2 Corinthians 1:20
For all the promises of God are "Yes" in Christ. And so through Him, our "Amen" is spoken to the glory of God.
All God's Promises Yea in ChristJ. Denney, B. D.2 Corinthians 1:20
All the Promises2 Corinthians 1:20
Corinthians. God's Yea; Man's AmenAlexander Maclaren2 Corinthians 1:20
God's Certainties and Man's CertitudesA. Maclaren, D. D.2 Corinthians 1:20
The Certainty of Divine PromisesD. Fraser 2 Corinthians 1:20
The PromisesH. W. Beecher.2 Corinthians 1:20
The Promises of GodJonathan Crowther.2 Corinthians 1:20
The Promises, How They Become OursW. Jay.2 Corinthians 1:20
Defence of Himself; Character of His PreachingC. Lipscomb 2 Corinthians 1:12-24
UnchangeablenessE. Hurndall 2 Corinthians 1:17-20
The Promises of GodJ.R. Thomson 2 Corinthians 1:18-20

I. ALL THE PROMISES OF GOD. From the first (Genesis 3:15) which points to the Saviour's first coming, to the last (Revelation 22:20) which assures us of his second coming, these are all very good. Their range is vast, their bounty large, their comfort sweet and strong. They bring balm to our wounds, help to our infirmities, rest to our weariness, encouragement to our prayers. They are "exceeding great and precious." Scattered as the promises are over the Bible, they should be searched out and read with an intelligent regard to the time when they were given, the persons to whom they were addressed, and the nature of the dispensation under which they were issued. They are profitable in a general sense as exhibiting the Divine character and mind, and they convey individual comfort to those who, in express terms or by fair inference from the express terms, are indicated in particular promises. These comprehend assurances of

(1) temporal welfare;

(2) Free pardon;

(3) a renewed and obedient heart;

(4) the indwelling of the Holy Spirit;

(5) the return of the Lord and our gathering to him in his glory.

These are the keys to open all doors in the dungeons of Doubting Castle and set captives free. These are the strong withes that bind the holiest affections of men, or the cords and bands let down from above, which they hold as they skirt the precipices of moral danger and climb the steep places of duty. These are the stepping stones across waters of despondency, on which pilgrims may pass dry shod to the happy shore.

II. THE SECURITY OF ALL THOSE PROMISES IS IN JESUS CHRIST. No Divine promises are made to us out of Christ, and no promise in him can fail. This arises from:

1. The constitution of his mediatorial Person. He is very God and very man: God who is true and cannot lie, in union with a guileless Man who had no deceit in his mouth.

2. The nature of his mediatorial offices. As he is the Prophet, all the promises of Divine teaching and enlightenment are secure in him. As he is the Priest, all the promises of pardon, of acceptance in worship, and of salvation to the uttermost are secure in him. As he is the King, all the promises of the subdual of sin and of deliverance from spiritual adversaries are secure in him.

3. The covenant relations of Christ to his people. They are so comprehended in him or represented by him that all the promises made to him are for their help and consolation, and all the promises made to them are for his glory. So are they assured of pardon through him, eternal life in him, the Holy Spirit of him and by him, and the new heavens and new earth with him who is the Amen, faithful and true.

III. THE END IN VIEW IN THE SURENESS or THE PROMISES. "For glory to God through us." It is glorifying to him that we go to the promises for solace and live on the promises by faith. It was when Abraham believed a promise, and was strengthened in faith, that he gave glory to God. And this way of glorifying our God is open to all of us. Let us not stagger at his promises, but believe his love and rely on his faithfulness, He cannot deny himself. Glory be to the Father, who promises to be a Father to us, and to take us for his sons and daughters! Glory be to the Son, in whom all things are ours by free grace, and God himself is not ashamed to be called our God! Glory be to the Holy Ghost, for the anointing, the sealing, and the earnest in our hearts (vers. 21, 22)! The promises of God being established in Christ, we too who believe are established in Christ by the Holy Spirit, and so the promises are ours. What will you do who have no hold of the promises, no hearty faith in the Divine Promiser? For you there is no bright future; for the inheritance is by promise of free grace in Christ Jesus. Yet we do not ask you to believe a promise. Strictly speaking, there is no promise to men who are not in Christ. But Christ himself is set before you and offered to you. Believe on the Name of the only begotten Son of God, according to the tenor of the gospel. Then all things will be yours. The promises of grace and glory are for you; for they are all yea and amen in Jesus Christ our Lord. - F.

