Promises (Part 2) 28-01-22
A Bible Reading: 2 Corinthians 1. 18 - 22 But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not “Yes” and “No.” For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me and Silas and Timothy—was not “Yes” and “No,” but in him it has always been “Yes.” For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, that I am not too keen on New Year’s Resolutions because of my lack of ability to keep those promises. They are no more than good intentions and wishful thinking on my part, and my commitment is usually sadly lacking. Not so with God’s promises.
As I thought about resolutions and promises, I was reminded of the Scripture Promise boxes that were popular when I was growing up. The small wooden box was filled with small, tightly wound spirals of paper. These were pulled out one by one using a special pair of tweezers. When unwound, each paper curl contained one of God’s promises, which was to be read, memorized and taken to heart. This was a great way to root my Christian life in God’s promises from a young age.
By contrast to human promises and New Year’s Resolutions, which may or may not be kept, God’s promises are always solid and sure, a firm foundation on which to stand in faith. Promises like: ‘I am with you always, to the very end of the age’ (Matthew 28.20); ‘Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.’ (John 14. 27)
Paul underlines the reliability of God’s promises in his second letter to the church in Corinth. Paul wants them to be reassured and encouraged, so he writes: ‘no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ.’ And if they are still in any doubt, he underlines this further. God has given the Holy Spirit to live within them as a deposit and guarantee of what is to come in the future.
This is just as true for us today as it was in Corinth two thousand years ago. God is always faithful to his promises and we belong to him. No matter what life throws at us, just like Paul and his co-workers, Silas and Timothy, we can stand firm in Christ. And when the going gets tough, it is amazing how the Holy Spirit can bring to mind just the right promise at just the right time. That’s quite some deposit and guarantee!
Father of compassion, who comforts us in all our troubles,
may we rest on your promises and ever hope in Christ.