Everyone at some time has made a promise. We’re forever promising things. Promising things to ourselves, and promising things to each other. Others make promises to us too. For instance, I know every married person here has made promises!
And now I remember something very important—we also make promises to God.
Oftentimes, we make promises in moments of stress—a crisis hits or we get a serious illness. And then we make promises to our Lord, “Lord, if you would but help me … I promise …”
I am saddened though, because, we must admit, that we don’t always keep those promises that we make to the Lord. We are human. And we often lack discernment and wisdom. Try as we might, we often fail in trying to keep our promises. And as sad as it is, it is not a new thing for humans to break their good-intentioned promises (Exodus 24:3).
God’s promises to us
Throughout history, God has made promises to us, to help us in our lives. As we surrender to Him and we give ourselves to God, then we will receive promises from Him. Promises that He will keep for those who have surrendered to Him.
As I read through my Bible, I’ve noticed something about God’s promises. I’ve noticed that every promise is composed by two elements:
FIRST: the condition.
SECOND: The result or fulfilment of that condition.
Now, many Christians think that God is compelled or forced to keep His promises. But many who think that fail to perceive their own responsibility to obey the conditions given by God.
It is very sad to see that!
IN THE ENTIRE BIBLE, I HAVE NOT SEEN, A SINGLE PROMISE WITHOUT A CONDITION (IN AN IMPLIED OR DIRECT MANNER).
Examples of God’s promises
Let’s see an example:
“Then you shall be left few in number, whereas you were numerous as the stars of heaven, because you did not obey the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 28:62).
This passage refers to the promise that God made to Abraham, that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars. And they were! But when they disobeyed, God reversed His blessing, and reduced them to a small remnant (Genesis 15:5; 22:17).
There was a condition attached to that promise: obedience.
Many Christians as they read the Scriptures, they come across promises. What do they do? They take possession of those promises. However they do not care about the conditions given by God, in order that those promises can be fulfilled by the Lord. In Judges 2:1-3 we find a clear example:
“Now the angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim. And he said ‘I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land which I have sworn to your fathers and I said, I will never break My Covenant with you, and as for you, you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land, you shall tear down their altars. But you have not obeyed Me, what is this you have done? ‘Therefore I also said, I will not drive them out before you, but they will become as thorns in your sides and their gods will be a snare to you” (Judges 2:1–3).
Here in this passage we see that God would never break His Covenant. We like this part; this is the one we want to remember.
But... there was a condition: people should not make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land and they had to tear down their pagan altars. (This is the part we don’t want to acknowledge.)
The terms of this passage applies to us too. Our desire is that God keeps His promises. But what happens with our covenants and agreements with the world? Have we torn away the altars of false worship, altars of disobedience and rebellion against God? Many Christians are facing this sad reality. Yes, they acknowledge that Christ delivers us from all sin. But they don’t want to acknowledge that they should have to repent from their sins.
In Chronicles, God made some promises to King David and his son Solomon.
“And I will not again remove the foot of Israel from the land which I have appointed for your fathers, if only they will observe to do all that I have commanded them, according to all the law the statutes and the ordinances given through Moses” (2 Chronicles 33:8).
What is happening with the promise of salvation? Our Saviour, freely offers us salvation, through His atoning sacrifice on the cross. However, salvation, as with any other promise: it also has some conditions.
FIRST: God wants us to seek and to get closer to Him.
“Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen that you may live.” “Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts and let him return to the Lord; and He will have compassion on him, and to our God for He will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:3, 6, 7).
SECOND: the condition—true repentance of our sins
“Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away” (Acts 3:19).
In Romans we find another great promise of salvation, also we find a condition.
“That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).
Our absolute faith in God’s promises release grace and power.
So what is the definition of a divine promise? It is a statement given by Him. Every promise contain the power or potential in its fulfilment, if conditions are obeyed.
The Lord gives great importance to promises:
“seeing that Hid divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust” (2 Peter 1:3–4).
What is God’s promise in giving us His precious and magnificent promises? God’s purpose was that we become partakers of His nature, to become His sons and daughters. Praise the Lord!
Our Lord wants us to live full and abundant lives.
“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).
If we want to live an abundant life we have to activate God’s promises in every aspect of our lives.
The Lord gives us promises to help us in our spiritual life, promises for prayer, for wisdom, faith, for our loneliness, for our fears, promises of authority over Satan, promises for our families.
How can we activate God’s promises?
We meditate on God’s promises, so they will be a reality in our hearts. Keep your eyes in Christ and in His promises. Do not look at circumstances surrounding you.
Do not doubt, do not ponder if a promise will be fulfilled or if it won’t. Just believe and obey.
Never surrender to failures or doubts.
“So that you will not be sluggish but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (Hebrews 6:12).
Be patient, learn to wait in the Lord. Learn to do His will.
“Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised” (Hebrews 10:35, 36).
Our Christian life experiences a dramatic change when we learn that God’s promises are true and faithful. We go from a dry and empty Christian life bereft of victories, to a joyous and fully blessed life. There will be joy, challenges, victories, faith and power.
Perhaps you will find adversities, trials or difficulties. Just think of them as temporary obstacles that will disappear as you face them with the power of God’s Word through His promises. Do not allowed yourself to be defeated. Remember that every divine promise demands your faith, patience, trust, perseverance and obedience. Use God’s promises as tools: to receive God’s blessings in your life and to be a blessing to others.
“For as many as are promises of God, in [Christ] they are ‘Yes.’ Therefore also through Him is our Amen to the Glory of God through us now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as pledge” (2 Corinthians 1:30–22).