The Promises Of God Are Yes!
I blogged recently about verses that we instinctively understand, but find it difficult to articulate exactly what their theological meaning is. I think I might have found another one! “For all the promises of God in him are yea” (2 Co. 1:20). While we might think it is a slightly awkward way of making the point, there are few sentences reverberate in the way this one does.
Notice the reason for its use. Paul has been reminding the Corinthians that their word as preachers, was true. When they said yes, it really meant yes, and when they said no, it really meant no. After all, God is true, and Christ, who they had preached, was not yes and no at the same time, but yes all the time! But why? “Because all the promises of God are yes because of Christ” (my translation). So Paul is encouraging the Corinthians to trust him because he was following the example of God and Christ in being true to his word. This was quite the standard, but Paul was able to say that this was his standard. There is a lesson there for us.
But although this is the strict context of the statement, it is pregnant with doctrinal meaning. In essence Paul is claiming that every promise that God has ever made, finds its fulfilment in Christ! A valid translation could be; “All the promises of God are certain in Him.”
Maybe you have never really considered this, so let’s examine a couple of God’s promises. Firstly, God says to the Serpent, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head” (Gen. 3:15). This first prophecy of scripture (given to the Serpent!), promises an offspring from the woman that will bruise the head of the Serpent. In the New Testament Paul says to the Galatians; “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman” (Gal. 4:4-5). So in sending His own Son (the seed of the woman), God was making good on the very first promise in the Bible.
But what about the famous promises made to Abraham? In Genesis 12 and 15 God makes a number of statements to Abraham that He ratifies in a covenant. In these He promises to give Him a race, a realm and a rule. As you read through the remainder of the Old Testament you would be forgiven for thinking that God must have reneged on these promises, and not without cause. Abraham’s descendants had so disobeyed His commandments and defiled themselves, that you could understand if He had decided to revoke His promises. But no! In Galatians we read; “Christ hath redeemed us...that the blessing of Abraham might come...through Jesus Christ” (Gal. 3:13-14). How calming to think that when God starts a work He always completes it, and He completes it through Jesus Christ.
If all the promises of God are yes in Christ, and we have seen that this is true in the case of two of the most important to the Biblical narrative, how certain is the promise, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you” (Heb. 13:5)?
Mervyn Hall is in fellowship with his wife in the assembly that meets in Hebron Gospel Hall in Bicester (UK) and is employed as a business consultant to the Healthcare industry.