"Yes" and Union
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.Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ.
- from 2 Corinthians 1:20-21
All of God’s promises are “Yes” in Christ. But what does this mean?
We have an illustration right in today’s passage. We’re told that God will make us able to stand firm. We will be able to do this despite life’s trials and temptations. This comes to us with the force of a promise.
How, then, is it fulfilled in Christ?
In Christ, we see the perfect human person stand firm in the toughest possible moment. He faces down the cross. He would have been tempted to abandon his mission, to curse God, to get revenge. He saw his friends leave him, his flesh fail him, his prayers answered with silence. But he endured.
To borrow a concept from Bonhoeffer, all of us who have placed our trust in Christ have been united with him. His faithfulness becomes ours. His suffering takes on meaning for us. His resurrection has implications for our own interior lives. And when God fulfills a promise to him, we also are included.
This is a complex theological concept, but an important one.
Charles Spurgeon, preaching on this concept of our union with Christ, once said: “If you will only grant to keep my head above water, I will give you permission to drown my fingers. Try it: you cannot do it. As long as a man’s head is above the flood you cannot drown him—it is absolutely impossible—nor yet drown any part of his body. Now, a Christian is a part of Christ, the Head.”
As we consider God’s faithfulness to Christ as faithfulness to us, we’ll gain confidence that God can be trusted. And that, ultimately, is what the apostle Paul wants his readers to hear in today’s text.
Tomorrow, we’ll look more at how God’s promises are “Yes” to us in Christ. But today we want to invite you to take some time to reflect on ways that Christ experienced the “Yes” of God … provision, affirmation, faithfulness. Flip through the Gospels or dig through your memory.
When you come up with ways that Christ experienced God’s faithfulness, affirmation, and provision, ask: “And how might I also receive these through Christ?” This is a tough exercise, but worth trying.