There are gifts from God and then there are promises from God. God is the author and source of both His gifts and His promises.
OK, we get that. But I’ve watched a ton of people over the years confuse God’s gifts and God’s promises. I’ve even watched people build their faith on the foundation of God’s good gifts and not on a foundation of God’s enduring promises. And when that happens, watch out because God’s gifts, as wonderful as they are in this world, should never be the foundation of our faith.
God loves to give good gifts. For example, today I have two legs that function fairly well, a car that runs and rides smoothly, and a really nice wife who likes me. I am very thankful for those good gifts. The Bible tells us that every good gift comes from God and that our God is like a kind-hearted, generous spirited father who enjoys giving good gifts.
Back to my three gifts I mentioned earlier (two legs, car & Martha). God never promised me those gifts. He never guaranteed them. He gave those good gifts to me and they are here now. God even tells me that I am invited to ask Him for more good gifts and that I can enjoy them with appreciation.
God’s good gifts are not the foundation of my faith. Those good gifts may crumble, weaken, age or get sick. Those good gifts may be here today but not tomorrow. But His promises endure and His promises are guaranteed. We appreciate God’s gifts. We stand on God’s promises.
So, what is the foundation of our faith? What realities and promises do we build our faith upon? What does God guarantee and what are His promises to us? I suggest two solid, over-arching promises from God:
- The ready accessibility of mercy and grace. Because of what Jesus has done for us, mercy and grace are available for us all. Your greatest need, which is forgiveness of sins, can be met and embraced today. God loves you today. Your name can be written in God’s Book of Life. Repentance and forgiveness can occur today. And after coming to Christ, God is always for you, loving you, listening to you, acting for you and showing you His grace along the way in various forms. The promise of grace is one on which you can stand strong.
- The coming White Horse. Jesus is coming back to lead a grand victory parade and set things right. The book of Revelation pictures Jesus coming on his White Horse, a victory horse, to inaugurate with full authority the new heavens and new earth. Every good gift you will have ever experienced in this world will pale in comparison to the wonders our great God has planned for His people. There will be “no more death, mourning, crying, or pain, for the old order of things will pass away.” This, too, is a promise and when you know the end of the story it does give you some leverage against the frustrations and griefs of today.
And so, enjoy God’s good gifts to you whatever they may be: good bone structure, nice hair, meaningful work, generous grandparents, etc. But see those gifts for what they are, i.e., gifts that God has never promised but has graciously provided at least for a season of your life.
But build your life and your love for our great God upon His promises. God cannot lie. He is faithful & true. He is the redeemer of our souls and the Returning One who reigns over all.