2 Corinthians 1:24


Monday, 8 June 2015

Not that we have dominion over your faith, but are fellow workers for your joy; for by faith you stand. 2 Corinthians 1:24

Paul’s words here are given to explain his words of the previous verse. He just said, “…to spare you I came no more to Corinth.” He is qualifying that statement now so that his audience knows that neither he nor any of the apostles had “dominion over” their faith.

Each person comes to Christ in the same way, by grace through faith, and they have the right to grow in their own way. If they are “on-fire” for the Lord, or if they quietly follow Him in their hearts, they have dominion over their own faith. Although believers should be encouraged to attend Bible studies and worship services, it is not up to someone else to dictate to them whether they actually do. This is true even with Paul and the apostles, as he now notes.

Instead, they “are fellow workers for” their joy. They were to encourage, build up, correct in doctrine, etc. But they were not the lords over the faith of those they ministered to, and that same tradition carries on today between pastors and congregants within the church. This is explicitly noted by Peter in his first epistle –

“…nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.” 1 Peter 5:3

Like Paul of the past, pastors are to be examples to the flock, not lords over them. Paul understood this and wanted those in Corinth to understand it as well. His cancelled visit to Corinth was to spare them from a loss of joy, not a loss of fellowship with Christ. And the reason for this is because for them, as with every true believer, it is “by faith that you stand.” How can someone else control the faith of another? They cannot! And therefore, they have no right to exercise dominion over that same faith. This notion that we are saved by faith is stated by Paul many times. The idea that we also stand by faith is mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15 –

“Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand.” 1 Corinthians 15:1

Life application: If you are in a church where the pastor wields too much authority over your spiritual life, you should be extremely careful. This can be, and has many times, turned into a cult with terrible consequences. Jim Jones, the Branch Davidians, the Mormons, the Jehovah’s Witnesses and many other cults started with leaders that exercised dominion over their congregants. Many times in history it has ended badly for the lives of those people. And the eternal consequences of such a relationship lead in only one sad direction.

Heavenly Father, I am so thankful that I stand in my relationship to You by faith alone. There is nothing I need to do in order to be saved except to believe the gospel message of Christ. And there is nothing I need to do after that in order to remain saved. I stand by faith in that same wondrous Lord. Knowing this, I now ask for the heart to exercise that faith in the pursuit of knowledge and obedience to Your word, knowing that my eternal rewards or losses will be counted based on this. Give me a yearning to know and serve Jesus more! Amen.

2 Corinthians 1:23


Sunday, 7 June 2015

Moreover I call God as witness against my soul, that to spare you I came no more to Corinth. 2 Corinthians 1:23

After carefully building up his words thus far in Chapter 1, Paul now gives the reason for having not come directly to Corinth as he first proposed. In doing so, he calls out words unique in the New Testament writings by saying, “I call God as witness against my soul…” He had just a few verses earlier confirmed to those in Corinth the words of Jesus about letting your “Yes” be “Yes” and your “No” be “No.” And yet, he now makes this added statement as a confirmation of his honesty and integrity.

This then is not a contradiction of the intent of Jesus’ words. Instead, it shows clearly that he believed they were a general principle for always being truthful in speech to others, but at the same time they are not a “rigid exclusion of the right to appeal to God in solemn cases and for good reasons” (Pulpit Commentary). God has shown us, through His word, that we can in fact make such bold claims when the situation so demands it.

In the case of Paul here, he had a very good reason for not going through Corinth and it required this oath when giving it. In his words to them, he gives the reason as “…to spare you I came no more to Corinth.” If he had come at the time he originally said he would come, it would not have been a visit filled with love and tenderness, but one filled with discipline and probably very hard feelings between both sides. He alluded to this in 1 Corinthians 4 –

“What do you want? Shall I come to you with a rod, or in love and a spirit of gentleness?” 1 Corinthians 4:21

Paul only had the best intent for the Corinthians and their mutual friendship in mind. It is this that he now conveys to them.

