08.13.13

What Exactly is a Promise?  James MacDonald

May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

—2 Peter 1:2-4

How do you define a promise? I’m not talking about the promises we make to each other that are fragile and unstable like we are. I’m talking about the promises God makes. His promises are the assurance God gives His people so they can walk by faith while they wait for Him to work. Read that definition again, and notice: God’s promises are “precious and very great” not just when they become reality, but also while you are anticipating and trusting God to work.

When our Heavenly Father tells you He will do something, you can consider it done, even when it hasn’t happened yet. Why is this so important to know? Because there will be times in your life when knowing this and hanging on to His divine promises will be your lifeline. That assurance is the very thing that will help you walk by faith while you wait for Him to work.

God’s promises are always powerful, but especially so when you’re having the worst days of your life. Sooner or later, you will pass through difficult circumstances where you have nothing but the promises of God. When life is hard, you may be driven to search the Scriptures for promises with trembling hands and a desperate heart. There is nothing like an overwhelming need to make you want some assurances about what is going to happen in an incredibly dark season. You realize you will able to grope your way to the light if you know God has some hope that will carry you through to the end. That’s what the promises of God are all about.

When God gives an assurance, He has the power to follow through. He never says, “Remember that thing I told you I would do? I ran out of time and couldn’t fit it in my schedule.” He told Isaiah, “Is my hand shortened, that it cannot redeem? Or have I no power to deliver?” (Isaiah 50:2). Those are purely rhetorical questions. The answer is a resounding NO!

Second Peter 1:3-4 tells us, “His divine power . . . has granted to us his precious and very great promises . . .” Then the apostle tells us why God gives us promises: “. . . so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4). God wants you to become increasingly like His Son Jesus, and He uses His promises to help you get there!

The very idea that God commits Himself to do anything is incredible. He doesn’t have to bind Himself to you in any way. He’s God—completely above and beyond us all. As part of His creation, you are in no position to hold Him to anything; He owes you nothing. Yet God flat out promises to do some things—for you. In fact, given certain circumstances, He has already told you what He will do! That’s amazing.

Throughout this month, you will discover what some of those promises are and fire up your trust in them so you can walk by faith while you wait for God to work!

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