Trusting In the Promises
Vol: 18 Issue: 1 Friday, January 1, 2016
The wisest man who ever lived, King Solomon, taught, ”A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of learning shall attain unto wise counsels. . . Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety. . . For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war, and in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.” (Proverbs 1:5, 11:14, 24:6)
Man, do I love our member’s forums. It’s hard to say what I love the most; the stuff I learn, or the inspiration I draw from the fellowship I find there. I have come to view the forums as the source of ‘everything I ever wanted to know but didn’t know I didn’t know so I didn’t know to ask’ — if you know what I mean.
When I am in need of either wise counsel in general or a multitude of counsellors for advice on a specific major decision, the first place I go is to our member’s forums.
When I find a conditional promise in Scripture that applies to my situation, I guess I am kind of superstitious. I believe with all my heart that when God makes a promise, He keeps it. I’ve never been disappointed.
“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” (Psalms 1:1)
In these instances, the condition is to seek out godly counsel from a multitude of counsellors. The promise is twofold; there is the promise of safety, and secondly, there is the promise of blessing for heeding the counsel received.
I called it ‘superstitious’ because it almost feels superstitious; obeying the condition, then knowing without question that the attending promise will be kept — it’s almost an almost child-like feeling, but it isn’t really superstition.
I’d like to call it blind faith, but it isn’t really ‘blind’. I’m not even sure its ‘faith’. It’s more like a recipe; if the ingredients are pure and correctly combined and the directions are followed, the result is always the same.
The first time, it was blind faith. As I witnessed God continuing to keep His promises in my life, it became just plain faith. Eventually, it became child-like, like a child’s superstition.
Trusting in God’s promises is like putting batter in the oven. If the combination of ingredients, temperature and time are correct, I don’t need much faith to know I’ll be pulling a cake out shortly.
There are two kinds of promises in Scripture; conditional and unconditional. An example of an unconditional promise is the promise of eternal security.
It is unconditional in the sense that, once you take the step of giving yourself to Christ, He keeps you, unconditionally, until He takes you Home to be with Him.
“Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath BEGUN a good work in you will PERFORM it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)
First, we are told to be ‘confident’ of the promise, then a statement of fact, and then the unconditional promise is laid out for us. The statement of fact is that it was Jesus Who began a good work in us at salvation.
And the promise is that, having begun that good work, He will continue to perform it ‘until the day of Jesus Christ’ when we stand before Him at the Bema Seat.
The second kind of promise in Scripture is conditional. We opened with a discussion of a conditional promise. If one seeks a multitude of counsellors, then one is promised safety. If one seeks out godly counsel, and then follows that counsel, one is promised a blessing.
Seeking a multitude of godly counsellors, such as in our member’s forums, one is promised both safety and a blessing.
Philippians 4:19 says,
“But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus”.
Trusting in the promises of God is not the same as ‘Name it and claim it’. God is only promising to meet our needs; food, clothing, shelter, companionship and salvation through Jesus.
I am not talking about visualizing a new Rolls Royce and then waiting for God to deliver it. Instead, I talking about trusting in God’s promises as given. God promises safety and blessing are found in godly counsel.
He never promised the rose garden existence advanced by the proponents of ‘Name it and Claim it’ theology. That isn’t to say that there aren’t promises in Scripture that one can claim, however.
Let’s examine such a promise in detail together.
“And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask any thing according to His will, He heareth us.”
First, we are told to have confidence in the promise, together with both the condition and the statement of fact. The condition for our confidence is that what we ask be ‘according to His will’, and the statement of fact is that ‘He heareth us.”
“And if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.” (1st John 5:14-15)
John continues to lay out conditions, before getting to the promise. If we know that He hears us, then we have His promise that ‘whatsoever we ask’ (which meets the precondition of being according to His will) we can KNOW in advance our petition has been granted.
It is an iron-clad promise of God. God is saying, “if you meet My conditions, I WILL grant your petition.” But one of God’s preconditions is that our petition be according to His will.
How can we know for sure we are in God’s will? That’s where “Name it and Claim It” theology collapses. Most of the time, we can’t.
But the Bible does specifically express one instance when we can KNOW our request is within God’s will and we can therefore KNOW our petition will be granted.
“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2nd Peter 3:9)
Do you see it? It is God’s will that none should perish, but that all should be saved. Not everybody will be saved, of course, because God allows man to pursue his own will, but the Scripture specifically says that, man’s own will aside, God’s will is for everybody to be saved.
So, now we have the ingredients necessary to claim a promise of God.
Have a lost loved one that nobody seems to be able to get through to? God can, and He promises that He will, if you ask Him. It is, after all, God’s expressed will that none should perish. Even that loved one who seems so hopeless.
John promises, therefore, that we can have confidence in Him, that if we ask for that loved one’s salvation, (which we KNOW is according to His expressed will,) and we have faith that He hears us, we can KNOW that God will grant our petition.
It might not be today, it might not be tomorrow, you may never even know, but what you CAN know is that God promised it.
And God keeps His promises.
Originally Published: August 6, 2007
Featured Commentary: No Absolute Truth ~ Alf Cengia