His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises… 2 Peter 1:3-4
The promises of God. We say those words all the time. We’ve got promise books and promise boxes (what exactly is a promise box anyway?). We’ve got Bible covers with an eagle embroidered on one side and a promise on the other (never was a big fan of Bible covers). But when was the last time you really thought about what it means that “God has promised”?
Have you ever wondered why God gives us promises? God doesn’t owe us a single thing. He’s the almighty, all-knowing Creator of the universe. He’s completely happy in himself, and doesn’t need anything or anyone. Our very breath comes from God. And as our creator, God doesn’t owe us anything.
In addition to being our creator, God is also our judge. We’ve rebelled against our creator. We’ve sinned against God, committing spiritual treason on a cosmic scale. Jeremiah 2:12-13 says, “Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the LORD, for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.” Our treason against God is so perverted that even the heavens are shocked and appalled. Actually, God does owe us something. He owes us wrath.
But in the pages of scripture we find something utterly astonishing: God has promised to do us good. God has promised forgiveness to any who appeal for mercy. God has promised to put his spirit into us, and promised to help us overcome our sin. He has promised to work all things for the good of those who love him, and has promised that he will never leave us or forsake us. In making these promises God has bound himself to do good on our behalf.
Why would God do this? Why would God make unbreakable promises to do good things for me? I’ve done nothing to deserve such lavish promises. I deserve blistering wrath, instead I receive precious promises. Only a God that is rich in mercy and love would do such a thing.
Let me close with the words of Charles Spurgeon:
Surely it is a wonderful thing that the eternal God would make promises to His own creatures. Before He pledged His word, He was free to do as it pleased Him. After He has made a promise, His truth and honor bind Him to do as He has said.
Originally published February, 2008