Summary: A message encouraging believers to trust God to keep His Word
Standing on the Promises
Dr. Russell K. Tardo
Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Savior Jesus Christ: 2Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, 3According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. [2 Pe. 1:1-4]
Believers have been given gifts by their Heavenly Father, i.e., gifts that are neither merited, nor deserved. The above passages say that He has given all things pertaining to life and godliness; He has given exceeding great and precious promises.
I. Promises to Live By
God has given His children promises to live by, i.e., promises on which to stand. Believers are called to believe these promises, receive the promises and then stand firmly on them.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.[Eph. 6:13]
And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry: And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it.... And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away. And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. [Mk. 11:12-14, 20-24]
The above scriptures are among the greatest lessons on the principle of faith.
The average Christian today praises Noah for his stand of faith and his separation from the world of his day. Yet this same average Christian criticizes another believer for taking the same stand. The average church today is desirous of reforming society rather than informing society. Men and women of God are called to preach the gospel. The only thing that will stop sin is for people to get saved.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts and by it he being dead yet speaketh. By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. [Heb. 11:1-6]
II. Qualities of Faith
What qualities of faith did those in the Bible possess that God chose to immortalize them by calling them by name and mentioning them in the Bible? Just think of the countless millions who have lived and left no mark of having ever existed, yet God chose these few to recount their stories and immortalize their existence.
A. Without Previous Precedent.
The heroes of faith stood on the promises of God without previous precedent. They stepped out and trusted God where none had trusted God before. They were the trail blazers. Who built an ark before Noah? Who parted the Red Sea before Moses? They believed only because God promised, not because someone else had previously set an example.
B. With an Incomplete Revelation.
The heroes of faith stood on the promises with an incomplete revelation. They lived under the Old Covenant. Believers today have a better covenant, better promises and better revelation. The people living under the Old Covenant received with an inferior understanding compared to what is available to believers today. With the sacrifice of Jesus, believers have free access to the very throne of God. The ancients had access to the throne also, i.e., by faith. They had the promise of the Messiah however, they died before seeing that promise.