Discover The Book (Part 4. The Sureness of God's Words And Promises)
Although this article is part of a series, it is a Complete study on its own.(4 of 4 in series)
* all [bracketed] words in Scripture verses are mine *
In this last installment of the series "Discover The Book," we will speak of the nature of God's words and the promises of God to those who are His. It is the sign of the times that trust is not to be easily given. People are commonly known to say that they trust no one or they will tell you they trust only themselves. Some will grudgingly tell you that they trust a spouse or a parent to a point, but even that is becoming out of style. So now the collective sigh of disbelief is in the air when I tell you that God has made promises to all who would come to Him and receive Him as Savior. Those of us who have soured on the concept that promises can be made and then kept, have not been dealing with the Eternal God of the Universe. God is "not a man that He should lie."
"God is not a man that He should lie. Nor a son of man that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or is it spoken and He will not make it good?" (Numbers 23:19)
From Genesis to Revelation there are promises made by God to believers, to unbelievers, and to Satan himself. God's statements of His intentions are so reliable that they can be treated as if it is a fact or as if it has already happened. There is absolutely no reason anyone should doubt the Creator God. Every single statement that He says will come true, does come true. In fact, the test of a true prophet of God is 100% accuracy. (The famed Jeanne Dixon amazed people with only 63% accuracy in her predictions.) If a prophet was found to be wrong in any statement that he relayed from the Lord or it didn't happen exactly how he said it would happen, that prophet was to be executed as a false prophet. That was the Lord's way of verification of His prophets.
In the Bible are hundreds of promises that can be believed as easily as one can believe that tomorrow will come. The Scriptural language shows that these promises found in the Book will cause mental and emotional stability should they be allowed by the individual believer to become a foundation to his soul. We will look at only one of God's promises, exploring only some of the facets of the surety of a promise from God. We will see how God upholds His end of a covenant statement as only an omniscient, omnipotent God can. It is hoped that these may renew our faith in God, who is faithful and cannot possibly lie.
"Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability [cannot change] of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul [mind, will, emotions], both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil."(Hebrews 6:18)
One Covenant Promise.
Promise made to Abraham, a man God called "His friend": "As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of many nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant to be God to you and your descendants after you." (Genesis 17:4-7)
This passage sets the stage for a transition in time. After this statement that God made to His friend, that in Abraham would come many nations and kings and an everlasting covenant, the stage was set for the Messiah. And not only the Messiah, but a whole people that would, through the years, be used as a beacon of light to the world. God looking through the annuls of time, stated without any hesitation exactly the course that Abraham's children would take, who would come forth from his loins, and what they would accomplish. It was as if it was already done. God looked at Abraham and said, "I have made you (past tense) a father of many nations." When God declared this, He was looking at a man with no children, past the age of easy childbearing for a man (90 years old), with a wife that was almost twice as old as she should be to get pregnant. Yet He makes a statement in the past tense, as if it was already accomplished. God's words stand the test of time.
"For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could sware by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, "Surely blessing I will bless you and multiplying I will multiply you." And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. For men indeed sware by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of all dispute. Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek." (Hebrews 6:13-20)
God did not need to sware with an oath that He would do the things He said for Abraham and his descendants. His statement was enough. But for the benefit of doubting men who use oaths for emphasis, as if to make the words more valid in the minds of His children, God used an oath. He swore by Himself for there is no one or no thing that is higher. These words were immutable. They cannot change, as if they had already happened and one cannot change the past. God's words anchor the soul. When He promised Abraham, one facet of that promise was redemption (a sacrifice) for sinning man. For a sacrifice to be made there has to be a High Priest to go into the Holy of Holies in the temple with the blood of the offering. Jesus was that High Priest. He took His own blood into that innermost Most Holy place before God, and sprinkled it there to interceed on our behalf, to redeem His people. This covenant is everlasting, each of these phases of God's one promise, to this one man, is forever. He will never leave us or forsake us.
"Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? - Just as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Therefore know that those who are of faith are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, forseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, 'In you shall all nations shall be blessed.' So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham." (Galatians 3:5-9)
This Scripture passage says that Abraham is rightly the father of the Gentiles as well as to his own children, Israel. Abraham read the Scripture that he had. What Scripture did Abraham have? Well, there was at least one or two parchments around but it is not known if Abraham ever saw them, most likely he did not. The book of Job is the oldest of the books of the Bible and the book of Enoch, (not of the 66 books that make up the Bible but it may also have made an impression and gone into the oral tradition passed from one generation to the next). No, Abraham's Scripture was God Himself. He was handed words from the Author of Scripture, Yahweh, his friend. "Abraham believed God" and that Scripture preached the Gospel to Abraham beforehand. What is the Gospel for Abraham? The Gospel is the belief in the concrete fact that there is the Death, Burial, and Resurrection of The Messiah to come. Abraham knew that somehow a sacrifice paying for his sin would be done by God, a Shiloh would come and cover his sin. That faith he had in the Living Scripture (God) worked to Abraham's salvation. It also made a way for Abraham's children to have salvation through faith. Who are Abraham's children? all on earth that believe God! So that all people who have ever lived, all tribes and nations and peoples and tongues would be blessed by Abraham's faith and by this one promise made to one man. God would not forsake Abraham to leave him childless and un-redeemed nor would He leave his children without hope. Yes, the people before Abraham are also included because Christ would come and die for them all.
"Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." So we may boldly say; "The Lord is my Helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?" (Hebrews 13:5-6)
"Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you...And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed." (Deuteronomy 31:6, 8)
The very last thing Jesus said as He rose into heaven was, "And lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." (Matthew 24:20) He was leaving them, yet this promise stood. His promise was kept in a very literal way in the person of the Holy Spirit Himself. This is how Jesus Himself explained it:
"The Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him or knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you." (John14:17-18)
He said in John that "If a man love Me [Christ], he will keep My words: and My Father will love him, and We [Jesus and the Father] will come unto him, and make Our abode with him...I tell you the truth: it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away the Comforter [the Holy Spirit] will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you...Behold, I stand at the door [heart's door] and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door , I [Christ in the person of the Holy Spirit] will come into him and sup [eat meals] with him, and he with Me." (John 14:23; John 16:7; Revelation 3:20)
Do you begin to see how different it is when God makes a promise and when man promises something? Do you see how His promise was made and kept even more marvelously than anyone could have hoped? A promise to one man Abraham, then extended to his children, and then to the whole world, even spanning all time. His promise includes His dwelling with us and is even now is in us as saved people. Jesus lives in us in the person of the Holy Spirit and will never leave us. When He said He would not leave them, the disciples never imagined that He was telling them: There's no need to miss Me because I will be closer than I have ever been. I won't be simply a man that you know, that you can hang around with and be buddies with, but I will be living inside of you! I will feel what you feel and experience what you experience.
Did you see in Revelation how He said that He would eat with us? Have you ever wondered what Jesus thinks of the supper that you are eating right now?
O the promises of God!
Another facet of this same promise that we will look at briefly is the eternity of God's salvation. Security of the believer goes hand-in-hand with His promise to Abraham that the covenant would be an everlasting covenant. He will never leave us nor forsake us.
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting [unending] life." (John 3:16)
Some would say that it is possible for Satan, his demons, the world, or yourself to wrest our soul away from its redeemed position before the Lord. But God promises that once in the family of God - it is forever.
