GRACE FOR THE WEAK
2 COR. 12:7-10
7. ”Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this
reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in
the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me--to keep me from exalting
myself! 8. Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it
might leave me. 9. And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for
you, for power is perfected in weakness" Most gladly, therefore, I will
rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell
in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults,
with distresses, with Persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's
sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”
There are those who consider themselves as “wise
Christians.” – yes, is it not like this for everyone, that it does not
take much for us to achieve before we start getting high thoughts about
If we only knew how many there are that stands out there and
confesses that they are great sinners, with tears running down their
cheeks, which in reality has great thoughts about themselves.
We can see, - if we have not received a particular gift from the
Spirit - only the outwardly, but never the less, the Lord sees the
To you who is sitting here right now, are you not
aware of the fact that the Lord looks to your heart right now? - He sees
that and everything else that moves throughout this whole meeting, when
you go home tonight, when you wake up tomorrow etc., and throughout your
Is this a pleasant or unpleasant thing to know for you?
Oh! And then be able to say: “Lord, you know everything, - never the
less I know that you want to have communion with me! – Oh You my
The wonderful freedom that this is containing - to not have anything
to hide from God - is only understandable for those who lives and
breathes here. What you are ashamed of before human beings, you may in
totally confidentiality confess before Him and complain about the suffer
it causes you.
Is this familiar to you? – Or are you still trying to live the same
act before God, as you so often play before human beings, to hide your
true condition. The mask which is so good to have, many a time.
Wise Christians, yes! Are you one of those wise
Christians? We could take a test right now. And if it is going to be a
real test, it has to be tested by God’s word.
You shall not answer what you necessarily think is right, but be
honest! Do you not want to be a strong Christian? – One who finds the
power in you, and therefore conquer over sin and temptations, and goes
forward with free and easy courage etc.?
Maybe this is what you day after day beg God about: “Lord, give me
power! – Give me more power!”
How long have you been doing this? Maybe for years?
Paul asked three times, he says! How many times have I been
praying this prayer? – 3 000 times? 30 000 maybe?
Paul only asked about this three times, because he got an answer,
which satisfied him - and that is an answer that concerns all of us: “My
grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness" (v.9a).
You are asking to become strong; - Paul, who truthfully was a wise
Christian, what did he do? “Therefore, I will rather boast about my
When did you last boast in your weakness? – Listen again: your
We do not want to be weak; - we do not want to stand in the sight of
God, as we in reality are, - we fight against this in every imaginable
and unthinkable way, and even pray to God to hide this terrible truth,
that we are nothing but helpless, lost sinners! We fight against being
left standing undressed! And we cannot grasp that, this is the
old man in us, who fights to stay alive. But if we let it live,
you will perish, because this will not inherit the kingdom of
God! (1 Cor. 15:50). This is what God nailed to the cross; - and this is
what you without being convinced about, so often pray about, that God
would strengthen and make strong and capable of surviving, - because you
are not a wise
Christian, like Paul was.
loved this weakness, for what it was in itself; - he did not love the
weak! – No one does, no one can, - but he had had his eyes opened to a
reality, exactly that
power of Christ would dwell in him! (v.9b).
Many people think - when they hear true Lutheran
preaching, that they should just walk around feeling miserable, - and
many have probably preached that way, believing, that it is Lutheran, -
but you shall know this, it is not this way! – You have no reason to
walk around feeling miserable, with nothing less than Christ’s power
living on the inside of you!
But it is not you
that should grow, you
should get strong, you that should get big and victorious etc., -
This demands that we live right with God, and not walk around as
pretend Christians, who make our own Christian life, and try to get God
to build on it, - but those who come to Him with our sin, and on the
foundation of the Gospel still have confidence and trust.
He knows how bad you are, whenever you get to unfold yourself and
your own; - but have you been into the light with this wickedness? Yes
Lord, here you can see how it really is! This is me!
Then you must be familiar with a word from the Lord: “My grace is
sufficient for you!” (v.9a). Is sufficient
for you! – Taste on this for a while, before you keep chasing on!
Sufficient for you! –
remember a few years ago, when I fell into a discussion with somebody
that was very taken by the gifts of the Spirit, - and as we of course
call them, extraordinary gifts of the Spirit. This is big for us, you
know, to have great and very visible gifts of the Spirit to boast about,
- therefore they usually pick a bouquet of certain gifts of the Spirit,
that they specifically desire, - one that would make them “Kings on a
hill,” or at least confirm their great Christianity. Look, we got
somebody here who is living in a good and truthful relationship with
I cannot quote this conversation word by word right now, but I asked
almost like this: - Whether not great gifts of the Spirit involved
suffering on us too? (Think about all of Paul’s life, like he
describes it in 2 Cor. 11). Oh no! – Was the answer, - God would surely
not that we should suffer, in any way!
But what does Paul say? – We just read it together: “Because of the
surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me
from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a
messenger of Satan to torment me--to keep me from exalting myself!”
And then I carried on asking: Do you believe that everything God
gives feels good, and would you receive any gift from Him with a great
thankfulness? Oh yes, - was the answer. They were so spiritual. Then
listen to a gift Paul got from the Lord: A thorn in the flesh, an angel
This demon who would beat him, was not as we may think, a weakness in
and by Paul, that the Lord let him keep, but it was a gift from God
to Paul, - "it was given me," he says. It would serve Paul to
keep him on the right track. It would serve him to salvation!
I continued asking: Is there anyone of you that you would like this
gift. An angel from satan who would beat you! It became silent.
The evil spirits, the seductive spirits, will suffer in the light, as
we sing about in a song. But as we can see, even evil spirits, an angel
from Satan, as we read here, - must serve us for God’s purpose, when He
wants it like that! And then we go on being scared!
We should learn from Paul: “Therefore I am well content
with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with Persecutions, with
difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”
He was mighty wise, this Paul, - he had part in a wisdom hidden from
this world, - also for most of those who are called by the Christian
name, - but it was not a wisdom reserved for Paul, it is on the contrary
a wisdom that the Lord desires to inform His own. The problem is that we
hold on to our own thoughts. We think that we have to figure out
everything ourselves, - but “I will counsel you with My eye upon you,”
says the Lord (Ps. 32:8).
grace is sufficient for you!”
For you who call yourself a Christian, - yes, and
also for you who do not, you are allowed to have a look at it too, - but
you who call yourself a Christian, you have been commanded tonight, from
God’s own word, - to fix your eye on the crucified Jesus Christ, and
answer in the deep of your heart: Is this enough what is happening? – Is
it enough for God?
Is the answer YES or NO? That, and only that, determines whether you
can leave this service tonight with a uneasy and restless heart, or with
a hallelujah shout in you!
Paul, who has borrowed both tongue and mouth from the
Holy Ghost for us tonight, he also testifies: “For I determined to know
nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.” (1 Cor. 2:2).
Do you want to know more?
Grace first inscribed
In God’s eternal book;
’Twas grace that gave me to the Lamb,
Who all my sorrows took.
Holy Bible New
American Standard Version
Translator: Benedicte Holtan Smart