Evening, August 11, edited from Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening
“Eternal comfort” — 2 Thessalonians 2:16
“Comfort.” There is music in the word: like David’s harp, it charms away the evil spirit of depression. It was a distinguished honor to Barnabas to be called “the son of comfort;” indeed, it is one of the illustrious names of one greater than Barnabas, for the Lord Jesus is “the comfort of Israel.” “Eternal Comfort”–here is the cream of all, for the eternity of comfort is the crown and glory of it. What is this ” Eternal Comfort?” It includes a sense of pardoned sin. A Christian man has received in his heart the witness of the Spirit that his iniquities are dispersed like a cloud, and his transgressions dissolved like a thick cloud. If sin is pardoned, is not that an eternal comfort? Next, the Lord gives his people an abiding sense of acceptance in Christ. The Christian knows that God looks upon him as standing in union with Jesus. Union to the risen Lord is a comfort of the most enduring order; it is, in fact, eternal. Let sickness confine us to bed, have we not seen hundreds of believers as happy in the weakness of disease as they would have been in the strength of robust and thriving health? Let death’s arrows pierce us to the heart, our comfort does not die, for haven’t our ears often heard the songs of saints as they have rejoiced because the living love of God was shed abroad in their hearts in dying moments? Yes, a sense of acceptance in the Beloved is an everlasting comfort. Moreover, the Christian has a conviction of his security. God has promised to save those who trust in Christ: the Christian does trust in Christ, and he believes that God will be as good as his word, and will save him. He feels that he is safe by virtue of his being bound together with the person and work of Jesus.
My notes: Spurgeon is using the King James term “Consolation,” which has acquired an entirely different meaning in contemporary usage. We think of a “consolation prize,” a trinket awarded to the loser of a contest, or as comfort when someone has lost a great thing. Thus, nearly all the current Bible translations render it “comfort,” and I have done to also here.
The Greek root for the word is the same as in the word “Comforter,” as Jesus defines the Holy Spirit. Little Kittel defines the word rendered “consolation” as “comfort,” or “encouragement.”
Since we have not received a “consolation prize,” but the greatest prize of all, the Lord Jesus, I have taken this liberty in this editing today.