IMG_0304

Do you keep your promises? Your answer to this question should be, “Sometimes.” Oh, I have little doubt some of the readers are scrupulously honest and honor verbal agreements they have made. I’m sure many of you have kept your marriage vows and not cheated on your spouses. You have kept promises made to friends to meet them somewhere, give them something, or help them. However, when compared to biblical standards, not meaning to be harsh, you are not a promise keeper.

You are a promise breaker.

Please hear me out.

I was not comfortable with the movement several years ago called Promise Keepers. And I did not buy the premise of Kirk Cameron’s movie, Fireproof, in which he took the Love Dare with some buddies so he could be a better husband and father. As part of that promise-keeping effort, he took a baseball bat to his computer because he was struggling with pornography.

As if that was going to solve anything.

Why was I conflicted about these evangelical attempts to help us grow in godliness? Because we, despite our best efforts—and I don’t doubt the sincerity of the efforts—struggle to keep our promises and are therefore untrustworthy.

Take the aforementioned movement and film, for example. You may promise to love your wife as the Bible instructs and take a vow—a promise—to do so, but when Jesus taught that a man looking at a woman with lust in his heart, He put our sincere vows and promises in the hurt locker.

Well, then, perhaps you should pick up yourself by your bootstraps and make another promise, but this time with more fervor, more sincerity.

Try harder.

However, Paul wrote that our lack of faith in God makes liars of us all. “What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written, ‘That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged” (Romans 3:3–4).1

Ever lacked faith?

John wrote we are liars when we say:

We have not sinned (1 John 1:10). Ever said that?

We know Him but don’t keep His commandments (1 John 2:4). See above.

We love God but hate our brother (1 John 4:20). See above.

How we doing? Convinced yet?

There is only one Being who keeps His promises. Always. Every time. He doesn’t –cannot—lie. Concerning this truth-telling, Paul refers specifically to God’s promise of eternal life (Titus 1:1-3) and the author of Hebrews to God’s promise to Abraham (Hebrews 6:13-18).

Do you know how He can keep such promises? Simple. Unlike us—He is God, after all—He has the ability to do so. He is perfectly trustworthy. Perfectly true. That’s just who He is.

A few of the promises our amazing God has kept:

Eve’s “seed” would crush the head of the serpent. This He did in Jesus.

He would never again destroy the earth by flood. True so far and will continue to be.

Most importantly, Abraham and Sarah would have a son through whom the entire earth would be blessed. This was a promise of a coming Messiah and Savior, Jesus.

Jesus would die and rise from the dead three days later. The tomb is empty.

These kept promises should strengthen us as belivers that the following promises are true, as well:

We will not die but live forever.

We will not be punished for our sins. That punishment has already been meted out upon Jesus.

Jesus will come again and take us to Himself so that where He is, we will be, too.

Jesus is preparing a place for us. You. Me.

Someday, we will be sons, daughters, priests, and kings in an eternal kingdom in the heavenlies.

God can keep His promises, not just for eighty years, give or take, but for thousands of years. Millennia. You and I simply cannot do that. We can’t do that because our bodies die, and one can’t endeavor to keep a promise when he is dead. God, of course, is eternal. He possesses the ability to keep promises throughout thousands of years of history, with all its unpredictable twists and turns. Only a perfectly sovereign, eternal God could accomplish such a thing.

So, the next time you’re singing a praise song in church with lyrics that promise you will serve or love Him with all your heart, add quietly, “I know I can’t keep this promise. Please help me keep it.”

We are promise breakers. He is the Promise Keeper.

 

 

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Advertisements