Paul's Thorn (1)

  • Now here is a topic that doesn’t get a lot of attention unless a religious or legalistic preacher wants to make a point about God causing someone to be sick and then not healing them. How ridiculous.

    I apologize up front for the length of this teaching. I put it in two parts, hoping it will not lose it’s context. Stick with this teaching and some make sure to go to part two to discover the total truth regarding this matter.

    In other teachings on this website we have thoroughly dealt with the issue of God causing or allowing things in our life to teach us a lesson (See the teaching “Does God Ever Cause Sickness&rdquo. That’s just not what scripture declares. Here are two scriptures that prove it is God’s great love and grace that compels us and teaches us.

    Here’s the first one in Romans 2:4 in the Living Bible. It reads “Don’t you realize how patient he is being with you? Or don’t you care? Can’t you see that he has been waiting all this time without punishing you, to give you time to turn from your sin? His kindness is meant to lead you to repentance”.

    Take another look at that scripture. Do you see anything important in there? Look at the bolded words. “Without punishing you”. What a great question just before those words. “Can’t you SEE He has been waiting…”. Why has He been waiting? “To give you time to turn from your sin”. It’s His “kindness” that is meant to lead you to repentance.

    Lets look at the second one. 2 Corinthians 5:14 in the English Standard Version. “For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died.”

    Study closely. Notice, it’s the love of God that controls us. Another version says the love of God constraineth us. It means controls, urges and compels us. It didn’t say it’s the anger, judgement, punishment, and wrath of God, but it’s the love of God.

    Here’s the neat thing. Romans 5:5 declares that it is the love of God that is shed abroad in our hearts. In these verses we see it is not a mean, angry, punishing God that tries to keep us in line. It’s a kind, loving, merciful Father who is patient and does not use force, but love to compel us and lead us in the correct path.

    When you understand, rely on, receive and believe the love of God for you, the grace of God for you, and the mercy of God for you, it will determine what goes in and out of your heart. This truth will lay siege on your heart.

    Up until now wrong believing, wrong teaching, un-truth and legalism have determined what goes in and out of your heart, but the love of God will clean that up. The love of God will compel you and guard your heart from false teaching.

    I have only given two scriptures here that obliterate the wrong teaching regarding God causing or allowing bad things in our life to teach us a lesson. There are many more. It’s time to have one of those grace encounters for a new beginning. A grace encounter, or rather a meeting with truth, will turn all those dead ends into new beginnings.

    So lets get to the scripture that established the title for this teaching, 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, and cut off the head of another one of those religious pet snakes.

    7 and lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

    8 for this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.

    9 and He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

    10 therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

    Here it is again in the Voice version.

    To keep me grounded and stop me from becoming too high and mighty due to the extraordinary character of these revelations, I was given a thorn in the flesh—a nagging nuisance of Satan, a messenger to plague me!

    I begged the Lord three times to liberate me from its anguish;

    and finally He said to me, “My grace is enough to cover and sustain you. My power is made perfect in weakness.”So ask me about my thorn, inquire about my weaknesses, and I will gladly go on and on—I would rather stake my claim in these and have the power of the Anointed One at home within me.

    10 I am at peace and even take pleasure in any weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and afflictions for the sake of the Anointed because when I am at my weakest, He makes me strong.

    Now before we begin to truly study this scripture, let me paraphrase something I heard Bill Johnson say. He never ceases to test me and amaze me with his insight.

    God does not look at things the same way we do. God is actually attracted to certain things. He’s actually attracted to weakness. He is always looking for an opportunity to bless us and show favor to us, which brings glory to Him.

    I’m not saying that God repels strength, rather that He is simply drawn to weak situations. Why? Look at verse 10. When we are weak, He makes us strong. It gives Him an opportunity to bless us.

    It’s the same thing with healing. God is attracted to need so that He can invade that area and become all that is necessary for us to be complete in spite of that need. Or even failure. God jumps right in the middle of our messes and cleans them up. He’s attracted to our failures and is not at all worried or disturbed by them.

    What is it about you that you think God doesn’t already know? He’s always looking for opportunities to show us great grace and favor. For instance, let me really startle you. God is actually drawn to sin. He doesn’t approve of it, He doesn’t applaud it, but He’s also not intimidated by it.

    What does scripture say? Romans 5:20 in the Voice reads “When the law came into the picture, sin grew and grew; but wherever sin grew and spread, God’s grace was there in fuller, greater measure. No matter how much sin crept in, there was always more grace”.

    Another version reads “where sin abounded, grace did much more abound”. Do you see that. How about the scripture that declares “blessed are those that mourn, for they shall be comforted”. He sent the Comforter for us because He knew we would need comforting. Well Shout!!!

    Okay. With that being said, lets study the scriptures in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. From this scripture people say “the apostle Paul had a sickness (thorn) and God refused to heal him.”

    First, how do you get sickness from that scripture when it points directly to a “messenger” of satan. Not a sickness from God. The Voice version says “ a nagging nuisance of Satan, a messenger to plague me”.

    The thorn Paul mentions is used and misused by Christians to justify submitting to any problem that comes along. It’s an excuse they use due to a lack of power in their lives.

    Satan has twisted this passage to deceive many. Oh, how religious folks cling onto this error. They try to use this to refute the truth about our healing which has already been accomplished. After all, how can we be healed if God would not heal Paul?

    People take verse 7 to say Paul was full of pride. That’s why this happened. The thorn was to keep Paul humble. Really? Did you study the scripture or just read it. Look again. It describes Paul being given an abundance of revelation. He had extraordinary character of these revelations.

    -1 Peter 5:5 in the NAS declares “You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

    It’s that last part “for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble”. In verse 9 of 2 Corinthians 12, we see that God gave grace to Paul. So, according to 1 Peter 5:5, Paul was a humble man, not a greedy proud man, or else God would not have given him grace. Issue settled, next argument.

    Well, they say, it came along lest Paul should be exalted. So God must be the author of it, because only God would want Paul humble. 1 Peter 5:6 reads “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.”

    Those who humble themselves will be exalted by God. That blows that theory or opinion. In addition, God does not put things on people. James 1:13 says “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man”.

    Or they say, okay Paul was not speaking of exalting himself through pride, above measure. Rather, the thorn came from satan to keep Paul from being exalted by God in the eyes of the people.

    Many more people would have received what Paul preached if everything was rosy for him, but there was this messenger of satan that always buffeted Paul. That scared away the faint-hearted from committing themselves to Jesus. Give me a break and a brain!

    God magnified or exalted Joshua (Joshua 3:7). He continued to do that with people He used into the new covenant (Acts 5:13). So, the exalting spoken of is not a negative kind, but a godly kind. This further strengthens that the thorn was not God’s doing.

    Now, with that settled we see by verse 7 that this thorn came because of the abundance of revelations Paul received. Until a person has an abundance of revelations, your not going to have a thorn. That disqualifies most of the church today, because they won’t let the truth of God’s word invade the error of their thinking, or change their opinions or thoughts. Let me just say that we have got thorns.

    Although I would love to continue on with this teaching, I fear it would get way too long for many. So, I'll stop here, but don't miss part 2 where we will show in scripture that this thorn had nothing to do with sickness, but rather it had to do with a demonic spirit or demons. Grace and Peace.