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!