For all the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.
I. THE DIGNITY OF THE PROMISES. They are "the promises of God."

1. They were each one made by Him according to the purpose of His own will.

2. They are links between His decrees and His acts; being the voice of the decree, and the herald of the act.

3. They display the qualities of Him who uttered them. They are true, immutable, powerful, eternal, etc.

4. They remain in union with God. After the lapse of ages they are still His promises as much as when He first uttered them.

5. They are guaranteed by the character of God who spoke them.

6. They will glorify Him as He works out their fulfilment.

II. THE RANGE OF THE PROMISES. "All the promises." It will be instructive to note the breadth of the promises by observing that —

1. They are found both in the Old and New Testaments; from Genesis to Revelation, running through centuries of time.

2. They are of both sorts-conditional and unconditional: promises to certain works, and promises of an absolute order.

3. They are of all kinds of things — bodily and spiritual, personal and general, eternal and temporal.

4. They continue blessings to varied characters, such as —(1) The Penitent (Leviticus 26:40-42; Isaiah 4:7; 57:15; Jeremiah 3:12, 13).(2) The Believing (John 3:16, 18; John 6:47; Acts 16:31; 1 Peter 2:6).(3) The Serving (Psalm 37:3; 9:40; Proverbs 3:9, 10; Acts 10:35).(4) The Praying (Isaiah 14:11.; Lamentations 3:25; Matthew 6:6; Psalm 145:18).(5) The Obeying (Exodus 19:5; Psalm 119:1-3; Isaiah 1:19).(6) The Suffering (Matthew 5:10-12; Romans 8:17; 1 Peter 4:12-14).

5. They bring us the richest boons: pardon, justification, sanctification, instruction, preservation, etc. What a marvellous wealth lies in "all the promises"!

III. THE STABILITY OF THE PROMISES. "All the promises in Him are yea, and in Him Amen." A Greek word "Yea," and a Hebrew word "Amen," are used to mark certainty, both to Gentile and Jew.

1. They are established beyond all doubt as being assuredly the mind and purpose of the eternal God.

2. They are confirmed beyond all alteration. The Lord hath said "Amen," and so must it be for ever.

3. Their stability is in Christ Jesus beyond all hazard; for He is

(1)The witness of the promise of God.

(2)The surety of the covenant.

(3)The sum and substance of all the promises.

(4)The fulfilment of the promises, by His actual incarnation, His atoning death, His living plea, His ascension power, etc.

(5)The security and guarantee of the promises, since all power is in His hand to fulfil them.

IV. THE RESULT OF THE PROMISES. "The glory of God by us." By us, His ministers, and His believing people, the God of the promises is made glorious. We glorify —

1. His condescending love in making the promise.

2. His power as we see Him keeping the promise.

3. Him by our faith, which honours His veracity, by expecting the boons which He has promised.

4. Him in our experience which proves the promise true.Conclusion:

1. Let us confidently rest in His sure word.

2. Let us plead the special promise applicable to the hour now passing.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

1. A promise is the antithesis of a threat. The Bible abounds in both.

2. When God more apparently guided the courses of man personally, promises were made to individual men. To patriarchs, prophets, and apostles; and by such they were upborne through trial. But when this became impossible the promises were made applicable to whole nations and generations.

3. Thus the Word of God is filled with assurances of blessings as no other book is. Promises cover the whole period of human life. They meet us at our birth; they cluster about our childhood; they overhang our youth; they go in companies into manhood with us; they divide themselves into bands and stand at the door of every possible experience. Therefore there are promises of God to the ignorant, poor, oppressed, discouraged, etc.; to every affection, to every sphere of duty, to all perils and temptations. There are promises for joy, sorrow, victory, defeat, adversity, prosperity, etc. Old age has its garlands as full and fragrant as youth. All men, everywhere, and always — have their promises of God.

4. They belong to mankind. There have been periods when, for special and beneficent reasons, God's promises seemed to belong only to His own people.

5. And they are fresh with everlasting youth. The stars never wear out; the sun is not weary from the number of years. The heaven and the earth, however, shall pass away, but God's word shall not pass away.

6. Not one promise has ever been unfulfilled. There is not a witness in God's universe that can testify that he has leaned on a promise of God, and that God forgot to be gracious to him.


