Summary: The integrity of God. The integrity of the preached message. The commonality of Christian community.


2 Corinthians 1:18-22.

On account of his decision to postpone his planned second visit to Corinth, the Apostle Paul was facing the accusation of vacillating. Is it ‘yes, he’s coming’ or ‘no, he’s not coming’? wondered his opponents. Paul is quite clear: ‘I was minded to come unto you before, that you might have a second benefit’ (2 Corinthians 1:15). ‘Moreover I call God for a record upon my soul, that to spare you I came not as yet to Corinth’ (2 Corinthians 1:23). ‘But I determined this with myself, that I would not come again to you in heaviness’ (2 Corinthians 2:1).

‘When I was thus minded, did I use lightness?’ he continues, ‘or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be (both) yea and nay?’ (2 Corinthians 1:17).

2 Corinthians 1:18. In today’s passage, Paul appeals first to the integrity of God. The sense is, “As surely as God is true (trustworthy, faithful), so our word to you was not yea and nay.”

2 Corinthians 1:19. Second, he appeals to the integrity of the message which he and his companions preached. That message is “the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who… was not yea and nay, but in Him was yea.” So the reliability of Paul rests upon the integrity of his message from the (true and) trustworthy God: and that message is about God sending His only begotten Son who came to die for us, and whose resurrection affirms the ultimate “yes” to mankind’s plight.

2 Corinthians 1:20. “For all the promises of God”, he goes on, find their fulfilment in Jesus (cf. Matthew 5:17). “In Him they are yes, and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.”

“Amen” is an emphatic affirmation: even as Jesus would often say (literally) ‘Amen, Amen, (verily, verily or truly, truly) I say unto you.’ We say “Amen” in worship because we trust God.

“Unto the glory of God by us” - or by our preaching. There are three objectives in preaching, and this is the first: “the glory of God”. The second is, to build up the church of Christ. The third is, to bring never-dying souls to everlasting life through faith in Jesus.

2 Corinthians 1:21. Thirdly, Paul appeals to the commonality of “us” and “you” in the Christian community. “He who has established us with you in Christ, and has anointed us (for our work among you, perhaps?), is God.”

2 Corinthians 1:22. Furthermore, it is God who has “sealed us”, setting His mark of ownership upon us all, “and has given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts”: a down-payment for that which is to come (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:5; Ephesians 1:13-14).

We thank God that Jesus is our answer “yes”, and our “Amen”. To Him be glory forever.

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