In 2 Cor 1:1-11, Paul wrote to the Corinthians about consolation. Consolation is comfort; it is the act of consoling; it is also the state of being consoled. Consolation aboundeth:
Because it comes from God – 2 Cor 1:3 – Paul said that God is “the God of all comfort.” When consolation comes from God, you know it’s going to be abundant. The Holy Spirit is the Comforter [Jn 14:16-17]. Jesus Christ comforts us. He said, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you,” [Jn 14:18]. God, therefore, can provide unlimited comfort.
Because we need consolation in our tribulation – 2 Cor 1:4 – to console is to alleviate the grief or trouble of; to comfort. Comfort makes suffering more bearable. God doesn’t always take the suffering away; often he simply provides consolation so you can bear it. “We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God,” [Acts 14:22; 2 Thes 1:4-5].
Because others need consolation in their trouble – 2 Cor 1:4 – the amount of comfort God gives us is not only sufficient to comfort us in all our tribulation, but it also allows us to comfort them which are in any trouble. When we go through tribulation, we are keenly aware of others who are going through the same thing. And we are compassionate towards their trouble. The consolation we receive helps us to console them.
Because the sufferings of Christ abound in us – 2 Cor 1:5-6 – the greater the suffering the greater the consolation. God’s provision is always greater than what we suffer. That’s how things work with God. For example, “where sin abounded, grace did much more abound,” [Rom 5:20]. And because the world hates Christ, the sufferings of Christ are going to abound in us when we live for Christ [Lk 9:23-24].
In 2 Cor 1:6, Paul shows how our suffering and comfort are effectual for others who suffer the same things we suffer. As Christ suffered that he might succor us [Heb 2:18], so we suffer that we might help others. Our affliction is for their consolation and salvation. There is consolation in knowing that when they suffer, they are suffering the same thing that we suffer; they’re not alone. And there is salvation in the sense of 2 Tim 2:10-12, Rom 8:16-18, 1 Pet 4:12-14. There is future glory in salvation for those who suffer with Christ. Our comfort is also for their consolation and salvation. Here salvation is in the sense of deliverance as in v.10 and Phil 1:19.
Because consolation will always prevail against suffering – 2 Cor 1:7 – that’s our hope. Our hope is a sure thing; it is stedfast. Paul said, “knowing.” Therefore, we know that partakers of the suffering will also partake of the consolation. There is great confidence in that.
In 2 Cor 1:8-10, Paul testified of the consolation he received when God delivered him. The trouble they had in Asia was so severe, that it exceeded their ability to handle it. They were “pressed out of measure, above strength.” They literally believed they were going to die. But it helped them to realize that they were already dead, doctrinally, so that they didn’t trust their own strength. Instead, they trusted God who raises the dead. They were walking in the newness of life [Rom 6:6-11]. Thus, they were consoled in God’s deliverance. He delivered us from death when he saved us [Jn 5:24]. He delivers us now, just like he delivered Paul back then [2 Tim 4:17-18]. And he will deliver us at the rapture [1 Cor 15:51-57].
Because others are praying for our consolation – 2 Cor 1:11 – we help each other when we pray for each other in times of suffering. And when God delivers, all those who prayed thank God when we are consoled. Thus, we bless God, “the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort,” [2 Cor 1:3].