blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, [2 corinthians 1:3]

blessed be God. God blesses us a lot, far beyond what we can even imagine.  when he blesses us, strength will be given, we will be granted every spiritual blessing, and many other things are given to us. when we bless God, we have nothing that can strengthen or bless him. so, when paul exhorts the corinthians, “blessed be God.” what does he mean? marc’s best friend john piper says, “man’s blessing God is an expression of praising thankfulness” or an “exclamation of gratitude and admiration.” God is our source of blessing and the outpouring of those blessings in us need to cause thankfulness. what then is paul praising God for in this verse? there are three things he reminds the followers in corinth to praise God for: 1.Jesus Christ 2.Gods mercies 3.God’s comfort.

1. Jesus Christ – my first thought was, oh I don’t need to write too much about this section. everyone knows who Jesus is. but then, conviction came. this is a chance for me to tell you about why we can praise God our Father for Jesus Christ. first, Jesus lived a life, a perfect life that he knew I could not live. he lived that life for me. he withheld and said no to every temptation though they were mighty and the enemy constantly berated him. he lived a perfect life knowing I needed him to. then, Jesus took my punishment. he took the mocking of all those who claimed to be God’s follower. he took the lashes that I deserve to have tear my flesh from my bone. he took the nails in his wrists and his feet and hung on a cross – everything to his last breath for me. then, three days later he defeated death for me. he rose from the grave in power and glory to show me that he had taken my place and once and for all had conquered the evil that made me dead. and you know what??? Jesus did this for you too.

2. Father of mercies – mercy is compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm. to understand the beauty of the cross, we need to understand and learn how much we deserved the cross ourselves. i was born sinful, my thoughts are lustful, my flesh wants nothing but destruction, and my old self does the very things i hate (Ro 7:15). i have done nothing to deserve Jesus taking my place, in fact, i have done everything to deserve his very fate. God did not have to save me. God had no reason to save me based on my actions or person. instead, based on his person and his love, he saved me.

3. God of ALL comfort – yes, comfort includes sympathy, for we have a high priest who sympathizes (Heb 4:15). yet, his comfort is so much more than only understanding. God’s comfort helps, strengthens, encourages, endures, empowers, guides, and so much more. God is love and in his love, he provides us the truth, the way, and the life, Jesus. all truth, all comfort is available to help us. this a light switch, but learning how to turn the light switch on takes a lifetime on this earth. sanctification, the process of being made into the likeness of Jesus that is promised us. that process will be painful and include suffering from others and our own sin. but we go forth know we serve a God who offers all comfort.

praise be to God he sent his son to save us from ourselves and the enemy, and he equips us completely to endure all suffering.

~ holly russell