The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pt. 3:9).
There is little that is more disheartening than a broken promise. Nevertheless, when a man makes a promise, there is always a chance that the promise will not be kept. A promise is made, but in time it is forgotten. A promise is made and a third party, feeling excluded, affects a change rendering it impossible. A promise is made, but before its fulfillment, a death occurs leaving it unrealized. A man may indeed make a promise with no intentions of following through.
God is not like man (Num. 23:19; Ps. 50:21). He does not measure time (Ps. 90:4; 2 Pt. 3:8), nor does He make promises He cannot keep (Prov. 19:21; Isa. 14:24; Lk. 1:37).
Christians endure mockery for anxiously awaiting (2 Pt. 3:12; Titus 2:13) the fulfillment of God’s promises (2 Pt. 3:3, 4). But a child of God need never question the power and faithfulness of God regarding His promises.
The Bible is abundant with both the promises of God and their fulfillment (cf. Gen. 13:15; Josh. 21:43-45). Christians can take comfort knowing that nothing will hinder God’s promise of salvation.
The passage of time will not hinder God’s promises. Long ago, God promised Noah that the world would be destroyed by a flood (Gen. 6:17). For 120 years, the promise of God waited (Gen. 6:3; 1 Pt. 3:20). During that time Noah prepared for the flood. He prepared by building the ark to the saving of his family (Gen. 6:22; Heb. 11:7). He prepared by preaching of the coming destruction (2 Pt. 2:5). In due time, both the promise of destruction by the flood (Gen. 6:17; 7:21-23) and the promise of salvation from the flood (Heb. 11:7; Gen. 8:1) came to pass. Realizing that time is nothing in the sight of God we can stand on the promises of God regarding our salvation.
Man’s interference with God’s purposes will not hinder the promises of God. When Abraham was 75 years of age, God called him out of Ur and promised that through him all nations would be blessed (Gen. 12:3; Acts 7:2). Since Abraham had no children, he supposed that through Eliezer, the steward of his house, God would fulfill His promise (Gen. 15:2-3). But God told Abraham the promised seed would “come forth out of his own bowels” (Gen. 15:4). The implication was that the fulfillment of God’s promise would come through Abraham and Sara. At this time, Abraham was about 85 years of age, and Sara was near 75.
Considering her inability to conceive, Sara offered her handmaid Hagar to provide the child of promise (Gen. 16:4). Nevertheless, Her interference did not overturn the promise of God that a son would be born to Abraham and Sara (Gen. 17:19). Even after Sara had passed childbearing age, God promised that she would give birth to a son (Gen. 18:11). Ultimately, when Abraham was 100 years old, even after their interference, Sara gave birth to Isaac just as God had promised (Gen. 21: 1-2).
So it is seen that man can in no way, through his interference with God’s plans, change, void, or undo His promises. We can stand on the promise of God’s salvation.
The grave cannot hinder the fulfillment of God’s promise of salvation. Jesus promised, “I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Mt. 16:18). What are the gates of hell? The Greek term translated hell in this verse is not Gehenna, the place of eternal punishment (cf. Mt. 10:28), but hades. Hades refers to the death or the grave. In essence, Jesus assured that not even the grave would keep Him from fulfilling His promise of building His church.
That Jesus went to the grave is undeniable. Jesus himself prophesied of it (Mt. 12:40). Inspired men testified of it (cf. 1 Cor. 15:3- 8). Secular history corroborates it. The Roman historian Tacitus recorded that Christians: “had their denomination from Chrestus, who in the reign of Tiberius was put to death as a criminal by the procurator Pontus Pilate.”
But it was not possible for death to keep Jesus in the grave (Acts 2:24), for the promise of God must be fulfilled. The biblical witness of the resurrection of the Christ (Mt. 28:6ff; Mk 16:6ff; Lk 24:1-7; Jn 20:1- 18; 1 Cor. 15:3-20) forever stands as a testimony to the power of God and the faithfulness of God to His promises. Not even the physical death of man can hinder the promises of God from coming to pass.
We can stand on the promises of God for our salvation. God promised a Savior would come into the world; the promise was fulfilled (Mt. 1:18-25). God promised that Christ would sit on the throne of David and that His throne would be in heaven; the promise was fulfilled (Acts 2:32, 33; Heb. 1:1-3). God promised if we are faithful, we will receive a crown of life (Rev. 2:10). God cannot and will not fail to keep His promises (Titus 1:2; Heb. 6:18). Are you standing on the promises of God?