporary and passing, but because of the promises of God in Christ we have a permanent and eternal joy set before us. Let us not be downhearted, but instead let us try to look for the gracious hand of God in all things, even the trials, which is directing us to that wondrous time ahead.
Heavenly Father, I know that this present life and all that it contains is passing away. And so why should I worry about the trials I face? Why should I struggle for wealth and possessions? Why should I strive for power or fame? Who cares! The world and those who belong to the world can have all of that. Me… I have Jesus and an exceedingly exceeding weight of glory awaiting me. I have an eternal hope and a home decorated by the hand of the Master. Nothing for me here! I am on my way to streets of gold and the water of life which flows on eternally. Amen.