Christians Once Again Trying to Explain Who The Bible’s Promises Are For – TGC Article
Christians can’t seem to agree on when or if the promises in the Bible – especially Old Testament ones – apply to Christians today.
Here is another example of writers on another Christian site attempting to explain which promises are meant for Christians today and which are not:
(Link): Which Promises Are For Me? on The Gospel Coalition site, written by Jen Wilkin
I have more comments below this.
- Not many things are more comforting than a promise made and kept. And not many things are more hurtful than a promise broken. Knowing we worship a God who keeps his promises is a source of deep joy. But misapplied, this knowledge can also lead us to treasure-hunt Scripture for promises in problematic ways.
- How can we know which promises are for us? How can we lay claim to the promises of the Bible without overstepping their application? Here are some common pitfalls to keep in mind as you study.
Confusing a promise with a principle. Promises are always fulfilled 100 percent of the time. Principles state general truths.
- The book of Proverbs is often mistaken for a book of promises, when in fact it is a book of principles. The principle of “train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6) is generally true and wise to heed. But it is not a guarantee that every child raised with godly instruction will become a believer in Jesus.
- Ignoring the context. We often apply a promise to ourselves before considering its original audience or its historical, cultural, or textual context. In some cases, a promise was made to a specific person for a specific reason and has no further application beyond its immediate context. In other cases, the application can only be properly made after the promise is understood in its original context.
- God’s promise to Abram of land and offspring (Gen. 12:1–3) cannot be taken to mean God will give me a house or children. It can, however, be applied to mean he will give me a spiritual inheritance through Christ.
- Overlooking the “if.” Promises that contain an “If” require some form of obedience before we can expect them to come to pass in our lives. They are conditional.
- …Limiting a promise to your own understanding. Even when we rightly recognize a promise as intended for us, we often impose our own understanding of exactly how it will be fulfilled. Or we are tempted to impose our own timeline on its fulfillment.
- Yes, God does have a plan to prosper you and not to harm you (Jer. 29:11), but as in the case of the people to whom those words were originally written, that “you” is more likely a collective reference to the body of believers, and that plan may play out across centuries in ways we can’t possibly predict.
- To recognize this intent does not diminish the beauty of the promise at all. It actually enhances it.
- …Do your homework. Before you write it on a note card for your fridge, before you post it on Instagram or shop for it on a coffee mug or declare it your life verse, make a thorough study of where your promise lives in Scripture and in biblical history. Make sure it’s a general promise, not a specific promise to someone else or just a general principle to observe. Check for any “ifs” that might change its application.
The page goes on and on like that; click the link at top if you’re interested in seeing the full article.
Perhaps some Christians needed to be made aware of these things, but I’m over 40 years of age, have been a Christian since before I hit age ten, have read the entire Bible as well as many books about Christian theology and apologetics.
I don’t think I really need a basic primer on these things at this stage.
I find a lot of the points in the article are rather basic and based on common sense.
Even under her “Do Your Homework” section, I’m sorry, but Christians to this day still debate and fuss over if Jeremiah 29.11 is for believers only today (she mentions that passage in her article).
She seems to feel that Jer 29.11 is for ancient Israelites only, but I still find other Christians who believe it’s equally applicable to Christians in America in 2015.
Her article only adds to the confusion, in my view. That Christians have to keep explaining and teaching which biblical promises and verses apply to whom does not clarify the situation, but piles on.
I can guarantee you if Christians of other denominations read this page (I refer again to (Link): Which Promises Are For Me? ) that this lady wrote, they will each have their own particular objections or areas of disagreement.
(Link): Gallup: Record Low 24% Believe Bible Is Literal Word of God (May 2017)