All-Sufficient Grace

“All-Sufficient Grace”

by John Gill (1697-1771)

“My grace is sufficient for thee” (2 Cor. 12:9); the Lord always hears and answers His people sooner or later, in one form or another, though not always in the way and manner they desire; but yet in such a way as is most for His glory and their good. The apostle had not his request granted, that Satan might immediately depart from him, only he is assured of a sufficiency of grace to support him under the exercise, so long as it should last.

There seems to be an allusion to the word, “Shaddai,” an appellation of God, (Gen. 17:1), and signifies, “which is sufficient”: for God is all sufficient, and is a name that belongs to the Messiah … Certain it is, that the grace of Christ is alone sufficient for all His people to all saving purposes, in all their times of need.

It is sufficient to all saving purposes, to the acceptance of their persons before God, to their justification in his sight, to their pardon and cleansing, to their regeneration and sanctification, to the supply of all their wants, and to their perseverance in grace unto glory; and it is sufficient in all their times of need, in times of bodily affliction, of violent persecution, … Satan’s temptations, and at the hour of death, and in the day of judgment.[1]

The reason given to support this answer, and to strengthen the apostle’s faith in it, is, “for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” By the “strength” of Christ is meant, not His strength as the mighty God, but that communicative strength which He has, and is in Him as Mediator, and which saints look to Him for, and receive from Him. This is “made perfect in” their “weakness”; not that their weakness can add perfection to His strength, for His strength is perfect in itself, … but the meaning is, that the strength of Christ is made to appear, is illustrated and shines forth in its perfection and glory, in supplying, supporting, and strengthening His people under all their weakness; and if they were not left to some weaknesses in themselves, His strength would not be so manifest (James 2:22).

The answer to the apostle’s request, supported with this reason, was wonderfully satisfactory to him; wherefore he concludes, “most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities”–in the weaknesses which attended either his body or soul, through the buffetings of the angel Satan, rather than (glorying) in his visions and revelations. Rather than insist upon his (the Enemy’s) departure from him, he is content things should be as they were, since he had such a promise of a sufficiency of grace to bear him up, under and through whatever was the pleasure of God concerning him.

Since the strength of Christ was made illustrious through his weakness, so that Satan was not able to make any advantage over him, he is willing to remain in the same posture and condition: “that the power of Christ”, says he, “may rest upon me”, or “tabernacle over me.” Paul considered himself as a poor weak feeble creature, and the power of Christ as a tabernacle over him. The power of God is represented as a garrison about the believer (1 Pet. 1:5), sheltering, preserving, and protecting him from the insults of Satan.

[“And there will be a tabernacle for shade in the daytime from the heat, for a place of refuge, and for a shelter from storm and rain” Isaiah 4:6.]


[1] Heb. 7:25; Eph. 1:6; Rom. 5:1; Col. 2:13,14; Titus 3:5,6; Phil. 4:19; John 10:27-30; Rom. 8:32; 2 Cor. 4:16,17; 1 Pet. 4:12,13; Heb. 13:5; 1 Cor. 10:13; John 14:1-6; Rom. 8:1

From John Gill’s Commentary on 2 Cor. 12:9. JOHN GILL (1697-1771) was an influential pastor, author, and theologian. He wrote a systematic theology and a verse-by-verse commentary of the entire Bible.

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