Saturday, 12 September 2015
Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with comfort. I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation. 2 Corinthians 7:4
It should be noted that thus far Paul has been speaking in plural terms, “we this, and we that.” However, he now changes to the first person singular for the first time. In his words, which pertain specifically to himself, he begins with “Great is my boldness of speech toward you.” This isn’t an apology for the boldness of his words; instead it is a confidence that he is using his words appropriately and in a sound manner. It is the same type of thought that is conveyed in 1 Timothy 3 –
“For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a good standing and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 3:13
After this, he again uses the first person singular and states, “…great is my boasting on your behalf.” Paul has already boasted of the Corinthians in his letters, and he certainly boasted of them in his words to others as well. He was confident that they were on a sound path, even if doctrinal correction was necessary. He was sure that his admonishments would be taken in their proper light and be acted upon accordingly. Thus he knew he could continue to greatly boast in them.
Next he says, “I am filled with comfort.” Paul was consoled in the fact that they were ready and willing to listen to him. He didn’t fear that they would reject his words, but rather respond to them favorably. In verses 5-7, he will continue to explain this particular thought to them.
Finally, he finishes this verse with, “I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation.” It seems like a paradox to say such a thing! The Greek word “exceedingly” is huperperisseuó. It is found only here and in Romans 5:20. It is a superlative way of saying that his joy is abounding to the highest measure. The words of this clause then are given based on the two preceding clauses.
To be exceedingly joyful in affliction is something unique to the Christian experience. Others may claim they have it, but it cannot compare to that which the Christian possesses. There is a hope which transcends the earthly afflictions we face and which are grounded in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We have the same guarantee and thus we can rejoice even in such times of trial. He gives a note of such joy during affliction in Philippians 2 –
“Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me.” Philippians 2:17, 18
Life application: If we are truly sure of our salvation, then why should we despair over anything which comes against us in this life? Sadness, trials, and woes may come, but they should never rob us of our highest joy. Instead, we should have something more deeply instilled in us which allows us to look to the future with hope and joy.
Lord God, with all certainty I can look to the future in hope and in expectation because of what Christ did for me. Times of trial and sadness are natural, but nothing can steal my inner joy because I have an eternal hope which is grounded in the truth of Jesus Christ’s resurrection. How thankful I am for Your marvelous assurance, granted to me because of His work. No fear here! Amen.