Light Afflictions, In COMPARISON To…What?

“…momentary light afflictions in comparison to eternal glory.”-(2 Cor 4:17.) 

Paul gives a key to How to Endure pain, hurts, and disappointments of life. It is to adopt an Eternal Perspective; –The long haul. The word, “afflictions,” speak of great pressures, crushing! ” Affliction (2347) (thlipsis from thlibo = to crush, press together, squash, hem in, compress, squeeze in turn derived from thláo = to break) originally expressed sheer, physical pressure on a man. Thlipsis is a strong term that does not refer to minor inconveniences but to real hardships. As discussed elsewhere but worth repeating, afflictions of life are intended by God to make us better not bitter! They are for our good and His glory (and our glory!). Medically thlipsis was used for the pulse (pressure). It is a pressing together as of grapes. It conveys the idea of being squeezed or placed under pressure or crushed beneath a weight. When, according to the ancient law of England, those who willfully refused to plead guilty, had heavy weights placed on their breasts, and were pressed and crushed to death, this was literally thlipsis. The iron cage was stenochoriaThlipsis thus refers not to mild discomfort but to great difficulty.

The picture of thlipsis is of one being squeezed. When you squeeze something, what comes out is what is on he inside. What comes out of you when you are experiencing “thlipsis”? Remember believers have Christ in them the hope of glory and therefore have the potential to exude the fragrance of His life when crushed. ” -{preceptaustin commentaries}.

“Thlipsis (tribulations) has the underlying meaning of being under pressure and was used of squeezing olives in a press in order to extract the oil and of squeezing grapes to extract the juice… In Scripture, the word thlipsis is perhaps most often used of outward difficulties, but it is also used of emotional stress.”-{John Mac Arthur}.

Paul was not saying there was not suffering involved that was not real, painful, crushing but “IN COMPARISON TO”- “eternal glory” which awaits the Suffering Christian are not to be compared. Why not? One is temporal, it is so, so short when viewed from the expanse of eternity. It is fading away! It is but a vapor! Paul calls it, “momentary.” The word, “momentary,” means, ‘a brief amount of time.’ Brief in light of his eternal view on the eternal plan!

“Light,” {elaphros,} means a weightless trifle, a nothing, fluff,” ” Light…(elaphros) means not heavy, easy to bear (as in Mt 11:30, the only other NT use), not burdensome, not difficult to bear, having little weight, easy to be lifted, borne or carried by physical strength.In the present passage the idea of “light” is that which is not oppressive and thus is easy to be suffered or endured. Other synonyms: lightweight, slight, easy, trifling, trivial (albeit when we are experiencing them, they are not “trivial” to us!), manageable, small, featherweight, “light as a feather” This is an interesting term, for a thing is light only comparatively. That which is light to a man, may be heavy to a child. A light burden for a camel, may be insupportable to a horse. Now read 2Co 11:2324252627 to see what Paul calls “light affliction”! Paul’s point is that they are light compared to what is coming (See Our Light Affliction where C H Spurgeon elaborates on this thought ). Compared to the weight of glory, his afflictions are like a feather on the scale (see Ro 8:18). This weighty glory is beyond all comprehension. In his first letter to the Corinthians Paul had written…that no eye has seen, or ear heard, or mind imagined, are the things God has prepared for those who love him. (1Co 2:9).”

“…Figuratively thlipsis pictures one being “crushed” by intense pressure, difficult circumstances, suffering or trouble pressing upon them from without. Thus persecution, affliction, distress, opposition or tribulation, all press hard on one’s soul. Thlipsis does not refer to mild discomfort but to great difficulty. In Scripture the thlipsis is most often used of outward difficulties, but it is also used of emotional stress and sorrows which “weighs down” a man’s spirit like the sorrows and burden his heart. Thlipsis then includes the disappointments which can “crush the life” out of the one who is afflicted.

The English word “tribulation” is derived from the Latin word tribulum (literally a thing with teeth that tears), which was a heavy piece of timber with spikes in it, used for threshing the corn or grain. The tribulum was drawn over the grain and it separated the wheat from the chaff. As believers experience the “tribulum” of tribulations, and depend on God’s grace, the trials purify us and rid us of the chaff.

For every hill I’ve had to climb,
For every stone that bruised my feet,
For all the blood and tears and grime,
For blinding storms and burning heat,
My heart sings but a grateful song
These were the things that made me strong!—Anon. ” -{preceptaustin  commentaries.}

From an earthly perspective, it was horrendous, painful, chronic pain which Paul had experienced. But Paul’s perspective was not temporal but eternal!  “But God,…” in the midst allows him to have Eternal perspective.  Paul calls us to TRAIN our THINKING on “eternal glory.” It is eternal not temporal. It is glorious not fading!  “The future glory” that awaits us, where we will see Christ and be with Him, eternally! All our fears, cares, swallowed up in the presence of His love. His security and assurance, and soothing peace that will eternally calm us where never a thought can enter, a foe can tempt us to lose His eternal resting peace, love, joy, and assurance of His keeping care. In His Presence is fullness of Joy and at His right hand are pleasures forever more. His desire, delight and by His doing, we will be with Him, not grudingly but by being blood bought recipients of such amazing kindness that has loved us unto death.

It is only “momentary light afflictions,” when it is compared to eternity!

There is nothing light by the sufferings Paul had gone through. Read 2 Corinthians 11 and 12- shocking suffering. He had years of suffering and more to come, and yet he calls it “momentary, light.” The big picture and the long term plan, “the eternal plan…”Amazing grace to be able to empower him to view his afflictions in light of eternity, his conclusion, “momentary, light afflictions!” The sufferings of Paul were not light momentary  afflictions apart from…IN COMPARISON TO…” Neither are your afflictions, great pressure, momentary light, apart from, “IN COMPARISON TO… Eternal Glory!”  His focus to help endure is to focus on what is Eternal.  Eternal Father, Son, Spirit, Home, Peace, Love,Hope fulfilled, the souls of people, all else is perishing. Increasing in the capacity to PRAISE Him eternally as a result is produced. Take  the Long view. All that is significant and eternal is there with Him! Your Heavenly Father is there, your risen LORD Jesus is there, Your Heavenly Home is there, Your Citizenship is there. Your Name is written in the Lamb’s book of Life is there. All that is of eternal value is there, where one day you too will be forever and ever without ending. And it is all good, glorious for God Himself who loves you is there for you and with you! Increasing in the capacity to PRAISE Him eternally as a result is produced. 


“John MacArthur makes an important distinction commenting that…

the only suffering that produces the eternal weight of glory is suffering for the sake of Christ, or that honors Him. Whether suffering comes from believers’ faithful, loyal, committed testimony about Jesus Christ, or the patient enduring of life’s normal trials, such as disease, divorce, poverty, and loneliness, if endured with a humble, grateful, God-honoring attitude, it will add to the eternal weight of glory.”


…Future Hope…in present pain!

* Pain is temporal. Eternity is forever! One has a time limit, the other is Timeless!

* Train your mind to Think On The Future Hope of- Future Glory. {Read Col 3:1:3}

Future Hope…assurance of…

  • Eternal Glory of – Being With Christ Forever!
  • Eternal Glory of – In His Presence Is Fullness of Joy
  • Eternal Glory of – No More Pain
  • Eternal Glory of – At His Right Hand Are Pleasure’s Forever More
  • Eternal Glory of – Focusing on the eternal which increases the capacity to praise Him!


Think on things above where Christ is seated.{Col 3:1-3}

There is Future Hope In A Present Tense Savior.