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God's Command or God's Promise: What's the Difference?

Updated on July 23, 2018
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Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.

You can tell the difference between God's command and God's promise by being mindful of the following things.

A command is an instruction from God that He tells people to do and what not to do. All commands should be obeyed by doing what God says. You should not revise or adjust the command in any way.

If you ever do only part of what God has said to do, it will not please Him. He expects you to obey His command just as He has told you to do.

God's instructions to Moses to build the tabernacle cover a lot of chapters in the Book of Exodus. Everything had to be very precise with measurements to the exact specifications.

God's Command

A command is an authoritative order. It is an instruction to do something or not to do something.

God's command in the Bible is any directive, rule or order He gives. There are hundreds of God's commands in the Bible.

There are commands in the Old Testament and in the New Testament for Christians to obey. The categories of the commands include how to live a righteous life, what to say, and how to treat others in addition to other things.

When God gives a command He is clear when He says, "Thou shall" or "Thou shall not."

God's Promise

The Bible is filled with many of God's promises. There are about 5,467 promises of God in the Bible.

You can tell it is a promise from God because He doesn't tell you to do something or not to do something. Instead, He says what He will do.

It is easy to tell if it is a promise from God because He says, "I will."

Interesting Things About God's Promises

  • God's promises are irrevocable. That means once God's makes a promise, He does not take it back.
  • God is able to fulfill all of His promises.
  • God is faithful and will keep all His promises.

You will know it is God's promise because He doesn't instruct you to do something. Instead, He tells you what He will do. All of His promises are "Yea" and "Amen."

Example:

"For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us." (2 Corinthians 1:20)

God's Commands
God's Promises
What God instructs you to do
What God says He will do.
You must ACT.
You must BELIEVE.
God says, "Thou shall"
God says, "I will."
God says, "Thou shall not."
God says, "I will not."
Man may break God's commandments.
God always keeps His promises.

Do the command but believe the promise.

God's Conditional Promises

Sometimes we see conditional promises in the Bible. They are "if...then" statements. God tells His people that "If" they would do something by following His commands, then He will do what He says.

Here is a very good example of an "If...Then" scripture.

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)

The first part of the above scripture is the condition. The last part of the scripture is God's promise provided His people do what He commanded them to do.

God's Command or God's Promise?

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