Understanding God's Promises
2 Corinthians 1:20
God’s Word is our source of comfort and hope because the Lord always does what He says. Every prophecy in the Bible either has come to pass or will be fulfilled in the future. In fact, Scripture is so trustworthy that Jesus said, “It is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter of the Law to fail” (Luke 16:17).
However, we must not assume that every promise recorded in the Bible is for us. The Lord’s biblical pledges fall into several categories, and it’s important to understand the difference so we don’t mistakenly claim one that is not meant for us. When we misapply Scripture, we can develop an inaccurate view of God, and that usually leads to disappointment and distrust of Him.
Some biblical promises are limited—they apply to a specific person, nation, time, or purpose. For instance, in Genesis 18:10, the Lord assured Abraham that Sarah would have a son, but we cannot presume that He will do the same for us. He can certainly use this passage to teach us about His providential care and provision, but we shouldn’t grab verses and expect them to be fulfilled in our life regardless of their context.
Other promises in the Word are conditional and apply only if we meet the qualifications, as in Proverbs 3:5-6 and 1 John 1:9. However, there are some promises that apply to all believers—these are assurances that are certain because of our union with Christ (Eph. 1:7-14). They have been given to us by our loving heavenly Father for our benefit, hope, and encouragement.
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