1. To make rude duties more attractive. It is affecting to see with what tenderness God has taken care of those that no one else cares for. How He goes down to the poor, and the ignorant, and the enslaved. How He goes down to those that can find no motive for right living in their ordinary experience, and says to them, "Be faithful, if not for the sake of your master, then for My sake." And once let us know that We are serving One that we love, and One that loves us, and love vanquishes difficulty.

2. To fortify our faith. Duty is often surrounded by peril or hardship, and is often apparently without adequate result. It is needful, therefore, that there should be some promise which shall assure us that a perilous duty well performed will bring down upon us the Divine blessing. You are oftentimes brought into trials when it seems as though everything would be wrecked, and the world says, "Prudence": experience says, "Draw back"; policy says, "Change a little"; and expediency says, "Compromise"; but the Word of God, which is yea and amen, says, "He that will lose his life for a right principle shall save it." And in the end, when you come to count the wrecks along the shore, you will find those men who would save their lives by losing their principles are the men that have lost their lives.

3. To equalise the conditions of life. Men are of different calibre, and, owing to this, men follow Christ in different ways. Now, if a party of men are going to California assured that each shall be the possessor, in five years, of one million dollars, the differences between them are annihilated while they are going across. One may have twenty-five dollars in his pocket, another a hundred; one may have almost no conveniences, and another all that heart could wish; and yet, if they are assured that in five years they shall each have a million dollars, they do not care for these inequalities. And let the promises of God rest on the poor man's lot, and he forgets the inequalities of life. For that man who is ere long to be crowned in eternity cannot find the road there so hard that he will complain of it.

4. To redeem secular life from barrenness, and make it worth our while to continue faithful to the end. And while there are promises of God that run through our whole lower life, the promises grow broader and deeper as you go up to those spheres where a man is obliged to live by faith, and above the ordinary affairs of life. So the promises of God are in proportion to our exigencies.


1. We are ignorant of them. There is many a man that lives on his farm years and years without knowing the different growths that it produces. Many a man is buried within a yard of plants that, if their healing properties had been known, would have saved his life. Many a field is capable, if properly tilled, of producing fourfold as much as it is made to produce. God's Word is like such a field. There are promises in it that no man has ever tried to find. There are treasures of gold and silver in it that no man has taken the pains to dig for. There are medicines in it, for the want of a knowledge of which hundreds have died.

2. When men find them they do not know how to use them. Tea was first served in England as greens. The people rejected it, and thought it rather an imposition. When potatoes were first introduced into Ireland they were rejected there, because they did not know how to use them. And many and many a man rejects, or fails to profit by, the promises of God's Word, because he does not know how to gather them, and cook them, and use them.

3. We are afraid to venture upon using them. There is many and many a man that would be afraid to trust himself upon a single plank stretched across a deep chasm, though others had walked over on it often without accident. There is many a promise of God that is strong enough to carry men across the abyss of this life, but they do not dare to try it. In an emergency the promises of God are to many men what weapons of defence are to a man who does not know how to use them when he finds that he must fight for his life.

4. We wish the result without the fulfilment of the conditions attached. Many a child that is promised a vacation on condition that he will perform a certain amount of labour, would like the vacation, but does not like the condition on which it is promised. So many of the things promised we would like to steal, instead of working for them.

5. We do not appropriate them. The promise of "grace to help in time of need" comes to men thousands of times without benefiting them for this very reason. Many carry the promises as a miser carries bank bills, the face of which calls for countless treasures, but which he does not carry to the bank for presentation. Many a man holds bills for blessings of God, but does not present them. They enter upon a philosophical inquiry as to whether there is a presumptive argument in favour of prayer, and whether God will stop the laws of nature for our benefit, or so use them as to fulfil His promises to us. But the way to employ a promise of God is to comply with its conditions, and then wait for its fulfilment.

6. Many are afraid of presumption. Well, it may be presumptuous for you to go into a stranger's house without an invitation; but if a man has invited you to come and see him it is presumptuous for you not to take him at his word. And to be afraid to appropriate the promises of God is to charge Him falsely.

7. Many would like to take the promises of God, but they fear they may be self-deceived. You may be, but God is not; and therefore you may rest upon the promises.

8. There are others that have a fear about their own unworthiness; which is as if a man should advertise that he would cure the infirmities of men free of expense, and a blind man should say, "I would go to this physician if I were not so blind." Therefore plead the promises because you are sinful; the nature of goodness is to relieve want, even though that want be founded on sin.

9. Much of the want of faith in the promises comes from a neglect on the part of Christians to bear witness to the fulfilment of those promises in their own experience. There are hundreds of men whose life God has made significant and memorable, and they have never uttered a word about it to those around them.