Life application: We are certainly implored by the Lord to fulfill the words that we speak, but there may be times when amending our actions are actually more necessary than fulfilling the original plans we have conveyed. If so, however, we should be careful to explain why we have made the changes, including what was involved in the decision. Paul has set a good example of this for us in 2 Corinthians 1.

Lord, grant me the wisdom to know when to promise and when to withhold promises that I may have to later break. But if I cannot fulfill my original words to others, help me to be able to properly explain my motives and the benefits to all concerned for why they had to be changed. Help me to never take my words lightly, but to be conscientious about what I have spoken so that others see a person of integrity and trustworthiness. I ask this so that they will see my devotion to You in the most favorable light. Amen.



2 Corinthians 1:22


Saturday, 6 June 2015

…who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. 2 Corinthians 1:22

In the previous verse, Paul noted that those who believe in Christ are anointed by God. Tied to this comes another benefit, an eternal one. Understanding what he is speaking of here should completely put at ease anyone who has been confused about the doctrine of “eternal salvation.” In other words, can a person “lose” their salvation? The answer is “No!” God Himself has anointed us and God Himself has “sealed us.”

The word for “sealed” is sphragizó. It means “properly to seal (affix) with a signet ring or other instrument; to stamp.” It “signifies ownership and the full security carried by the backing (full authority) of the owner. ‘Sealing’ in the ancient world served as a ‘legal signature’ which guaranteed the promise (contents) of what was sealed.” A change in ownership has taken place and that change, from the devil to God, bears His seal. As there is no higher authority in heaven or on earth, it must be an eternal salvation. God does not make mistakes.

Further, as evidence of this, Paul notes that He has “given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” The word “guarantee” is the Greek word arrabón. It properly means, “A pledge; an earnest, earnest-money, a large part of the payment, given in advance as a security that the whole will be paid afterwards.” The sealing of the Spirit is “a guarantee.” To say that a person who receives God’s anointing, seal, and Spirit could then lose it is to accuse God of reneging on a guarantee that He has made; it is an impossible situation to even consider.

As Paul says in Ephesians 1:13, 14 –

“In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.”

Paul notes there, using the same words sphragizó and arrabón, the certainty of eternal salvation. Any other verses which appear to contradict this doctrine have either been misunderstood or they been taken out of their intended context. God is not in the business of making errors, especially with the Gift of the Holy Spirit.

This Greek word, arrabón is a transliteration from the Hebrew word erabon. Both words are used only three times in Scripture. In the Old Testament, they are all found in Genesis 38, in a story which seems so peculiar that it is almost universally misunderstood. The three times it is found in the New Testament are in Paul’s writings – 2 Corinthians 1:22, 2 Corinthians 5:5, and Ephesians 1:14. To obtain a fuller understanding of the significance of that beautiful Old Testament passage found in Genesis 38, please make time to watch this sermon on YouTube -https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezrTF468Q_I

Life application: If you are like every other person on earth (and you are), then you will fail your Lord often after you call out to Him for salvation. However, He has received you and you have been sealed for the day of redemption. Don’t allow others to make you feel you have “lost” your salvation. You could no more do so than God would reject His own Son Jesus. You have moved to Him and you are “in” Him. You are secure. Press on in His good graces with this surety. Pick up the pieces of your sin and rebellion, place them in the garbage can, and move on in His security.

Lord God, thank You for the absolute security I have in You because of the work of Jesus. I am fully confident in the doctrine of “eternal salvation” because it is what Your word teaches. I know that I will stumble and fall, and I know that You have already forgiven me for doing so. Grant me wisdom to live properly before You, but keep reminding me that I am Yours, now and forever, because of the work of another… because of Jesus! Hallelujah and Amen.









2 Corinthians 1:21


Friday, 5 June 2015

Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God. 2 Corinthians 1:21

Paul ties these words in with the “Amen” of the previous verse. There he said –

“For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.”

In Christ is the Amen, the establishment of who we are in God because in Him is the fulfillment of all of God’s promises. When we unite with Him, we participate in those things, thus we are established. Expanding on that, he says “Now He who establishes us with you in Christ…” In other words, our position is externally granted and fixed. It is not something that we have done, but something that has been done for us. This “us” is probably referring to Paul and those whom he was with because he says “us with you.”

