Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Our Promise-Keeping God

People are promise-makers—and promise-breakers.

By the time we flip the page to February on our wall calendars (or simply scroll down on our phone calendars), a month’s worth of unfulfilled promises often litters our memories.

How many of us keep even something as simple as New Year’s resolutions for more than a few weeks? Going to the gym regularly, changing our eating habits—even these small commitments are difficult to keep for a month, let alone a year.

While unfulfilled New Year’s resolutions may seem inconsequential, they are indicative of a pattern in humanity that is far less innocuous. Our tendency to break promises points to a deeper spiritual reality—our unfaithfulness to God. Even believers, though they are being sanctified, struggle with this sin.

But we serve a God who not only makes promises—He keeps them all. Our God is faithful to His unfaithful people, giving us salvation and making a way for faithful living as we trust in His promises.

God’s Faithfulness to His Unfaithful People

Perhaps one of the clearest insights we gain into God’s faithfulness to His promises comes from the book of Deuteronomy. As the Israelites camp in the Plains of Moab, waiting to enter the Promised Land, Moses gives them a series of three sermons on God’s covenant with them. He reminds them not only of God’s promises to them, but of their promises to God (Deuteronomy 26:16-17).

But the Israelites were not going to be faithful to this covenant—and God already knew this even before they had gone astray (Deuteronomy 30:1).

Instead of revoking His covenant promises to His faithless people, God chose to remain faithful (see 2 Timothy 2:13). Because they could not keep the old covenant, He promised them a new one to save His people, making a way for them to draw near to Him (Deuteronomy 30:6).

God’s Promise of Salvation

God did not make an empty promise. Centuries after Moses spoke to the Israelites, God sent His Son to fulfill His promise to us.

Jesus perfectly kept the old covenant and died for us so that we might have new life in Him. And when Jesus ascended into heaven, God still did not abandon us. He gave us the Holy Spirit to indwell us—the covenant written on our hearts (Jeremiah 31:31-34).

God did not have to promise us this salvation; we did not deserve this gift. But He is a faithful God who fulfills His every promise even when we are unfaithful.

God’s Invitation to His Children

As we come to trust in God’s promises, He empowers us to live faithfully. Meditating on the six categories or themes of God’s promises below can be a means of strengthening your walk with Him:1

  • God’s Principles: God’s words are trustworthy and believable (see 2 Timothy 3:16-17).
  • God’s Presence: God is always with us (see Romans 5:5-8).
  • God’s Provision: God will meet our every need (see Micah 7:18-20).
  • God’s Protection: We never have to be afraid (see Habakkuk 3:17-19).
  • God’s Plan: God is in control; there are no accidents in His world (see Philippians 1:6).
  • God’s Preparation: God has prepared an end for His creation and promised future glory to His children (see 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).

God’s promises come with a call to action: We can choose to walk in them, or we can choose to ignore them. In other words, we can choose faithfulness or faithlessness.

God will be faithful to His promises, even though He may fulfill those promises in different ways for different people.

If you struggle with any of the promises listed above, meditate on that category and fill your mind with Scripture. Our faithful God will reveal Himself to you as you pursue Him.

Copyright © 2020 Ken Boa, used with permission.

1Categories, descriptions, and example verses adapted from Kenneth Boa and William Kruidenier, Handbook to God’s Promises: The Promises of God in Scripture (Atlanta, GA: Trinity House Publishers, 2020).

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