February 16, 2020 - The Anointing, the Seal, the Guarantee

The Anointing, the Seal, and the Guarantee

Scripture reading: 2 Corinthians 1:15-22

Paul expresses the desire that he had to visit the saints in Corinth. He wants to reassure them that, even though he had not visited them, he desired to do so. He wanted to impart grace to them.

Grace is favor. What Paul meant was that he wanted to reveal to them truths from the Lord about the many positive things that the Lord had for them.  He would tell them about spiritual realities to encourage them.

We can do this! Every one of us can do this. Instead of talking about sports, movies, fashion, or whatever, we can impart grace to one another. In order to impart grace we need to know what God has revealed. And, in order to know what God has revealed, we must read and study the word. It is a simple thing to tell someone what you have enjoyed in the word that morning. If you do this you will impart grace to whomever you speak. Get supplied each morning so that you can impart grace to someone.

In verses 17 and 18 Paul says that he was not vacillating when he said he was going to come visit them, yet did not. To vacillate means to switch back and forth about a plan of action. It is to be indecisive. Being indecisive is not a good thing. It is a bad thing. As long as we have the information we need to make a decision, then we should make it and not waver once it is made.

Indecisiveness leads to an unsettled feeling and even anxiety. It is better to make a decision, even if it is not the best one, rather than vacillate. This is true in any area of life. Are you considering changing jobs? Then do it. Are you in school? Then apply yourself and strive for excellence; don’t do half-hearted work. Are you courting someone? Then marry them if they have godly character. Don’t waiver. There is great peace that comes with decisiveness.

This is just as true when it comes to serving the Lord. When you are about to pursue Him or do a work for Him just do it.  Do not be distracted by other things.

Being indecisive is a sign of not being simple. And we have seen that simplicity is a godly trait that we ought to have. If we do not have it then we should cultivate it.

Paul then says that Jesus was not “Yes and No.” Jesus was not indecisive. He was singular in his purpose. All the more should we then be, because our Lord was!

Then, in verse 19, Paul calls Jesus the “Yes.” Jesus is Yes! What does that mean? He explains it in just a few words:

 For all the promises of God find their Yes in him.1

The promises of God for his children are fulfilled through, and only through, Christ! Every positive thing in the universe that comes to you, whether it is salvation, or peace of mind, or sanctification, or blessing, or prosperity is all because of Christ and through Christ. Without Christ you would have nothing and you would be nothing other than a vessel of God’s wrath. We owe all to the wonderful Yes – Jesus our Savior.

That Jesus is the Yes does not mean that every prayer we utter will receive an affirmative response from God. It means that God’s promises to us for our good are realized through Jesus.

Paul goes on to say that we utter our “Amen” to God through Christ. You should see that we are not much different than the Corinthians. They were weak. We are weak. Actually, all of are weak in this respect: we cannot even give thanks or appreciation to God in our natural state because of our fallenness. If we thank him, if we say “Amen” to God for what he has done for us, then it is only because Christ is working in us. We say “Amen” because of Christ and through Christ! When you say, “Amen,” this is a sign that Christ is working in you!

 And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us2

Paul says that God has established Paul, Timothy, and all the Corinthian believers in Christ. Some versions have “attached” rather than established (e.g., Recovery Version). If you have faith in Christ then you have been attached to Christ.

There are three things that the apostle teaches in our passage that are meant to encourage and comfort the church at Corinth. These three things are for us, too.

[1.] We have been anointed. The very title, Christ, means the “Anointed One.” Because Christ has the anointing and we are attached to him, the anointing flows to us. There is no anointing apart from Christ. 

See that God is the one who attached us and God is the one who anoints us. It is not of ourselves.

It’s as if Paul were saying, “Yes, I am one with God and I live Christ. But this is not of me; it is of God, who firmly attaches us with you unto Christ and who has anointed us. My being one with God and living Christ are of God, not of myself. “3

Our attachment to Christ was of God and our anointing is of God also. I find this so very reassuring! It doesn’t depend on me!

The attachment does not depend upon us. And, the divine ointment does not depend upon us. However, there is one small thing that does depend upon us. We must abide in Him. We are already attached, but we must live in Him – drawing from his life-supply and not depending on our own willpower to live the Christian life.

