Don’t you agree that Selwyn has packed a lot into today’s study?
First off, I love the Scripture verses selected by Selwyn [and, I’ve used the New Living Translation version, but had to insert the word ‘established’, as used by the Amplified Bible], 2 Corinthians 1:18-24: “As surely as God is faithful, my word to you does not waver between ‘Yes’ and ‘No.’ For Jesus Christ, the Son of God, does not waver between ‘Yes’ and ‘No.’ He is the one whom Silas, Timothy, and I preached to you, and as God’s ultimate ‘Yes,’ he always does what he says.
For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding ‘Yes!’ And through Christ, our ‘Amen’ (which means ‘Yes’) ascends to God for his glory.
It is God who enables us, along with you, to stand firm for Christ (‘to establish us in Christ’). He has commissioned us, and he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything he has promised us.
Now I call upon God as my witness that I am telling the truth. The reason I didn’t return to Corinth was to spare you from a severe rebuke. But that does not mean we want to dominate you by telling you how to put your faith into practice. We want to work together with you so you will be full of joy, for it is by your own faith that you stand firm.”
It’s remarkable don’t you think – that it is God Himself, who establishes us in Christ?
If God has initiated this fantastic relationship, and places His own Spirit into our hearts – then, who can weaken this bond? In a certain sense, Selwyn answers that question, in his conclusion: “Why is it, I am often asked, that so many Christians are tossed about emotionally when God says that we are established in Christ? Surely the answer is that though He unfailingly holds onto us, we do not hold onto Him.” Now, that’s food for thought and prayer, don’t you agree?
One other point made by Selwyn, is, I think, extremely important – because there is a general lack of understanding of the importance of our unity in Christ. This problem is clearly evident in many so-called Christian communities.
This issue is well presented by Selwyn: “There is only one place where we can be established and made firm – in Christ. If you try to stand firm in doctrine you will not succeed. If you try to stand firm in a favourite preacher you will not succeed. If you try to stand firm in a denomination you will not succeed. Try to stand firm in any of these and you will waver between contradictory opinions. Only in Christ can you stand firm.”
The problem arises when some minor doctrinal issue is erroneously seen as being a foundation for faith – for example, some believe that God’s creation can only be seen from a young earth, creationists point of view. The spiritual truth is that God created the heavens and the earth – how He did it – is NOT a significant issue. On the other hand, our unity in Christ is a significant issue; but to be able to discern the differences between such issues requires our honest prayer and the Holy Spirit’s guidance.