We so often quote, and sing, versions of this phrase, all the promises of God are yes and amen. It is an attractive statement which appeals to our senses. We all associate a promise with something good, something that we can look forward to. And, if we are honest with ourselves, we are drawn to affirmation. Yes, is the perfect word, the agreeable word. But do we fully understand the context and the meaning of what we are saying? Or are we missing an essential part of this phrase?
The Promises of God are Yes and Amen
For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.2 Corinthians 1:20 NIV
The apostle Paul was writing to the early church in Corinth in response to an accusation of being inconsistent and untrustworthy. He had planned to make an extended visit to them but had modified his plan. Instead, he passed quickly through on his way to Macedonia with the suggestion that he would return later. Then, once again, he had to change his itinerary.
Paul defended his integrity with the explanation of his decision to twice change his plans. He did not do this lightly, but for a valid reason, and his actions were prompted by God. Paul’s schedule and itinerary were guided by the Holy Spirt. (The Apostle Paul in Philippi)
He appeals to the Corinthian church to reflect on the message that he had preached, that the consistent truth of the gospel is the foundation stone of our faith. God is faithful, and the gospel is based on Jesus Christ who affirms all of God’s promises to His people.
For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.2 Corinthians 1:20 NKJV
The fulfilment of Old Testament prophecies reveals the authority and reliability of God’s word. Jesus is the promised Messiah, and all of God’s promises, throughout Scripture have their fulfilment in Jesus’ ancestry, birth, life, death, and in His resurrection.
All the Promises of God
In the gospel of Matthew, which was written primarily to an audience of Jewish Christians, the author starts with the genealogy of Jesus. It was important to lay out clearly that Jesus was the promised Messiah, and the fulfilment of Old Testament Scripture – God’s promises to their ancestors.
God had promised Abraham that all nations on earth would be blessed through one of his descendants, that Messiah would come from his line. That it would be through Abraham and Sarah’s son, Isaac. This was a promise made to them when they were both, in their old age, beyond the normal age of childbearing.
Then God said, “Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.Genesis 17:19
From Biblical times onwards, in fact until very recently, the law was one of primogeniture as regards inheritance. That meant that the eldest son would inherit the main portion of any wealth, land, or property.
In the story of Isaac’s two sons Esau and Jacob, Esau as the elder, was the one who should inherit. But Jacob, with his mother’s help as he was her favourite son, tricked his father to give him the blessing of the firstborn. He stole his brother’s birth-right. Along with that blessing came the line of descent of the Messiah.
I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a sceptre will rise out of Israel.Numbers 24:17
The natural expected line of descent would be Abraham to Isaac to Esau. Instead the line of descent passed through Jacob. He became part of the expected ancestry of the Messiah to fulfil God’s covenant with Abraham.
All the Promises of the Bible
On his deathbed Jacob prophecies over his sons. It is to Judah, his fourth born son, that he speaks words of sovereignty, of leadership, strength and courage. Judah’s greatest descendant is Jesus Christ, the Lion of Judah and the fulfilment of all of God’s promises to His people.
Our expected order can be overthrown, God is not constrained by our traditions. He does not depend on us for His word to be fulfilled but we depend on God that His plans and purposes always prevail. These are just one or two small examples of God weaving all things together, revealing that His word always accomplishes His purpose.
God does not depend on us for His word to be fulfilled, but we depend on Him that His plans and purposes always prevail.Tweet
Jesus’ ancestry was important to the Jewish Christians over two thousand years ago, and it is important to us today. It evidences the infallibility of God’s word. Paul as a Pharisee, a scholar of Old Testament Scripture understood that ALL of God’s promises are fulfilled in Jesus. That was the basis of Paul’s declaration to the church in Corinth, that it is in Christ that all of God’s promises are ‘Yes’. In Him they are fulfilled and become a reality, so that we can say, Amen, so be it. With our Amen, we affirm who Jesus is for the glory of God.
This means that in an uncertain and rapidly changing world, we have hope. Our faith is based on a sure foundation, confidence in the infallibility and inerrancy of God’s word. His word to us today is unfailing and His word is truth.
There may be times when we feel that people let us down. Other Christians may let us down, as no-one is perfect, we are all a work in progress. But other people’s behaviour, whoever they are, should not impact our faith. We depend and rely on God’s Word and on His faithfulness, in and through Jesus.
What are the promises of God?
There are many ‘promises’ in Scripture. Depending how you interpret the word ‘promise’, there are different figures given from 3,000, up to 30,000! Bible Gateway, quotes 5,467 divine promises. God is intentionally for the good of those who love Him. His plan is woven throughout time, from the beginning of creation, up to the present age, and on into the future. And we are chosen, loved, and adopted into God’s plan, through Jesus, our Lord and Saviour.
This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.Ephesians 3:6
It is good to strengthen our faith through the word of God. We have inherited every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus. God has made available to us all that we need, through our knowledge of Jesus, to live the abundant life now. We receive the freedom, love, joy and peace, of the Holy Spirit.
There are many verses of Scripture that encourage, strengthen and build our faith through difficult times. So many good promises of Scripture that we can take hold of, and depend on. It is always our response to God’s word that has the potential to draw us closer to Him – as God’s word reveals His character and deepens our relationship with Him.
Related post: Light for the Shadows – A-Z God’s Promises.
To Bethlehem & Beyond, 31 Daily Readings, Sharon Hazel
As we approach the Christmas Season do you find it difficult, among all the busyness, to focus on the reason we are celebrating? I have a new daily reading devotional for December which may help. It is available, on Amazon, Kindle and Paperback, UK, US.
‘To Bethlehem & Beyond’ travels through Scripture reflecting on God’s plan, the people drawn into the nativity story, and the promises fulfilled. Each day has a Scripture reading, a short reflection, a take-away thought/question, a psalm verse and a prayer. In the paperback version there is room for you to journal your response to the word.
I also have a great free gift – click over to the Resource page to check out a daily reading plan for December, and a subscriber gift – To Bethlehem & Beyond Advent Journal!