Aug. 27, 2019

God's promises are yes and amen.

2 Corinthians 1:12-2:11 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible


For our proud confidence is this: the testimony of our conscience, that in holiness and godly sincerity, not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God, we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you. 13 For we write nothing else to you than what you read and understand, and I hope you will understand until the end; 14 just as you also partially did understand us, that we are your reason to be proud as you also are ours, in the day of our Lord Jesus.

15 In this confidence I intended at first to come to you, so that you might twice receive a blessing; 16 that is, to pass your way into Macedonia, and again from Macedonia to come to you, and by you to be helped on my journey to Judea.17 Therefore, I was not vacillating when I intended to do this, was I? Or what I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, so that with me there will be yes, yes and no, no at the same time18 But as God is faithful, our word to you is not yes and no. 19 For 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.20 For 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. 21 Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, 22 who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.

23 But I call God as witness to my soul, that to spare you I did not come again to Corinth. 24 Not that we lord it over your faith, but are workers with you for your joy; for in your faith you are standing firm.

2 But I determined this for my own sake, that I would not come to you in sorrow again. For if I cause you sorrow, who then makes me glad but the one whom I made sorrowful? This is the very thing I wrote you, so that when I came, I would not have sorrow from those who ought to make me rejoice; having confidence in you all that my joy would be the joy of you all. For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you with many tears; not so that you would be made sorrowful, but that you might know the love which I have especially for you.

But if any has caused sorrow, he has caused sorrow not to me, but in some degree—in order not to say too much—to all of you. Sufficient for such a one is this punishment which was inflicted by the majority, so that on the contrary you should rather forgive and comfort him, otherwise such a one might be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. Wherefore I urge you to reaffirm your love for him. For to this end also I wrote, so that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things. 10 But one whom you forgive anything, I forgive also; for indeed what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did it for your sakes in the presence of Christ, 11 so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes.


In today’s text Paul writes:  What I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, so that with me there will be yes, yes and no, no at the same time?  But as God is faithful, our word to you is not yes and no.  For 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. For 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.   In Matthew 5:37 Jesus says:  “Let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.   That God is absolute and that He wants us to be the same, is perhaps one of the most difficult things for many people to accept. Our culture and our society teaches that things are subjective and relative; that we and our beliefs evolve and change. Rather than truth, there is “your truth”; there is truth as each individual sees it or believes it. Rather than good or evil being defined by God, our culture says whatever you choose is good to you. In Isaiah 5:20 God says: Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!   Even within the church, among those who are called by the name of Christ, there are many who say that the Bible often doesn’t mean what it says. They say that some of what it says applied to the culture and society of that day, but is not the applicable in today’s culture. In Numbers 23:19, Balaam, speaking the word of the Lord said:  God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?   God’s yes is yes and His no is no. He will do what He has said. He has not changed His mind about what is evil and what is good. In Malachi 3:6 God says:  I, the LORD, do not change.  What those who try to update God’s word and His standards choose not to acknowledge is that every sin and form of evil has been around for thousands of years. Technology has changed, and so the methods for participating in sin may have changed, but sin has not changed. Good and evil, light and darkness have not changed. Neither has man’s tendency to justify his sin.

God’s promises; what He says are yes and amen. In Deuteronomy 30:15-20 God said:  “See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity; in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that the Lord your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it. But if your heart turns away and you will not obey, but are drawn away and worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today that you shall surely perish. You will not prolong your days in the land where you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess it. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”  That we must choose between the blessing of God in obedience or the curse of disobedience has not changed.  In Matthew 5:17-20 Jesus says:   “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”   For the Israelites it was a promised land that was their inheritance; the blessing of their obedience. For us, for people today, our inheritance is not a land, but rather the kingdom of heaven. For those who choose to relax God’s word, updating it to make it compatible with the culture of the world, Jesus says they will not enter the kingdom of heaven. In Revelation 1:8 the Lord says:  “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”  In Revelation 21:6-8 the Lord says:  “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”  In Revelation 22:12-13 He says:  “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”   Nothing has or will change regarding the choice of sin and disobedience. Just as it did in the beginning, even in the garden, the disobedience of Adam and Eve brought about a curse. In the end it is still our choice, life or death, blessing or curse. God has not changed. His desire is that we choose life. Jesus says:  “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit; thank You for Your unchanging word and Your promises which are yes and amen. I choose life through the cross and the resurrection of Christ. I choose obedience through the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.