Usually the title of today’s posting is a pejorative term, someone “who supports the opinions or ideas of someone else in order to earn that person's approval.” The boss says “I think we should have everyone come into the office dressed as a chicken on Fridays,” and the Yes Man responds thus: “That’s a great idea, boss! I’ll get the memo out today!”
In a way, a lot of politicians can be like that. The stereotypical elected official is someone who sees a crowd or mass movement forming and gets in front of it and pretends that he’s leading it. He sticks his finger in the wind and follows public opinion whichever way it goes. Or worse yet, he tells people what they want to hear instead of what they need to hear. When asked a simple question, he equivocates instead of providing a direct answer. A few years ago one of these men gave the classic response of “Well, it depends on what your definition of ‘is’ is.”
That’s the polar opposite of Paul. He’s discussing his travel plans with them and is answering the accusation that he’s been fickle with them. His opponents alleged that with one breath he’d say “Yes, yes” and then with another say “No, no.” In other words, he wasn’t up front and honest with the church there in Corinth.
Absolutely not. When he said he was planning to do something regarding them, he laid all his cards on the table. Particularly in his last letter he laid his heart bare in front of them.
And his Message that he preached everywhere reflected this overall pattern. He didn’t use deceptive means to lure people in, and his offer of salvation in Christ wasn’t convoluted or complicated to understand: “[We] have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.”
Furthermore, the reason he was like this with them, as well as in his ministry in general, was in imitation of his Savior. God says what he means and means what he says. Some of the things he says in his word are hard to understand, but not the important stuff. My favorite quote from Alistair Begg: The main things are the plain things, and the plain things are the main things.
But this goes even deeper than just the issue of truthfulness. Not only is God truthful in his word--holding to his promises and following through on his threats--but this is all done through Christ. When the Father makes a promise to us as his children, he fulfills it through the Lord Jesus. As MacArthur put it: “All God's OT and NT promises of peace, joy, love, goodness, forgiveness, salvation, sanctification, fellowship, hope, glorification, and heaven are made possible and fulfilled in Jesus Christ.” Like I said before, Yes Men are usually disparaged (rightly), but in a very real sense Jesus is the Father’s “Yes Man,” and I’m certainly glad for it.
The pattern is 1) The Father makes a promise to us through his word, 2) Jesus makes it possible and carries it out, and 3) We say “Amen” when we see it come to fruition. We respond to his goodness with affirmation, praise, thanksgiving, and longing (“Amen” literally means “let it be so”).
And lastly we get to a wonderful facet of the diamond of his grace he’s given us: “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.” When you received Christ as Savior, he placed his Spirit upon you and through the Spirit claimed you for all eternity. I might not look like much to you, and in myself I’m nothing at all, but in the spiritual realm, if a demon approaches me, he might be put off by the bright neon shining stamp of ownership on my soul: “Taken! Back Off! This person belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of Glory!” And the Spirit is more than just a mark of ownership on me. He’s also “a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” If I went into a pawn shop and put down a deposit on, say, a large screen TV, although I can’t take it home with me right now, it belongs to me and no one else. Anyone coming in to claim it besides me would be rejected: “Sorry, that belongs to someone else.” In a sense, the Spirit’s a partial down payment on what’s to come, and his very presence within me makes me. . .hope that I’ll get to Heaven someday? Um, no. The fact that he lives within me guarantees that one day my Owner will come and claim me and take me home.
So what about you? Are you a good reflection of your Savior, who means what he says and says what he means? Do you need assurance that you really belong to him? Or maybe you just need to take a moment to thank him?
Lord Jesus, I belong to you as to no one else. By your grace, help me to reflect that in how I think, talk, and act. Please.