Tuesday, 28 July 2015
For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God. 2 Corinthians 4:15
Paul’s words here reflect the many trials that the apostles had faced and which he named in verses 7-12. All of these things, and in fact “all things,” were for the sake of their hearers. The apostles worked in a unified way, forsaking their own selves in order to ensure that grace would abound to the many who received it.
In turn, and at the reception of such abundant grace, the many would then show forth thanksgiving “to the glory of God.” The mental picture his words make shows heartfelt appreciation by Paul that all of the many ordeals he and the other apostles faced were worth the effort. When his hearers glorified God through thanksgiving, the feeling of death working in them was worth the life working in their hearers. The words of 1 Corinthians 3 may have been on his mind as he conveyed these thoughts in this second epistle –
“Therefore let no one boast in men. For all things are yours: 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come—all are yours. 23 And you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.” 1 Corinthians 3:21-23
As a side note, there are numerous ways that translators have chosen to structure this verse. Is the word “abound” tied to “grace” or is it tied to “thanksgiving?” What tense should the “abound” be rendered? Each decision changes the meaning slightly. However, despite the disagreements, the general idea remains. The apostles worked for the sake of others, grace was involved and shared, it permeated to their hearers, and thanksgiving was the result which thus glorified God.
Life application: If you encounter difficulties in your life as you attempt to share the gospel, look at those trials as badges of merit when your efforts are successful. In the end, if a soul is saved and he in turn glorifies and thanks God for his salvation, then you have been a part of that. The final result is that all should be to the glory of God. As He is in control of all things, He has honored you with trials in order to perfect you while also bringing others to Himself in the process.
Lord God! How good it is when my hardships result in someone else turning to you. I may be inconvenienced in some way in order to make the gospel known, but when it is received, how can I look back and say “It wasn’t worth it”? Of course it was! And so why should I worry about any difficulty that comes as I share the knowledge of Christ? If one human soul is worth more than all the riches of earth, then whatever I do towards their salvation is worth it. With this knowledge, I shall press on. Amen.