But as God is faithful, our word to you was not Yes and No. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me, Silvanus, and Timothy—was not Yes and No, but in Him was Yes. For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us. Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. (2 Cor. 1:18-22)
Paul's change of plans caused some of his accusers to say that he couldn't be trusted, hoping to undermine his authority. Paul said that he was not the type of person to say "yes" when he means "no". Paul explained that it was not indecision but concern for their feelings that forced him to change his plans. The reason for his trip - to bring joy (2 Cor. 1:24) - could not be accomplished with the present crisis. Paul didn't want to visit them only to rebuke them severely (2 Cor. 1:23). He would still visit them, but at a better time.
Just as the Corinthians could trust God to keep His promises, they could trust Paul as God's representative to keep his. Before finishing the defense of his personal integrity (2 Cor. 1:23–2:4), Paul defended his preaching: it was both true and trustworthy (2 Cor. 1:18–22). Our word is a reference to teaching of Paul (2 Cor. 1:19).
All of God's promises of what the Messiah would be like are fulfilled in Christ ("in Him it has always been "Yes""). Jesus was completely faithful in His ministry; He never sinned (1 Peter 3:18); He faithfully died for us (Hebrews 2:9); and now He faithfully intercedes for us (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 4:14, 15). Because Jesus Christ is faithful, Paul wanted to be faithful in his ministry. Paul’s preaching was not Yes and No at the same time—not inconsistent or contradictory. Instead, his preaching reflected the truthfulness and faithfulness of God, because his teaching was based on the Scriptures and the teachings of Christ. All of God’s promises concerning Christ are true and trustworthy.
Paul mentions two gifts God gives when we become believers: (1) a seal of ownership to show who our Master is, and (2) the Holy Spirit, who guarantees that we belong to Him and will receive all His benefits (Ephesians 1:13, 14).
Word Focus: sealed - (Gk. sphragizo) (2 Cor. 1:22; Eph. 1:13; 4:30) Strong’s G4972; guarantee (Gk. arrabon) (2 Cor. 1:22; 5:5; Eph. 1:14) G728: The Greek word translated sealed here was a technical term denoting a seller’s guarantee of the validity of a purchase. As such, God’s gift of the Holy Spirit is our guarantee. In the ancient world people commonly branded or marked personal possessions as they sealed letters, with a seal identifying the owner or sender. In this passage, Paul was describing believers as being marked as God’s possession with the seal of the Holy Spirit. This seal will remain until we, as God’s possession, are completely redeemed (Eph. 1:13, 14; 4:30). Paul often used another term with sealed, namely arrabon, translated guarantee. This Greek term was commonly used for the promissory first installment that guaranteed a full, final payment. The word was also used by the ancients to refer to an engagement ring. As Christians, we have received the Spirit as a first installment, guarantee, and foretaste of the full inheritance yet to be given (Eph. 1:13, 14).
In the Greek text, anointed is connected to establishes. God confirmed Paul and his fellow workers by anointing them. This anointing probably refers to special empowerment by the Holy Spirit, similar to the anointing John described in 1 John 2:20, 27. Sealing indicates ownership and security. The sealing and the giving of the Holy Spirit are also linked.
The Holy Spirit guarantees that salvation is ours now, and that we will receive so much more when Christ returns. The great comfort and power the Holy Spirit gives in this life is a foretaste or down payment ("deposit") of the benefits of our eternal life in God's presence. With the privilege of belonging to God comes the responsibility of identifying ourselves as His faithful servants. Don't be ashamed to let others know that you are His.
Like Paul, all Believers today should strive to be more like Christ in all that they do. As we set down and write about God’s Word on our blogs, do as Paul did, and base everything on the Holy Scriptures and the teachings of Christ. All of God’s promises concerning Christ are true and trustworthy. God is always faithful and He will shower you with His blessings when you are faithful to Him. Amen.
References: NKJV Holy Bible, Life Application Bible (NIV), the Nelson Study Bible.