Times of trouble can turn out to be times of great blessing - ‘God… comforts us in all our affliction’ (1:3-4). How do we react when things don’t seem to be going very well? We all need the encouragement of God’s Word: ‘Thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumph’ (2:14). When everything seems to be going wrong, we need to be reminded of God’s Word: ‘In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us’ (Romans 8:37). In life’s many hard times, may God help us to see what He is doing in our lives and not only what we think is happening to us. God has called us to salvation - ‘God has shone in our hearts…’ (4:6). He has called us to service - ‘having this ministry by the mercy of God’ (4:1). Our experience of salvation and our empowering for service are both grounded in one great gift from God: ‘God… has given us the Spirit’ (5:5).
‘Let us cleanse ourselves… and make holiness perfect in the fear of God’ (7:1). Without this heartfelt commitment to godly living, we cannot really serve the Lord at all. Where does the spirit of ‘rich generosity’ come from? It comes from God, from ‘the grace that God has given’ to us (8:1-2). It comes to us as we give ourselves to Him. Before we can ‘excel in this grace of giving’, we must receive ‘from His fullness, grace upon grace’ (8:7; John 1:16). Before we ever think of giving ourselves to God, we must look at all He has given to us. We look away from ourselves to the Lord Jesus Christ: ‘You know the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ…’ (8:9). We look at Him and we say, in our hearts, ‘Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!’ (9:15). In His giving, we see His love. Our giving expresses our love, our response to His love: ‘We love because He first loved us’ (1 John 4:19).
God has given us His weapons (10:3-4). We are not fighting in our own strength. The Lord is our Strength. Without Him, we fail. With Him, there is victory. ‘My grace is sufficient for you’ (12:9). Let the strength of the Lord come to you as you reflect on these great words. God is speaking His Word to you. Whatever is going on in your life, whatever difficulties you are facing, God’s Word is still the same: ‘My grace is sufficient for you.’ ‘The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all’ (13:14). We have often heard these words spoken. Here, we are reading them in the Word of God. How often do we think about these words? What do they mean? These are life-changing words. Through ‘the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ’, we become ‘rich’ - ‘blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing’ (8:9, Ephesians 1:3).