Jesus addressed this in John 15:

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.4

Jesus is teaching his own disciples. He is not talking to the lost. He calls them “the branches.” Unbelievers are not attached to Christ. Apart from Christ, that is, part from receiving the life-supply from the living Christ, we cannot bear fruit. Hence, we are attached already, but we must abide – we must live in the supply of his living words which bring life to us.

The illustration that the Lord uses of those who do not abide being gathered as branches and thrown into the fire is not an allusion to an eternal hell. Rather, it is an allusion to the judgment seat of Christ and the divine discipline that may be administered there  (I Cor 3:10-15).

The apostle John addresses the anointing in his first letter as well:

 I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. 27 But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him. 5

The anointing lives in us! Hallelujah! This anointing teaches us.  When John writes that we do not need anyone to teach us, he does not mean this in an absolute sense. Because the Lord Himself has given us teachers in the church and he expects us to learn from them (Eph. 4:11-14).

What exactly is the anointing? The anointing is just the Spirit Himself!

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,6

In verse 6, it is the Spirit that is poured out upon us. An anointing is just a pouring – a pouring of ointment.

The anointing is just the Spirit being poured into us!

[2.] The second thing that will comfort us is that we have been sealed. In the ancient Middle East, as well as throughout the ancient world, documents were sealed with a wax and the imprimatur of a ring or separate object, while the wax was still soft, in order to denote both ownership and authenticity. Once someone saw the stamp upon the wax that closed the scroll, they knew that it was a true document from the owner.

The image that Paul confers by using the language of sealing is that God Himself, as the owner, puts his seal upon us. By doing this he proclaims that we belong to him and that we are authentic children of God!

If you have professed a sincere faith in Christ then God has put his imprimatur, his stamp, upon you! He says, “This one belongs to me!” He says, “This one is authentic!” Oh! This is glorious! This is an encouragement! This is a comfort.

What exactly is the seal? The seal is also just the Spirit Himself. Paul makes this clear in Ephesians:

13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,7

See, then, that the seal is the Holy Spirit. 

[3.] Thirdly, we have a guarantee. It is a guarantee that what God has promised us he will deliver to us in due time, that is, our full salvation and full inheritance.

The word in the original language here for “guarantee” is ??????? (arrabon). It was a word used in transactions of purchase. 
In a bargain, when some part of the price agreed upon is paid beforehand, in token that the contract is ratified and that the purchaser is bound for the payment of the whole. It is therefore a pledge or security.8

You see, a purchaser pays the seller a down-payment and promises to pay the rest in full. When he pays it all he gets the product. God is the purchaser. He has given us the Spirit as a down-payment. A day is coming when we will receive the full payment. The full payment is the very presence of God in the New heavens and the New Earth.

God will keep his promise! And, the Spirit is the guarantee that he will!

[4. Conclusion] Do you see that all three of these glorious things – the anointing, the seal, and the guarantee – are all just one divine Person, the Spirit of the Living God! The Lord gives us Himself to anoint us, to seal us, and to be our guarantee. This is so good!

The sealing and the guarantee have nothing to do with us. It is all God.  We can rest assured that we belong to God and that we will one day be with Him. It is not of us! It is God!

The anointing is also of God. We did nothing to receive it except believe. And, even our belief was from Him! But there is one thing different about the anointing. In order to remain in the anointing we must abide in Christ. To abide in him means to live in a way that is connected to him, receiving his life-supply from the words that he spoke (John 6:63). 

Here is a prayer that every child of God may say: “Lord, thank you for the anointing. Thank you that you have sealed me! And, thank you that you have given me a guarantee of full redemption! I receive these! Help me now to remain in the anointing by abiding in you! Amen.”

 

 

 

1 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (2 Co 1:20). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
2 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (2 Co 1:21). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
3 Witness Lee, Life-Study of Second Corinthians (Living Stream Ministry, Anaheim, CA; 1984), 21.
4 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Jn 15:4–6). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
5 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (1 Jn 2:26–27). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
6 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Tt 3:4–6). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
7 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Eph 1:13). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
8 Lange, J. P., Schaff, P., Kling, C. F., & Wing, C. P. (2008). A commentary on the Holy Scriptures: 2 Corinthians (p. 24). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

 

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