(H. W. Beecher.)

I. "BY US" AS MINISTERS — publishing, explaining, applying them. A promise is often like a box of ointment, very precious; but the fragrance does not fill the room till the preacher breaks it. Or it is like the water that was near Hagar, which she saw not till God opened her eyes and showed her the well.

II. "BY US" AS RELIEVERS REALISING THE EXCELLENCY AND EFFICACY OF THEM IN OUR CHARACTER AND CONDUCT. It is when these promises are reduced to experience — when they are seen cleansing us from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, making us partakers of the Divine nature, leading us to walk worthy of the vocation wherewith we are called, filling us with kindness and supporting us in trials — it is then they glorify God by us.

(W. Jay.)

Note —

I. THAT THEY ARE THE PROMISES OF GOD. Because they are His promises they are utterly incapable of any failure. "God is not a man that He should lie," etc. In our presumptuous readiness to liken the Almighty to ourselves, we may imagine instances in which Divine promises have failed to be accomplished. But —

1. There may have been an incorrect apprehension as to the subject of the promise; and in the error cherished thereupon, something has been imagined and expected which has not been promised. The Jews misapprehended the meaning of prophecies concerning the Messiah.

2. There may have been some mistake or negligence on our part as to the condition on which the promise was suspended, and the circumstances under which it became actually due.

3. The time for its accomplishment may not be fully come. For the promises of God, though sure, are not in every instance designed for immediate fulfilment.

II. THE TRUTH AND FAITHFULNESS OF THESE PROMISES AS RESULTING FROM THEIR CONNECTION WITH CHRIST. They are "in Him yea, and in Him Amen," as He is the great foundation of the promises. God sees in Him, as our once suffering but now exalted Mediator, an unchangeable and everlasting reason why all His other promises should be fulfilled.


1. In the very circumstance of their original annunciation.

2. As they constitute a new and separate manifestation of His own character and attributes.

3. As in that very act of faith by which those promises are accepted and become available, God is glorified in that particular, in reference to which His glory was, in the first instance of man's sin, insulted and invaded.

4. In the accomplishment of the promises.

5. As furnishing, to all who may be interested in it, an additional encouragement to exercise that faith, by means of which the God of the promises is glorified, and the result of which must be the reiterated accomplishment of the same promise.Conclusion: Learn —

1. The true character of unbelief. It is —



2. The means by which alone the soul can rise to the exercise of that faith in the promises which is required as the condition of their accomplishment, and that it is only when, and in proportion as, we view them in their connection with Christ, that we can so believe them as to receive experimentally and savingly the benefit and comfort of them.

(Jonathan Crowther.)

God's promises are His declarations of what He is willing to do for men, and in the very nature of the case they are at once the limit and inspiration of our prayers. We are encouraged to ask all that God promises, and we must stop there. Christ Himself, then, is the measure of prayer to man; we can ask all that is in Him; we dare not ask anything that lies outside Him. How this should expand our prayers in some directions, and contract them in others! We can ask God to give us Christ's purity, simplicity, meekness, and gentleness, faithfulness and obedience, victory over the world. Have we ever measured these things? Have we ever put them into our prayers with any glimmering consciousness of their dimensions, any sense of the vastness of our request? Nay, we can ask Christ's glory, His resurrection life of splendour and incorruption — the image of the heavenly, God has promised us all of these things, and far more; but has He promised all that we ask? Can we fix our eyes on His Son, as He lived our life in this world, and remembering that this, so far as this world is concerned, is the measure of promise, ask without any qualification that our course here may be free from every trouble? Had Christ no sorrow? Did He never meet with ingratitude? Was He never misunderstood? Was He never hungry, thirsty, weary? If all God's promises are summed up in Him — if He is everything God has to give — can we go boldly to the throne of grace, and pray to be exempted from what He had to bear, or to be richly provided with indulgencies which He never knew? What if all unanswered prayers might be defined as prayers for things not included in the promises — prayers that we might get what God did not get, or be spared from what He was not spared? The spirit of this passage, however, does not urge so much the definiteness as the compass and the certainty of the promises of God. There are "so many" that Paul could never enumerate them, and all of them are sure in Christ. And when our eyes are once opened on Him, does not He Himself become, as it were, inevitably the substance of our prayers? Is not our whole heart's desire, Oh, that I might win Him! Oh, that He might live in me, and make me what He is! Do we not feel that if God would give us His Son, all would be ours that we could take or He could give.

