The Bible seems to contain several ideas that could be considered a paradox. A paradox of course is a statement that seems to contradict itself but actually contains truth. One example of a paradox would be “one thing we learn from history is that we do not learn from history.” As you can see, the statement seems contradict itself but when more closely examined contains a level of truth.
One paradox regarding Christianity is that the Christian life is one filled with suffering and trials and also happiness and joy. How can the Christian life be both things? While there are multiple verses discussing this refining process that mature Christians understand, one statement that Paul makes brings the understanding of this life to the gospel level.
In 2 Corinthians 6 v. 4-10, Paul provides a list of attributes that make his ministry as valid and important as it was as well as the circumstances in which this ministry was approved. In verse 10 however, Paul lays a paradox out when he says that he had been “sorrowful, yet rejoicing.” How could one be sorrowful yet at the same time rejoice? This short phrase, “sorrowful, yet rejoicing” sums up the understanding of the gospel for the Christian and the faith which we hold.
For the true Christian is sorrowful. The true Christian finds great sorrow in the fact that it has been revealed to them that they are sinful and wretched creatures who have been created by the breath of an almighty and powerful God. Christians are sorrowful that it is revealed to them that they have not only dishonored God, but that they continue to do so despite their best efforts. Christians are sorrowful that there is nothing they can do to restore their selves to the perfection that God has required. Christians are sorrowful that it took God sending his Son who He loved dearly to show humanity what perfection looked like. Christians are sorrowful that their inability to meet that standard led to the Son of the only Living God to be beaten, cursed, spat upon, and nailed to a tree so that he could die as the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Christians are sorrowful that even after having knowledge of these things and crying out to this loving God to save us, that even then, even after knowing about the state we once stood prior to Christ’s redemptive work, that we continue to sin against our God and Maker.
Yet, Christians rejoice for all of those things listed above. Christians rejoice over knowing that we were lost yet now stand saved. Christians rejoice that God sent His Son to live a pure and righteous life. Christians rejoice over the fact that this spotless lamb was led to the slaughter. Christians rejoice that His death meant we can live now and later with Him in an eternal heavenly home. Christians rejoice that Christ arose from the dead and ascended to Heaven where he now sits, waiting his return in which He can bring His children home.
There is a paradox to the Christian life. We are truly sorrowful, yet rejoicing.