“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness…’” 2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV
As we come to the close of our reading in Paul’s letters to the church in Corinth, I cannot help but be drawn to the sufferings Paul experienced for the Gospel in 2 Corinthians 12.
Five times Paul received 39 lashes in ministering to the Jews. Many times a person would die during the punishment. Paul survived 5 times.
Paul was also beaten by the Gentiles with rods 3 times.
He was stoned by a mob in Lystra (see Acts 14) and left for dead.
The dangers on highways, seas and other travels were always a real part of his journeys.
Paul was also attacked within the churches verbally by false teachers.
It is hard to imagine the physical pain Paul must have felt, but the spiritual struggles of his ministry seem to have been an even greater burden.
Despite the pressures he felt from the churches he founded and the opposition that faced him everywhere he went, Paul pressed on.
How could he continue? What made him press on for the Gospel?
He believed the things he wrote. He understood and believed in the reality of heaven and eternity, the potency of the Gospel, and God’s mercy and grace.
For Paul, the reality of heaven was real. He knew his citizenship was eternal and in heaven.
“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:20 ESV
“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58
Paul understood the potency of the Gospel.
“For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power.” ! Corinthians 4:20 ESV
“For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel.” 1 Corinthians 9:16 ESV
Finally, Paul understood the magnitude of God’s mercy and grace.
Paul was a blasphemer, persecutor and enemy of the followers of the way. Yet God granted Paul mercy and grace, calling him to a lifetime of service.
It was the love of Christ that enabled him to absorb the beatings, persecutions, imprisonments, and challenges of ministry.
Paul understood that in his weakness, God’s power was demonstrated.
This enables us to understand that our trials and sufferings actually qualify us to proclaim the Gospel and teach others about Jesus.
He uses our sufferings to demonstrate His sufficiency. God can use our afflictions to provide comfort to others.
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness…’”
His power is made perfect in my weakness. Amen!
Until next time… keep reading!
Sources used for this blog: ESV Study Bible, Courson’s New Testament Application Commentary, Gospel Transformation Bible