By Nathan Jones
People are generally untrustworthy, wouldn't you say?
No, I'm not a pessimist. Most often than not, I take what people say at face value, and when they say they are going to do something I just expect that is what they are going to do. But, more and more I find that this is not the case. Some people, and even some Christians sadly, feel it is OK to twist the truth or just outright lie if it helps them gain some kind of advantage. In their defense, many people do have good intentions or a plan bigger than they can actually handle and so can't always follow through on what they've committed to do. People are fallen and not perfect, and we all have to deal with that, even in our own selves. But, in the end, unfortunately, I have to conclude that people cannot be fully trusted.
Ever wonder if God can be trusted to fulfill the promises He makes?
Because we generally view people with distrust, our view of God tends to get smudged. We know in our head that God is perfect, and therefore must be totally trustworthy, but in our hearts if we're honest with ourselves there is doubt. The experiences with imperfect people shades what should be our clear perception of God. "Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror" (1 Cor. 13:12a). It can even cast the smallest doubt that God may actually follow through on what He said He'd do. That skewed perception may even lead us to believe that God embellishes, if only a tad.
Is thinking God can't be trusted teeter on blasphemy? Well, pick up the stone only after thinking back on your walk with Christ. If we look deep within ourselves, we can see a pattern of disbelief, doubt, and unheeded worry since we put Jesus in the driver's seat of our lives. It would only be blasphemy if we truly believe God is a liar. Instead, we must realize the problem lies within us. As Paul cried out in anguish in Romans 7:24, "What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?"
What can we do to get the right understanding of God's faithfulness again?
That's easy - go to the Bible! Nothing focuses the lens like getting into God's own Word.
For example, I was reading in Genesis 18 about Abraham receiving three visitors, two whom we find out are angels and one the Lord Himself. I was reading this story in the pursuit of the topic of nomadic living, and instead (like He always does when reading the Bible), the Holy Spirit showed me something else entirely. Now, I was able to learn about what life was like living in a Patriarch's tent, but what I got out of Genesis 18 was so much more.
In Genesis 18, the Lord gives Abraham three promises:
- "Then the LORD said, 'I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.'" (Gen. 18:10)
- "Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation," (Gen. 18:18a)
- "all nations on earth will be blessed through him." (Gen. 18:18b)
The Lord then confirms to Abraham that He will do these three things in verse 19, "the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him."
And did God do all that He said he would do for Abraham? You betcha! First, skip on over to Genesis 21:1-2, "Now the LORD was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did for Sarah what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him."
Secondly, look today how Abraham's descendents — the Jews and Arabs — dominate the world news, control much of the world's oil and inhabit the entire Middle East.
And thirdly, think how through the Jews the world got the Savior, the Bible, and the moral foundation of law and government. It may have taken a few thousand years for all of these promises God made to Abraham to come to fruition, but each and every promise God followed through, and in spades.
And what about God's promises to us?
As we asked earlier, can we actually trust God to fulfill His promises to us? We know we're not super-saints like Abraham. And yet, we don't have to be. Let's see what promises God made to the rest of us.
1) God will forgive us.
- "Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord," (Acts 3:19)
- "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." (Heb. 8:12)
2) God will rescue those forgiven from judgment in Hell.
- "And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Acts 2:21)
- "That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved." (Rom. 10:9-10)
3) God will guide the saved through life by His Spirit.
- "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2:38)
4) God will help believers overcome the trials of this world.
- "Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God." (1 Jn. 5:5)
- "Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." (1 Pet. 5:6-7)
5) God will rescue those who are saved from the time ahead when He'll pour out His wrath upon the world for its continued rebellion against Him.
- "For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Thess. 5:9)
- "Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth." (Rev. 3:10)
6) God gives us a purposeful life.
- "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." (Eph. 2:10)
7) God brings those saved to live with Him at His home, called Heaven.
- "In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." (Jn. 14:2-3)
- "When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory." (Col. 3:4)
8) God will give an awesome eternal life to those who believe in His Son Jesus.
- "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him." (Jn. 3:36)
- "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand." (Jn. 10:28-29)
- "However, as it is written: 'No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.'" (1 Cor. 2:9)
What amazing promises — promises that despite our human lapses, God who has always already proven his trustworthiness to Abraham and others will fulfill!
"What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do." - God (Isa. 46:11b)