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What Good are Promises Without Anyone to Believe Them?


Noah builds an altarFor as many as are the promises of
God, in Him they are yes;

therefore also through Him is
our Amen to the glory
of God through us.
(2 Cor. 1:20)

Every Christian is the inheritor of rich promises, the value of which are greater than the world, because they deliver from the world.

They start with the promise of a Deliverer in the Garden of Eden and the promises made to the Fathers of Israel, continue on with the promises made to Moses in the Old Covenant – and culminate with the promises made to you in the New Covenant. Why, the word ‘promise’ is itself a synonym of ‘covenant.’

But what good are promises without anyone to believe them?

Paul knows that the faith of the Christians in Corinth is under attack, and it is crumbling under the assault of some leaders in the church slandering him. So the first thing Paul does, to rebuild their faith, is to point them to Christ.

Jesus Christ was unceasingly slandered and vilified, and that by the most notable voices of Israel. The people were of two minds concerning Him, and those with the power of the sword overcame those with the power of moral virtue.

So after slandering the Holy One of God, and threatening anyone who was his supporter with arrest and worse, they killed Him (John 10:10).

But it was organized. Men gathered together secretly, devised a plan to humiliate Jesus, and tried to get what was His. So too, in Corinth, there was an organized opposition to Paul and it greatly compromised the faith of the elect there with doubt. So Paul immediately assures them that God’s promises are not ‘maybe’ and ‘I hope so,’ but ‘YES!’

God Himself stands behind them: ‘in Him they are yes!’ God attests to both Christ and the truthfulness of His promises to anyone who will believe Him. We call this God’s self-attestation. It is also called “knowing God” in the promise of the New Covenant: ‘for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest.’

We therefore always stand underneath them: our response is our “Amen!” the response of faith.

All that you could desire in righteousness resides in Christ. All that you could want in goodness, in life, and in death, is Jesus Christ. The ‘Amen’ here is the response of believer in Sunday worship. The word means truth, as in “true dat!” Such a response glorifies God as the guarantor of His promises.
So here’s Paul’s point. How come the elect in Corinth give an ‘Amen’ to God every Sunday? Evolution? Spontaneous generation? No!

Men like Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, and others like Apollos, taught them God’s promises, so much so, Paul writes of the Corinthians that they give the Amen to God “through us”! – through their teaching ministry.

So the Christians are being inconsistent with their faith in God, but consistent to their sin natures of unbelief.

They had been taught to trust in God’s promises through Paul, and now that circumstances changed, they doubted Paul. Where will that lead, but eventual distrust of God Himself?

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