Paul and those with him, along with the Corinthians (and any who have received Christ) have been established in Christ. Further, He “has anointed us.” The word for “anointed” is chrio. It is used only five times in the New Testament. All other four instances are referring to Jesus – Luke 4:18, Acts 4:27, Acts 10:38, Hebrews 1:9. Jesus is the “Anointed,” which is the meaning of Christ. And in Him we have received an anointing from God.

In the Greek of this verse, there is a change in the tense of the verbs. The word “establishes” is a present participle, but the “anoints” is an aorist. We are continually being established and upheld in Christ, but we are, at whatever moment we received Christ “anointed.” Therefore, it should read “anointed” rather than “has anointed.” It may seem trivial, but Paul’s words were written 2000 years ago and yet they still apply today, 2000 years later. When a person calls on Christ, they are anointed in Christ. From that moment on they are established and continue to be established. “Now He who is continually establishing us with you in Christ and, who anointed us, is God.” 2 Corinthians 1:21 (CGV – Charlie Garrett Version)

Life application: God has done everything necessary for us in Christ. He has done the work through Him, He has anointed us in Him, and He continues to establish us in Him. It is by grace we are saved, through faith, and that not of ourselves. Rather, it is the gift of God. Let us not boast, but instead proclaim the greatness of God in Christ.

Heavenly Father, grant us the ability to endure the heartaches of this life. They come at the most unexpected times and in the most unexpected ways. And some are utterly debilitating, robbing us of our sleep, our ability to concentrate, and even to taste the food that we must force down. We are limited in our understanding of why things happen and we cannot see the end which You can. In these times of distress, help us to have the confident trust that You have it all under control. Grant us Your peace through the overwhelming storms of life. Amen.



2 Corinthians 1:20


Thursday, 4 June 2015

For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.  2 Corinthians 1:20

Speaking of Christ Jesus, Paul says that “all the promises of God in Him are Yes.” However, the translation here with the inserted “are” makes “Yes” the predicate of the promises. That is not the intent. Rather, what Paul is saying is that Christ is the incarnate answer to the promises of God. Thus, it should be stated as a separate clause. “For how many soever be the promises of God, in him is the yea.” (ERV)

It is Christ who is the fulfillment of the promises. When we call on Him, those promises which were fulfilled in Him now belong to us. Going on it says “and in Him Amen.” Vincent’s Word Studies notes that “In giving this answer in His person and life, Christ puts the emphatic confirmation upon God’s promises.” God made promises and those promises are emphatically fulfilled in Jesus.

This is explained by Him when He spoke to the leaders of Israel in John 5 –

“And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form. 38 But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. 39 You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. 40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.” John 5:37-39

He is the fulfillment of Scripture and therefore the promises of God which were made to the people of God (to Abraham for example, explaining that in his seed all nations of the earth would be blessed) are realized in Him. Paul gives this thought in Romans 15 –

“Now I say that Jesus Christ has become a servant to the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers, and that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy…” Romans 15:8, 9

And in the book of Hebrews, we read this –

“And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.” Hebrews 9:15

Every Messianic promise is realized in Him and in Him is the Amen. It means he is faithful and true. In Him is the confirmation and establishment of those promises. In Revelation 3:14 He is called the “Amen” to demonstrate this.

Life application: As you read the Bible and consider the promises of God, realize that God Himself fulfilled each of them in Christ. When we receive Him, those promises now belong to us because of Him. Let us be ever-thankful for the wonderful, tender mercies of God who promised and fulfilled for beings such as us.

Heavenly Father, You made many promises in the Old Testament about a new life and a new hope of living in Your presence again. And then You sent Jesus to fulfill those promises. In him is the “Yes” of all of them. Now that I have called on Him, I am included in the fulfillment of them. I am again reconciled to You through what He did. It all came from You, it all belongs to You, and all the glory is to be given to You. Thank You for Jesus who has made all things new. Amen!