The Greatest Promise in the Bible
Concerning Philippians 4:19, James Montgomery Boice comments …
“We come now to what is perhaps the greatest promise in the entire Bible. And it is great because it includes all of the other promises in itself.”
The wonderful promise of Philippians 4:19 is this: “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (ESV).
The opening conjunction, “And,” is key to understanding this promise. The Philippians were in need. Yet they neglected their own needs to supply what Paul needed to advance the gospel. Now Paul assures the saints that God has not forgotten their needs.
Paul was under house arrest in Rome, where he awaited trial with an uncertain outcome. There was no guarantee that he would be able to personally repay the generosity of the Philippians. But he was confident that the living God would fully meet their every need. Here’s the bottom-line: Generous Christians live on the promise that God will meet your needs.
The Source of the promise.
The verse begins with Paul speaking of God the Father in the most personal terms: “And my God.” God is not just a God. And God is not just the God. The Christian boldly declares that God is my God through saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. God is so personal that Paul spoke of Him possessively. Yet every Christian can call the Father “my God.” Nothing is impossible if God is your God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Psalm 18:29 says: “For by you I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall.”
The Scope of the promise.
Verse 19 says: “And my God will supply every need of yours …” This promise is all-inclusive. God Himself will meet every need the generous Christian has. Yet sometimes God meets needs through other people. In Philippians 2:25, Paul says, “I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus my brother and fellow worker and fellow minister, and your messenger and minister to my need.” Philippians 4:16 says: “Even in Thessalonica you sent help for my needs once and again.” But people are only channels. God is the all-sufficient source. Do not judge God’s faithfulness by the fulfillment of our goals. God promises to meet your need, not your greed. There are times when God will snatch away the things or people you think you need to teach us that we need Him not them.
The Sufficiency of the promise.
How is God able to meet every need? Verse 19 says: “And my God shall supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory…” God’s glorious riches are inexhaustible. There is no limit to God’s riches. He is totally sufficient to meet every need that arises in your life. In Psalm 23:1, David sings, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” God’s glorious riches will meet your needs. God does not provide for your needs out of his glorious riches, but according to his glorious riches. A millionaire buys a student’s books for the semester out of his riches. But that millionaire builds a new dorm for students to live in out of his riches. This is how our God meets our needs according to his glorious riches.
The Surety of the promise.
Philippians 1:1 and 4:21 call believers “saints in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 tells us what it means to be saints in Christ Jesus: “And my God shall supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” The generous Christian lives on the promise of Philippians 4:19, not because he is generous, but because he is in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 is the cashier’s check the generous Christian always carries in the wallet of faith.
- The sovereign Banker: “My God …”
- The insurance policy: “… will supply …”
- The check amount: “ … every need of yours …”
- The account balance: “ … according to his riches in glory … ”
- The check signatory: “ … in Christ Jesus.”
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