Monday, 18 May 2015
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 2 Corinthians 1:3
Verse 3 begins the formal epistle, following after the greetings of verses 1 & 2. In his words, Paul gives a general note of praise which is similar in each of his letters. Here he praises God in a spontaneous outbreak which could almost be considered a doxology in itself. In the greeting, he notes the deity of Christ through the words “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The praise is to Christ’s Father, but it is an implicit reference to Jesus’ own deity because of the pattern given in Genesis 1 which shows that all things reproduce after their own kind. Jesus wasn’t adopted as a son. Rather He came forth from God.
And this God is “the Father of mercies…” These words are an expression a Hebrew mode of speaking where an adjective is substituted for a noun. It would then be synonymous with the term “merciful Father.” However, there is more force than the mere phrase “merciful Father” because of the way it is constructed. Mercy and compassion describe Him and are a part of His unchanging attributes.
Further, Paul calls Him “God of all comfort.” He is not only merciful, but His mercy transfers into compassion for those to whom He has bestowed His mercy. It is a wonderful thought that not only are we granted release from the punishment we deserve, but the One who so releases us then comes to us with consolation and a hand of loving care.
In this verse, Ellicott notes that, “In the balanced structure of the sentence—the order of ‘God’ and “Father” in the first clause being inverted in the second—we may trace something like an unconscious adoption of the familiar parallelism of Hebrew poetry.” Paul, despite being the Apostle to the Gentiles, never strayed far from His Hebrew upbringing and he transfers it to us in His New Testament writings.
Life application: Because of Jesus, we can see the evident mercy of God upon us. What we deserve, we are not given. Instead of wrath and punishment, we have been granted mercy. And further, God then provides us with abundant comfort as He tends to us. No matter how bad we may have it at any given time, it is far better than the best we could expect if we got what we truly deserved. Thus, let us always remember to thank God for the many blessings He has lavished upon us!
O God, when I reflect in the cross, I consider that what I deserved has been withheld because You took my justly warranted punishment upon Yourself. And then after granting such wondrous mercy, You then continue to pour out Your love and grace upon me in an endless stream of comfort and care. How can such love exist? And yet it does, for I see it every day as I walk in Your presence! Thank You for Your care of me. Amen.