5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ.
The word “for” explains how the Christian experiences consolation through Christ.
The word “as” sets up an analogy between Christ’s suffering and Christian affliction—as one thing is true, so another thing is true. The essence of our suffering had its beginnings in the sufferings of Christ.
the sufferings of Christ
Christ suffered, and His church suffered. This phrase emphasizes the suffering of the church (objective genitive).
abound in us,
Paul experienced hardship because of his service for Christ (Co 1:24; 2 Co 11:23-27). Christ’s sufferings overflowed to him.
We have ball-and-socket words in this verse—“as/so.” As something abounds in us, so something else overflows in us. As suffering abounds in the believer, so God’s consolation abounds in Christ as well.
our consolation also abounds through Christ.
Christians who receive consolation abound in their comfort to others through Christ. Christ experienced the Father’s sovereign hand throughout all His sufferings. God brought Him through it all. When God blesses the believer in distress, that blessing overflows to others. The blessing of comfort overflows. The grace of Christ in our lives overflows to others.
There is a beautiful equation between God’s comfort and our suffering.
The believer’s comfort comes through Christ. What the Father did for Jesus in His sufferings He will do for the believer. The varied afflictions that the Christian goes through is greatly outweighed by the comfort Christ provides for him. Believers need to experience God’s comfort directly. God specializes in individual support.
God’s comfort matches the measure of our suffering. There is a chain reaction of comfort—from God, through other Christians, to the individual. This equation comes down to the support of other believers as well.
God sovereignly superintends our suffering. He does not allow more than we should receive; neither does He neglect the measure of what we need. The conviction that God’s sovereign hand works in each believer to do what is best for him or her is at the heart of trust.
Present suffering does not compare to future glory (Ro 8:18). The believer’s future governs his values.