“For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen.” 2 Corinthians 1:20
The apostle Paul declares in 2 Corinthians that all God’s promises are “yes” and “amen.” This particular portion of Scripture can be a bit confusing. This part of chapter one in 2 Corinthians appears to be Paul explaining to the Corinthian church why he had vacillated about keeping his commitment to visit them.
While some of that is true, verse twenty is not referring to his travel plans. Instead, he makes a special point about God’s faithfulness and the part we play in it.
Every Yes and Amen
Beginning in 2 Corinthians 1:15, Paul goes on the defense about why he was unwilling to visit the church in Corinth at that time. By chapter two, verse one, he finally gives his explanation.
“But I determined this within myself that I would not come again to you in sorrow. For if I make you sorrowful, then who is he who makes me glad but the one who is made sorrowful by me?” 2 Corinthians 2:1-2
Based on theology, it appears Paul was commenting on a confrontation he had with one of the church’s members on his previous visit when someone accused him of false teaching. It seems the church had not dealt with this man in Paul’s defense, which upset Paul very much. The only thing that would make Paul glad again was the man’s repentance as well as any others who agreed with him, but he had not yet heard of it occurring. So, he postponed his visit so as not to stir up more tension and grieve the others in the church.
In support of his reasoning, he reminds the church of God’s faithfulness (1:18) and that He is not like a mere human.
People commonly answer questions with a simple Yes and No. But Paul teaches Jesus is not like us. He “was not Yes and No (1:19),” or “maybe” or “I don’t know.” In Him, His promises are only Yes.
Only in Christ Jesus is there a Yes. Not only that, in Him, there is an Amen. That’s where Christ’s followers come in.
His Promises are Yes
One might ask how God’s promises are Yes and what that means. But we only need to think about His faithfulness.
Is He willing to heal you? Yes.
Is He able to meet your every need? Yes.
Will He comfort you in your hour of sorrow and confusion? Yes.
Is He willing to forgive your sins? Yes.
Can He set you free from sin and grant you eternal life? Yes!
We can answer every one of God’s promises with Yes as well as all His testimonies and laws (Psalm 19:7) and His warnings (Hosea 5:9). But He is also Amen, which He declares about Himself in the book of Revelation.
“These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God.” Revelation 3:14
According to Vine’s Expository Dictionary, Amen has two meanings, both of which depend on who is using the word.
When God says Amen, it means “it is and shall be so” or “it is complete.” If He wills it, it will happen. But if people use it, it tends to mean “so let it be,” or “I agree,” or “This is true.” If we say Amen, we express our agreement with something such as a law or its punishment or both, an offer of thanksgiving, or a prayer, whether we use it individually or corporately. In this case, we agree that God keeps His promises.
In Him, all His promises are Amen. In other words, they will be done or have already been done. But people in their sinful nature do not always fully trust God. They might answer with some variation of “I can’t do it” or “I won’t do it,” believing that somehow either they need to help God but feel inadequate, or they are unable to accept His enormous goodness. Those who do miss the point and God’s blessing.
What God is looking for is someone to say Amen.
You Gotta Mean It
The word Amen is a direct translation from Greek into both Hebrew and English. People in the Old Testament used it as an extremely firm, earnest, and formal affirmation and not just a flippant reply, such as we see in Numbers 5:22 and Nehemiah 5:13.
“And all the assembly said, “Amen!” and praised the LORD.” Nehemiah 5:13
If we are going to say Amen to God’s promises, we need to mean it. We need to agree that God is faithful to do as He said He would do, trusting He will fulfill it in His perfect timing.
Second Corinthians 1:20 also says, “And in Him Amen to the glory of God through us.” When we resoundingly say Amen to God’s promises, we acknowledge He alone gets the glory for it. Whether fulfilled now or in some future grace, we give Him all the credit, knowing we are not omniscient or omnipotent or omnibenevolent.
Only He alone is able to keep His promises, and we are wholly incapable of helping Him. It is the proper spiritual posture of a faithful follower of Christ.
Stealing Our Amen
We know God is faithful and able and willing to say Yes in keeping His promises. And in knowing His power and goodness toward us, we can say with complete confidence Amen. But someone else is working to get in the way of our Amen—Satan.
Daniel 10 is a great example of how Satan is always trying to steal our Amen. Daniel had just come off a three-week fast after praying for the Jewish people’s repentance. At the same time, he had also given the Seventy Weeks Prophecy, which describes the period from the rebuilding of Jerusalem in 445 B.C. to the future coming of the Antichrist.
Daniel was feeling a bit depressed, so he took a walk to the Tigris River with a group of men. While they were there, an angel (likely Gabriel) appeared to Daniel.
“Then he said to me, ‘Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand [the prophecy] and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard. And I have come because of your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days. And behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone with the kings of Persia.” Daniel 10:12-13 (my addition)
The princes of Persia refer to demons who engaged the angel in spiritual warfare. The fighting was so fierce, God’s chief angel, Michael, had to come to his rescue. The angel had been trying to get to Daniel for twenty-one days, the same length of days as Daniel’s fast. God heard Daniel’s prayer when he spoke it. His response to Daniel was Yes, but Satan tried to steal that promise and prevent Daniel’s Amen.
Thankfully, it didn’t work, but Satan keeps trying.
Wait for His Promises
Satan knows if he steals our Amen, our trust in the Lord will diminish with many moving away from Him. In doing so, he also steals our worship. It is a fight that makes us feel helpless and wish he would stop.
It is important to remember, though, God has given us hands of spiritual warfare to battle Satan.
“He teaches my hands to make war so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.” Psalm 18:34
As we wait for God’s promise to be fulfilled, we must not give up the fight against the enemy. We must learn to worship and pursue God no matter the circumstances. Our perseverance strips Satan of his power so we can eventually receive God’s Yes and say Amen to His glory. This is what Paul meant when he said in 2 Corinthians 1:20, “to the glory of God through us.”
Persevering for the Promise
Persevering can be challenging at times. God may have already said Yes to returning your prodigal child, but you still have not seen it fulfilled. He may have said Yes to an increase in your finances, but you wonder when it will happen. He may have said Yes, He will deliver your loved one from cancer, but you do not see any progress in the diagnosis.
It is in these times Satan is trying to steal God’s promises and prevent your Amen. So, you must persevere. But how?
First, we must be patient, remembering God hears us when we pray. Patience is very difficult when we do not see any positive movement in our situation. One way to help you be patient is to worship God. Remember that Satan is always trying to steal your worship, but do not allow him. Persist in your worship, giving God glory for His promises. Through our tireless worship, demons will flee and tremble at the sound of Jesus’ name (James 2:19).
Our worship also invites the Holy Spirit’s presence into our circumstances. The Bible says He inhabits the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3). When we give God the praise He deserves, He cannot help but show up.
Second, we keep praying. When Daniel prayed, an angel was instantly dispatched to answer it. God’s angels are still being sent out when we pray. The way God works has not changed, so we must trust help is on the way.
Our battle with Satan is not in the flesh; it is entirely spiritual (2 Corinthians 10:4). We must use our spiritual weapons offensively and consistently to defeat him. Through our patience, praise and worship, and steadfast prayers, everything is defeated in Jesus’ name, knowing He has never lost a battle.
All of God’s promises to us are Yes. Our answer should be a vigorous Amen, one filled with joy and expectation as we persistently worship God and pray so Satan does not steal it away and God receives the glory He deserves.