The Promises of God
Many years ago, a friend and I decided to visit the church of a famous pastor. We were both in seminary and wanted the opportunity to hear the man in person. Not only was the sermon good, but the church was also wonderful. Almost as soon as we entered the building, a couple from the congregation came alongside of us and asked us to sit with them during the service. Afterward, they invited us to lunch. At that point my friend said that we must decline. After departing, I asked him why the need to go. He told me that he had promised to spend time with his son that afternoon. And then he added, I broke my promise to do so recently and I don’t want to do that again.
This series is about the promises. Some will remember the group in the 1990s called Promise Keepers. The ministry drew men from all over the country and even the world. There were seven promises, if I remember correctly, that men were urged to take because men, and all people for that matter, are like my friend. They are promise breakers. But this series is not about them and it’s not really about us. Some of you are probably relieved. We too often make and break promises even to those we love. That is why we need someone other than ourselves to whom we may look. No, this series is about God and His promises.
Perhaps the most well-known text regarding God’s promises is in II Corinthians 1:20, “For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.” In other words, there are many promises in the Old Testament Scriptures, and they have been answered with a climactic, “Yes!” in Christ. Not one of the promises of God has failed. But although all of God’s promises come to a climax in Christ each promise has an importance for the believer. For example, God will forgive you is an incredibly important promise for the believer. Or how about the fact that God promises to fight for us? Or think of how he preserves us under trial, meets our needs, and does not withhold any good thing from those who belong to Him. These are promises, His promises.
I don’t know about you but it feels like the air of our culture is laden with half-truths, deceptions, and outright lies. It’s hard to turn on the television set and not hear one lie after another other. For example, President Biden and a variety of others just told the American people that five capital police officers were killed at the capital on January 6th. The reality is that the only person killed that day was a woman shot by a capital police officer. I can’t think of too many other discouraging things than when the leaders of a country lie to the people governed, and yet, it’s happening. Therefore, I trust a series on the promises of God will minister to your heart in the midst of a culturally turbulent time. So, let’s take the next few weeks and think together about some of God’s promises and in so doing let us be refreshed and renewed.
Jeffrey A Stivason (Ph.D. Westminster Theological Seminary) is pastor of Grace Reformed Presbyterian Church in Gibsonia, PA. He is also Professor of New Testament Studies at the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh, PA. Jeff is the Senior Editor of Place for Truth (placefortruth.org) an online magazine for the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals.