October 09, 2021

Matthew Henry on 2 Corinthians 12: 9 - 10 (The Christian Paradox)

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

The below is taken from Matthew Henry's commentary:

He gloried in his infirmities, and took pleasure in them. He does not mean his sinful infirmities (those we have reason to be ashamed of and grieved at), but he means his afflictions, his reproaches, necessities, persecutions, and distresses for Christ’s sake.

And the reason of his glory and joy on account of these things was this—they were fair opportunities for Christ to manifest the power and sufficiency of his grace resting upon him, by which he had so much experience of the strength of divine grace that he could say, When I am weak, then am I strong.

This is a Christian paradox: when we are weak in ourselves, then we are strong in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ; when we see ourselves weak in ourselves, then we go out of ourselves to Christ, and are qualified to receive strength from him, and experience most of the supplies of divine strength and grace.

I find this verse challenging, because while on one hand it promises the strength of the Lord, it comes with the qualifier that it is present in infirmities, struggles, persecution, weaknesses & suffering. Too often as a Christian I find myself thinking about "if I struggle", but in this ever sinful & hostile world it should be "when I struggle". This verse challenges me not to run away from such strife, but to instead consider how they can be used to glorify His names' sake. By my own strength I will fail, but that is exactly why I can then rely on God to give me His divine & perfect strength.