Promises: Easily Made…


… Easily Broken, But Always Yes in Christ!


“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.”
(2 Corinthians 1:20 ESV)

I find myself turning to the Apostle Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians more and more.  Although the first time escapes me, I have etched into my memory rich times of reading this letter and being so moved by the words penned on Paul’s parchment.  As his pen moves from left to right, and the ink flows smoothly from his quill, he writes these tremendous words for all Christians to read, “For all the promises of God find their Yes in him.”
Over time on my new blog, we will be addressing the events in Paul’s life that led him to write such powerful words.  Although verse 20 does not contain the main words of this letter, and in fact they are written to support Paul’s reasons for changing his plans to come to the Corinthians, they still ring true in the ears of the believer.
standing on God's promisesAs you ponder 2 Corinthians 1:20, think about these words and how they led Noah to build an ark to rescue his family from a global flood.  How they moved Abraham to obedience as he offered his son Isaac as a sacrifice on a mountain in the land of Moriah (Genesis 22:1-14).  As these words challenged Moses to lead the children of Israel from the grip of Egypt.  Or even yet, for Jesus himself to die on the cross for the sins of humanity clinging to the truth of Psalm 16:10.  Each of these men and many more men and women of the bible trusted the words of God because they are true.  They are true not simply because they are given by God (although enough), but true because they find their “Yes” in Jesus the Christ.
In order to understand Paul, we must first caution ourselves about promises.  In that, promises in the bible are given for a reason.  Some live life day to day banking on the promises of others because that is what “gets them through.”  For example, you are retired and living on a fixed income; you have little in the realm of retirement money and rely heavily on your social security check.  Uncle Sam promises to give you a check each month based on your contributions and more. You rely day to day on this promise because without the check you can’t survive or get through.
Let me caution you from thinking of biblical promises along these lines.  Sure I would be the first to argue that we can’t survive our Christian walk without standing on the promises of God.  There is a very real sense that they are given in order “to get through.”  But we can’t stop there.  To make a promise an end in itself is to make it an idol that leads to destruction.
Paul encourages us to look beyond the promise itself and see what it leads to.  When he tells the Corinthians, “All the promises of God find their Yes in him…” the him is Jesus and for Paul and all Christendom, Jesus is the ultimate promise fulfilled.  Therefore, to be in Christ (this will be another topic at a later date), is to receive the fulfillment of God’s word through Scripture.  Outside of Christ, the promises mean nothing other than words spoken.
More will be said on the above at a later time.  It will also be the theme of many posts as we work through 2 Corinthians.  Yet there is one more reality that beckons our attention.  It has to do with the end game in mind, the latter part of verse 20, “That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.“  Everything in life is for the glory of God.  The fulfillment of God’s promises, although acted out in life, is done in order for him to obtain glory.  Oh I receive joy, happiness and a renewed sense of purpose but it is predicated on God receiving glory first.  This is true all over Scripture.  1 Thessalonians 1:11-12 reads;

“To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (ESV)  

The work of faith is accomplished in us so at the end of the day he receives the glory.  Or 1 Peter 4:11, “whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (ESV)  God gives us strength in order that he is glorified through Jesus (who we are united to, cf. Romans 6:5).
The end goal of all the promises is to glorify God.  Isn’t that why we were created?  To bring God all glory?  This is much easier when we remember that God always sticks to his word, fulfills his plan through his Son Jesus Christ, leaving us never to worry again.
May you seek out the rich blessings of God’s promises and glorify him as they are evidenced in your life!
About Nick Foss
Since 2007 Nick has served Goodwins Mills Advent Christian Church in Maine.  He is a graduate of the Berkshire Institute for Christian Studies (Certificate), Lancaster Bible College (BS in Bible), and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (Master of Divinity). Nick and his wife Beccy have four daughters, Malina and Cecilia, Lydia and Audrea. His blog site is Promises in Christ (PiC).