The Promises of God
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “For as many as are the promises of God in Him, they are “yes,” therefore, also through Him is our “Amen” to the glory of God through us (2 Cor 1:20).” Foremost of these promises is the one, “which He Himself made to us: eternal life (1 Jn 2:25).” Jesus Himself said, “This is eternal life that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent (Jn 17:3).”
It is the righteous believer who has eternal life (Mt 25:46; Jn 3:15), an inheritance, having passed out of death into life (Jn 5:24). It is Jesus Christ who gives eternal life to all whom the Father has given Him (Jn 17:2). Thus, if one is in Christ, by God’s doing (1 Cor 1:30), he has this life (1 Jn 5:11).
God the Father and God the Son send God the Spirit to whom they will (Jn 14:26; 15:26; Acts 1:8). The promise of the Holy Spirit was given to the incarnate Christ (Is 42:1), and He was also promised to God’s people (Joel 2:28). The promise was fulfilled in visible measure at Jesus’ baptism (Mt 3:16) and on the Day of Pentecost at Jerusalem (Acts 2:33). It has come to the Gentiles (Gal 3:14); and it is the Spirit who comes to fulfill this promise of life, by granting faith to those He makes alive in regeneration (Eph 2:5; Col 2:13).
The regenerate are made to hear the Word of promise, through the preaching of the Gospel (Rom 10:17). As the Spirit, who inspired the Scriptures (2 Tim 3:16; 2 Pet 1:20–21), also fills the preacher to proclaim the Christ of the covenants (Col 1:28), the Word causes elect men to hear the voice of their Good Shepherd (Jn 10; Rom 10:17), if they belong to Him (Jn 10:26; 1 Cor 3:23).
The call of God to His elect people comes with irresistible grace that draws them (Jn 6:44) to come to Christ. They enter His rest (Heb 4:1, 3, 10), after listening to the message of truth, the Gospel of their salvation (Eph 1:13). Christ promises to never leave nor forsake those who come to Him by faith (Heb 13:5), nor will He in any way cast them out (Jn 6:37).
God has positioned His promises inside His unconditional covenant of grace. God told Abraham what He was going to do with the patriarch and his posterity (Gen 12, 15, 17). The “unconditional” means Abraham was not required to do anything in this process. The “covenant” means that God set the terms of what He would do. The “grace” means the work God has done to ensure the full execution of the covenant.
God makes His promises and seals them with an oath and covenant. He then does everything required to keep His oath and covenant. This includes giving faith to believers. These trust God’s Word of promise, while others do not. What is the difference?
The difference between the believer and the unbeliever is the presence of the Holy Spirit. The unbeliever has no relationship with the Spirit of God’s Son (Jn 3:36; 1 Jn 5:12), while the believer is baptized and indwelt by the Spirit (Rom 8:9, 11).
Having been born again by the Spirit (1 Pet 1:3), the elect, redeemed soul is made alive to God (Eph 2:5; Col 2:13). By receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit, the soul receives the gift of faith (Eph 2:8), granted by grace (Phil 1:29), from the Author of faith (Heb 12:2). Faith apprehends the promises, not as a work of the will, the flesh, or the Law (Jn 1:13; Rom 4:5).
Faith knows that God is true (Rom 3:4). It is convinced that God is able to guard its trust in Him, until the day (2 Tim 1:12). Faith does not lean on its own understanding, but on the wisdom and power of God which is Christ Jesus (1 Cor 1:24). Faith is not a human action, but it is the evidence of things not seen, yet believed (Heb 11:1). Faith knows God is trustworthy, because God has already begun His work in the regenerate soul (Phil 1:6).
This work in the soul is sanctification, by the Spirit (1 Thess 5:23; 2 Thess 2:13; 1 Pet 1:2). Being transformed in mind and heart (Rom 12:2), the believer continues to hear, to read, and to learn God’s Word of promises. With some promises already fulfilled, the believer has great confidence in the promises yet to be fulfilled, as it is with the promise of Christ’s second advent (Mt 24–25; Mk 13; Lk 21), the resurrection of the body (Jn 5:25–29; 1 Cor 15), the judgment (2 Cor 5:10; Rev 20:11), the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev 19), in the new heavens and the new earth (2 Pet 3:13; Rev 21–22).
The children of promise delight in the Word of the Father’s promise, that as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself will come to His Son (Acts 2:39; Rom 9:8; Gal 4:28). Together, as heirs and co-heirs with Christ (Rom 8:17; Gal 3:29; Eph 3:6), these have received the token, the pledge of an eternal inheritance (2 Cor 1:22; 5:5).
Every natural man, born with a sin nature and in sinful flesh (Eph 2:3), is a liar (Rom 3:4), a child of the devil (1 Jn 3:10), who is the father of lies (Jn 8:44). The devil makes promises he cannot keep, and he blinds the minds of men, so they cannot see the truth of the Gospel (2 Cor 4:4). This is a deluding influence sent by God, so they will believe what is false (2 Thess 2:11). The natural, unregenerate man who does not believe God’s Word, does not belong to Him (Jn 10:26; 1 Cor 3:23).
Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your heart, but call upon the name of the Lord. Ask for the Holy Spirit, promised by God, to believers, appointed to eternal life (Acts 13:48), before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4–5; Heb 4:3). In time, these hear of God’s promises concerning them. They know this is no ordinary word of men, by the Spirit revealing it to them.
The Word of God is powerful (Heb 4:12). It divides men into two groups: those who believe its promises, and those who do not believe them. Here is the miracle of faith, performed by the Spirit of Christ, who has made us believe (Jn 6:29).
Spokane Valley, Washington
November 10, 2022