2 Corinthians 1:17-20
When I therefore was thus minded, did I use lightness? or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh…

I. THE UNCHANGEABLENESS OF CHRIST. He is "the same yesterday, and today, and forever" (Hebrews 13:8). Paul, compelled by circumstances to alter his plans, and charged with fickleness, dreaded lest inconstancy should be associated with his Master or with the doctrines of the gospel. He passes rapidly from a defence of himself to defend that which is of so much more importance. Well would it be if we were equally jealous of the honour of Christ, equally anxious that through us no shadow should fall upon his glory. Christ is unchangeable as

(1) a Saviour,

(2) a Teacher,

(3) an Example,

(4) an Advocate,

(5) a Master,

(6) a Friend.

II. THE UNCHANGEABLENESS OF GOD. Illustrated by the fulfilment of Divine promises in Christ (ver. 20). Not one jot or tittle has fallen to the ground. In Christ is the "yea" - the affirmation, the accomplishment of Divine promise. True believers acknowledge this; "through him is the Amen" (ver. 20, new version); they say "Amen" to the Divine faithfulness which they see so strikingly illustrated in Christ. This is "to the glory of God." The glory of his character is proclaimed. God is not inconstant. A promise made by him is, to all intents and purposes, a promise fulfilled. This unchangeableness applies to all Divine dealing. Threat will as certainly be fulfilled as promise. Many believe in the semi-unchangeableness of God. They think he will fulfil all that they wish to be fulfilled, and kindly dispense with the remainder. They make their own god, as the heathen do.

III. THE UNCHANGEABLENESS OF CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE. Christian doctrine is certain, definite, abiding. It is not "yea" today and "nay" tomorrow (ver. 18). As there is no change in Christ, there is no room for change in statements respecting him. The apostle was assured that what he promulgated was the truth about the Truth. To change from that would have been to embrace error. If we change our utterances concerning the Saviour, we are justified only in so far as our prior statement was erroneous. The "old gospel" is the gospel for all new times. In Christianity the truest progress is to go back - to go back to what God himself revealed. As we do that, "more light will break from God's Word." But note, it will break from God's Word, not from the poor constellations of human wisdom. There, in the Word, we have the doctrine, which, like him in whom it centres, is" the same yesterday, and today, and forever." There is no development in Christian doctrine as the ages roll on. There may be much development in our knowledge of it. The same doctrine is to come from the lips of all preachers at all times. The doctrine preached by Paul was preached also by Silvanus and Timothy (ver. 19).

IV. THE UNCHANGEABLENESS OF THE TRUE BELIEVER. This is relative, not absolute. But in proportion as we resemble Christ we shall become unchangeable - unchangeable in principle, in bent of mind, in love of holiness, in life purpose, etc. We are not to be fickle, but steadfast. Men are to find us ever the same in loyalty to Christ, in devotion to his service. Paul was charged with lightness, instability of purpose (ver. 17); but it was a false charge. He altered his movements that he might not be altered himself. The same principles which led him to form his plans led him to change them. Change in them was evidence of unchangeableness in him. Inconstancy and inconsistency were grievous charges in apostolic eyes. - H.

Parallel Verses
KJV: When I therefore was thus minded, did I use lightness? or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be yea yea, and nay nay?

WEB: When I therefore was thus determined, did I show fickleness? Or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be the "Yes, yes" and the "No, no?"

Yea and Nay Men
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