December 31, 1996
“But you promised . . . . “
What parent has not heard that accusation, particularly Christmas morning when their child did not receive an expected gift. Did he or she misinterpret “maybe” as a promise? Or did the child hear right and is rightly disappointed?
Thankfully parents and children alike have one Parent we can trust all the time. Our Heavenly Father always keeps His promises. Scripture abounds with examples. Here are three:
First, God promised a Savior, right after the first sin was committed. Then, throughout the Old Testament, He expanded and explained His promise. Jeremiah specifically uses the word: “The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will fulfill the gracious promise I made to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line; he will do what is just and right in the land.”
Jesus, the perfectly right and just Son of God, was born of the lineage of David, 600 years later. After two thousand years, we still celebrate the fulfillment of this incredible Promise.
The next example is that God promises to forgive all who turn from sin and believe in His Son. Acts 2 says: “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off — for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
Those who have responded to the call of God by repentance and faith in Jesus Christ know that this promise has also been fulfilled. We know the joy of His forgiveness and the reality of the Spirit’s indwelling.
The third example is God’s promise that Jesus will return to judge the earth and then renew it. Second Peter says: “The day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.”
Some laugh and say this will never happen but the Bible says, “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should change his mind. Does He speak and then not act? Does He promise and not fulfill?”
In the Old Testament, God warned His people that if they did not believe and obey, He would destroy them. However, “they despised the pleasant land; they did not believe his promise” and they pushed God’s patience until He judged them and sent them into exile.
Biblical history shows how God hates sin and rebellion but also that He is patient and pleads with His people to return to Him. Peter clarifies His patience in response to those who scoff at the Second Coming of Christ. Instead of giving another threat, he gives this invitation: “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
Someone has catalogued several thousand promises. God has fulfilled all the others. As He promised, Jesus did come; He was born in a stable—to die on a Cross and He will come again.
This Christmas, consider God’s greatest gift, the promised Christ child. Consider also His promise of eternal life and His promise to come again. Then put your faith in Him because He who promised is faithful. He will do it.