They say big things come in small packages. This one came across as a text message which read, “This may be a BIG question but…what are God’s promises?” Wow! I wasn’t quite expecting that when my phone buzzed. It was a text full of boldness and timidity, all wrapped into one. The person asking the question was a little shy and apologetic for asking such a big question. But she asked...because she wanted to know. So I responded. “Now there is a great question. It is THE question.”
I’ll share with you a portion of my answer, and then maybe add to it a bit. Ultimately, the promises of God are summed up in the one promise of God. It is the promise that runs like a thread throughout the whole of Scripture. In Genesis 17:7, God spoke to Abraham and said, “And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.” It was a promise to Abraham, and to his offspring after him. It was a promise that God would repeat and clarify throughout Scripture. It was a promise that God would graciously call to himself a people…that he would be their God and they would be His people.
As I said, this promise runs throughout Scripture. It is THE theme of redemption. For no other reason than to display his grace and for his own glory, God calls a people to himself and makes them his people. Just take a walk through Scripture and see for yourself the refrain. Genesis 17:7; Exodus 6:7; Leviticus 11:45, 26:12; Deuteronomy 4:20, 29:13; Ezekiel 37:26-28; Jeremiah 7:23, 11:4, 30:22, 31:33; Hosea 2:23; Acts 2:39; 2 Corinthians 6:16; Zechariah 8:8, 13:9; and Revelation 21:3, 7 just to give a sample. Maybe you get this picture. This is the promise that runs throughout Scripture.
It is a promise made by God the Father, fulfilled through the person and work of Jesus Christ, and applied by the Holy Spirit. In Genesis 3:15 God promised that one day, the seed of the woman would crush the head of the serpent. Jesus is the fulfillment of this covenant (promise) of grace. It is through Jesus that sinners (you and me) are reconciled to God the Father. It is through Jesus that we are his people and he is our God. It is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone that God makes good on this, his promise.
So the question is, what promises are you looking for? Is it a promise of health? Is it a promise of children? Is it a promise of a fulfilling job, a dream home, an easy retirement, a comfortable church? Is it a promise of earthly happiness? Friends, those are not the promises of God. His promise is much better. And when we grasp the “better-ness" of his promise, that is when we begin to see his grace in the lesser things. In Romans 8:28, we read "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
This week, we will look to Hebrews 8. It is a passage that begins to transition in the book of Hebrews from a description of our Great High Priest to a discussion of the work of our Great High Priest. In his work, we see him clearly fulfilling THE promise and answering THE question.