I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people.
All of God’s promises are true and as children of God, these promises are our rightful inheritance. Our inheritance in the world that is and the one that is to come is so rich such that Paul was praying for the church in Ephesus to have their eyes opened and their understanding enlightened. In order to be heirs, we must therefore position ourselves to inherit them. God’s promises are for a specific people, not the whole world. The truth is we would like for God’s promises to be automatic but the thing is, they are not.
In understanding this we must understand His heart; that God is holy and loving. As human beings, we want a loving God but not a holy God. We must understand, however, that because God is loving He makes promises to us, and because God is holy He attaches conditions to those promises. God’s being loving and holy are not mutually exclusive. When we separate God’s holiness from His loving nature we are prevented from seeing His goodness.
Here are a few points I’ve been meditating on concerning God’s promises.
2 Corinthians 1:20
For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.
1. God’s promises find their fulfillment through Christ Jesus.
God’s promises are not hanging loosely in the air or suspended somewhere but they are IN Christ Jesus. Outside of Christ, God’s promises cannot find fulfillment. So what does this mean? Every single promise, you name it, from Genesis to Revelation, great and small alike, whatever it is, is YES and AMEN, but will only be fulfilled in Christ Jesus.
If you obey the Lord your God and faithfully keep all his commands that I am giving you today, he will make you greater than any other nation on earth.
2. God’s promises are not automatic.
The Israelites through Abraham had been promised a land flowing with milk and honey; the land of Canaan and present day Israel. But the generation that began the journey of experiencing the fulfillment of the promise was not the generation that entered the promised land because even though the Israelites had left Egypt, they refused to let go of Egyptian ways.
In fact, in the chapters following the chapter quoted above from Deuteronomy, the Lord warned the Israelites against worshipping idols and adopting the ways of those that they had found in Canaan. God went on to say that if they disobeyed He would displace them just as He had done to those the Israelites were inheriting from and He would further make them
Now I am saying, so long as the heir is underage, he is no different from a slave, even though he is the owner of everything.
3. God’s promises are for the mature who have come to a place of sonship.
Getting saved does not automatically translate to sonship; we must be intentional about growth in Christ. In Hebrews 5:11-14, Paul admonished the Hebrew church because even though they should have matured and started teaching the word, they still needed Paul to explain to them the basics of God’s word. They were still babies. Babies still need milk and rely on others to feed them. Mature Christians feed on the meat of the word and have understood the revelation of righteousness. For us to inherit God’s promises as Christians we must move past being babies and come into full
maturity. Maturity means shunning what God calls evil and being content with what God calls good.