2 Peter 1 3(God’s) divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
God has promised to give us forgiveness and eternal life. He has promised to give us the Holy Spirit living inside us. He promises to meet our needs, to give us healing and guidance and wisdom and peace and victory and protection.
How many promises does God make in the Bible?
The word promise comes in the Bible well over a hundred times, and not all of those are God’s promises so that doesn’t help much. If you let Biblical Studies people loose on the question they will talk to you about counting the number of times when God Himself, or Jesus, or through a prophet, expresses an intention to do something and you only get a few hundred of those. God makes many more promises than that. One person has counted 3573. Clint Byars has written a book called “God says yes to over 3000 promises.” But he could well have missed a few. Herbert Lockyer wrote a book called “All the promises of the Bible” and claims to list 8000.
We know many of those promises by heart. We heard about at least three of them this morning.
Genesis 22 14 So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, ‘On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.’
Genesis 22 15 The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16 and said, ‘I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.’
Joshua 1 5 No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.
7 ‘Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.’
Here are examples of specific promises God made to individuals, but we take them as applying to Christians or the church and claim them for ourselves.
In 2 Corinthians chapter 1 Paul talks about God’s promises. But he got there in a very roundabout way.
2 Corinthians 1 12 Now this is our boast: our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace. 13 For we do not write to you anything you cannot read or understand. And I hope that, 14 as you have understood us in part, you will come to understand fully that you can boast of us just as we will boast of you in the day of the Lord Jesus.
15 Because I was confident of this, I wanted to visit you first so that you might benefit twice. 16 I wanted to visit you on my way to Macedonia and to come back to you from Macedonia, and then to let you send me on my way to Judea. 17 Was I fickle when I intended to do this? Or do I make my plans in a worldly manner so that in the same breath I say both ‘Yes, yes’ and ‘No, no’?
Paul had promised to visit Corinth, and then he hadn’t showed up. Paul was worried that the Corinthians might have felt hurt or insulted offended by this. They might have thought he didn’t actually care about them, or even that he thought they weren’t worth the trip. He was worried that they might think he couldn’t be trusted anything he says. So Paul clears the air by explaining##]# why he had had to change his plans.
Sometimes people make promises and they fail to keep them. Sometimes people deliberately decide not to keep their promises. Sometimes they forget. But more often they find that they are just not able to deliver what they have promised. Paul wanted the Corinthians to know that nothing like that had happened and that he was entirely reliable and trustworthy. Just like God Himself is.
18 But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not ‘Yes’ and ‘No’. 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me, Silas and Timothy—was not ‘Yes’ and ‘No’, but in him it has always been ‘Yes’. 20 For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ. And so through him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God..
Sometimes people make promises and they fail to keep them. Sometimes people deliberately decide not to keep their promises. Sometimes they forget. But more often they find that they are just not able to deliver what they have promised. None of that is the case with God,
. 20 For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ.
God never forgets the promises he makes. God never changes his mind and decides to disappoint people by failing to keep a promise they are relying on. There is never an occasion when God is not able to deliver the promise he has made.
20 For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ.
Paul means at least two things by this.
Paul is saying that Jesus Christ is the fulfilment of all God’s promises.
Rom 1:1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God—2 the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures 3 regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David, 4 and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord
Acts 13 32 ‘We tell you the good news: what God promised our ancestors 33 he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus.
Paul is surely also saying that Jesus is completely trustworthy in all he said. Jesus who is the way, the truth and the life is completely able to keep all the promises He has made to his disciples.
Titus 1:1 Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness—2 in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time,
God does not lie!
But Paul also gives a third reason to trust in the promises God has made.
21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come
We know that God can keep and will keep all His promises to us , because he has already begun fulfilling all His promises in our lives by the Holy Spirit living inside us.
He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come
God has already given us the Holy Spirit as the arrabon, the deposit, the guarantee, the sure down payment and the first installment of all the blessings he has promised us.
We hear the same in later in 2 Corinthians 5:5 5 Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. (NIV)
5 God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit. NLT
MESSAGE The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what’s ahead. He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we’ll never settle for less.
And Paul makes the same point in
Ephesians 1 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.
13 And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. 14 The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him. NLT
MESSAGE It’s in Christ that you, once you heard the truth and believed it (this Message of your salvation), found yourselves home free—signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit. This signet from God is the first installment on what’s coming, a reminder that we’ll get everything God has planned for us, a praising and glorious life.
So we know God will keep all the promises he has made to us. Because those promises have been fulfilled in Jesus. Because everything Jesus says is completely trustworthy. And because we have already begun to experience those promises being fulfilled in our own lives by the work of the Holy Spirit inside us.
20 For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ. And so through him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God. 21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
SO – out of all the promises God has made – which are precious and special to you??