By Faith Alone…
We accept by faith that the sacred Scriptures we identify as the Holy Bible are the inspired (God-breathed), infallible (never failing), and inerrant (without error) Word of God. Once we accept this truth, there is an enormous amount of value to be gained from its pages. It tells us of the grand story of God’s self-revelation to the world. More specifically, it tells us how we, God’s creation, can be restored to an eternal relationship with God through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
As a way of communicating to us the ways in which God has worked throughout history and continues to work today to redeem His people back to Himself, the Bible share an incredible number of promises. According to one count, there are 3,573 promises in the Bible. These promises cover the gamut of topics from God’s plan of salvation to assurances we can claim for our daily living.
Which promises are for you? Well, if you’re a believer in Jesus Christ, it’s safe to say that it’s all of them. But, no doubt certain promises resonate with us depending on where we are at a particular point in our lives or in our faith journeys. Here are five promises that resonate with me:
1. The Promise of Salvation
There are many verses in the Bible that give us assurance of eternal salvation. The “Roman Road” is a series of verses in Romans that lay out the way of salvation. Perhaps the most poignant for me is Romans 10:9-10:
“If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation.”
Among Evangelical Christians, there is debate on the nuances of salvation, including the measures of God’s action versus ours, the role of repentance and works, and even the work of the Holy Spirit. But to me, these two verses lay it out simply and explicitly…confess Jesus as Lord and believe He’s who He said He is and you are saved.
2. The Promise of Freedom from Sin’s Grip
It’s important to make a distinction between this promise and the promise of salvation because we have to understand that our salvation is not dependent upon our behavior. Sure, we believe our behavior will change as a result of our salvation, but there is nothing to indicate that we must have victory over our own sin to be saved. That comes as part of the process of growth as a believer. The older I get, the more I recognize how pervasive sin is in the world and yes, in the lives of believers. That’s why it’s important that we embrace the promise that the Holy Spirit can and will help us in our struggles with sin. Perhaps the best passage to understand this promise is I Corinthians 10:13:
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humanity. God is faithful, and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape so that you are able to bear it.”
3. The Promise of His Provision
Compared to most of the rest of the world, we enjoy lives of comfort and luxury. But that doesn’t remove anxiety about our needs. The loss of a job, an economic decline, a divorce, or any other number of circumstances can cause us to worry about how we will support ourselves and our families. Matthew 6:25-26 provides this promise:
“This is why I tell you: Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the sky: They don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they?”
4. The Promise of Freedom from Fear
Most of us struggle with fear…fear of failure, fear of the unknown, fear of loss, fear of being alone. Joshua 1:9 says, “Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” It’s debated how many times the Bible says some version of “don’t be afraid” in this context; but we know the words “fear not” were spoken as an imperative from the lips of Jesus. So we can be sure it’s a command. The promise of Christ’s return. Perhaps one of the greatest promises in the Bible is the promise of Christ’s return for His people. This is perhaps the greatest reason we can have hope for the future, despite the appearance of a world that’s moving farther and farther away from God. The New Testament is full of references to Christ’s return, referred to in many ways including “the day of the Lord,” “the day of Christ,” “the return of the Lord,” “the revelation of Christ’s glory,” and “the future of our Lord.” Once again, Christ’s own words tell us of this promise in John 14:3:
“If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come back and receive you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also.”
As you read Scripture and identify thousands of promises, be sure you understand the promise in its proper context: is it intended for a specific audience and not for everyone? Is it a conditional promise? Is it confirmed by other Scripture? Keeping these questions in mind will help us remember not to read, “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires” (Psalm 37:4) to mean that we can selfishly ask God for anything we want and expect to get it.
Perhaps these promises resonate with you as they have with me. We have a God who keeps His promises (2 Corinthians 1:20).