Referring again to a quotation in my last letter from 2 Peter 1:4 & 5, a further thought stood out to me concerning God’s “precious and wondrous promises” which He has given to us. The phrase “in order that” explains the purpose for these wondrous promises. They are given in order that- through them – we might participate in the very nature of God. We do well to seriously consider these precious promises.
“And this is the promise that He has promised us, even eternal life.” ”Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law…that we might receive the Promise of the Spirit through faith.” Having trusted in Christ, after hearing the Word of Truth – the Good News of salvation – and believing, God has sealed us with the promised Holy Spirit, that Spirit being a pledge and a foretaste of future blessing.
(1 John 2:25; Gal. 3:14; Eph. 1:13)
The context of Paul’s “Therefore, having these promises…” in his letter to the Corinthian believers, reviews the incredible truth that we are “a temple of the living God; as God has said, ‘I will dwell in them, and they shall be My people’…’and I will be a Father unto you, and you shall be My sons and daughters…’ ” (2 Cor. 6:16; 7:1)
There is a multitude of promises concerning our Heavenly Father’s loving care, supply of our needs for spirit, soul and body, the impartation of faith, peace, joy, and love. Then there is “the living HOPE by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” that we, too, shall not sleep in death, but “shall be changed…” “Beloved, now are we the children of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”
(1 Cor. 15:51; 1 John 3:1-3)
In her Sincerely Yours devotionals, Ann Mainse reminds us of a fascinating story first told by Ken Taylor. In Communist Russia, in the 1930′s, there was a great deal of persecution of the Christian believers. Stalin had ordered that all Bibles be confiscated and the Christian citizens sent to prison camps. Many of them died as “enemies of the state.”
In 1994, after the fall of Communism and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, a Christian missions team arrived in the now-liberated town of Stavropol. They had arranged for a shipment of Bibles to distribute in that town, but it had been delayed at customs. Someone told them about a warehouse outside of town where some of the confiscated Bibles which had escaped destruction were still stored. Having received permission to take and distribute them, they hired several local Russian workers to help load their trucks with the dusty Bibles.
One young man, a cynical and bitter individual, agreed to help, but he assured them it was only for the pay he would receive. After a while, it was noticed that the angry young man had disappeared. Much later, he was discovered in the corner of the warehouse, weeping uncontrollably, with an open Bible in his hands. He had intended to steal it and later sell it, but when he opened the cover, he discovered on the fly-leaf his own grandmother’s signature! As he read the life-changing words of that Book, his heart began to change and he was remarkably transformed by the very Bible for which his grandmother had been persecuted!
Endless stories can be told of how, throughout the ages, the inspired Scriptures with their Precious Promises have revolutionized countless millions of people the world over.
Your Word is like a garden, Lord, with flowers bright and fair;
And everyone who seeks may pluck a lovely cluster there.
Your Word is like a deep, deep mine, and jewels rich and rare
Are hidden in its mighty depths for every searcher there.
Your Word is like a starry host – a thousand rays of light
Are seen to guide the traveler, and make his pathway bright.
Your Word is like an armory where soldiers may repair
And find, for life’s long battle-day, all needful weapons there.
O, may I love Your precious Word, may I explore the mine;
May I its fragrant flowers glean; may light upon me shine.
My faith be settled in the PRECIOUS PROMISES of God;
His faithfulness my blessèd HOPE as on through life I plod.
Edwin Hodder, 1837-1904 (The last two lines altered)
“For ALL THE PROMISES OF GOD, whatever their number,
have their confirmation IN HIM;
and for this reason through Him also OUR AMEN
acknowledges their truth
and promotes the glory of God through our faith.”
“Let us hold firmly to an unflinching avowal of our HOPE,
for HE WHO GAVE US THE PROMISES IS FAITHFUL!”
(Heb. 10:23; 2 Cor. 1:20 Weymouth)