by Gilbert Alexander
Comfort, or consolation, is a promise from God for certain
distressed ones. Jesus said, "Blessed are those who mourn,
for they shall be comforted" (Matthew 5:4). Paul urged faithful
obedience upon the condition, "Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of
the Spirit, if any affection and mercy..." (Philippians 2:1). Speaking
to the Thessalonian saints concerning physical death and the
fate of those who "sleep in Jesus" Paul said, "Therefore comfort one another with these words" (I Thessalonians 4:13-18). When
an erring brother repents, the saints are charged to forgive
and comfort him (II Corinthians 2:7). God is called the "God of all
comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may
be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God" (II Corinthians 1:3,4).
Because of their life and state of disobedience, some people do not have the comfort of God. We cannot properly give them comfort, for to comfort one in his sins is to remove any incentive to repent and be saved. Lazarus was comforted, but the rich man who died in his selfish disobedient way of life was not comforted (Luke 16:25). It is difficult for gospel preachers to speak at funerals of those who have died in disobedience to God or those who have killed themselves through dissipation, because there are no words of comfort or reassurance concerning such individuals. There was not comfort for Isaiah when Israel was destroying itself, rebelling against the Will of God (Isaiah 22:1-5). False comfort promotes sin and its ruin (Zechariah. 10:2).
If we would have the comfort of God, we must be submissive to God. If we desire the comfort of the saints, we must sanctify ourselves through obedience to the truth so that we can have spiritual fellowship with the saints. If we do not have the comfort of God, it is because we have denied ourselves the privilege that is offered to all who will come in obedience to the Lord (Matthew 11:28-30). We exhort all who seek the comfort of God to obey the gospel of Christ in faith, repentance, confession of faith, and baptism; and then to live as obedient children of God, fully submissive to His instructions.