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Promises God Never Made

Promises God Never Made

Christian, stop making promises for God.

I know I’m not the only one who has heard this statement, and ones very similar, “It’s all going to work out / God’s going to take care of that / God’s going to heal you…” How interesting, you know what God is going to do… I don’t. Maybe they are better in tune with the Divine, or perhaps more presumptuous.

I think we must be careful making promises for God that He never said He would fulfill. Without question there are promises God has made that He will keep! Promises of salvation, deliverance, help, etc. — But, we must ask, “from what?” Sin. The promises God made are spiritual in implication and application. God promised to save you from your sin (Eph. 2:8, “For by grace you have been saved”). God promised to deliver you from your sin (like Paul, II Tim. 4:18, delivered “from every evil work,” ultimately through the resurrection). God promised to help you in dealing with your weaknesses towards sin (I Cor. 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you… But God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it”). You see God has made specific spiritual promises.

There have been many people lose their faith over a misunderstanding of this issue. Some caring Christian wrote them a check of faith, and when God didn’t cash it, it devastated them. This is a danger in the health and wealth gospel. “You just serve the Lord and He is going to make you healthy and wealthy and your life will be on top of the clouds from now on!” How does that harmonize with Paul’s own life, much less his teachings (see II Cor. 11:22-33: suffering for Christ; 12:7-10: the “thorn in the flesh”; all of II Tim. 2-3 where Paul speaks of “enduring” (3x), and “suffering” — and yes, Paul says he “was delivered out of them all,” (3:11), but he then acknowledges “all who desire to live godly… will suffer persecution.” Yet, he trusted he would be delivered eternally and spiritually). What happens to this person who has shallow faith, when they are not “miraculously” healed from their cancer? They lose all confidence in God; their faith is made shipwreck. But, God never promised to heal you from cancer, or heart disease, or bad eye-sight for that matter. He promised to heal you of your sin.

Where faith must enter this discussion is in the understanding, I believe God is fully capable of making this situation right; if not temporally, here and now, certainly eternally, there and then. The example of Paul would suffice for this point. God allowed him to endure and suffer hardship — but Paul knew God could make it good, and had complete confidence that God would make it good (see Phil. 1:20-26: “To live is Christ, to die is gain”; Rom. 8:31-39: “Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ…”; II Tim. 1:8-12, especially v. 12, “For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day”).

The next time you are going through some horrible circumstance, don’t let a well-meaning Christian persuade you to believe a promise God never made. There is a very real sense in which it may not be okay  physically (despite the repeated motto, “It will all be okay”); it may not be, but physically it was never promised to be. We live in a broken world and sometimes the brokenness follows us from birth to the grave. But… there is a Redeemer, Jesus God’s own Son. He has promised to buy us out of the sin-sick suffering and take us home to be with Him. One day, it will truly be okay — that’s the promise God made.

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