As we continue in our chapter, we come to a part that talks about the promises from God. Let’s dig right in and read some scripture. A favorite of mine is Ephesians 2:8-9, but context is also important, so let’s look at versus 1-10. It really reminds us how to be alive in Christ.
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
I love verses 8-9 because it reminds me that there is nothing I can do to earn God’s love. God loves me for who I am, regardless of what I do or don’t do. I’m saved simply from His grace…which is a gift. We don’t do anything to get gifts…they are just given to us. And that is what God did. He gifted us His saving grace.
Verse 10 reminds us what we are made for…to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. When I really stop and think about that, it suddenly makes everything else so small. And I realize that everything I do is really because it is God’s will for me. He has planned out everything that I will do. So even if I don’t like something, I just have to remember that it is what God wants me to do…and that often puts my attitude in check! Now, let’s take a look at promises God makes so that we may believe His will. We’ve already looked at 10 verses from Ephesians, but let’s look at a couple verses from Isaiah.
I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name. ~Isaiah 45:2-3
so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. ~Isaiah 55:11
Look at all the promises from God in just these three verses. God will level the path we walk by going before us. He will break down and cut through all the gates that block us. He will give us hidden treasures, and riches stored in secret places…and all so that we know that He is God…so that we may believe. And notice that nothing returns empty! God’s word will not return empty, but rather will accomplish what He desires and will achieve exactly what He sent it out for…so that we may believe! God uses us for His purpose and gives us promises so that we can believe in what God wants for us. And if we stay in His word, then we know of God’s promises to us for our faith and belief in Him and what He asks of us. And we also know that nothing from God returns to God empty. He will use us for His glory. In closing today, let’s look at one last scripture from Romans.
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. ~Romans 8:28-30
Here is a promised based on a condition. If we love God, then all things work for the good, because we have been called for His purpose. We are predestined to love Him and so we are called, and because we are called, we are justified and glorified. And all this…so that we believe!