Summary: Have you ever read a promise in the Bible that God clearly promises and you wonder how that promise applies to you in your life?
Claiming God’s Promises: Hebrews 10:23
“Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23).
Introduction: God has issued more than 40 thousand promises in the Bible. That’s a lot of promises that we can “hold fast” to! Although, sometimes it can be difficult to determine how to properly respond to God’s awesome promises. Have you ever read a promise in the Bible that God clearly promises and you wonder how that promise applies to you in your life? I do this all the time. There are several things to keep in mind while determining the promises you claim and “hold fast to…without wavering.”
The first thing to keep in mind is that the Bible contains two kinds of divine promises.
- Limited promises
- General Promises
1. Limited Promises. God has made many promises to specific people living in particular circumstances for explicit purposes. These promises are definitely not for everybody or as Charles Stanley says, “One size fits all” promises.
- If you try to claim these promises for yourself than your headed for trouble. For example, the resurrected Jesus told His disciples to wait in Jerusalem “for the promise of the Father” and that while they waited, they would “be baptized by the Holy Spirit.” The text reads, “Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now” (Acts 1:4-5).
- It would be foolish for you to travel to Jerusalem and wait there to receive this promise, since Jesus already fulfilled it that first Pentecost.
- Today, the Holy Spirit baptizes every believer into the body of Christ and takes up residence within at the very moment that person trusts in Christ. Jesus gave this promise to a very specific group of people at a particular time for an explicit purpose. It isn’t for anyone else to claim.
2. General Promises. Now that we understand “limited promises,” lets look at the many promises that are applicable to all His children throughout all of history. For example, He has promised to “never leave us or forsake us.” Paul wrote under the divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit in Hebrews 13:5, “Make sure that you character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never leave you, nor will I ever forsake you.”
- He also promised to return for us. Jesus spoke these words in the Gospel of John 14:3, “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”
- These promises pertain to all believers across all of time.
3. Although general promises are for every believer across all of time, these “general promises” can also be of two different types.
a. Conditional Promises. For example, Philippians 4:19 says, “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Jesus Christ.” The condition here is that we be in Christ; the believer must be living for Him and in total submission to His will.
- Another example is Psalm 37:4. It says, “Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart.” Clearly the condition is that a relationship comes before the request.
b. Unconditional Promises. Unconditional promises require nothing of the believer. The promises mentioned above in Hebrew 13:5 and John 14:3 are of this type. God will fulfill these promises because He has pledged to fulfill them. Nothing anyone does can alter the His commitment or change His plans. He will keep these promises, not because of anything we do, but because of His own faithfulness.
Conclusion: You know, the Bible teaches us as believers not to make promises to anyone. Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:34-37 are “…I say to you, make no oath at all, either by Heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black.”
Why do you think Jesus would instruct us to “make no oath?” It clearly states why in v.36. We cannot make anything happen if God doesn’t want it to happen. We can’t promise anything because God can always choose to intervene to make our promise unfulfilled.
On the other hand, God can make all the promises He wants to. There is no one who is powerful enough to intervene with God’s plan. This is great news! These promises that are a general promise for all believers “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithfull.”