God’s Promises to YOU
Throughout our lives we are probably all guilty of promising something and then failing to deliver. Most parents will have heard their children say: “But you promised!” at some point. One of the biggest promises people can make is the marriage vow: “until death do us part…” and yet the national divorce rate is estimated at 42%.
But when God makes a promise it is different - here’s an example of what the Bible says: “God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfil it?” Numbers 23:19
The Bible is filled with characters convinced of the assurance of God’s word. This is what the Apostle Paul said when he first preached the Gospel message at Antioch: “And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus” Acts 13:32-33
In Hebrews 11 we are told of other men and women of faith who died without receiving the promises but who still maintained absolute conviction in them: “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them” Hebrews 11:13 “Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword … And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised” Hebrews 11:36-39
Despite not receiving the promises when they were alive, they all died comforted by the belief that they would see the promises fulfilled when raised from the dead. This is because they believed in the resurrection.
God’s promises are therefore at the core of the Gospel message of salvation!
So what are the promises?
The first promise - sin and death would be dealt a mortal blow
When the first humans, Adam & Eve, disobeyed God (sinned) it meant that they and their descendants – the human race – would be mortal creatures, destined to die. BUT even right back then God promised that there would be a future descendant who would conquer sin and death:
“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” Genesis 3:15 The ‘bruising of the head’ here is symbolising a mortal blow to the power of sin and death.
The promises to Abraham
As the Genesis record progresses, God’s promises continue with Abram (who God re-named as Abraham):
“Now the LORD said to Abram … “I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you … in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed … To your offspring I will give this land.” Genesis 12:1-3,7
Because of his trust and faith in God, Abraham was promised that:
• He would inherit the LAND then known as ‘Canaan’ (Genesis 13:14-15),
• He would be the father of a PEOPLE as numerous ‘as the sand that is on the seashore’ (Genesis 22:17)
• One of his descendants would be a SPECIAL SEED (or offspring) who would ‘possess the gate of his enemies’ (Genesis 22:16,17)
• In/through him ‘ALL the families of the earth shall be BLESSED’ (Genesis 12:3)
In the New Testament it is revealed to us that these ‘offspring’ promises right back in Genesis refer to JESUS:
“Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ.” Galatians 3:16
The Apostle Peter preached that, because of these promises, there was an opportunity for all to repent and be blessed through Jesus:
“You are the sons of the … covenant that God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’ God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness.” Acts 3:25-26
The promise of a King
One of Abraham’s descendants was David - he became king of the nation of Israel. God promised him that one of his future descendants would sit on his throne and that it would be ‘established forever’ (2 Samuel 7:12,13,16).
Again, the New Testament reveals that this future King is Jesus too, descended from the royal line of David, of the tribe of Judah. The Gospel of Matthew begins: ‘The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.’
Luke’s Gospel then records the angel Gabriel telling Mary: “…behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1:31-33).
As we know, Jesus was killed, but – just as faithful servants like Abraham believed – death is no barrier to God: “And though they found in him no guilt worthy of death, they asked Pilate to have him executed. And when they had carried out all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. BUT GOD RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD” Acts 13:28-30
Through Jesus’ sinless life, sacrificial death and resurrection we see the fulfilment of the first promise – the power of sin and death have been dealt a mortal blow.
The King is coming!
We are expecting Jesus to return to raise the dead, judge men and women and restore God’s kingdom on earth:
“Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” Acts 1:11
“For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16
Jesus’ world-wide rule will be centred in the restored kingdom of Israel, fulfilling the promises to Abraham. His reign will bring peace, justice and righteousness, ending suffering and war.
The amazing blessings in God’s promises apply to us all but require an individual, personal response. Through belief, repentance and baptism in Jesus Christ we become ‘heirs according to promise’ with the hope of everlasting life and a place in God’s kingdom!
“in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. … And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” Galatians 3:26-29
How will YOU respond to God’s promises?