Letters to a Christian
Suffering - God's Will?
Hello, and God bless you.
In 2 Corinthians 12:7, what is the voice, tense
and mood for the phrase "I should be exalted above measure?" And
at best, how would it then read with the voice, tense and mood?
No one knew about the abundance of the revelations
Christ showed Paul, except that he told the Corinthian believers and it
wasn't very much because he was not permitted to speak of the knowledge
that was revealed to him by revelation. Why then is it being taught
that Satan had Paul buffeted so that he should not be lifted up because
of the abundance of the revelations? This does not make any sense.
In other words, how would Satan know Paul was being lifted up?
Could it be that it was not due to his being
lifted up because of the revelations, but that he was getting the Corinthian
believers to look at his weaknesses and that he was just as human as anyone
else so that they, the Corinthian believers, should not lift him up?
Paul let them see that within himself he was weak and needed to rely on
God's strength and power to get through Satan's attacks. This would
certainly keep the Corinthian believers from thinking that Paul was lifting
himself up or seem to lift himself above others.
I hope you understand my questions.
Thank you for giving your time to help me figure
this out. :)
"To keep me from becoming conceited
because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn
in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me." 2Cor 12:7
Or in the NKJV "I should be exalted" is the present passive subjunctive
of "exalted". "should" is not a separate word in the Greek but is just
the English translation of the fact that "exalted" is subjunctive. Subjunctive
is the mood of possibility.
It is a very common phenomenon that when Christians get revelation from
God - even revelation of the application of the Bible - often what can
follow is a prideful spirit. I see it all the time. Someone has a revelation
- even one which is in fact true - but then becomes proud and feels superior
to other Christians who don't have that revelation. Knowledge puffs up,
but love edifies.
This being the case God, in his love and grace, helped Paul maintain
a proper level of humility by allowing Satan to torment him. Thank God
for sources of humiliation - even if from the devil.
I appreciate your quick response to my question.
I do not agree with the answer you have supplied.
Sickness, disease and sufffering are never the will of the Father.
Neither does our heavenly Father use them as a tool or means to cause His
people become better Christians or to curb them from doing wrong.
So whether or not Paul was becoming too puffed up and full of pride, which
I know was not the case, God still would not have allowed Paul to be heavily
persecuted in order to humble him.
It does not make sense that in case Paul "might"
(may or may not) become too prideful that had God permitted Paul to have
a thorn in his flesh, which made his life miserable, and which also hindered
him from moving the gospel of Christ. No where does it say
"God" permitted or sent Paul the thorn in the flesh. To say so, is
based on assumption and private interpretation, which the Word of God is
of no private interpretation. If it was from God or He permitted
it to occur, He would have said so in His Word. It was a messenger
from "Satan," and there are no ifs, ands or buts about it.
It also would make no sense that Paul was sent
a thorn in the flesh by Satan "in case or if perhaps Paul might become
over exalted due to the abundance of the revelations, because as I stated,
"no one knew he had the visions and revelations of the third heaven and
Paradise." Paul was being persecuted from the start of his
ministry, which was immediately after his conversion and healing.
It didn't take long before Paul had to escape with his life from the enemy.
Inf fact, God showed Paul the revelations to keep him going, to encourage
him because of his thorn in the flesh, which was from the Judaizers and
all those who hated the gospel he preached.
There is only one conclusion left if we are to
remain within the accuracy of the scriptures; and, that is Paul did not
want the carnally-minded Corinthian Christians, whom he is addressing the
whole time, and whom he told he had the revelations, to think he was being
superior to others because of the revelations, which would make Paul the
object of their faith, and not God. Verse 7 should flow with
the context. I believe Paul was saying lest I seem to you to exalt
myself above others, or lest you might think I am making myself to be superior
to others ---there was given... He begins to tell them about Satan's
attacks and because of these attacks, he prayed to the Father to remove
them. Why? Because Satan's attacks were blocking him from doing the
things of the ministry that he wanted to do and that needed to be done.
If anything, Paul was extremely humble to God. By revealing his weaknesses
and his reliance on God's power and might, Paul was showing the Corinthians
that he was just as every bit of flesh, blood and bones as themselves.
