Exceeding Great and Precious Promises

Two men shaking handsSome of you have lived in a time where a man’s word was his bond.  An affirmation and a handshake were suitable to seal a deal.  In today’s society, with lying being so rampant and commonplace, we sometimes do not know who, or what, to believe.  With that being said, I am absolutely certain that I can trust the Godhead to always tell me the truth.  It is written in the book of Proverbs, “Every word of God is pure:  he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him” (Prov. 30:5).  It is extremely satisfying and encouraging to know that when God says something, you can trust Him.  He has been proven time and time again.  By inspiration, Peter wrote, “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises:  that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Pet. 1:4).  If God can be trusted, and He can, what are some of the “promises” that He has made to us?

          First of all, let us notice what the apostle Paul wrote long ago.  After acknowledging his faithfulness, and that he was ready to die for the cause of Christ, Paul stated, “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day:  and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Tim. 4:8).  Why was Paul so certain of his “crown”?  He knew that God would fulfill what He promised.  Inspired by the Holy Spirit, James wrote, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation:  for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him” (James 1:12).  There it is!  God has promised!  We can be absolutely sure that the “crown” of victory is waiting for those who obey God.  Jesus wanted John to warn the church in Smyrna to “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer:  behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days:  be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life” (Rev. 2:10).  The fact that faithfulness is essential should never be ignored.  We can look at it this way.  God has given us certain things that we must do.  Likewise, in a physical race, the runners have certain rules that they must obey if they wish to win.  Paul told Timothy, “And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully” (2 Tim. 2:5).  We will not receive our “crowns” without living “lawfully”.  If we do live “lawfully”, then we can trust God to reward us.  Peter also wrote, “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away” (1 Pet. 5:4).

          Second, Paul also indicated two of God’s promises when he wrote, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (2 Cor. 6:17-18).  By living a life that is separate from the world, we will be “received”, and we will be God’s children.  These are indeed promises, for Paul then wrote, “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Cor. 7:1).  To be a part of the royal family of God is indeed a privilege.  None of us deserve such a great blessing, but rather God adopts us into His family when we “…are led by the Spirit of God…” (Rom. 8:14).  Being obedient to what God commands allows us this great designation.  Paul further wrote, “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.  The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” (Rom. 8:15-16).  By becoming God’s children, we are assured of our inheritance.  God, through Paul, acknowledged, “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” (Rom. 8:17).  The children of God will one day be more like our Lord.  John stated, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God:  therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.  Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be:  but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:1-2).

          In drawing this article to a close, let me emphasize again the certainty of these promises.  “For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea.  For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us” (2 Cor. 1:19-20).  Everything that God has promised in Christ will come to pass.  Therefore, I hope that we all get “into Christ” before it is too late (Gal. 3:26-29).
~ Corey Barnette