2 Corinthians 4:17-18
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;…
I. A FEW PRELIMINARY OBSERVATIONS UPON AFFLICTION.
1. There are afflictions which are common to humanity. Disease and death (Genesis 3:17-19).
2. There are afflictions which are of a self-procured character. We can no more sin with impunity against physical laws than we can against moral laws.
3. There are afflictions which are of Divine appointment.
4. Afflictions are not meritorious. They cannot make atonement for sin, nor regenerate our nature.
5. Afflictions in themselves, abstractly considered, are heavy, but light when compared with those of others.
II. LET US PONDER OUR AFFLICTIONS. They are light —
1. When compared with the demerit of our sins.
2. When compared with those of our forefathers. The saints have had to suffer hunger, thirst, nakedness, fire, faggot, sword, imprisonment, and death (Hebrews 11.).
3. When compared with those of Christ.
4. When compared with the weight of glory referred to in the text.
5. Being but for a moment when compared with the eternity of glory.
6. When compared with the exceeding greatness and infinite excellence of the glory.
III. CONSIDER THE BENEFICIAL AND GRACIOUS TENDENCY OF OUR AFFLICTIONS. All trials, whether personal, relative, or national, may be regarded in the light of a gracious discipline. The tendency of affliction in the saint is —
1. The development and maturity of moral purity. There is much about him which needs correction and refinement. Afflictions operate as fire upon metal (Hebrews 12:5, 11; James 1:2-4, 12).
2. The development and exhibition of principle and character. It is possible for a man not to know his own real character and strength of principle, till cast upon his own resources. What a living embodiment of magnanimity, self-denial, goodness, and moral sublimity in the lives and deaths of many of the people of God!
3. To test the truthfulness of our Christianity and exhibit its character before the world.
4. The exercise and perfection of our faith. Faith is a principle which is strengthened by exercise. In trials faith finds ample scope for action (Hebrews 11.).
IV. THE FUTURE GLORY OF THE SAINT IS —
I. Substantial. The word weight gives us the idea of ponderousness. The Greek word "doxa" and the Hebrew word "kabhodh" mean an opinion, doctrine; and then praise, dignity, splendour, and perfection. The words are applied to the visible manifestations of the Divine Being. Heaven is spoken of as a most glorious locality. It is compared to "a house eternal in the heavens," a "mansion," "an inheritance incorruptible," a "great city," and "a prepared kingdom." There will be perfect correspondence betwixt the resurrection body of the saint and heaven as an abode (1 Corinthians 15:39-58; Philippians 3:20, 21; 1 John 3:2). Glory embraces also the perfection of the soul. We shall be perfect in body and in mind. Enjoyments and employments will be all complete.
2. Ever-enduring. "The perpetuity of bliss is bliss."
3. Ever-increasing. Progress is as essential to man's nature as gravitation to the universe, and light and heat to the sun.
Parallel VersesKJV: For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;