Chapter 26 - Understanding and Using God's Promises
By Scriptural promises we see Christ, and He fulfills them.
Understanding God's Promises
Promises are different than commands or warnings, the two other ways God teaches us. They are about God's sovereign mercy, not our duty. He is sure to keep them (Hebrews 11:11; Numbers 23:19). We should know the promises, so we know what to believe and pray for. They comfort us as we look ahead to God keeping them. Promises are either legal promises for if we obey, kept only by Christ's righteousness imputed to us; or evangelical promises for if we believe in Christ. They are general (John 3:16) or particular (for children in Exodus 20:12). They are directly given (that Paul would stand before Caesar in Acts 27:24), or can be inferred as applying to us (when James 5:11 makes a promise to us based on what happened to Job). They are absolute (kept no matter what we do) or conditional (in the Old Testament, temporal blessings promised if we obey). These promises are precious because of the blood of Christ shed to keep them, the strength they give our faith, and the great value of what is promised.
Using God's Promises
1. Believe them - beliving helps us mortify sin, pray, submit to God in affliction, stay uncorrupted from the world, and value what is promised. Belief is not just knowledge but of the heart
2. Depend on them - we trust with our words, but fail to rely on God.
3. Pray them - use the promises as the basis for what you ask. Can you pray for things beyond what is specifically promised, like the salvation of a friend? Yes, "but in the faith of submission and not with definite assurance" (415).