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Those Precious Promises Part 1

Those Precious Promises Part 1

The promises of God are many, are real, and are true! The number of them reaches into the thousands, the Christian will tell you they can be counted on, and we know God cannot lie. Books have written them down, mouths have spoken them to others, and many of them are hidden in the hearts of believers. When someone promises us something, the first response we have to them is that we can't wait for the promises to come to us. And that would have in it the essence of hope, since the promise would be future in coming. And the hope that God gives us is a hope that does not disappoint (Rom.5:5). Hope is a full assurance and confident expectation that good things will happen. These promises of God have been declared to be the grounds of our hope, the objects of our faith, and the rule of our prayers. Peter refers to these promises in 2Peter 1:4 as “Precious and magnificent promises." The Greek word for precious is here as well as eleven other places in Scripture. And the Greek word for magnificent is only found here in the New Testament. These promises are not mere empty words.

Commentator Alexander MacLaren states, "What is meant is the unspeakable gift of God's own Son, and the gift therein and thereafter of God's life-giving Spirit. For is not this the meaning of the central fact of Christianity, the incarnation-that the Divine becomes partaker of the human in order that the human may partake of the Divine?" Puritan Andrew Gray defines a promise as "A glorious discovery of the good will of God toward sinners, and withal a purpose and intendment, and, if we may say an engagement, to bestow some spiritual or temporal good upon them, or to withhold some spiritual or temporal evil from them." The Divine promises declare God's goodwill, purpose, and intention towards sinners. These promises God has given to us in His word are objects of our faith and hope; for our faith demonstrates for the believer that these things God has promised are true, and the believers hope in them expects the performance of them in what faith believes. The Puritans saw God's promises as sovereign declarations of good to be bestowed or evil to be removed that God makes known to us prior to their performance, so that we may enjoy comfort and assurance as we await the fulfillment of His word in these promises.

In his hymn “Standing on the Promises of God”, Russell K. Carter writes: "Standing on the promises of God that cannot fail, when the howling storms of doubt and fear assail, by the living word of God I shall prevail, Standing on the promises of God." The promises we find in the Scriptures are, by God's way, by His sovereign mercy and by His good pleasure, those things that He will do for us. We see absolute promises and conditional promises in the Scriptures. And absolute promise is by God's own delight to do as He pleases with no strings attached. An example, "For God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son" is the first half of John 3:16, but the second half of the verse is conditional: that which God in His wisdom sees to be best for His own glory and the child's good, "That whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." Some promises we can passively receive from the gracious, merciful, sovereign hand of God, and some we must meet a condition spelled out in it, or we may lose some spiritual comfort from it.

 Puritan Andrew Gray states, "In other words, the root of Divine promises is the sovereign goodness of God by which He purposes and engages Himself to do good to sinners, not because of any merit in them, but out of free grace, since even the condition required (faith, repentance, or the like) is itself of God" (John 6:44-45,65). Many promises are brought to our attention at GCC through our Scripture Memory Program, Knights at the King's Table. Twenty-five verses come our way each year via small colored cards, words which we can hide in our hearts, words that we can allow to dwell richly in our minds, and words to meditate on to bring contentment, comfort, and confidence to our souls. There is a treasure trove of promises in God's word, we will look at what some of them are, how to use or apply them, and that we can pray for those things that are promised next time, Lord willing. Believing them, applying them, and praying them back to Him. There is much we gain from these promises.

Elder Randy Slak