Saturday, February 9, 2008

The Promises of God

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.
2 Cor 1:20

God's desire is to shower us with His promises, to say, "Yes" to us concerning all that He promised in His Word.

When I first read this verse I wondered to myself, "What does that mean? What did God promise?" I quickly relegated all of God's promises into a box: a Savior, Salvation, Heaven. My God-in-a-box was limited.

As I learned more about God's Word, I discovered that there is a whole world of promises to us from God. Most are found in the Old Testament (these are the specific promises to which Paul was referring since they didn't have a New Testament when he wrote this to the Christians of the day - but all the promises in the New Testament are also "Yes"!)

When I first read of these promises and discovered them in the Bible, I have to admit, I really didn't think they applied to me or my life. I mean, I really didn't believe that God really and truly meant them for me. I mean, really. Who am I?

For example: When God said in Jeremiah, "For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." That sounded so beautiful, so comforting. But didn't God mean that just for his people in the Old Testament? That deflating thought kept me from allowing that promise to enter my heart.

As the years progressed, God began to show me that His Word is forever. The promises He gave to His people did not pass away and die; they are not obsolete for those of us who are now His people. They come into all fullness for us. They are especially for us, those who were far away but came to Him through faith in His precious Son, those of us who miraculously (through His sovereign impartation of faith) believe in the atoning blood of His Son; the beloved Son who took upon Himself all of our nasty sin. Indeed, the promises culminate in a resounding "Yes" for us! For, blessed are we who have not seen, but believe and receive His cleansing.

Even more amazing is that all the promises to God's children, all the promises to the righteous are for us because of that blood. Jesus made an unfair trade: He took off our unrighteousness and put it on himself; then He put His righteousness upon us. When God gazes upon us, His children through faith in Christ, He sees us as righteous. He separates us from our sin (sin is on the left, and we are the right). He sees us on the right, without the sin, RIGHTEOUS!

Yes, yes, I know...we have issues we are all walking out, working out and fleshing out. But working out our salvation is for our benefit; it helps us to experience a more abundant life on earth. The fact is, we are righteous in God's eyes. We stand before Him as precious and clean. As I've said before, He sees the end product (us, seated in the heavenlies with Christ). He's not anxious and worried about our issues. So, neither should we be...we should just yield to Him and allow Him to transform us from within (and that will show up as change on the outside).

Honestly, when God looks at you, dear believer, He sees a righteous individual. And guess what? All his promises to the righteous are pretty amazing; all are good. Ain't no bad Old Testament trauma for the righteous! When God gives promises to the righteous, they are forever. They are still relevant for you. They are, "Yes! in Christ," as Paul earnestly pleaded with the once-pagan Corinthians to believe.

The fact is, all the promises that God made: safety, shelter, protection, blessings, prospering in or spirit, soul and body, favor and many others, are for us today!

Allow those promises to sink into your heart. Hold them dear to you, because God wants you to. He wants you to take Him at His Word. Even if you aren't seeing it right now in your life, grasp onto His promises, His Word and ask God to show you that they are indeed relevant promises, that they are "Yes!" in Christ Jesus.

"God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill it?" Numbers 23:19

"As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." Isaiah 55:10-11

Amen to the glory of God!