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God’s Promises

Many Christians have been led to believe a convoluted idea that says that because God promised to do something, there was no personal responsibility, this even though that responsibility was spelled out. Christians often wonder why some of God’s promises don’t seem to come true. There are at least two reasons for this:

1. God’s promises need to be taken together with His commandments. In Deuteronomy 28 for example, the conditions are explicit; blessings follow obedience and curses disobedience. Elsewhere, the connection may not be so obvious. God promised that one day there would be worldwide Christian faith (Isa. 2:4; 11: 9; Joel 3:10; Mic. 4:3) and Christ commanded Christians to bring this about in His Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20). Christians today tend to ignore their responsibility and pray for God’s kingdom to come as if it would be a blessing from above and there is nothing for them to do about it. To pray for something and not work for it to the extent one is able, is hypocrisy. Scripture tells us that this concern for God’s kingdom on earth is to be the top priority for Christians (Matt. 6:33). The idea that if God promises something, it will happen regardless of our disobedience, is false. Scripture clearly tells us to pray for our daily needs and for future blessings but it also tells us we need to work to bring about the things we pray for.

2. Many of God’s promises are directed to nations or societies and don’t apply directly to individuals or even families. Deuteronomy 28 again is an example; here we see a list of blessings that very clearly relate to the people as a whole. Blessings such as good harvests or victory over enemies relate to the entire nation, not individuals or individual families. When Jesus spoke to the people, He saw them as a people. Some of what He said applied to them as individuals but much of what He said just doesn’t fit this model. These kinds of blessings come when the people as a whole obey God’s commandments. This arrangement provides impetus for the godly minded to work to convince the doubters and unbelievers of their foolishness and their need to believe and obey God. God is interested in the well being of nations as well as of individuals and families. He gave His Son because “He so loved the world” (John 3:16,17). His love extends to peoples and nations as well as to persons.