In the salutation (2 Cor. 1:1-3) he speaks of the "God of all comfort," and arising out of this are the beautiful thoughts of the comfort that even trouble gives, when its purpose and value are spiritually discerned. Paul regards trouble (vs. 4-7) as first an opportunity to seek and enjoy more intensely the comfort of God, and secondly, as a practical opportunity to learn from it how best to comfort others who have trouble.

"Good" and "evil" circumstances are not always what they outwardly appear, and seemingly evil circumstances are often - in the deep wisdom of the Spirit - gateways to hidden and unsuspected joys.

Then (vs. 8-10) he speaks of the peril that he had recently experienced in Asia - such that he had despaired even of life. This may have been the uproar raised by Demetrius at Ephesus, which had occurred just before this, or it may be some other of the many perils which are not specifically recorded, for we know from his remarks in chapter 11 that he was in constant peril of his life.

Even from this he draws a lesson and a comfort, for it helped to teach him, he says, not to trust in himself, but to rest more confidently on God Who can easily raise the dead (as He did-at least in a figure - when Paul rose up from his stoning at Lystra).

In the rest of chapter 1 (vs. 15-24), Paul explains that his failure to visit them after he had said he would, was not due to changeableness but to spare them the unpleasantness and pain that would be entailed if he came while they were in the conditions described in the first epistle.

Bro Growcott - Sorrowful Yet Rejoicing

9 But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead:

Why Did Adam Sin?

Adam was in the "very good" state before he sinned. He was not in the state his descendants are in. They are heirs of death: he was not. They have the sentence of death "in themselves" (2 Cor. 1:9): he had not. Paul had to say, "sin dwelleth in me." "I see a law in my members warring against the law of my mind" (Rom. 7:17, 23). Adam could not have said this.

You ask why then did he sin? You will see the answer if you consider what his sin was, and what were the motives that led him to fall into it. He ate of the forbidden tree because Eve believed on the positive assurance of the serpent that it would make them wiser than they were and place them on a level of equality with the elohim (Gen. 3:5-). It was what men would call a good motive acting with a wrong belief.

They had not had that experience that would have taught them that the word of God must be true. A want of knowledge through a lack of experience left them open to believe that the suggestion of the serpent might be correct, and that they ascend to a higher plane of being by eating the fruit which they were forbidden to touch.

Sin, as disobedience, arose in their case from a wrong opinion concerning a matter of lawful desire, and not from what Paul calls "sin in the flesh." It became sin in the flesh when it brought forth that sentence of death that made them mortal, and all their children with them: that is, this sentence, passed because of sin, affected their bodily state and implanted in their flesh a law of dissolution that became the law of their being.

As a law of physical weakness and death, it necessarily became a source of moral weakness. That which originated in sin became a cause of sin in their posterity, and therefore accurately described by Paul as "sin in the flesh." It may shock you to think that such a condition attached to the Lord Jesus in the days of his flesh. But there is no cause where a full enlightenment prevails.

He partook of our very nature that in him it might be redeemed and perfected. He did no sin, but he was physically "made sin for us who knew no sin." He was sent forth in the likeness of sinful flesh that sin might be condemned in him: that through death he might destroy that having the power of death. It is so testified (2 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 8:3; Heb. 2:14), and we have nothing to do but believe the testimony, even if we could not see through it. But in point of fact, reason discovers a sublime beauty in this the highest of the works of God with man.

The Christadelphian, Aug 1898

"No Contradiction"

"You said in 1869 that there was no change in Adam's nature at the time he transgressed. Now you seem to say there was; I see in the same article (1869) you speak of condemnation 'running in the blood,' which looks like the same position you take now. Does not the threat, 'dying thou shalt die,' show that Adam was dying?"—(E.C.)

Answer.—Is there any difference in nature between a man in a state of health and a man dying of small pox? No. Both men have the same nature, but it is the same nature in different states. So Adam before and after transgression was the same nature, but in two different states—the second state being expressed by the word mortal or subject to death, which is not affirmable of the first.

The sentence of death became a physical law of his being; hence it has passed on us who are derived from him. Its passing on us would be incomprehensible on any other principle. God's sentences are carried out differently from man's, who has no power beyond mechanical acts. When God decrees death,

"we have the sentence of death in ourselves"

as Paul expresses it. It is a law "working in our members." When man decrees death, he has to carry it out with rope or guillotine. This difference has to be kept in view. We bear "the image of the earthy" in its second or condemned state, in which it became "heir" to "ills" unknown to the first. Hence the proverb.

