“The Lord isn’t slow to keep his promise, as some think of slowness, but he is patient toward you, not wanting anyone to perish but all to change their hearts and lives.” 2 Peter 3:9 CEB
When it comes to promises I think of two things right away. The first is marriage and the vows exchanged at the wedding ceremony. Marriage vows are a promise meant to be kept for a lifetime together. They speak of having and holding, everyday faithfulness, long-term commitment, better and worse, sickness and health, richer or poorer, loving and cherishing. These promises are centered in a covenant relationship between those entering into the covenant with each other and with God. They are beautiful words signifying a beautiful promise to each other for a lifetime. The nature of the promise is people intend to keep their promises. This is hopeful and one of the reasons people are usually filled with hope, joy, and optimism at a wedding ceremony and reception. We are happy for the people getting married because we see the promise of their life together. This is a good promise and a glimpse into what a promise should represent.
The second thing I tend to think of is politicians. I am an optimist—I would like to think the best of people. However, when it comes to politicians, I am not hopeful that the promises made will ever be kept. I really want to believe they will. The reality is that most of the campaign promises that are made just never materialize once someone is elected. There are probably a myriad of reasons why this happens that are beyond my knowledge base. It simply serves to remind me that there are some promises made with good intentions that are never realized and never kept. This is the downside of making a promise.
I suppose this is the nature of promises made by human beings. In the last chapter of his second letter, Peter writes of a promise that is completely secure. It is a promise made by God to all humanity. The beauty of this promise is that God makes the promise. We know that with God a promise made is a promise kept. It is secure—you can take it to the bank. I love the fact that when God makes a promise we can have complete confidence that the promise will be kept. There need not be any doubt whatsoever. This is truly the best of what a promise is and should represent in all of life.
The challenge is living each day in the promises of God. The promise that God will be with us even to the end of the age. The promise that God loves us with an unfailing love. The promise that even greater things that Jesus has done will we do. The promise that Jesus washes our sins away and makes us clean—white as snow. The promise that Jesus will come again in final victory and we will feast at his heavenly banquet. The promise that there is place for us in God’s house. The promise that we are children of God and joint heirs with Jesus. Ultimately, the promise that we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ; that this reality means we will spend all of eternity in the presence of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Don’t let fear, doubt, difficulties, shame, guilt, or any other weapon distract you from the promises of God today. Live in these promises. Live in the freedom, forgiveness, faith, love, grace, and power that the promises of God bring to your life. Help lead others to experience God’s grace through a growing relationship with Jesus Christ, so they can live in these promises as well. Be assured these promises are for you and for all who receive the gift of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus.
This Sunday we complete the message series entitled “Chosen.” We will explore the chosen promise of God. I hope you will join me this Sunday at 8:15|NINE45|11:15 for worship. You can also go to SAUMC.NET and join us via livestream. The best is yet to come. I love you all and can’t wait to see you in church!