Wednesday, 12 December 2012

A Thorn in the Flesh

   Phil Johnson   talks here about how God's power and strength is perfected in our weakness. I love this site because you can listen to the sermon (by clicking link at the top of the page) and follow along in the written transcript.

The mention of the thorn in the flesh is from 2 Corinthians 12:7. This sermon covers 2 Corinthians 12: 1-12.


"Now: If you're paying attention and following my outline, you might want to stop me right there. Because we're on point 2 of a three-point outline, and we're supposed to be talking about the second of three gracious gifts God gave to Paul. First was paradise. That makes sense. The second, we said, was pain. And this thorn, whatever it was, is the source of Paul's pain. So was Paul's pain a provocation from Satan, or was it a gracious gift from God?
     What's the correct answer to that question?
     Satan meant it for evil; God meant it for good. And here is a little secret: that is true of every vexing problem the powers of darkness ever cause for you."


Pastor Johnson goes into the exact meaning of the word "thorn", as well as the hints in that passage that seem to say that the thorn in his flesh involved persons, false teachers (whom he calls "super apostles" ESV or eminent apostles in NASB, which he says Paul here uses in a sarcastic way to underline their abuse to the people with false teachings) which Paul brings up in chapter 11 of 2 Corinthians, and then directs it back to them in verse 11 of chapter 12.

Pastor Johnson does say that whatever the thorn is, whether it is persons, or a physical affliction, or whatever it is, because Paul describes it as a "messenger of Satan" he is saying this is some kind of spiritual attack.... and that the Lord won't remove it because...well, I'll let him tell you as it is given in the text. It is a blessing that Jesus shares with us a little of the suffering that He had to suffer. We only get a small taste of it. He bore the full effect of the suffering, the onslaught of Satan, on our behalf. How often I gripe about the little bit of suffering I have compared with what He suffered completely and unjustly on my behalf. "Oh what a foretaste of heaven divine."


  1. It is a great mystery to me, Susan. It seems that we can only know true love through suffering. One day there will be no more, though!


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