2 Corinthians 1:20-24

In 2 Corinthians 1:20-24 Paul reminds us that God promises are true and trustworthy because of the nature of who He is. “For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.” Spurgeon wrote “We might never have had this precious verse if Paul had not been so ill-treated by these men of Corinth. They did him great wrong, and caused him much sorrow of heart… yet you see how the evil was overruled by God for good, and through their unsavoury gossip and slander this sweet sentence was pressed out of Paul.” God is faithful and Paul reminds us that His promises will come true.

Paul and his associates were commissioned by God and filled with the Holy Spirit. Understanding this should have made the Corinthian Christians understand the anointing that Paul and his team had. “And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” God calls us and then provides us with all we need to do the work He has set aside for us to do. But beyond the call we are given the Holy Spirit within us to seal the deal and be the assurance that we are His people.

Guzik explains that Paul refers to three aspects of the Holy Spirit’s work within us:

  1. Has anointed us: The only other place where the New Testament speaks about anointing is in 1 John 2:20 and 2:27. Every use speaks of an anointing that is common to all believers, not a special anointing for a few Christian superstars. The idea behind anointed is that we are prepared and empowered for service. The fact that we are anointed means that we share something with the Old Testament prophets, priests, and kings who were also anointed ones.
  2. Sealed us: In the ancient world, a seal was used to identify and to protect. If something was sealed, everyone knew who it belonged to (the seal had an insignia), and the seal prevented anyone else from tampering with the item. The Holy Spirit is upon us to identify us and to protect us.
  • A guarantee: The word guarantee is the word for a down payment. We have been given the Holy Spirit as a down payment for the fullness of what God will do. The Holy Spirit is a pledge of greater things to come. As Christians, God has purchased us on the lay-away plan and has given us an impressive down payment. He won’t walk away from the final payment because He has so much invested already.

Paul has taken a serious oath to serve God’s plan. The Corinthian Christians had assumed that Paul did not come in person because of selfish reasons. They wanted to think he simply was not a man of integrity or was just afraid of conflict. Paul sets them straight and insists that it was out of concern for the Corinthian Christians that he did not make the visit at that particular time. “But I call God to witness against me – it was to spare you that I refrained from coming again to Corinth.” Paul is careful to point out that he is no one’s lord in the church, even though he is an apostle. “Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, for you stand firm in your faith.” It has been said that God reserves three things to Himself:

  1. First, to make something of nothing
  2. Second, to know future events
  • Third, to have dominion over men’s consciences

Paul is not lord over the Corinthians. He is a man on God’s mission to teach and serve the church.

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