2Corinthians 08 - Promises, Promises
Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (2Corinthians 7:1)
There are many promises of God recorded in His word. His various promises are for various people in various times and are for various purposes. Those who are Christians will certainly be interested in the promises God has made that are specific to Christians. From the above passage of Scripture, we see that the Corinthians had certain promises. From context, we know that these promises apply to all Christians. We must look at a few preceding verses to read of these specific promises: 2Corinthians 6:16 — “God said, ‘I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE’” and 2Corinthians 6:17 — “I will welcome you” and 2Corinthians 6:18 — “And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me.”
There are a couple of interesting points regarding these promises. One, these are essentially the same promises made to other peoples who belonged to God. For instance, God spoke to Israel in Leviticus 26:11-12, “Moreover, I will make My dwelling among you, and My soul will not reject you. I will also walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people.” The second thing to notice is that there are obligations accompanying the promises. Christians have the obligation of cleansing themselves. Again, this is just as God has expected of any people who are His. It is even said of the Israelites after captivity, “The sons of Israel who returned from exile and all those who had separated themselves from the impurity of the nations of the land to join them, to seek the LORD God of Israel, ate the Passover” (Ezra 6:21).
God will indeed welcome those who have separated themselves to Him. This is a great promise. All of His promises are great and precious (2Peter 1:4). His promises are great and precious because they are dependable. God cannot lie (Titus 1:2).
As noted, His promises are not only great and dependable, but they are varied. Some of his promises are unconditional. Seed time and harvest are of this nature (Genesis 8:21,11). The earth will be no more destroyed by water is His unconditional promise (Genesis 9:13). So too, is the promise that all will die (Hebrews 9:27). There are others, too. He has promised that Christ will come again (Acts 1:9-11). All will come forth from the grave (John 5:28,29). All will be judged, he promised (2Corinthians 5:10). The promise is that His physical creation will be destroyed (2Peter 3:10). These are all without condition.
Some of his promises are conditional. Men are promised remission of sins on condition (Acts 16:30,31; Acts 17:30,31; Acts 2:38; 1Peter 3:21). Eternal life is promised to the Christian on condition (Matthew 7:21; Revelation 2:10; James 1:22-26).
These conditions, or obligations, have a great value. The promises of God lead people to holiness if they recognize their importance. Wise people adjust their lives to live righteously if they appreciate God’s promises and understand His accompanying obligations.
God has given great and wonderful promises. However, God has NOT made some promises which men seem to think [and act] that He has made. God has not promised us even one more day (James 4:13-15). God has not promised to save anyone outside his church, as he is said to be the savior of the body, the church (Ephesians 5:23). God has not promised to give men a second chance. All are judged according to our own choices and actions. The grace which saves has already come in the form of the word (Titus 2:11). God has not promised Christians a life of ease and peace and tranquility here (2Timothy 3:12). God simply has not made these types of promises.
In view of the promises that God has not made in contrast with the ones He does make, what do God's promises mean to you?
—S. Scott Richardson Sr.