4. The Promises and Commands of God
There are thousands of promises that God has made in the Bible to His people throughout history and they are all yes and amen in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 1:20). This means that all the promises that God has made to His people in the Old Testament and the New Testament find their ultimate fulfillment in Christ Jesus. God promised that He would crush the head of the serpent (Genesis 3:15, the devil) and He did by Christ’s perfect life, death and resurrection. God promised that all the families of the earth will be blessed through the seed of Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3) and God will bless them through the seed of Abraham who is Christ Jesus. God promised that if we trust in Him with all our hearts and lean not on our own understanding and acknowledge Him in all our ways, He will direct our paths (Proverbs 3:3-5) and He does this through the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ (John 10:1-5). God promised that He will write His laws within our hearts (Ezekiel 36:24-26) and God did that and does it and will do that before and when we repent of our sins and have faith in Jesus Christ. The new covenant is sealed by the blood of Jesus Christ and whosoever comes to Him in faith and repentance will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and have God’s laws written on their hearts.
All the promises of God in the Old and New Testament had conditions connected with them. Also, prophecies worked much the same way as the promises of God. All prophecies were also promises of God, but not all promises were prophecies. Prophecies will come to pass and have come to pass regardless of human cooperation and conditions being met. The promises of God to man always had a condition to be met. That doesn’t mean the fulfillment of the promises could be achieved or merited by humans or God’s people but there were always conditions connected in order that it may be fulfilled.
Let’s give two examples: The promise of Genesis 3:15 where God promised that He would crush the head of the serpent were going to happen regardless of what humans would do. It was therefore not only a promise but a prophecy. God crushed the power of Satan through Jesus Christ. But take the promise of Proverbs 3:3-5. There is a condition connected to this promise. If we trust in God with our whole heart and if we lean not on our understanding and if we acknowledge Him in all our ways then God will direct our paths. Promises like these can come to fulfillment in a person’s life hundreds or thousands of times as the believer comes to Christ, but they have conditions. All the conditions in all the promises in the Bible can be summed up in turning from sins and trusting in Christ Jesus, or believing in Christ Jesus.
All the promises in the Bible: “Ask and it shall be given, seek and you shall find, knock and the door shall be opened” (Matthew 7:7-9) must be connected to the Person and work of Jesus Christ. If we miss this then we miss the whole point why God made promises to His people.
The conditions to receive salvation is repentance and faith in Jesus Christ (Mark 1:15; Acts 20:21). And the summary of growing in Christlikeness is continual repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
When it comes to the work of evangelism we must admit that it is based on the promises and commands of Christ. We evangelize because God has promised that the word that comes out of His mouth will not return to Him void but will accomplish what He pleases (Isaiah 55:11). We evangelize and know the seed that we sow will not be in vain because God promises that the work of the Lord is not in vain:
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, since you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58 NKJV).
For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do
(Hebrews 6:10 ESV).
““Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”” (Revelation 22:12-13 ESV).
Not only do we have these and other promises that our work in the Lord in evangelism will not be in vain, but we have the commands of the Lord to go out into all the earth and share the gospel to every person. Jesus commanded His disciples:
“Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to every creature”
“Then said He to His servants, the wedding-feast is ready but they who were invited were not worthy. Go you therefore into the highways and as many as shall find, invite to the marriage” (Matthew 22:8,9).
We all know that the parable of the wedding feast refers to the Marriage supper of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, and that His servants are those who should invite people from everywhere! Jesus said to His disciples:
“All authority in heaven and in earth is given to Me, go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey all things that I have commanded you…and I am with you to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).
No disciple of Christ can make a disciple without evangelizing and sharing the gospel in his teaching. Disciples ought to teach the gospel in discipling. And they will be successful because God has promised to be with them unto the end of the age. God will never command something of His disciples that He doesn’t give the power to do.
And Jesus said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” (Luke 24:46-47 ESV).
Paul said woe is me if I don’t preach the gospel (1 Corinthians 9:16). The gospel of God is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes (Romans 1:17,18). God has chosen the foolishness of preaching to save those who believe (1 Corinthians 1:18). If God has chosen human beings to proclaim the gospel and if he has chosen the gospel to save people, (1 Peter 1:23-25) which he has, it becomes evident why we should proclaim and declare His word to a lost and dying world. God has promised to bless his word and He has promised to build his kingdom and church until He comes again (Matthew 16:18).
We cannot be wiser than God and think that He will use other means to save sinners. God saves His elect through the hearing of the word of Christ (Romans 10:17) and He will save them as his church proclaims his gospel! Of the increase of Jesus Christ’s government and peace there will be no end (Isaiah 9:6,7).