When I say, “I promise”, it is a most solemn assurance about my future actions. When I make a promise, it is my responsibility to duly remember it and to make every effort to fulfil it. If I fail to do so, I would not only be unfaithful to others, but I would also be untrue to myself.
It is common for human beings to make promises to each other. Marriages, relationships, commercial deals and even ordinary transactions depend on promises. But God has also made promises to man and they are recorded in the Bible. In fact, there are hundreds of them. Some are unconditional promises and some conditional, there are different promises for the present times and the future world, some are for individuals, others for whole humanity.
A wonderful promise made by Lord Jesus was, “Ask and it will be given to you.” (Matthew 7:7) He also promised, “My Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.” (John 16:23) These are unconditional promises. However, he made another promise, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38) This is conditional upon our actions and choices.
The greatest promise of the Bible is, however, about eternal life. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
But what about this life, here on earth? Jesus’ unconditional promise is, “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20) Jesus will assuredly be there to help us in our trials and suffering. Moreover, the age that we live in is transitory. God has promised to create for his people a new heaven and a new earth. He has promised to live with them, and wipe every tear from their eyes. In that new world, “Death will be no more. Mourning and crying and pain will be no more.” (Revelation 21:3-5) That is God’s great promise and we must wait for its fulfilment.