The Faithful Promiser
by James Smith
There are seasons, when the mind of the believer needs to be directed to certain portions of divine truth, which are calculated to strengthen, encourage, and stimulate it. To me, the present is such a season, and after looking up to the Lord for the gracious teaching of his Holy Spirit — I feel my mind fixed on that encouraging view of the Most High God, presented to the Hebrews, to encourage them to hold fast their profession, " He is faithful that promised." Hebrews 10:23. Precious view of our covenant God! May we be able to enter into and enjoy it. Let us ask three questions,
First, WHAT HAS GOD PROMISED?
And to this we may at once reply — what has he not promised? Has he not foreseen all that we can possibly need — and having provided it in his everlasting covenant, promised it in his holy word? Yes, there is not a good thing that we can need, or the infinitely wise God can bestow — but it is clearly and positively promised in his word. But let us look at a very few of his promises — and then look into the future through them.
He has promised, "As your days — so shall your strength be." Then, whatever strength we may need, to do or suffer the will of God — we are sure it will be given us. Not before the day — but on the day. Not for us to proportion to the day — but the Lord will proportion it, and give out his strength just as it is needed. Strength for the day. Strength for every day, even the last dying day. Strength for every step of the journey, until we step into Heaven. This was given in Old Testament times, and has ever been made good; and we have a very similar one given under the present dispensation:
"My grace is sufficient for you — for my strength is made perfect in weakness." I know not what I may need — but the Lord assures me that I shall have sufficient grace. I know not how extreme my weakness may be — but the weaker I am, the more will God put forth his power in me, and show the perfection of his strength, in the weakness of his child. O blessed assurance, sufficient grace . . .
for prosperity or adversity,
for sickness or health,
for life or for death!
What then should discourage me, dampen my zeal, or cool my ardor?
Not only so, but instruction and guidance is promised too! "I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you shall go. I will guide you with my eye." By his gracious providence, when we
yield ourselves to him — he will guide us into the right way; and in the way he will teach us, making known his ways unto us, as he did unto Moses, and Israel of old. He will keep his eye on us, protecting and preserving us from evil — and will counsel us in every emergency and difficulty.
Nor is this a he has promised "to supply all our needs, according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus!" It pleased the Father that in Jesus — all fullness would dwell. His riches are unsearchable — and according to his glorious riches, as the Lord of providence and grace — he will he supply al our needs!
Or, as it is stated in the Old Testament, "The Lord God is a sun and shield. The Lord will give grace and glory. No good thing will he withhold from those who walk uprightly." All things necessary for life and godliness, whether spiritual or temporal — are promised us most clearly and explicitly by our God and Father!
To crown all, we may say with John, "This is the promise which he has promised us — even eternal life!" This is the great, the crowning promise. So that with Paul, we may live, "in hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began!"
Assured of . . .
strength for the day;
sufficient grace for all seasons and circumstances;
instruction, counsel, and guidance all through our wilderness journey;
all necessary supplies of temporal and spiritual good;
and of eternal life at the end of our course —
may we not, ought we not, to go forward with confidence and courage?
Second, TO WHOM ARE THE PROMISES MADE?
"To Abraham — and his seed were the promises made." "Those who are of faith — are blessed with faithful Abraham." "If you are Christ's — then are you Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."
All the promises are in Christ. Made to him as the head of the church, they are all confirmed in him, and will be made good to all who sincerely trust in him. All the promises are made to all true believers. Faith accepts, appropriates and trusts the promises of God; and God fulfils them to all who trust in him.
They belong even to the fearful — who are so often bidden not to fear. "Say to those who are of a fearful heart be strong — fear not, behold your God will come and save you!" The strong believer claims the promise and confides in it, and God honors him in so doing. The weak and timid believer looks at it with a longing eye, sighs for a sense of interest in it with a fearful heart, pleads it in prayer with a dread of presumption — and God fulfils it to him.
To those who walk uprightly — keeping the eye on God's precepts as their rule, and on his glory as their end. "The Lord will give grace and glory. No good thing will he withhold from those who walk uprightly." Daring to be singular though exposed to persecution, or threatened with loss — they walk erect, doing justly and loving mercy. The upright man is the Lord's delight; and though for a time, he may allow him to be tried, and to be tried severely — yet will he appear for him and make good his promises to him.
To the tried, opposed, and buffeted, as Paul was — some of the most precious promises belong! It was to him, when in such circumstances, that the Lord said, "My grace is sufficient for you; for my strength is made perfect in weakness." And to all believers in similar circumstances, the promise still belongs. The thorn may remain — and appear to rankle in the flesh; infirmities may increase — and deeply humble the soul, but God will supply with strength — until he sees fit to deliver!
All who love God, even though their love is feeble — may claim all of the promises! Around such a one — they all cluster; to such a one — they shall be made good. Therefore it is that with confidence we say with the apostle, "We know that all things work together for good, to those who love God; to those who are the called according to his purpose."
In a word, all the promises belong to all who know the Lord — which knowledge always leads the soul to repose in trust and confidence in him. Hence we read, "Those who know your name, will put their trust in you; for you Lord have not forsaken those who seek you." If therefore, I know the Lord, as to place m confidence in him — I am entitled to all of his promises. I may confide in them, and expect him to make them good. Every promise I believe, and taking up in faith, plead with God to make it good — is mine!
Third, WHAT SECURITY HAVE WE THAT GOD WILL PERFORM HIS PROMISES? "He is faithful who has promised." The perfection of his nature is sufficient guarantee. He cannot change his mind, or evoke his word. He solemnly, deliberately, and out of pure love — made the promises, and he will fulfill them. As he has said, "I am the Lord — I do not change! Therefore you sons of Jacob are not consumed!"
Infinite in wisdom,
perfect in knowledge, and
unchangeable in his love —
he cannot fail to make good his word!
In every age, in the experience of every believer — he has performed his promises. As our Lord on the cross said, "Our fathers trusted in you — and you delivered them."
We have also his solemn oath appended to his promise, as if to give the greater security and to make us happy: that by two immutable things in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before us. Yes, blessed be his holy name, he has said, "Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed — yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed, says the LORD, who has compassion on you!"
His faithfulness so long, and so often proved — is our security. "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful." "God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak — and then not act? Does he promise — and not fulfill?"
Let us then steadfastly believe the promises — resting upon the faithfulness of the almighty Promiser! "The Lord is faithful, who will establish you, and keep you from evil."
Let us plead the promises, and take encouragement from the fact, that "if we believe not — yet he abides faithful; for he cannot deny himself." Let us act upon the advice of the apostle, suffer what we may, be circumstance as we may; he says, "Why let those who suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator!"
Holy Spirit, give us a strong, steady, active faith in this great truth: "He is faithful who promised!"