Divine Discipline
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;…

In this pathetic and sublime passage Paul reveals to us his own spiritual experience. And the great lesson which he conveys for the fortifying of Christian faith and endurance, and for the inspiration of Christian hope, comes home to the heart with tenfold power, because it is so manifestly a lesson which he himself is learning, through the stress of earthly sorrow and the lapse of laborious years.

I. THE REVEALED PURPOSE OF DIVINE DISCIPLINE. Though oftentimes men fail to recognize the truth, there is in reality a purpose in human life, a purpose wise, beneficent, Divine.

1. The means: affliction. By this is intended here what is endured in Christ's service; as, for example, by missionaries and evangelists. Yet in the case of the true Christian affliction of every kind partakes of this character. The apostle says of affliction that it is "light" in quality, and that it is "momentary" in the time of its incidence. This is evidently a matter of comparison; for it is only when compared with the "weight" and the "eternity" of glory that earthly affliction can be denominated light and transitory.

2. The end: glory. This is future; for the present state is not characterized by this quality, save as a stormy day may be diversified by rays of light which break through the riven clouds. It is Christ's glory, such as that into which he entered when he had accomplished his vicarious sufferings. And, being such, it is weighty and eternal.

II. THE CONDITIONS UPON WHICH THE CHRISTIAN PROFITS BY DIVINE DISCIPLINE. In this passage God's part and ours are interwoven together. We can only receive the advantage by submitting to and falling in with the intentions of God. It is not a matter of course that the afflicted should be the better for their painful experience.

1. What is seen, what is known by sense, must be regarded and dealt with as of inferior importance, as soon to pass away. Men are prone to exaggerate the events of this perishing life; but Christians must see them as they appear to God.

2. The regards must be steadily fixed upon the unseen; i.e. upon the Christ who has gone before us, and who is apprehended in the exercise of faith; upon the heaven which is to be rest to the weary, joy to the sad, relief to the burdened; upon the God who, though invisible, is "near unto all who call upon him," and is the true Life of all holy souls. It must be remembered that these realities, in which Christians are deeply, supremely interested, are eternal. Over them decay, time, and death have no power; of them the glorious things of earth can give but the promise and the earnest.

3. Thus shall strength be experienced to endure what is appointed for us to bear on earth; and thus shall an aspiring hope anticipate the glory which shall hereafter be revealed. - T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

WEB: For our light affliction, which is for the moment, works for us more and more exceedingly an eternal weight of glory;

Affliction and its Issues
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