Often when we buy things they come with a ‘Money back guarantee’. That means if the thing does not work, or you already had one or you changed your mind, you could return what you just bought and get your money back…guaranteed. Some places take back anything…like COSTCO. Others have a more stringent policy, like 30 days same as cash. If you are buying fancy dress clothes, the only way you can return something is if the tags are still on the product. And usually those tags are in pretty obvious places. Some places we can add years to an existing guarantee of service…for a price of course.
But we see guarantees in scripture. In Genesis 43:8-9 we see the story of Jacobs son Judah. There is a famine in the land and there is grain in Egypt. Jacob’s sons have already been to Egypt once but the man in charge of selling grain has told them not to return unless they bring their youngest brother. Jacob is not willing to let the boy go. But they need food, desperately. Judah steps in. “Judah said to his father Jacob, send the lad with me and we will arise and go, that we may live and not die, we as well as you and our little ones. I myself will be the guarantee for him; you may hold me responsible for him. If I do not bring him back to you, then you let me bear the blame before you forever.” Jacob relents and lets the young boy go. But only because he had a guarantee that he would be kept safe.
Paul writes about the promise realized through faith in Romans 4. Paul argues that the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be the heir of the world did not come by way of the law but through faith. Because if the promise is filled by the law then faith is null and void. But, Paul says, “That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring, not just for those who follow the law but those who share the faith of Abraham as well.” In other words, faith means trusting in another and not our own efforts. It ties directly to grace, which involves trusting in God’s unearned favor. Those who followed the law referred to those who were Jewish believers in Christ. Father of us all refers to faith…Abraham is the father of both the Jewish and the Gentile Christians.
Every time it rains, we see God’s guarantee He will not destroy the earth with flood waters again. Genesis 9:12-13, “And God said This is the guarantee of the covenant I am making with you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all subsequent generations. I will place my rainbow in the clouds, and it will become a guarantee of the covenant between me and the earth.” NET translation This is the first covenant promise God makes. It is made for all people through one who represents them. In this case Noah represents all of us in the covenant promise God made.
In 2 Corinthians 1:22 Paul writes to new believers these words. “And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put His seal on us and given us His Spirit to our hearts as a guarantee.” To be anointed means to be set aside and gifted by God. Paul and those with him have been set apart to teach and preach and heal as the Lord directed. It is an Old Testament picture where the priests were set apart by having olive oil poured on their heads as a sign of God’s provision. A seal is a mark of ownership. In baptism we are marked with the cross of Christ and sealed by the power of the holy Spirit forever. We have been named and claimed by the Sovereign Lord. And the word guarantee used here is the same use as the first installment of payments as a pledge to complete the purchase. The Spirit comes to pay in full, the final redemption of His people at the end of the age.
In 1 John 5:11-12 we read this guarantee. “And this is the testimony, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is His Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” This is what God Himself has declared as the truth. These are the facts. He has really done it! It has been irrevocably accomplished. The verbiage is past tense. We are not waiting for this to happen. It is not present tense. We are not seeing it now. God has already paid the price for our salvation. Guaranteed.
In His grip
Pastor Matt W