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Promises

Comfort #3 — Fully Comforted

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and strengthen you in every good work and word. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

Good works and words should feel comfortable on us, like a favorite old shirt or pair of shoes. Here’s why: The Father has already given us eternal comfort by uniting us to Jesus in his death and resurrection. So in the age to come, nothing will ever again bother us; no threat will even appear on the horizon. Reposed and relaxed, we will rest in the Father’s loving care and anticipate kindnesses that flow from the surpassing riches of his grace toward us in Christ. Now, in view of the eternal comfort we will experience in the age to come, we can expect the Lord to provide comfort to us here. He does this as we speak and work for the good of others. We need this as we work, because doing good is often difficult. The presence and power of God assure us that his goodness is flowing through us, and will truly be significant for someone else. Having this comforting experience will greatly increase our willingness to enjoy the grace we have received and to extend it beyond ourselves.

Gracious God, help me to delight so much in the comfort and hope you provide, that I am uncomfortable unless I am bringing your comforting goodness to others in all that I say and do in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Discussion

3 thoughts on “Comfort #3 — Fully Comforted

  1. Thank you, Doug.
    How good to be able to prove out these words in everyday living here in the marina.
    The little encouragements and helps over time build trust and deepening friendships.

    Posted by ted & linda pampeyan | 24 December 2012, 12:39
  2. This is a great way to think about good works.

    At one point you said, “The presence and power of God assure us that his goodness is flowing through us.” Can you give an example of what you mean by the “presence of God?”

    Posted by Morgan Knighton | 3 January 2013, 15:41
    • The fundamental fact of life is that we exist in God (Acts 17:28). David affirms this in the rhetorical question “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?” (Psalm 139:7). Yahweh himself declares: “Can a man hide himself in hiding places so I do not see him? Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?” (Jeremiah 23:24). So in terms of your question, all of life is an “example” of the presence of God, because God is always present, as is his power. In fact, the phrase “presence and power of God” is a hendiadys, because God’s presence implies his power and his power implies his presence; we cannot have one without the other. The difficulty in our lives is remembering this reality. We want to sense his presence in the same way we sense the presence of another human being. But our experience of God is not always (or even usually) like this. Thus we need the verbal affirmations of Scripture to remind us of the reality of his nearness and the availability of his power. The presence of God is usually something we “know” rather than something we “feel.”

      How does this work practically? Imagine you’re coming home from work after a long, exhausting day, feeling the need for encouragement and affirmation from your wife. When you walk in the door, you hear her in tears, and immediately you realize that she will need to draw from the well of emotional resources you now consider empty. What do you do? You remember (a function of knowing) that God is near to all who call on his name in desperation (Psalm 145:18), that his grace is sufficient for you, for his power is perfected in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9); and you go to her confident that God will make available all you need in the moment.

      Posted by Doug Knighton | 4 January 2013, 14:57

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