The Faithfulness of God (2 Corinthians 1:12-24)
Accusations Against Paul (verses 12-17)
The apostle Paul had made changes to his original plans to visit the church in Corinth, and some among the Corinthians were accusing him of unfaithfulness or insincerity because he did not end up doing what he initially intended. Paul responded to the accusations by revealing that his life and decisions were shaped by his theological convictions. In other words, his ministry is tied to the Trinitarian God: (1) God’s faithful nature, (2) the promises that God fulfills in Christ Jesus, and (3) the Holy Spirit’s application of redemption.
God is Faithful (verse 18)
Paul says that just as God is faithful, so also his word to the Corinthians was not spoken in insincerity. His life and ministry modeled the character of our faithful God. He is a God of truth who keeps His promises and He is eternally committed to displaying His trustworthiness to us. We should seek to understand the biblical connection between God’s character and our own behavior. In other words, we should seek to be holy, as God is holy (1 Peter 1:16). We should also avoid the error of those who were accusing Paul of insincerity, making rash judgments and throwing out unfounded charges against him. They were guilty of a critical spirit and were quick to find fault. Remember, love believes all things (1 Corinthians 13:7).
God’s Faithfulness is Displayed in Jesus (verses 19-20)
Far from being fickle and changeable, Jesus keeps His word and fulfills the Father’s promises. All the promises the Father made concerning our salvation and spiritual blessings have been and are fulfilled in Jesus Christ. He is the fulfillment of the promised serpent-crusher (Genesis 3:15). He is the one through whom all the families of the earth are blessed (Genesis 12:3). He is the one whose kingdom endures forever and who is seated on His throne eternally (2 Samuel 7:16). All of the Scriptures testify about Him and He alone is the way, the truth, and the life, apart from whom no one can ever come to the Father (John 5:39, John 14:6). In Christ, God’s purpose to redeem us is fulfilled and God’s promises to make us His own children are consummated. Because God did not spare Jesus, His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, God will also freely give us all things with Jesus (Romans 8:32). Because of Jesus, God will always and forever say “yes!” to you when you seek salvation and divine resources from Him. To His “yes!” we add our “amen!,” or our affirmation “It’s true!”. Even when God says “no” to our requests because they are contrary to His will, even His “no” is actually a “yes!” to those things which are truly for our good.
The Application of Redemption by the Holy Spirit (verses 21-22)
By His Holy Spirit God has established us and continually establishes us with Christ. By His Holy Spirit He anoints us, setting us apart and giving us power as He did Christ Jesus. By His Holy Spirit He has sealed us, which in ancient times was a sign of ownership and security. His Holy Spirit has also been given to us as a pledge, or a down payment and guarantee that all His intentions and loving obligations in Christ Jesus will be fulfilled.
1 – Paul’s own faithfulness was modeled after God’s faithfulness. In your reading of the Scriptures over the past few days, what have you learned about the character of God? How should that specific knowledge of His character affect your own character?
2 – Knowing that God always responds with a resounding “yes!” when we seek salvation and divine resources in Him, are you allowing that confidence to carry you to His throne of grace to seek His mercy? What promises from His Word are of particular encouragement to you today, and how might they affect your praying?