V1818But as God is faithful, our word to you is not yes and no.. God is faithful! This is in contrast to all infidelity and inconsistency Paul is accused of. He does not say: ‘I am faithful.’ He leaves that judgment to God. He knows that God is faithful in everything He has said. God does not say one thing today and another the next day. What He says is certain. He does not change His purposes. You can trust that He does what He says.
V1919For the Son of God, Christ Jesus, who was preached among you by us—by me and Silvanus and Timothy—was not yes and no, but is yes in Him.. Paul unambiguously underscores this assertion in his attitude, in his conduct and in his speeches. The gospel he shared with the Corinthians testifies to this. He had not declared to them a dubious message. He had presented a crystal clear gospel to them in a way that needed no clarification. The content of the gospel he preached was indeed “the Son of God, Christ Jesus”.
Mentioning this Name he touches the kernel of the gospel and the center of all God’s plans. For God all things revolve around the glory and honor of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is something you must to be more and more aware of, just as Paul showed it in the way he conducted himself.
In the names of the Lord Jesus you see His glory. The name Son of God reveals His eternal divinity. He is the eternal Son. The name Jesus reveals His humiliation. He received this name when He came on the earth to accomplish the work of redemption. The name Christ means the anointed One. Here you must bear in mind that He will fulfill all the counsels of God.
When you have Him before your eyes in that way, you cannot be talking back and forth and making unsure plans. Then there is only one desire: to show in your speech and action that nothing but Jesus Christ means everything to you. More and more uncertainties will disappear from your life. But this is a process and this does not happen overnight. Once you are sure of God’s purposes for your life you will no longer be the person doubting God in any situation. Although you know that things in Christ are “Yes, and … Amen” you do not experience this always. That is why you must deal with things that are firm and sure. This will lift you up. This is what is presented here.
V2020For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us.. Regularly we see Paul handling practical issues and immediately he connects them with the Lord Jesus. For instance 2 Corinthians 8 and 9 speak about this. There we find that believers contribute money to others who are in need. Paul connects their act with the Lord Jesus Christ and with God (2Cor 8:99For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.; 9:1515Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!). Each time he deals with the down to earth things he shows how they stand in relation to the Lord Jesus Christ and God. He shows whatever is done in the cause of the ministry of God is connected to the unchanging promises of God. He tells the believers that the content of his preaching is sure and certain because it is all about God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
God will fulfill all His promises in the Lord Jesus Christ. Whether it is of Israel or of the church He does not leave any promise unfulfilled. In the Old Testament you see many promises made to Israel. Today it looks as if these promises will never be fulfilled. Sure if those promises depended upon those rebellious people indeed they would never be fulfilled. Nevertheless the Lord Jesus Christ will make God’s people inherit all His promises. He can and will do this because He died on the cross and took away the guilt of the repentant people.
When He returns He will first cut off the wicked from among His people. That done, the remnant, the believing Israel – the repentant ones who acknowledged their sins before God – will only be left. They are the people whose King will be the Lord Jesus Christ! During the millennial reign of the Lord Jesus these are the people who will receive all the promises God made to His people.
There are also promises given by God to the church. God will fulfill these also through the Lord Jesus Christ. This will not take place on earth as with Israel, but in heaven.
Certainly and surely He will make the end all well. This is the “Amen” in verse 2020For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us.. When God or Christ says Amen it means that it is so and it will be so. It emphasizes the absolute certainty of what is said or promised. The Lord Jesus always glorified God in His life and He will do so for all eternity.
The great wonder is that He will also glorify God “through us” the once lost sinners. Isn’t it a great miracle that you and I are saved and are now members of the church? This has become possible by the work of the Lord Jesus. All that He did on earth and what He does in heaven always redounds to the glory of God. Also the results of His work glorify God.
V2121Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God,. But God has done more for us. He has established us in Christ and that means He has firmly connected us with Christ. We are inseparably connected with Christ. When God sees Christ He sees us.
But He has done still more. He also has “anointed” us with the Holy Spirit as He did with the Lord Jesus. It happened to the Lord Jesus immediately at His baptism (Mt 3:1616After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove [and] lighting on Him,; Acts 10:3838[You know of] Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and [how] He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.) – at the beginning of His public appearance – because He was perfect. It happened to us only after we were redeemed from our sins. This anointing makes it clear that we have a special place in God’s heart.
In the Old Testament kings, priests and prophets were anointed with oil. By this anointing they were ordained for service. The anointing gave them a special place among the people of God which signified that they were chosen by God especially for this service. The act of anointing made them conscious of their calling. The same is true for you and for me. After you believed you are anointed with the Holy Spirit (Eph 1:1313In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise,; 4:3030Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.). Thus God set us apart for Himself and for His ministry. The Holy Spirit always keeps you conscious of this.
V2222who also sealed us and gave [us] the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.. You are also sealed with the Holy Spirit. This means that you are His property. You belong to Him and He has His right on you. Here you have the assurance that the devil and his angels do not have any say on you anymore.
Finally the Holy Spirit Who has been given into our hearts is called “a pledge”. This conveys two things. First you are not in full possession of the thing, for it is a pledge. You are waiting for its fulfillment. Secondly this pledge is an advance on the fulfillment. You already can enjoy it now. In chapter 5 we are reading about the same pledge (2Cor 5:55Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge.). There it is about the desire that we have about the house God prepared for us in heaven. Here it is about the enjoyment of the promises God has given to us.
We can and should enjoy them in advance because the Holy Spirit has been given into our hearts. The heart is the center of life and experience. The things that you enjoy have an impact on your life and in all that you say or do. Don’t they give the sheen to your everyday life?
V2323But I call God as witness to my soul, that to spare you I did not come again to Corinth.. The real reason why Paul had not come to Corinth yet was love. All accusations for changing his itinerary were false and he rejected them resolutely. God was his Witness! If he had come to Corinth, he would have had to deal with them harshly as there were many pestering spiritual issues. He would have had to take hard decisions. He wanted to spare them this exercise. He waited till they were convinced from his first letter that things were not in order with them.
V2424Not that we lord it over your faith, but are workers with you for your joy; for in your faith you are standing firm.. The attitude he assumes in his relationship with the Corinthians might appear to be like that of a ruler over their faith. But in reality it is not so. No apostle, not even Paul, ever wanted to come between a believer and God. Never should a man however great he may be stand between you and God.
If you are still young in the faith beware that you do not hold any great Christian luminary whom you love as a pattern for your faith life. Nothing can go wrong as long as you take care to stay in good relationship with the Lord Jesus. The danger lies in making anyone other than the Lord Jesus as your model. Lot was someone who solely hung on Abraham for his faith life. It is true Abraham was a great believer but he was not the perfect model. There is no man who can be a perfect example.
Let no one dominate your spiritual life and take care that you do not rule over someone’s spiritual life either. Paul did not want to rule over the Corinthians but he wanted to work with them so that they would be happy again. Sin in the church does not make anyone happy. Only when sin is put away there is joy again. That’s why Paul wrote to them and not to rule over them. They stand in their “faith” and that means they are focused on God and not on men.
Now read 2 Corinthians 1:18-24 again.
Reflection: Thank God for all the certainties that you have received in Him and in the Lord Jesus Christ. Call these certainties by name.