If our faith is such that we fully trust in God, then truly how grand are His promises. Paul the great preacher of the gospel had such a faith. Many hardships befell him (II Cor. 11:23-28), yet near the end of his life he penned these words, "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing" (II Tim. 4:6-8). A crown of life waits all who follow the Lord.
God being true to His promises is seen throughout the Bible. It is good to look back to these as we look forward to the promise of a crown of life. To Abraham God promised, "Now the LORD had said unto Abram … and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed" (Gen. 12:1--3). The fulfillment of these promises makes up most of the Bible.The land promise to Abraham was that his descendents would inherit the land of Canaan (Gen. 15:18-21, 17:8). This they did after their captivity in Egypt. Joshua recorded, "And the LORD gave unto Israel all the land which he sware to give unto their fathers; and they possessed it, and dwelt therein. And the LORD gave them rest round about, according to all that he sware unto their fathers: and there stood not a man of all their enemies before them; the LORD delivered all their enemies into their hand. There failed not ought of any good thing which the LORD had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass" ( Josh. 21:43-45).
The promise that in Abraham all nations of the earth would be blessed was fulfilled in Christ (Gal. 3:16ff). Isaiah told of His birth, "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel" ( Isa. 7:14). Matthew in the New Testament tells of the angel of the Lord appearing to Joseph telling him that Mary had conceived of the Holy Ghost. She would bear a son, calling Him Jesus for He would save His people from their sins (Matt. 1:18-25). Paul wrote that salvation is in Christ (II Tim. 2:10).
When studying about God’s promises, some seem to believe that the promises were without conditions. This belief is contrary to what is taught in the Bible. Joshua warned the people that the land in which they had conquered would only be theirs as long as they obeyed God (Josh. 23:11--16).
Just as God was true to His promise in allowing the people to conquer the land of Canaan He was true to the conditions of His promise. The people often disobeyed God and they were punished for their transgressions. They forgot from whom their power and wealth had come, and for this they eventually were taken from the land, never to regain it again (Deut. 8:18-20; Jer. 19:3-11).
To be continued next week.