"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." (Romans 8:1)
Some may point out that that verse seems to say somebody who doesn't walk after the Spirit but instead returns to walking after the flesh may somehow lose the value of a genuine regeneration experience. The verse is not saying that. Salvation is by grace and faith alone, with no works, lest we boast. We know this from Scripture, nothing we do can merit salvation. So then am I to believe I am responsible to keep my salvation by merit when it could not be earned by merit? a continual earning to maintain my relationship to a Holy God? The premise is ridiculous! There are just too many Scriptures to tell me that God keeps me and that my salvation is secure when it truly is a genuine salvation experience. Romans 8:30-39 says:
"Moreover whom He predestinated, these he also called [any who receive Christ are called], whom He called He also justified [notice it does not say will be justified], and whom He justified, these He also glorified [notice they are immediately glorified as far as God is concerned]. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God's elect [His called, His saved children]? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore also is risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us [verifies the value of a sinner's salvation before God when He sins]."
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation? [anything that is a trial that could sour you on God] or distress?[any stressful thing, mental condition,things that effect the mind] or persecution? [anything that would try to force a person to lose his faith] or famine? [any lack of everyday provision, poverty, hardship] or nakedness? [any lack of clothing or housing or living circumstance] or peril? [anything perceived as dangerous] or sword? [anything resulting from conflict]
As it is written: For your sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
For I am persuaded that neither death [anyone going through death or having someone close to them die], nor life [any thing experienced in life], nor angels [any angels including demons] nor principalities or powers [any spiritual force or government force], nor things present nor things to come [anything that you live through now or will ever live through can separate you from God], Nor height nor depth [things that overwhelm you], nor any other created thing [notice how it does not say except you yourself - this includes you yourself] Shall Be Able to Separate Us from the love of God which is in Jesus Christ our Lord."
The wrath of God abides on the wicked, not the love of God. But nothing, nothing will ever be able to separate us from the love of God once we are truly His. What a statement! What a fulfillment of a promise! There is no circumstance or means to lose one's salvation once a person's spirit is immersed into the body of Christ. But that is the key: a person must be "in Christ." Trying to stay in Christ yourself would be a study in futility, because we all know we fail. I would be losing my salvation at every turn. I am so grateful that I have accepted God's salvation and He holds onto me. I don't have to worry that my strength, (erratic at best) must hold onto Him. I am totally forgiven and justified forever.
O the promises of God!
Do you not see the enormity of the promises of the eternal God? This only scratches the surface of just these two promises. There is much more we could say about them. Plus there are hundreds of other promises throughout the Bible. Our eternal God makes no promises lightly and a simple statement from Him is like a promise from Him. He never forgets a statement made but keeps His word always, never changing.
"For I am the Lord, I do not change." (Malachi 3:6)
He fulfills every statement He makes with faithfulness and reflects the great love with which He loves us. Read God's Book. Discover the promises and everything that God says He will do. He has and will accomplish all in its time and will continue to do everything He says He will do to the exactness of His Word. Get excited about it! If you know Christ, be encouraged. If you don't know Christ, accept Him today and make His promises your future.
Now you may be reading this and seeing in yourself the lack of a connection to God. You realize you never have cried out to Him knowing you need a Savior and asking Him to save you. Making the request of God is private and easy to do. No one but God need know you have done this. All it takes is a basic belief in a few facts and a heartfelt repentance to cry out to Him. The first thing you must believe is that Jesus Christ is God in human flesh that came to die for your sins. You must also realize that you need a Savior and that you are a sinner. Jesus came to earth, was nailed to a cross, died and was in the grave three days but up from the grave He arose. Do you believe this? If you do, call on Christ to save you. Calling is the same as asking in a prayer. Pray this:
Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner. I believe in You, that You are God who visited earth to die for me. I believe that after three days You rose from the dead. I cry out out to You now to forgive me of my sin and save me. I turn from my sin and turn to You as the only way of salvation. Thank you for dying for me and thank you for hearing me and thank you for saving me. I pray this in Jesus' holy name. Amen.
Others in this series of independent articles:
Discover The Book (Part 1. Why Should I Read The Bible?)
Discover The Book (Part 2. God's Love Letter)
Discover The Book (Part 3. God's Warning To The World)