Comfort, Affliction, and Exposition

Heinrich Bullinger — primary author of the Second Helvetic Confession — writes (quoting from does not imply a promotion or endorsement of Bullinger as a true Christian) the following: 


“Neither is that the best exposition which hath most favourers; as if that were the best interpretation which hath the consent of the greater multitude: for Arianism and Turcism [or Turkism–CD] would, by many degrees excel Christianism. That exposition is best, which is not repugnant to faith and love, neither is wrested to defend and spread abroad the glory and covetousness of men” (Heinrich Bullinger, Decades; underlining mine).


This quote brings to mind the following:


“And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in [their] hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God” (Matthew 4:6-7; underlining mine).


Satan’s attempt at “exegesis” was shown by Christ to be a repugnant misinterpretation and misapplication of the text (quite obviously).


“Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. And when the multitude heard [this], they were astonished at his doctrine. But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together” (Matthew 22:29-34; underlining mine).


Certain Sadducees denied the Biblical teaching of the resurrection. The “consent of the greater multitude” of Pharisees went like this:


“Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him? The officers answered, Never man spake like this man. Then answered them the Pharisees, Are ye also deceived? Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him? But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed” (John 7:45-49).


Here is a passage that reveals the resurrecting power of God the Holy Spirit in invincibly, immediately, and inevitably glorifying Jesus Christ in the hearts of His people:


“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to [give] the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us” (2 Corinthians 4:3-7).


Here is how typical tolerant Calvinist-Reformed persons might respond to 2 Corinthians 4:3-7:


“Paul, you’re saying that a newborn Christian has to suddenly be able to eat meat rather than to start out on milk. You’re saying that there is no growth that takes place in Christians as to their understanding of the gospel. You’re enunciating a pernicious form of doctrinal perfectionism; Paul, you’re adding to the simple gospel of Jesus Christ” (Tolerant Calvinist).


Pharisaic Calvinists do boast in self-righteous dung; confound Cyanide with Similac; choke down dirt, and glory in their shame (Jeremiah 2:11-13; Philippians 3:1-9).


“But this I say, brethren, the time [is] short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none; And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; And they that use this world, as not abusing [it]: for the fashion of this world passeth away” (1 Corinthians 7:29-31).


May true Christians consider whether or not they are being excessive or inordinate in their various relations, weepings, rejoicings, etc., when such things are given to, or taken from them. Temper and moderate grief with joy and joy with grief.


“Unless thy law [had been] my delights, I should then have perished in mine affliction” (Psalm 119:92).


“And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit ” (1 Thessalonians 1:6).


“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding [and] eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen [are] temporal; but the things which are not seen [are] eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).


“By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible” (Hebrews 11:24-27).


“Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience” (James 5:10).


“But now when Timotheus came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity, and that ye have good remembrance of us always, desiring greatly to see us, as we also [to see] you: Therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith: For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord. For what thanks can we render to God again for you, for all the joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before our God; Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith? Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you. And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all [men], even as we [do] toward you: To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints” (1 Thessalonians 3:6-13).