Poison Turned to Medicine

by Michael McKinley

In his commentary on II Corinthians, John Calvin reflects on Paul’s statement that a messenger of Satan (his “thorn in the flesh”) served as God’s means of keeping him from deadly pride.

Pauls writes: So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. (2 Corinthians 12:7 ESV)

Calvin comments: But what does this mean — that Satan, who was a man-slayer from the beginning (John 8:44), was a physician to Paul, and that too, not merely in the cure of the body, but — what is of greater importance — in the cure of the soul? I answer, that Satan, in accordance with his disposition and custom, had nothing else in view than to kill and to destroy (John 10:10), and that the goad, that Paul makes mention of, was dipt in deadly poison; but that it was a special kindness from the Lord, to render medicinal what was in its own nature deadly. 

Praise the God who is able to turn Satan’s poison into medicine for his people!


This article has been reposted from www.9Marks.org. This article on the 9Marks’ website may be accessed here.

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