For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.
~2 Peter 1:4
Some people view promises like the White Queen did in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass: “The rule is, jam tomorrow and jam yesterday—but never jam today.” That is, promises are made to generate hope; they’re not made to be kept. Austrian novelist Hermann Broch summarizes this idea for the modern cynic: “What’s important is promising something to the people, not actually keeping those promises. . . . The people have always lived on hope alone” (The Spell).
Those viewpoints on promises should cause the Christian to shudder, for that is not God’s perspective at all. God does not promise to tease or to tempt; he promises to deliver! He has delivered much already, and by that we know that he will deliver more in the future. God finds joy not so much in the promise itself, but in the promise that is fulfilled and received. Peter tells us that God’s great and precious promises have two powerful implications for our lives. First, when we receive these promises, we participate in the divine nature of God himself. Second, when we accept the power of God’s promises, we escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
Did God promise that we would be untouched by sin in the world? Not at all. But he did promise that we would share in his life; that we would receive his Spirit (Joel 2:28–29; Acts 2:16–21, 38) and receive his law written upon our very hearts and minds (Jeremiah 31:31–34; Hebrews 8:7–13). Jesus himself promised that he would remain with us by sending the Spirit who would live in us (John 14:16–17). God has fulfilled all of those promises. His Spirit has come and empowers us to live godly lives, resisting the temptations of this world. The fulfillment of these great and precious promises gives us absolute certainty of the promises yet to be fulfilled.
Don’t fall victim to the pie-in-the-sky view of promises. God’s word is as good as done the moment it is spoken or written. The only thing separating us from the realization of the last divine promise is God’s timetable—not his truthfulness.
Lord, thank you for making promises that give me hope, and for fulfilling those same promises that I may have joy. Amen.
~ Ken Boa
Dr. Boa is devoted to a ministry of relational evangelism and discipleship, teaching, writing, and speaking. He holds a B.S. in astronomy from Case Institute of Technology, a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary, a Ph.D. from New York University, and a D.Phil. from the University of Oxford in England.