Scripture is full of promises from God which give believers comfort, joy, and hope. The Bible also teaches plenty of helpful insights about God’s promises, so that we can better understand them. We can count on these promises and be confident that God is faithful to fulfill each one.
Many biblical heroes experienced God’s promises coming to fulfillment – Abraham, Esther, David, Jeremiah – just to name a few. God’s promises are still relevant for believers today. Perhaps in your own life there have been moments where you have experienced God’s promises coming to fruition. In the New Testament, we read of renewed assurance of God’s faithfulness to keep His promises.
“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” (2 Corinthians 1:20).
This verse, which might sound a bit confusing, was written by the Apostle Paul to the Corinthians. It conveys that Jesus Christ is the “yes” and “amen” of all God’s promises, meaning in Jesus is the guarantee and confirmation of God’s promises. Christians respond with an amen to the assurance of God’s promises which signifies our affirmation of and trust in God’s faithfulness.
What Does This Mean That God’s Promises Are Yes and Amen?
In this first chapter of the second letter to the Corinthians, found in the New Testament, Paul begins by defending his change of plans. The church in Corinth was likely upset that Paul had intended to visit them but had to cancel this travel plan. His integrity and honesty were questioned by some in the congregation. Paul acknowledged that our yes should be yes, and our no should be no, but went on to write that it was also God who caused him to have to change his plans. Paul made the connection in this first chapter that just as Jesus is the yes and amen to all God’s promises, so He was also the yes to Paul having to change his itinerary.
The word in the original Greek language for “amen” is ἀμήν. This word is sometimes translated amen, and other times, it is translated as surely, so let it be, verily, or truly. The word itself has a powerful meaning. It can mean firm, faithful, confirmed, or of truth. Essentially, this verse declares boldly that God’s promises are amen in Jesus – or God’s promises are true, faithful, and confirmed in Jesus!
There is an interesting lesson found in this first chapter because as human beings we are habituated to make plans, cast a vision for where our life is going, and orient our lives to what we hope to accomplish. However, Scripture teaches that even though we make plans, what we come up with could change at any time because God is the one who ultimately ordains our steps (see Proverbs 16:9). Paul was quick to correct the church in Corinth not to get distracted by his change in travel plans, but rather, to focus on the faithfulness of God. Our hearts and minds should be set on God.
What Is the Context of This Verse?
The Apostle Paul wrote this letter to the church in Corinth, a Greek city within the Roman empire. It was a very wealthy city and a major port of trade at the time this letter was written. Most scholars believe this was one of a few letters that Paul wrote to this church to support them in their faith and encourage them to keep following the Gospel.
This first chapter of the epistle begins with a greeting, Paul’s introductory thoughts, and his original desire to travel to Corinth and see this congregation in person. He discussed in the letter the change to his original plans to come and visit the church in Corinth. Paul knew that the congregation took such news with criticism and accused him of not sticking to his word. Therefore, he went on to defend himself and his ministry against accusations of being unreliable. The end of this first chapter gives great encouragement when facing changes and uncertainty. We can count on the promises of God no matter what.
“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).
Though the world is changing, God’s promises do not. As believers, in Christ we stand firm as the Spirit takes residence in our hearts and we are guaranteed the promises to come!
What Promises Does God Offer?
God has promised many good things, and ultimately, He has promised that Jesus will come again (see John 14:3)! God continues to say yes to His promises. This is significant because it means we have an amazing hope and assurance that Jesus is coming back. Believers can anticipate Jesus’ return and know that God will be faithful to this and all His promises. God continues to say “yes” to what He has promised throughout Scripture.
“For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us — by me and Silas and Timothy — was not ‘Yes’ and ‘No,’ but in him it has always been ‘Yes’” (2 Corinthians 1:19).
Jesus has remained faithful to God’s word. When we read about the life of Jesus in the Gospels, it is clear that He lived on earth with integrity, honesty, and demonstrated the faithfulness of God. As Paul wrote, Jesus was always “yes,” and His life undeniably showed that.
Why Do We Say "Yes and Amen" Today?
It is common to say “yes and amen” when we finish saying a prayer or hear an insightful sermon. It is important to remember that saying yes and amen does not mean that every prayer or desire we have will come to pass – rather this verse is specifically teaching about the promises of God, not prayers. Yet better than our personal wants or desires are God’s promises that we read in the Bible, and certainly, we can find joy in knowing His promises are yes and amen! Believers can trust God to do what is best in our lives and cling to the hope of Jesus’ return.
When we say yes and amen, it is an expression of our trust in God’s faithfulness. When we say yes and amen, we are putting our focus rightly on God’s promises found in the Bible instead of being distracted by the passing trials in this world. When we face hardships or obstacles, we can look to Scripture for encouragement and hope. This verse challenges followers of Jesus to trust in God’s promises found throughout Scripture because they are guaranteed and affirmed in Christ Jesus.
At times we may feel that not much can be counted on. The world around us changes quickly and there are many letdowns we endure. Scripture teaches that God’s promises will never fail! It is in Christ that every promise of God is yes and amen – meaning that God’s promises are guaranteed and confirmed through Jesus. God loves His children and wants us to have confidence in His promises no matter what is happening in our lives, the changes we face, or the uncertainty of the world. We can be confident of what’s to come!
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Pamela Palmer is a writer, chaplain, and the founder of upheldlife.com, the platform on which she produces weekly devotionals and faith resource articles to inspire keeping faith at the center of it all. She lives and thrives on Jesus, coffee, and music. She is in pastoral ministry and gets to share in the emotional and spiritual lives of many people, being a small piece of each journey. Pamela married the perfect man for her and they have two beautiful kiddos. She has been published on herviewfromhome.com and you can follow her at upheldlife.com, or on Facebook.com/upheldlife.