WE are all accustomed to promises. We are also accustomed to seeing them made and broken. Anyone who has lived for a number of years would certainly never lay claim to having kept every promise made. There are many reasons why this is true. Sometimes we forget, sometimes we are negligent, and sometimes it may be due to circumstances beyond our control.
A brokenhearted young lady will often say, “But he promised to marry me.” And the answer comes back: “Yes, but I changed my mind.” People do change their mind, and they do break their promises.
What about the promises of God? How certain are they? The Apostle Paul, in writing about the promises of God to Abraham, addressed the church at Rome with these words: “For the promise that he should be heir of the world, was not to Abraham or his seed through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith . . . therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed” (Romans 4:13, 16). God’s promise to Abraham was first spelled out in Genesis Chapter 12. It was repeated in Chapter 22. Verse 18 reads: “And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.”
Now a promise is of no more value than is the ability of the one who makes it to carry through. It also includes willingness to do so. God did carry through with Abraham. Paul points out in Galatians 3:16, that it was through Christ God intended to fulfill the promise to Abraham. Also in Acts 13:32-33, the Apostle says: “And we declare unto you glad tidings how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again.”
The contour of Jesus’ life, while living on earth, was shaped by his trust in the power of the promises of God. When Jesus said: “I am that bread of life,” John 6:48, “I am the light of the world,” John 8:12, “I am the resurrection and the life.” John 11:25, He did so fully realizing that He had been empowered with this right by the Father who had promised to raise Him from the grave. There were more than 500 brethren at one time who bore witness to the fulfillment of this promise according to I Corinthians 15:1-6.
What can be said about God’s promises to us?
1) He has promised to supply every need we have. The Bible says: “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” That’s Phillipians 4:19. Now notice, God has obligated Himself only to the extent of our needs. That would include food, clothing, shelter, companionship, love, and salvation thru Jesus Christ. It would not include the multiplicity of luxuries that we have come to think of as needs.
2) God has promised that His grace is sufficient for us. (II Corinthians 12:9). In fact, He has made provision for our salvation by His grace through faith. Read Ephesians 2:8. It is through an obedient faith that we have access into the grace of God according to Romans 5:2.
3) God has promised that His children will not be overtaken with temptation. Instead, He assures us that a way of escape will be provided. This promise is recorded in I Corinthians 10:13. Jude wrote: “Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy” (Jude v 24). Darius, King of the Medes, said to Daniel, “Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee” (Daniel 6:16). He did deliver Daniel from the den of lions.
4) God has promised us victory over death. He first resurrected Jesus by way of assuring our resurrection. Peter said: “This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we are all witnesses” (Acts 2:32). Paul wrote to the Corinthians: “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (I Corinthians 15:3,4). Later on he adds: “but thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Corinthians 15:57).
5) God has promised that all things work together for good to those who love and serve Him faithfully (Romans 8:28). It may be difficult for us to see and understand how this is accomplished at times, but God has promised it, and He will deliver.
6) God has promised that those who believe in Jesus and are baptized for the forgiveness of sins will be saved. (Read Mark 16:16 and Acts 2:38).