When the Dr. speaks of "nature unchanged taking its course," he means nature unchanged into the spiritual body. He does not mean that the law of death, inoperative before, did not set in. He does not contradict himself. The glib assertion that he does only indicates the superficial thinking of the speaker.

"Dying, thou shalt die" is a Hebraism not to be understood according to the English idiom. It occurs in the description of many other acts: e.g., "living thou shalt live;" "running thou shalt run;" "hearing, thou shalt hear," &c., &c. It expresses both the act and the result as future to the time of speaking.

Hence, when it was said to Adam, "dying thou shalt die," it amounted to an intimation that the "dying" would not commence until transgression. No one having understanding of the Hebrew idiom would suggest that it meant he was dying.

The Christadelphian, Feb 1874

12 For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.

In simplicity and godly sincerity

The Bible means what it says, subject to the ordinary common-sense rules of language. The only special equipment we need to understand it is a deep love of God and a humble, teachable heart.

Truly it contains symbols, and mysteries, and figures of speech. But the vast bulk of it-especially the commands concerning our actions and conduct and transformation of character from animal to spiritual-is very plain and clear: painfully plain and clear.

The principal requirement to the understanding of any one part is a familiarity with the whole. If we are not prepared to take the time and make the effort to read and study it all, then we have little hope of properly understanding any of it, for mainly its explanation and unfolding comes from itself, with loving familiarity.

The literal and simple part must be accepted and obeyed. THEN the symbolic and deeper parts will gradually open up, in complete harmony with the literal. There is no other way to the knowledge that gives life. God is certainly not going to reveal His deeper things to those who refuse or neglect to obey His elementary commands.

Bro Growcott - Thy Word is Truth

Wisdom of the flesh

Now, the apostle says that the flesh thinks,... that is, the brain, as all who think are well assured from their own consciousness. If then this thinking organ be commanded not to do what it is natural for it to do under blind impulse, will it not naturally disobey?

Now this disobedience is wrong, because what God commands to be done is right, and only right; so that

"by His law is the knowledge of sin;"

and this law requiring an obedience which is not natural flesh is sure to think in opposition to it.

This is the philosophy of superstition -- religion in harmony with the thinking of the flesh: while true religion is religion in accordance with the thoughts of God as expressed in His law. Hence, it need excite no astonishment that religion and superstition are so hostile, and that all the world should uphold the latter, while so few are to be found who are identified with the religion of God. They are as opposite as flesh, and spirit.

Elpis Israel 1.4.

19 For the Son of <the Deity>, Jesus < Anointed>, who was preached among you <through> us, < through> me, Silvanus and <Timothy>, was < he> not yea and nay, but in him was yea.

20 For all the promises of <Deity> in him are <the> yea, and in him Amen, <to the Deity with glory through us.>

All the promises of the Deity in Jesus are the Amen. This is the definition of the individual Amen contained in this passage from Paul.

Now, if only some promises were fulfilled in Jesus, such as those pertaining to the sufferings of the Anointed One; and some others, such as those relating to the good things promised to Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem, and the glory consequent thereon, are never fulfilled in and through him, then, instead of Jesus being "the Amen," he would be "the yea and the nay;" and if the promises concerning the sufferings and glory are not at all fulfilled in him, then he would be "the Nay."

 But some have been fulfilled in him, and all the rest of the promises will yet be accomplished in him, and therefore he is "the yea," and to Amhn, "the Amen," or the truth and faithfulness itself.

When, therefore, the glorified Jesus says to the Star-Angel Presbytery of the ecclesia of the Laodiceans, and through it to all that generation of ecclesias, and to us of these later times in fellowship with them through belief of the same things they received -- when He says, he is "the Amen," it is equivalent to saying, that all the promises not fulfilled in his first coming, will assuredly be accomplished when he comes again; and that this advent with glory is as certain as the existence of the Deity, which none but a fool would call in question.

Eureka 3.3.2.

21 Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God;

22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.

Here the sealing is additional to "the anointing" and "the earnest." The three thousand on the day of Pentecost were first "sealed in their foreheads," and when, as an evidence thereof, they inquired what they should do, they were commanded to "change their minds, and be immersed upon the Name of Jesus Christ into the remission of sins," and then promised the gift of the Holy Spirit, or "anointing" and "earnest."

Where "the gift" was received (for it was not given to every one who was immersed, but only to such of certain qualifications, who were selected for "prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers" -- 1 Tim. iii. 1-7; Eph. iv. 11), they were sometimes said to be "sealed with the holy Spirit of the promise," as,

"Ye trusted in Christ after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom, also, after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of the promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance, for redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of his glory."

Here the sealing with Spirit is preceded by sealing with the gospel teaching.

Eureka 7.3.