Paul wanted them to focus in on the God and the greatness of the revelations,
not on him as their object of faith or as their god.
You need to understand the background and history
of the Corinthians to know why Paul was so concerned, but he does let us
know by his writings that the Corinthians believers were vulnerable to
being deceived by the false apostles because at the time they were still
carnal and gloried after the flesh. They were not spritually mature and
able to receive the deeper spiritual truths of the revelations which is
why in verse 6 Paul, if he could tell, would abstain, lest they may esteem
him beyond what they see of or hear from him. In other words, they
would deem him to be a god, and was when in Lystra because of the miracle
he did while there, when he healed a man who had been born a cripple.
I think Christians who believe God works in the
way you described, do err, because of not knowing the scriptures, and therefore
do not know nor understand the very nature of God, which is all love and
all good. I pray you come to realize this and to also recognize that
leading others to believe it is God's will for them to suffer, be sick,
have diseases, etc. for whatever reasons, is a very dangerous thing.
Iit will keep Christians who accept such teachings from receiving their
healing and deliverance, which Jesus Christ made available through his
suffering, death and resurrection. Jesus Christ was striken, smiten
of God with our weaknesses and infirmities. Jesus put away sin, sickness
and disease, and in His name we have dominion over Satan and the works
of his hands. Satan is the one who sent Paul the thorn in the flesh
to buffet him, and Satan is the source of all that is evil and has no rights
over God's people. This is what the scriptures teach, this is what
Paul taught, and this is what we as Christians should be teaching others.
God bless you,
You are mistaken in your assessment. In fact you make the same hermeneutical
error you accuse me of, namely rejecting a proper interpretation because
it conflicts with your theological presumptions.
You say, "leading others to believe it is God's
will for them to suffer, be sick, have diseases, etc. for whatever reasons,
is a very dangerous thing"
Here's what the Bible says:
"It has been granted on behalf of Christ,
not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake." Php
4 In your struggle against
sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
5 And you have forgotten that
word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: "My son, do not make
light of the Lordís discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
6 because the Lord disciplines those
he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son."
7 Endure hardship as discipline;
God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?
8 If you are not disciplined
(and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children
and not true sons.
9 Moreover, we have all had
human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much
more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live!
10 Our fathers disciplined
us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for
our good, that we may share in his holiness.
11 No discipline seems pleasant
at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness
and peace for those who have been trained by it.
1Pe 3:17 For it is better, if it
is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
1Pe 4:19 Therefore let those
who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing
good, as to a faithful Creator.
22 "Indeed I (Jesus) will
cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great
tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds.
23 "I will kill her children
with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the
minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your
As you can see from the above, Bible teaches that at times it is God's
will that Christians suffer for various reasons. To teach that it is never
God's will for Christians to suffer is not only to teach contrary to the
Bible, but also is saying that God has no control over the circumstances
of Christian's lives - which is a very dangerous doctrine.
Secondly going back to 2Cor 12:7 notice it says:
7 To keep me from becoming
conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given
me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.
8 Three times I pleaded with
the Lord to take it away from me.
9 But he said to me, "My grace
is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore
I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christís
power may rest on me.
10 That is why, for Christís
sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions,
in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
So let's get this straight. He pleaded with the Lord (and I assume
you understand that the Lord is not Satan) to take away the thorn. This
indicates he believes that the Lord is completely in control of the thorn.
Did the Lord take it away, or did the Lord allow Paul to suffer? Can you
answer that question based on what the passage ACTUALLY SAYS? Now if the
Lord didn't take it away, then why didn't he? THINK - Give up your dogmatic
theological presumptions and read the Bible as it is written. You need
to learn to read out of the Bible rather than reading into it. Sorry your
pride has to be stepped on. But "Whoever loves
discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid." Pr
12:1 "If I caused you sorrow by my letter,
I do not regret it." 2Cor 7:8 Afterall
"Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret."
2Co 7:10 Or are these ideas contrary to your opinion?
The Berean Christian Bible