(J. Denney, B. D.)

"Yea" and "amen" are in the A.V. nearly synonymous, and point substantially to the same thing — viz., that Christ is, as it were, the confirmation and seal of God's promises. But the R.V. indicates two different things by the "yea" and the "amen." The one is God's voice, the other is man's. When we listen to God speaking in Christ, our lips are, through Christ, opened to shout our assenting "Amen" to His great promises, Consider —

I. GOD'S CERTAINTIES IN CHRIST. Of course the original reference is to the great promises given in the O.T.; but the principle is good on a wider field. In Christ —

1. There is the certainty about God's heart. Everywhere else we have hopes, fears, guesses, inferences. Nothing will make us sure here but facts. We want to see love in operation if we arc to be sure of it, and the only demonstration of the love of God is to witness it in actual working. And you get it where? On the Cross. "Herein is love, not that we loved God," etc.

2. In Him we have the certainty of pardon. Every deep heart-experience has felt the necessity of having clear knowledge about this. And the only message which answers to the needs of an awakened conscience is the old-fashioned message that Jesus Christ the Righteous has died for us sinful men. All other religions have felt after a clear doctrine of forgiveness, and all have failed to find it. Here is the Divine "Yea!" And on it alone we can suspend the whole weight of our soul's salvation.

3. We have in Christ Divine certainties in regard of life. We have in Him the absolutely perfect pattern to which we are to conform our whole doings. He stands the Law of our lives. We have certainties for life, in the matter of protection, guidance, supply of all necessity, and the like, garnered in Jesus Christ. For He not only conforms, but fulfils, the promises which God has made. Christ is protean, and becomes everything to each man that each man requires. And in some of those sunny islands of the Southern Pacific one tree supplies the people with all that they need for their simple wants, fruit for their food, leaves for their houses, staves, thread, needles, clothing, drink, everything — so Jesus Christ, this Tree of Life, is Himself the sum of all the promises, and, having Him, we have everything that we need.

4. In Christ we have the Divine certainties as to the future, over which, apart from Him, lie cloud and darkness. Here again a verbal revelation is not "enough. We have enough of man's peradventures. What we want is that somebody shall cross the gulf and come back again. And so we get in the Resurrection of Christ the one fact on which men may safely rest their convictions of immortality.

II. MAN'S CERTAINTIES, WHICH ANSWER TO CHRIST'S CERTAINTIES. The latter are in Christ, the former are through Christ. The only fitting attitude for Christians in reference to these certainties is that of unhesitating affirmation and joyful assent.

1. There should be some kind of correspondence between the assurance with which we believe these great truths, and the firmness of the evidence upon which they rest. It is a poor compliment to God to come to His affirmations, and to answer with a hesitating "Amen." Build rock upon rock. Be certain of the certain things; for it is an insult to the certainty of the revelation when there is hesitation in the believer. The Christian verb is "we know," not "we hope, we calculate, we infer, we think," but "we know."

2. I need not speak about the blessedness of such a calm assurance, about the need of it for power, for peace, for effort, for fixedness in the midst of a world and age of change. But I must point to the only path by which that certitude is attainable. "Through Him is the amen." He is the Door. The truths which He confirms are so inextricably intertwined with Himself that you cannot get them and put away Him. Christ's relation to Christ's gospel is not the relation of other teachers to their words. You may accept the words of a Plato, whatever you think of Plato. But you cannot separate Christ and His teaching in that fashion, and you must have Him if you are to get it.

3. If thus we keep near Him our faith will bring us the present experience and fulfilment of the promises, and we shall be sure of them because we have them already. And whilst men are asking, "Do we know anything about God? Is there such a thing as forgiveness?" etc., we can say, "One thing I know, Jesus Christ is my Saviour, and in Him I know God, and pardon, and duty, and sanctifying, and safety, and immortality; and whatever is dark, this, at least, is sun-clear." Get high enough up and you will be above the fog; and while the men down in it are squabbling as to whether there is anything outside the mist, you, from your sunny station, will see the far-off coasts, and haply catch some whiff of perfume from their shore, and see some glinting of a glory upon the shining turrets of "the city that hath foundations." So live near Jesus Christ, and, holding fast by His hand, you may lift up your joyful "Amen" to every one of God's "yeas"; and when the Voice from Heaven says "Yea!" our choral shout may go up, "Amen! Thou art the faithful and true witness."

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

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