Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
It seems like a fantastic idea, but it's like a golden thread throughout both Old and New Testaments of the Bible: proud, sinful, selfish, lustful, wicked human hearts (ours!) are changed by simply believing what the apostle Peter says are "exceedingly great and precious promises" (2 Peter 1:4)!
And they're not man's "promises." They are the Lord's. Can it really be true that there is power in something as simple as believing God's promises (that appear to be so wild and extravagant)? God virtually promised Abraham the sky. And the old man is "the father of us all."
For instance, in the Old Testament we read that He picked up the only monotheist He could find in the ancient world, called him into exile to "a land that [He] would show him," promised it to him "for an everlasting possession." Paul got the idea: it was almost infinitely more than that tiny little strip of land known as Canaan; it meant the whole earth! (Rom 4:13).
And no way could the "possession" be "everlasting" for Abraham unless this "exceedingly great and precious promise" included the gift of eternal life, which Abraham couldn't enjoy as a genetic inheritance for he was born a sinner under condemnation like all of us. And further, no way could he be "the heir of the world" unless it became the "new earth." And again, no way could he be "the heir" of such a new earth unless he was given the gift of "righteousness," for Peter insists that only "righteousness dwells" there (2 Peter 3:13).
So, it all ends up full circle: God's "exceeding great and precious promises" mean the out-and-out gift of "righteousness by faith." And that was the meaning of those seven promises the Lord made to Abraham in Genesis 12:2, 3, and then later swore to in chapter 15--staking His very existence and His eternal throne on His keeping them.
Now, we return to our question: does it make sense that we, sinful selfish people by nature can be changed, converted, purified, transformed, even "sanctified," by believing those "promises"? Believe it or not, that is Peter's idea: "His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, ... exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust" (2 Peter 1:3, 4).
"Escape" is what we desperately need, for we face the second death without it. The "corruption" of lust surrounds us and would permeate us. But it's true: our "escape" is only in believing those "promises." Let's join the father whose son was healed, in our own heart-felt prayer: "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!" (Mark 9:23, 24). We can never perish if we pray that prayer.
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: April 6, 2004.
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