A long-time friend from Tulsa asked me to explain my understanding of 2 Corinthians 1:20 in context of Paul’s letter to that church. Since I said in a recent FB post that 2 Corinthians 1:20 may have become my new life message, succeeding Philippians 3, particularly verses 13 and 14. The “why” of Philippians is explained briefly below. Here is my friend’s question and my response:
Help me understand what your interpretation of this passage is. The context is very confusing. The way I read it, Paul is talking about changing his mind about coming to Corinth (“yes, I’m coming” vs. “no, I’m not coming”) but fortunately in Christ (by the promises of God) we have the assurance that “yes” he is coming (to which we say “amen”). Is this your take as well?
In explaining that his plans were subject to change, Paul had believed the Corinthian church would understand. It seems that Paul had received some feedback that his changed plans were seen as a broken promise. He used the circumstance to illustrate that their perception of a broken promise should not be seen as evidence that their preaching had been untrue, but their message was “yes” in Christ. In fact, he continued, ALL of God’s promises were, in Christ, delivered to us. We add our “Amen (so be it)” in acceptance of the promises so that, when they are fulfilled, God is glorified. The Father made the promises; Jesus delivered/fulfilled them; we receive them; and God is glorified.
When we fully grasp the concept–when we fully realize that ALL of God’s promises through Christ are “Yes”, then we add our “Amen” to receive them. It begins with the greatest promise of them all, eternal life. But it continues through the promises of health, provision, safety, security and so on. Fully grasping the concept is to fully receive by faith that in Him is the fulfillment of all God’s promises. The purpose…not so much that we can be “blessed” (a position oft-times perceived by charismatics) but that so He can be glorified. It’s not about us…its all about “HIM”.
The “Why” of Philippians 3 stems from my arrival in NW AR over 14 years ago, when I found that the church I had been given was dwelling on the sins and mistakes of the past and not letting them go. For over 18 months I preached a “One Thing I Do” message. As our ministry expanded, I discovered that not letting go of the past–both the bad and the good-was keeping people from moving forward. So I have continued for years to preach, “You gotta let go and press on toward the mark…” I now see that if you truly grasp ALL of the promises of God are “YES”, it’s easier to let go and move forward so you can glorify God.