God’s Promises Revealed by His Apostles by Robert J. Good
Are you suffering through a difficult time? God’s promises can provide much comfort during seasons of trials and sufferings.
Hello, my name is Bob. Thank you for reading this book. This year, 2014, was a difficult year for me in my personal life. To make it through, I really needed The Lord and His Word and the support from friends and family. During the trials, I began to explore God’s promises as revealed by the Apostles, specifically the promises written in the Bible books from Romans through the book of Jude. I had skimmed through a few other Bible promise books, but I struggled with the huge amount of information and also disagreed with some on what they considered to be a promise. Therefore, this work narrows the scope to only the letters written directly to New Testament churches and Christians, and I made my best attempt to select promises related to our future walk that must exercise our faith in His words. We are blessed with so many promises in God’s Word. There are promises we can depend on for the the rest of today and promises to trust that speak to our distant future.
Rainbow of Promises
After Noah’s flood, God gave the symbol of the rainbow to show His promise that He would never again flood the earth for man’s sake. I remember in school learning about the different colors of the rainbow – remember the acronym ROY G BIV (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet)? As I was exploring God’s promises, the symbol of God’s rainbow would often come to my mind. As I categorized the promises, I was pleased with how many layers of promises we have and how they stack on each other like the colors in a rainbow: temporal promises, spiritual promises, promises for jews and gentiles, second coming promises, judgement and reward promises, eternal life promises, and eternal inheritance promises. We are so blessed to have such a rich display of promises in the New Testament.
My Struggle with Temporal Promises
As I studied the promises, I came to temporal (related to this world) promises that in my mind seemed to contradict each other. For example, if we honor our father and mother it is promised that it will go well with us and we will live a long time upon the earth, but there are other promises that speak of our trials and sufferings. Well, I thought, how can we be promised trials if it is promised to go well with us? Also, we have all known godly Christians who have died early in life. Then doesn’t that seem to contradict God’s promise that the one who honors their parents will live long upon the earth?
Then I thought of Job and His trials. Wow, surely Job honored his parents, and how could God allow all that bad stuff to happen to him. As I said, I really struggled over this issue. I thought to myself, is God a liar, is the Bible unreliable? However, I concluded that surely my understanding must be lacking.
Through prayer for wisdom and knowledge, reading, sermons, and discussion with fellow believers, my feeble mind has concluded two things that I offer for your consideration to help reconcile the Lord’s temporal promises with each other and with His divine plan.
First, promises of temporal blessings and promises of temporal trials work in combination to bring our relationship with God up to a higher plane. Instead of concluding they are contradictory, think how they are complimentary.
Think of the parent-child relationship. Surely we desire for our children blessings and favor. We even unconditionally love them and provide for them when they disobey. But, if parents only give their children blessings, then the children will become spoiled. So as we are blessing our children, we also give them discipline (corrections, consequences, spankings, schooling, chores, etc.). Why do we give our children both blessings and discipline? We do it so they will become a good adult. I believe it is the same with God. He uses the blessings and trials together to transform us into the image of His Son.
Also think of the relationship between a coach and a sports team. Often the coach gives encouraging words and scrimmages which the players enjoy to play. But many times he must also give correction in technique and run incredibly-grueling drills. All of these work together to build up the best and fittest team possible. I believe God works in the same way for the good of His church.
Second, I have concluded that all of God’s temporal promises can be superseded by God’s good – loving- omniscient – ordered – divine plan.
Ps 139 NET
16 Your eyes saw me when I was inside the womb. All the days ordained for me were recorded in your scroll before one of them came into existence.
Just as physical laws can be superseded by a higher physical laws, so God’s temporal promises can be superseded by his divine plan. The law of gravity is superseded by the law of aerodynamics that an airplane may fly. Metal ships can float in water because the law of buoyancy supersedes the fact that the density of metal is greater than the density of water. The law of God’s divine plan will supersede his temporal promises. This explains why we sometimes see a godly friend be taken to heaven at an early age thus superseding God’s promise of living a long life on the earth. If Jesus can walk on water by superseding His own physical created laws that state he should sink, then He can supersede His own revealed temporal promises to achieve a greater purpose.
28 And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose,
29 because those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.
Therefore, in practice, let us be comforted by God’s revealed temporal promises as things to be received from a loving Father, including both blessings and trials. But let us always trust, be in submission, and be content with His divine plan, for ultimately He has our best in mind.
Abundance of Spiritual Promises
Although temporal promises have weighed much on my mind, they are very few in number in the Apostles’ letters. God’s spiritual promises are abundant in the Apostle’s letters.
God is so gracious to not only provide us spiritual promises as we abide in this temporal world, but he provides much revelation about what will come after.
We are so blessed to know of the Lord’s second coming, our future standing before His judgement seat, the New Heavens, the New Earth, and our eternal inheritance. Truly God has given us much for our hearts to hope, trust, and rest.
My prayer is that these promises will be useful to you for your Christian walk. I often find myself reading them for my own comfort and providing them to others for their comfort. The promises provide a web of doctrine that we may use for our own edification and the edification of others. I have also found the promises very useful in ministering to others to challenge them to trust in our loving Father. Dear brother or sister, enjoy His Promises as revealed by His Apostles!
God bless. Bob.