Posted: June 30, 2005
A Study of Positional Truths
In our last
study of II Corinthians 12, we looked at a heavenly vision Paul had
because of being IN CHRIST. (12:2) Paul told us that God said he could
tell us nothing about what he saw.
that study this week by looking at II Corinthians 12:7-10 where Paul
tells us of the price he paid for this vision of the Heavenly Paradise.
In verse 7 Paul said he was given a ‘thorn in the flesh’. The
word ‘thorn’ has two meanings. One is a pointed or prickled
piece of wood. The second is a bodily annoyance or disability that
leaves one parched and lean. It is the second definition that Paul
magnifies. He said that Satan was the delivery boy of this thorn lest
he should be ‘exalted above measure’. The phrase ‘exalted
above measure’ has the idea that Paul was given the thorn to keep
him from the pride of getting too big for his britches because of the
not tell us what this painful disability was. It must have left him in
great agony because in verse 8 Paul asks the Lord three times to remove
it. The repeated request leads us to believe that there was an
agonizing and begging from Paul to the Lord about this thorn. The
Lord’s answer in verse 9 ignores the thought of removing Paul’s thorn.
The Lord said, ‘My grace is sufficient’. The word ‘grace’
here means the underserved favor of God to do and to be. The Lord said
it was ‘sufficient’ more than enough to enable Paul to withstand
the pain of this thorn. The Lord told Paul, God’s strength (all power
and ability) will be perfected in weakness.
to this answer Paul tells us in verse 9b that he begins to ‘glory in
his infirmities’. I feel that Paul is not telling us he is shouting
over the thorn but he is ‘glorying’ in the God of the thorn. He
does this that the ‘power of Christ may rest upon him’. (9c)
us in verse 10, ‘he takes pleasure in infirmities, reproaches,
necessities, persecutions, and distresses’. The word ‘pleasure’
means to think well or good of something. Can we imagine thinking good
about feebleness of body and mind, harmful insults, distressing
constraints, being pursued with suffering, and calamity that narrows
ones space? Paul, how could you think well of these? Paul said in
verse 10 he did it for ‘Christ sake’. He knew that Christ was
looking on. Paul knew that Christ had responded to His suffering by
saying, ‘It was the joy that was set before him’.
Paul makes a
statement in verse 10 that is diametrically opposed to all natural
reasoning. Paul said that ‘when I am weak, it is then that I am
strong’. Our strength comes not from a physical well being but a
spiritual well being.
Paul paid a
price for his heavenly vision of paradise. Although he was told to keep
quiet about what he saw he did say some things that leads us to believe
that he saw amazing things. Paul said, “For I am in a straight
betwixt two, having a desire to depart and to be with Christ; which is
far better. Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.”
Paul told us that dying was a far better gain.
remind us of the man while traveling to a city stopped to inquire of a
little boy about the rough condition of the road. The man asked, ‘Son,
is the road rough like this all the way to town?’ The boy said, ‘No
sir. It is rough like this all the way to the grave yard. On the other
side of the grave yard it is paved and smooth all the way into town.’
position IN CHRIST had caught a glimpse of life on the other side and
even the suffering of this side would not deter his focus from the