6 Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.
6 Now if we [Paul and his associates] are afflicted,
The “if” in the Greek indicates reality; Paul and his team indeed experienced affliction.
it is for your [Corinthians’] consolation and salvation,
God’s design for Paul’s affliction or distress was to benefit fellow believers. Paul’s problems were for the Corinthians’ benefit.
The “salvation” here is not the initial saving of the soul but the deliverance of the Christian from failure to suffer properly. Paul paid a high personal cost for ministering to the Corinthians.
which is effective for enduring the same sufferings
God’s consolation and salvation work on behalf of believers. It enables them to endure their problems. It is a tenacity of the soul that overcomes the tendency to give up too soon. The Corinthians could develop endurance in their sufferings by following Paul’s example.
which we also suffer.
Christians experience the same afflictions that Paul did.
Or if [since] we are comforted,
This phrase is a parallel to “if we are afflicted” earlier in this verse. Both components of affliction and consolation are essential for the Christian. Comfort is as real as affliction.
it is for your consolation
Believers can draw support from how Paul handled trials in his life. God does not keep us from trouble but delivers us in trouble.
“Salvation” here is not the salvation of the soul when a person first becomes a believer. The entire context of this chapter deals with the comfort of the Christian. Other verses refer to “salvation” in this sense (Php 1:19; 2:12). It is the freedom to know that God is sovereign in a person’s life.
God gives comfort to give to others.
Paul learned how the sufferings of Christ helped him in his trials. He passed that lesson down to those to whom he ministered. God sovereignly ordained his trials. That is an important lesson to learn.
We derive comfort from others who have previously applied the principles of how to suffer. We can develop steadfast perseverance in our difficulties as well (2 Co 6:4).