Sep 4, 2014
A Summary of God’s Promises
In one of the first posts I wrote for this site I summarize all of God’s promises under seven categories –
HEART-SATISFACTION – God promises to satisfy you fully and forever in Jesus Christ (Psalm 16:11; Psalm 36:7-9; Psalm 63:1-2; Psalm 73:25-26; John 6:35; Philippians 3:8; 1 Peter 1:8).
FORGIVENESS – God promises to forgive you through faith in Christ so you can experience his heart-satisfying presence forever (1 John 1:9; Romans 8:1; 1 Peter 3:18; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 2:8-9; 2 Thessalonians 2:14).
PERSEVERANCE – God promises to keep you strong in faith so you can experience his heart-satisfying presence forever (Philippians 1:6; Jeremiah 32:40; Ezekiel 36:26-27; John 10:28-29; Jude 1:24-25).
REWARD – Because of Christ, God mercifully promises to reward your undeserving faith with even more heart-satisfaction in him now and forever (John 14:21; Matthew 5:8; Matthew 25:23; John 14:23; Romans 8:13; Hebrews 12:14; Revelation 21:6-7).
CIRCUMSTANCES — God promises to give you the perfect combination of blessings and trials so that, as you trust him, you will have the greatest heart-satisfaction in him (John 9:1-2; Job 42:10; Acts 12:11; Job 1:21; 2 Corinthians 4:16-18; 2 Corinthians 12:9-10; 1 Peter 1:6-7; 1 Peter 4:14).
NEEDS – Through prayer God promises to provide for every need in the perfect time and amount to give you the greatest joy in him now and forever (Matthew 7:7; Philippians 4:19; 2 Corinthians 9:8; Galatians 3:5; Matthew 6:33; Philippians 4:13; Matthew 19:6; 1 Corinthians 12:18; James 1:5; Romans 8:35-39; Philippians 4:11-12).
HEAVEN — God promises to raise you from the dead so that for ever you can join all the redeemed in the heart-satisfying joy of beholding God’s glory in Christ (Luke 23:43; John 11:25-26; Philippians 3:20-21; Revelation 21:1-5).
(Here’s the whole article, if you are interested.)
A Troubling Question
Notice that all seven categories focus on satisfaction in Christ. I think this is the right way to understand these promises, because otherwise promises could tempt us to love something else more than Christ, which is surely not God’s intention.
But after writing that article, I had a nagging question. Most of the above promises don’t mention heart-satisfaction in Christ. They just promise wisdom (James 1:5), or financial provision (Matthew 6:33), or perseverance in faith (Philippians 1:6).
So my question was – are there any Scriptures showing that the focus of every promise is Christ and our satisfaction in him?
And a few weeks ago, I found one.
A Thought-Provoking Verse
I was reviewing my memory verse cards, and came to Hebrews 11:6 –
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
This verse teaches that if my faith is going to please God, then it must always involve believing that God exists, and that he rewards those who seek him.
This means that faith must always focus on the reward that God promises, and that if faith ever does not focus on this reward, then it does not please God.
And what is the reward God promises? In Hebrews, it’s described as sharing in Christ, drawing near to God, having God as our God, knowing God, meeting Christ, seeing the Lord, and the city that is to come (Hebrews 3:14; 7:19; 8:10; 8:11; 9:28; 12:14; 13:14).
In other words the reward that God promises is himself – God as revealed in Christ. Christ is our reward.
It Struck Me
Then it struck me. If faith must always focus on the reward that God promises, then that means it must always focus on Christ – and our heart satisfaction in him. Which means that one of God’s purposes in giving us promises is to center our hearts on Christ as our reward.
That’s what I had thought, which is why my explanation of the promises put such emphasis on Christ as our reward.
But now I have a verse which explicitly teaches that all faith, and every promise grasped by faith, must focus on Christ as our reward.
Bills Piling up
For example, imagine that you’ve been laid off, and your bills are piling up. Look at what Jesus promises in Matthew 6:33 —
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Hebrews 11:6 helps us see that if we trust the promise of Matthew 6:33, without looking to Christ as our reward, then we are misunderstanding the promise, and our faith does not please God.
What we must do is understand that while Matthew 6:33 does deal with our need for money, it calls us to “seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness,” which includes seeking our joy in Christ, not money.
And when we seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness, God promises that all these things will be added to you. And we know from the rest of Scripture that this means God will give us the exact amount of money – large or small – that will bring us the most joy in Christ (Romans 8:35; Philippians 4:12-13; Hebrews 11:37-38).
So trusting Matthew 6:33 does not just mean trusting that God will provide money. It means setting your heart on Christ as your reward, and then trusting that God will supply the exact amount of money you need in order to have the greatest joy in Christ.
The Focus of God’s Promises
Since faith means trusting God’s promises, and the faith that pleases God must always focus on Christ as our reward, therefore the focus of every promise is Christ as our reward.
So trust God’s promises, with your heart set on Christ.
That’s the kind of faith that pleases God.
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And here are some related posts you might find helpful –
- “Why Do You Put Such Emphasis on the Promises of God?”
- A Right Way and a Wrong Way to Use God’s Promises
- Six Reasons Heart-Satisfaction Is Crucial
- Don’t Neglect God’s Promises
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