2 Corinthians 1:21-22
21And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, 22and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
I love the word when it strikes you as you read it. When you cannot resist going back and reading it again, when you know that there is life in the words. I remind my self every time I come to the word that it is living and active and sharper than a two edge sword – I love the life in his word!
Over the last couple of days I have been drawn back, to this passage in Corinthians, like wet paint I have to keep coming back to test it, touch it, there is something irresistible about it. I know for me at this moment there is life in the words and I want to feed off that life and let it strengthen me from within.
There are four promises in this passage and none of them are our doing, they are all the work of the godhead in us; he establishes us in Christ, he has anointed us, he has set his seal on us and given us his spirit in our hearts as a guarantee, each one reassures my heart that God is for me.
God makes us firm in Christ, he is the one who confirms, he is the one establishes us in Christ. When I think of being established I think of trees that move on from the immature stage of being blown around by the winds and needing to be protected, to a place of being established, where the roots have learnt to find nourishment, where the winds that blow don’t cause the tree to be uprooted – He has done this in Christ. We are established in him, made firm in him.
The whole concept of being in Christ appears many times in the New Testament and is something that we need to understand and live in the light of. Like many of the truths of Chistianity, the more we understand and have revealed to us, the greater the freedom that we will experience. The moment we gave our lives to Christ and repented of our sin, we crossed over from death to life, we became born again, we are now ‘in Christ’. This is among many truths regarding our standing, we will spend the rest of our lives on earth walking in greater understanding of these things.
Moving on from being established in Christ, we are told that he has anointed us. I remember when at University talking about a couple of worship leaders, my feeling was that one had a particular anointing to communicate aspects of the heart of God, my friend didn’t agree and threw back the question ‘ well what is anointing?’ . We all know when someone is not anointed, we all know when someone is. The sermons that make you want to die with boredom, the worship that makes you want to eat cream crackers by the bucket. Anointing is that kiss of God on what we do that communicates his heart.
In Hebrew and Greek the word anoint means to spread or to smear a liquid, we are smeared with his presence, he pours out His Holy Spirit upon us. The anointing oil that was used in the Old Testament was fragrant, the anointing of God upon us also is fragrant, we spread the fragrance of the knowledge of god. God anoints us and we can know a greater or lesser degree of that anointing. In 1 John 2:20, 27 John is talking about the anointing that is within us, that we are anointed and that his anointing teaches us. I think that many of us would understand more of his anointing if we likened it to his presence. His presence teaches us, his presence abides with us – though we can grieve him or quench his work. I would pray before I speak that God would anoint me – my understanding of this is that God would pour out His Holy Spirit on me so that I carry as a person more of his presence and the words I use communicate the heart of God, and that they would be quickened unto peoples hearts.
Paul moves on to say that God has put his seal on us. This word for seal means:
to set a seal upon, mark with a seal, to seal
- for security: from Satan
- since things sealed up are concealed (as the contents of a letter), to hide, keep in silence, keep secret
- in order to mark a person or a thing
- to set a mark upon by the impress of a seal or a stamp
- angels are said to be sealed by God
- in order to prove, confirm, or attest a thing
- to confirm authenticate, place beyond doubt 1d
- of a written document 1d
- to prove one’s testimony to a person that he is what he professes to be
Being sealed is God authenticating that we are his, it is his mark upon us, it is his work; something that God does. Though we may not see the seal, it is blazing in the spiritual realm, the Lord knows those who are his, he has marked us and set us apart. This seal is placed on us as a guarantee. The word for guarantee is understood as a down payment on something that the full amount will be subsequently be paid. We have been purchased with the precious blood of Jesus. We were bought at a price, not with empty things such as silver or Gold.
The truth of that he set his eyes upon us, that he chose us, that wants me in relationship with him, that he has adopted me as a son, that he anoints me, sets his seal of ownership on me – has only one appropriate response and that is worship.