“This is the promise that He Himself has made to us: eternal life.”—1 John 2:25 NASB
Lately, I have heard a lot about the promises of God. It’s wild to think of God promising us anything when I try to wrap my simple brain around it, but He has promised us some amazing things. Part of my looking at the promises in the New Testament has led me to realize that if only three promises are specifically made to me, in my faith, as a believer today, in this moment—I am stressing the point of me, right now—then I have every reason to be super stoked and full of joy.
The first promise is that of the Holy Spirit. This is major. Jesus called this the promise of His Father (Luke 24:49). In Acts, He told the Apostles to stay in Jerusalem until God blessed them with the promise of the Holy Spirit, which they received, and we are blessed to receive, too (Acts 1:4; 2:23). The Holy Spirit guides us, directs us, convicts us, and helps us understand the Word of God. I mean, the Holy Spirit nurtures our fruits as we mature in Spirit. How awesome is that?
The second promise is that the Lord God will call us to Himself. Definitely, we have to confess our sins, repent, and profess Jesus Christ as our Savior; but it is clear in the Scripture that God promised the Apostles, their children and “all who are far off, as many as the Lord God will call…” that He is the one that calls us to Himself (Acts 2:39 NASB). We get to partake in His glorious plan, but He is the One doing all the work through us. We should be grateful and thankful for the opportunity to serve Him. I don't know about you, but it is a relief to know that I can share the Gospel with folks and not have to be the most gifted speaker or eloquent writer.
The third promise is the promise stated in 1 John 2:25—eternal life. The word eternal means perpetual, without end, never to cease, everlasting. The word life is defined by Thayer’s as a state of one possessed with vitality. Thayer’s further goes on to define it as: of the absolute fullness of life, both essential and ethical, which belongs to God.
Think about those three promises and how they line up with salvation. We are justified by faith, we spend our lives being sanctified through the loving guidance of the Holy Spirit and we are glorified with Him in the perfected fullness of eternal life, which we get to spend with God forevermore. The amazing richness of this understanding surpasses anything that I have ever understood in all my life.
When I consider what has been done for me to ensure that I have a place in that everlasting fullness of vitality and goodness, all the crap here in this world starts to fade away. I mean, let's be honest, life is hard. For me, I know I don't fit in, I have very few close friendships, I often feel like I have a lot of varying degrees of arm's-length acquaintances and only two or three people that are actual friends who have my back when I am not around. That is actually fine with me, I don't have to be down with everyone and everything because the truth is I don't enjoy the drama that people tend to bring with them. I get sick of all the competitions, the who is better at this or that, and how as a society we work ourselves into debt to have stuff that really doesn't matter while trivializing the things that do matter like a genuine relationship with God and with those who are chasing after God. Admittedly, I also get frustrated with the way we tend to treat each other, tear one another down and try to make ourselves feel better about our own life at the expense of others. I have been guilty of it and I have suffered the effects of it being done to me. It sucks. But, in spite of all of that, I also know that on the other side of eternity, none of this is going to be a thing. We will be in harmony with God! So, there is hope! When we as people suck, hold on to the promise that in eternity, it will all be worth it.
Further, in these promises, it is crystal clear that it's God who calls us to Him, through the obedience of those whom He works through (such as our teachers, pastors, evangelists and preachers). Even when they say things we do not agree with, like, or when those things come from their own flawed humanity, we should still see Him in them because His fingerprints are everywhere. And YES—He even works through those that think they are the ones in control. Let us not forget what Jesus told the Israelites, God can raise up children of Abraham from the stones if He desires to do so, and if we were to fall silent the stones would cry out in worship (Luke 3:8; 19:40). God does not need us, He wants us. There is a huge difference. Part of that difference, He wants us and He wants us to want Him without it being dependent on us just getting stuff from Him. I mean, hasn't He given enough?
What is beautiful in all of this, all of it is dependent on God and our willingness to submit to Him and make Him the Lord of our life. Our rewards in heaven are not dependent on what clothes we wear, or how big our salary is, or how well we can brown-nose to manipulate our boss, or whether we are in the cool click or how well we are liked. Our rewards in Heaven are dependent on our hearts, how obedient we are to God and what He has chosen to do for us. Period.
In my free will, will I continue to be obedient, will I continue to do the things He requires without becoming arrogant? I pray that He will keep me humble lest I forget that I am nothing but dust and sound. Because, the one thing that I hope we all take away from the promise in today’s Scripture is that He made these promises. He is the only one that could! Because, it's ALL dependent on His Sovereignty, His Mercy and His Grace, without which—who among us would enter heaven? So, have you been serving God or men lately? Are you chasing after Him or are you chasing after your own self-interests? Is it about what you can leave behind? Or, is it about the crowns that you will have the honor of laying at His feet in heaven once this world is gone?
Until Next Time