The word of the day is “guarantee.” In today’s reading of 2 Corinthians 1:21-2:4, Paul has just said that “all the promises of God in Him [Christ] are “Yes.” Now he adds that God has made both the Corinthians and him secure and firm in these promises of God (Strong’s #950,53). Today we learn how we can put our complete confidence in these pledges.
Anointed as Kings: Sealed as God’s Own
How can we be so sure of God’s Word of promise? We find the answer in the following verse: God is the one “who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee” (vs. 22). We know for certain that God will fulfill His promises of eternal life and everlasting blessedness to us. He has “anointed” us a king is chosen. Our anointing means that God has designated us to be inheritors of the rule of His Kingdom. The Almighty has also “sealed us.” He has stamped us with his signet ring that signifies that we are His own.
What is more, the gift of the Holy Spirit is our “guarantee” (vs. 22). The Greek word refers to a “down payment.” The Spirit is the advance deposit, a part of the total payment to be made. That is, the gift of the Holy Spirit is God’s gift now. But it is only the initial portion of the future blessings to come.
The Holy Spirit as the Down Payment that Guarantees God’s Promises
The Holy Spirit is the divine installment that guarantees that God will make good on the rest of His promises to us (Eph. 1:14). The Holy Spirit dwells on the boundary between this world and the next. As the “Lord and Giver of Life,” he is active now and in the age to come.
Thus, the Spirit brings the future Kingdom of God into the present. Paul says in Romans, The Kingdom of God is not eating and drinking but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:14). Whenever we experience these blessings, we share in the Kingdom. Moreover, Paul writes in Galatians: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal. 5:22). The Lord said that “a good tree bears good fruit” (Matt. 7:18). Therefore, whenever we see the fruits of the Spirit, we know that the Spirit is present—and so is the Kingdom.
The Orthodox Study Bible notes that the New Testament is the foundation for our sacramental life in the Orthodox Church. We find an excellent example in today’s reading. In the Holy Mystery of Chrismation, we are anointed and sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit (fn. 2 Cor. 1:21, 22). Whenever we experience the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit, we know that the Holy Spirit is present and active. And we have the assurance of the fulfillment of all of God’s promises by the Holy Spirit who works in and among us.