Claiming the Promises 3

by | May 25, 2012

I would like to respond to Dr. Philip Brown’s reply to the question, “Which Bible promises can we claim?”  I too struggled with this question years ago, but I am happy to report that God cleared up all the question marks, when He reminded me of II Corinthians 1:20, “For all the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.” Then I began to find other confirmations such as, Romans 15:4, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”

These great verses not only encouraged my faith, but inspired me to believe all the great promises God has given us in His Word. I do not need to “pick out” which ones I feel may apply to my need, or scan the pages with a fine-tooth comb, trying to decide which ones are for Israel, and which are for me! Another real “gem” is I Cor. 10:11, which reads, “Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, … ” That one brought great joy to my heart, as I recalled the powerful stories from the O.T. …

May I say that in all my 93 years of life on this planet, God has never failed yet! His precious Word has been my closest, dearest friend, and every word is true!

All for Jesus,
(Mrs.) Feme Cooper
Wake Forest, N.C.

Dear Sis. Cooper,

Thank you for highlighting several key issues in your letter. You are absolutely correct that God is faithful to all his promises. I could not agree more that *all* Scripture is relevant and profitable for believers (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

I was delighted to see you too have discovered Paul’s affirmations that the Old Testament is not irrelevant to NT believers (Rom. 15:4; 1 Cor. 10:11). In fact, it continues to function as an inspired guide for our learning and admonition.

As you point out, we should believe all the great promises God has given us in His word. The unswerving faithfulness of God is at the heart of Paul’s point in 2 Corinthians 1:20. He had been accused of being vacillating and unstable because of some changes in his plans. In verses 18-19, Paul affirms that while his plans may have changed, his heart for their good in the gospel had not changed. In fact, he and Timothy were preaching the changeless Christ in whom God’s promises of salvation are unfailing and find their fulfillment.

I understand 2 Cor. 1:20 to underscore one of the points I was making in my column: that when we are in Christ, all that God has promised us is sure. The issue at stake in determining whether I can claim a specific promise in Scripture is not its relevance, its profitability, or its certainty. Rather the issue is my eligibility. Do I meet the conditions needed to receive the promise?

Take for example the promise God gave to Phinehas in Numbers 25:11-13. God promised him and his seed a covenant of peace and a perpetual priesthood. There is much I can learn about God and about pleasing Him from Num. 25. However, I am not a descendant of Phinehas nor was Jesus, so I am not eligible for this promise. That there are promises given to specific people for specific times should not diminish our enthusiasm for the many precious promises that are ours. I join you in affirming that God has never and never will fail to keep His word. Praise His name!

Yours in Christ,
Dr. Phil