2 Corinthians 4:13-14 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence.
I am so grateful that, in the providence of God, he chose Paul, an ex-Pharisee steeped in the Old Testament Scriptures, to be the main vehicle for transmitting his inspired Word to future generations of the followers of Jesus!
The Early Church was grounded in the fact that Jesus had come as the Promised Messiah, to bring in the New Creation in which everything wrong with, and in, the world would be set right! So how could they understand all the hardships and difficulties to which they were being subjected?!
In Psalm 116 the psalmist was quite happy to speak openly about his affliction and distress. Unlike many Christians today, he was in no way embarrassed by how badly things were going for him. Why? Because he didn’t see his circumstances as a public barometer displaying God’s approval rating of him! On the contrary, he believed in both God’s sovereignty and his grace – all his circumstances were therefore part of God’s plan for him and a revelation of God’s glory.
A world indoctrinated by humanism, by the false reasoning on which humanism is based, might read it differently, but that didn’t matter to the psalmist; he was able to declare confidently: “I believed; therefore I said, ‘I am greatly afflicted. And in my dismay I said, ‘All men are liars.’” (Psalm 116:10-11). In other words, a humanistic worldview is wrong at its very core!
Paul uses this same Scripture to explain to the man-focussed Corinthians the significance of his own sufferings: Jesus’ death-resurrection pattern sets the agenda for the way God will show his power and victory in our lives as well: “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; … Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:7-8, 16–18).
– Bruce Christian