2Co 1:1-4 “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia: Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”
As was his custom, Paul opens this letter with a greeting that identifies who is his. More importantly, he identifies whose he is and by what authority he is writing the letter. Paul is an apostle (one sent with a purpose) of Jesus Christ. This is not something that he has taken upon himself but is his by the will of God.
His letter is addressed to the church. He greets them not only in his name, but also in Timothy’s name. Since Paul admonished them in his first letter to receive Timothy and help him on his way, it is likely by this time that they know Timothy on a personal level. Finally, he includes all those that God has set apart to His service throughout Greece (Achaia). Finally, he expresses for them his desire that they are in the grace and peace of God and Jesus Christ.
While we may not be apostles, it is always good for the ministers of God to identify themselves (through their actions and speech) as having a great love for the church. We should always seek for them to abound in the grace of God, our Father, and the Lord Jesus. We should hold fast the assurance that this is not an honor we take upon ourselves, but rather an action according to the will of God. Acknowledging this should always make us careful in the manner in which we walk among God’s people.
Our speech and our action should always manifest that we adore (bless) our God. We should always recognize that He is first the Father of our Lord Jesus, His anointed Son. Being the Father of our Lord Jesus, He is also the Father of mercies. There is no mercy except that it comes to us from the hand of God. He is also the God of all comfort. He is the source of the solace that cheers our hearts, calms our fears, dries our tears, and grants peace to our souls.
When we are comforted in all our tribulation (burden, anguish, affliction, trouble), He is the source of that comfort. He may use a brother or sister in the church, our pastor, the reading of His word, or a stranger on the street to bring it to us, but He is still the fount from whence our comfort springs. Although it is comfort for us, it is not given for us alone.
God comforts us in our tribulation. His comfort is given to us also as a tool we can use to help others. He comforts us with the express intent that we in turn are able to comfort others. The word translated as comfort carries the thought of calling near. He comforts us by calling us to be near Him. We comfort others by drawing them close to us and pointing to Him.
We cannot comfort by keeping our brothers and sisters at arm’s length. Comfort is closely associated to the concept of fellowship. Even if we have to distance ourselves from the actions of a brother or sister, it should always be with the focus and intent of ultimately drawing them close rather than banishing them away. It is one of God’s great blessings in our lives that His comfort equips us to comfort others in His name.
May we rejoice together that we have been called to comfort one another in any trouble with the comfort of God!