Sep 19, 2013
Someone recently asked why I put such emphasis on the promises of God. They asked this question because they had not heard this emphasis before, and it felt strange to them.
They are not alone.
Christians know that we are saved by faith — by trusting God’s promise of salvation through Christ. And we know we are called to live by faith.
But many of us don’t understand what it means to live by faith. We don’t understand that living by faith means relying on God’s promises. We don’t do much thinking about God’s promises.
As a result, this emphasis on God’s promises can feel strange. So here are five reasons why it’s crucial to emphasize God’s promises.
Because God Emphasizes Promises
God’s Word contains history, doctrine, commands — and promises. Hundreds of them. Like these —
I will never leave you nor forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5)
[God] will not allow you to be tempted beyond your ability. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
I will counsel you with my eye upon you. (Psalm 32:8)
Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. (John 4:14)
God could have given us a Bible with just commands, history, and doctrine — but no promises. But he didn’t. He gave us a Bible full of promises.
So one reason we should emphasize God’s promises is because God does.
Because Faith Means Trusting God’s Promises
In Romans 4, Paul uses Abraham as an example of faith —
No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. (Romans 4:20-21)
Notice that faith means trusting God’s promise. God gives us promises of what he will do — and we trust his promises. That’s faith.
So faith is not positive thinking, or a vague belief that “it will all work out.” Faith means trusting the specific promises God has given us in His Word.
For example, faith means trusting that God will forgive us in Christ (1 John 1:9), give us wisdom in our decisions (James 1:5), satisfy us as we come to him (John 6:45), strengthen our faith through his Word (Romans 10:17), use every trial to bring us more joy in his glory (2 Corinthians 4:16-18) — the list goes on and on.
So the way I can tell I am living by faith is to ask — what promises from God am I trusting?
That’s why we must emphasize God’s promises, because if I’m not trusting God’s promises, I don’t have faith.
God Gives Promises To Help Us Obey
For example, God commands us not to fear. But that’s not easy. And so God helps us not fear, by giving us promises. Count all of the promises in this verse (I put them in italics) —
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)
And he doesn’t just give us promises to help us with fear. He also gives us promises to help us overcome —
- pride (1 Peter 5:5)
- lust (Matthew 5:8)
- losing heart in doing good (Galatians 6:7-8)
- laziness in daily work (Colossians 3:22-23)
- discouragement with sickness (2 Corinthians 4:16-17)
- bitterness toward enemies (Luke 6:35)
- laziness regarding evangelism (Matthew 28:18-20)
- prayerlessness (Matthew 6:6)
That’s another reason we should emphasize God’s promises — because God gives promises to help us obey, and we need all the help we can get.
God Wants Our Obedience To Be From Faith
Look at what Paul says in Colossians 3:23-24 —
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward.
Note that phrase “whatever you do.” That covers everything. So God wants everything we do to be done by faith — by knowing and trusting the promise that from the Lord we will receive the inheritance as our reward.
The reason this is so important is because, when we prayerfully trust this and other promises, we will experience the Holy Spirit changing our hearts so we want to obey.
But how often do we try to obey God by our own will-power, without trusting God’s promises? Too often.
So it’s crucial to emphasize God’s promises, because if we ignore God’s promises, we will be trying to obey by will-power, and not by faith.
Because We Are Always Trusting Either God’s Promises Or Satan’s Lies
In Jeremiah 13:25 God tells Israel why he is punishing them —
This is your lot, the portion I have measured out to you, declares the LORD, because you have forgotten me and trusted in lies. (Jeremiah 13:25)
Notice that when we forget God, we don’t trust nothing. Instead, we start trusting lies — Satan’s lies. Why is that?
It’s because we human beings are always trusting something to satisfy us. God created us with longings for joy, pleasure, and beauty. And these longings can only be satisfied fully and lastingly in God himself (Psalm 16:11).
But, because we have these longings, if we are not trusting God’s promises of heart-satisfaction, then we will trust something else to satisfy us — like money, or fame, or revenge.
So that’s another reason we should emphasize God’s promises. Because if we are not trusting God’s promises, we will trust Satan’s lies.
Years ago, sailors on long voyages had no Vitamin C in their diet. So they came down with scurvy and suffered weakness, lack of energy, malaise, and other symptoms.
God’s promises are like Vitamin C. If they are not in our daily diet, we will come down with spiritual Scurvy, and experience weakness, lack of energy, and malaise.
So — avoid spiritual Scurvy. Feed on the promises of God.
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And here are some related posts you might find helpful –
- What Are the Promises of God?
- How To Fight The Fight Of Faith
- 6 Reasons Heart-Satisfaction Is So Important
- How To Strengthen Your Faith