If you remember, yesterday we said that this passage contains two commands and four promises. We discussed the two commands: keep away from evil, do what is good. Today, we will talk about the promises.
We will abide forever. We not only have the promise of dwelling in His presence for eternity future, according to 2 Timothy 4:18 this is a promise for today and all of our tomorrows – “The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom.” The words of an old hymn comes to mind, “When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be” and surely it will be a day of ultimate joy. But, we can have a taste of that joy even now. We can come daily into the presence of our Lord. Through prayer and obedience to His word, we can know the peace and joy of abiding in His presence; its a promise – “The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us”. (1 John 3:24) I like the way Matthew Henry sums it up, “That we shall have a comfortable settlement in this world, and in a better when we leave this”.
We will not be forsaken. Times can be hard. Life gets rough. There are days when we wonder how we’re ever going to get through. It is for just these kind of days that the Lord has given us this promise; “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6). This promise, “we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing”; (2 Corinthians 4:8). And this one, I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:18); and oh so many more!
We will be preserved forever. Wherever we go, whatever troubles we face, whatever enemy may come against us, we have the promise that God will protect us. Isaiah writes, ‘Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand’ (Isaiah 41:10). And, just in case we may doubt, we have this reminder: But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:37-39)
The wicked will be cut off. Yes, that too is a promise. We look around at the evil of this world and we struggle to understand why. Why does God allow such evil to exists? Why does He allow so much wickedness to continue? Why doesn’t God do something? Why doesn’t somebody do something? With our human reasoning, we will never fully understand, at least not on this side of heaven. As we have already learned, if we are in Christ, we need not fret. We can rest in the promise that God will, one day, exact His perfect justice.
But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. (2 Peter 3:7-10)
Our Heavenly Father wants to give His children good things. He wants us to know that He is with us, He will never leave us, and He will always protect us. But, it’s important for us to remember that while God’s love is unconditional, His promises almost always come with conditions; and that‘s a good thing. Can you imagine what unruly children we would be if there were no rules for us to live by?
What a comfort it is to know that as we abide in Jesus, as we put our trust in Him and obey His word, we can, as the song says, stand on His promises that cannot fail.
Hallelujah, what a Savior!