Anointed, sealed and indwelt

Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22 (NIV)

Read:  2 Corinthians 1:12 – 2:4

Consider: Paul had originally been with the Corinthian church for eighteen months (Acts 18:1-17), when he preached the gospel to them and taught them.  Subsequently he wrote his first letter to the Corinthians, particularly because of the sin of one man among the believers.  It is likely that he made a short visit to Corinth later, but it proved painful for both the Corinthian believers and himself.  From today’s reading we glean that Paul had originally planned to go to Corinth again on his way to Macedonia and also upon his return (2 Corinthians 1:15-16).  However, he tells the Corinthians that he changed his plans so as not to cause them unnecessary distress (2 Corinthians 1:23; 2:1).

Some dissenters in the church in Corinth had used Paul’s change of plans as an excuse to criticise him, suggesting that he was fickle and his word could not be trusted.  Paul tells the Corinthians: But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not ‘Yes’ and ‘No’.  For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us – by me, Silas and Timothy – was not ‘Yes’ and ‘No”, but in him it has always been ‘Yes’ (1:18-19).  Paul could have reminded the Corinthians of his time in Corinth, knowing that eighteen months would have been enough time for them to assess his character.  He could have reminded them of what he wrote in his first letter:  Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I urge you to imitate me. For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church (1 Corinthians 4:15-17).  Instead he defends himself by referring to the faithfulness of God.  He also reminds them that: For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ (1:21a).  

I particularly like the way Paul reminds the Corinthians of their position in Christ, a position he also holds.  He says: Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come (1:21-22).  The Corinthians, like himself, are anointed, sealed and indwelt by the Holy Spirit.  Even if the Corinthians were to doubt him, they should not doubt God’s faithfulness.  The indwelling Holy Spirit, as a deposit, guarantees that they are God’s in Christ and God will fulfil all his promises to them.

Today’s passage shows us that in Christ we are anointed, sealed and indwelt.  As such, we should be careful how we treat others who are our brothers and sisters in Christ.  We need to be wary of listening to and accepting other people’s opinions, when those opinions are negative.  There are some people who are naturally critical and always willing to share their negative views with others.  Elsewhere Paul gave this advice to the believers in Philippi: Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things (Philippians 4:8).

Pray:  Father, we pray for those who have a critical spirit, that they would surrender themselves to you so that they might be made new.  We pray for ourselves that you would protect us from negativity; may our minds be focused on things that are excellent and praiseworthy.  Amen

Every blessing

Author: profsloan

The purpose of this blog is to encourage others to read the Bible daily and to grow in Christ. Each day I will generally publish a devotional or a reading for the day, together with a prayer.

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