“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (II Corinthians 1:3-4 NKJ)
These two verses give praise and glory to our God and Father, exalting (eulogize – speak well of or bless) His Holy Name. In exalting His name the apostle gives two reasons for His praise of “the God and Father of Lord Jesus Christ” (according to Christ’s human nature). First, that He is “the Father of mercies.” Second, He is the “God of all comfort” – the source of comfort “in all our tribulation.”
First, our heavenly Father is a merciful God. This attribute or characteristic of God is especially applied to those for whom He has loved and chosen from before the foundation of the world. He is the Father of mercies because He is source of whatever is merciful. Mercy means that He does not give us what we deserve, withholding His just punishment against sinners, like you and me, for the sake of His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, who did not know sin took on Him our sin, so we would not have to suffer the just punishment for our inborn sin and actual sins (Romans 6:23; 2 Corinthians 5:21). It is because of the riches of God’s mercies toward His children in Christ that He continues to show mercy towards them even in the midst of extreme tribulation (heartache, hardship, persecution, oppression, discouragement, distress and affliction). In tribulation, we are only only given a mild taste of the eternal punishment we so richly deserve – though it might seem like hell in this life. Take comfort! Our heavenly Father is “the Father of mercies.”
Second, our heavenly Father is the God of all comfort. Not only does God not punish the believer in Christ, as he so richly deserves, because of Christ’s one atoning work on the cross; He also gives us grace to endure our trials, our tribulations. It is by God’s grace alone that as we go through our various trials and tribulations we are comforted by God. And what is that comfort He gives? It is the assurance that God loves those whom He has saved through Jesus Christ (Romans 8:31-39). It is because of His love for His chosen people that there is comfort in the sufferings of our trials and tribulations. The comfort is in knowing that because of Christ’s sufferings our sufferings are only temporary. All suffering will end whether they end in this life or in death because Christ has suffered the eternal wrath of God for us. The unbeliever has no such assurance; his sufferings in this life are only a taste of his or her eternal torment in hell. The comfort of the believer is in knowing that his or her trials and tribulations are not for the punishment of sin, though the trial may be because of sin. An honest examination of one’s heart ought to done for that reason. The comfort of God’s grace consists of not only His Spirit reassuring our spirit that we are His and that He loves us; it also consists of His strength, His courage, His confidence to His saints, which you and I are to embrace by faith alone. Go to the Lord in word seeking His wisdom. Run, do not walk, to the throne of grace in your time of need and cry out to Him in prayer by faith and He will supply all your needs for in this life and in eternity. This is our comfort in Christ.
It is in this comfort that we have received from our faithful Father in heaven, the God rich in mercy and the only source of our comfort that we are to reach out to others. We are to reach out by faith to others with the comfort that we have received so that as others encounter various trials and tribulations they also might be comforted by that comfort from God, and not be overcome with fear and doubt, with discouragement, disappointment and despair.
May the Father of mercies and God of all comfort comfort you in your time of great trial and tribulation to His glory through Christ Jesus our Lord.
Soli Deo Gloria!