God's Certainties and Man's Certitudes
2 Corinthians 1:20
For all the promises of God in him are yes, and in him Amen, to the glory of God by us.

"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.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.

WEB: For however many are the promises of God, in him is the "Yes." Therefore also through him is the "Amen," to the glory of God through us.

Corinthians. God's Yea; Man's Amen
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