Building on 1.27-30 which focuses on external challenges, Paul now writes on the internal difficulties that are to be found in the body of Christ. He begins with ‘Therefore’, or ‘So’ which is a big clue to his back-referencing and says if there is any encouragement in Christ…(v.1). Before we go any further, let’s talk about this today.
Of course this is a rhetorical question, Paul already knows the answer. Luke 2.25 describes the Messiah, the Christ, as being the Consolation of Israel, and elsewhere in Scripture Paul applies this directly to Jesus when he says the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ (2 Corinthians 1.5).
Writing this in mid-2020, life isn’t as most of us would really prefer, is it? Perhaps you’ve had setbacks financially, professionally, or personally, and you’re looking for some consolation. I know I have had all of those setbacks this year, and I know I’m looking for some consolation. Where is it found then?
I love what Charles Spurgeon said about this,
“The Holy Spirit consoles,
but Christ is the consolation.
If I may use the figure,
the Holy Spirit is the Physician,
but Christ is the medicine.”
This is wholly and totally consistent with the character of Christ and the mission of the Spirit; the Spirit takes us, points us, urges us to Christ for our justification, for our salvation, and in this case, for our consolation.
Friends, today if you are struggling in any which way, I would encourage you to join me in seeking God in prayer, asking humbly for the Spirit to take you, broken as you may feel, to Christ for His consolation.