Advent: Why Did God Make Promises?

by Bethany

Advent Readings: Genesis 1, Luke 24

In December, 843 Acres will journey to the manger through advent readings that consider promises made and kept by the Lord [1]. Yet, before we begin, let’s think about God’s promises as a general matter.

Need for Promises

In the beginning, God spoke into nothingness and created life. Creation was meant to live in perfect harmony with Him [2]. Made “in His own image” [3], Adam and Eve enjoyed His ultimate good – an unbroken, personal relationship with Him [4].

Yet, they were unsatisfied. Rather than enjoying everything He had given them, they wanted the one thing He had not – the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden [5]. Thus, they engaged in a foolish cost-benefit analysis [6], embracing sin and pushing God away.

As He looked upon them – hidden and ashamed, yet bearing His image – He loved them and longed for restoration. But how could His holiness coexist with their unholiness [7]?

Made and Kept

God planned the grace of our forgiveness before eternity [8]. Century after century, although His people repeatedly rejected Him, He made promises of salvation, using many images to communicate with them [9].

In Jesus, God kept those promises. As Jesus told His disciples, the Scriptures were written about and fulfilled in Him: “[A]ll things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled” [10].

Long Delay

Yet, why wait thousands of years to send Jesus? Why promise salvation rather than just provide it when it was needed?

Without His promises, we would not have understood Jesus as Messiah. By delaying, He taught us about Israel’s persistent rebellion and His long-suffering forgiveness through the sacrificial system. Without the Old Testament, we were tempted to see Jesus as a mere therapist, good example, or hero.

Yet, these are not His deepest attributes. The truest part of Jesus was that He solved the greatest mystery of all time – namely, how God could punish the guilty and forgive iniquity [11].

Prayer

Lord, Over the course of thousands of years, you gave us an epic display of your love, grace, mercy and patience, as you made promises to your rebellious people and kept those promises in Jesus, who is the center of history. How we needed your promises! How we long to be restored to you. Keep our hearts tethered to you, as we continue to hope in your promises until the return of Jesus. Amen.

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[1]  For the regular reading plan, see here.  |  [2]  Jonathan Edwards’ The End for Which God Created the World provides an excellent theological foundation concerning the reason for creation. Since Edwards’ essay was written to philosophers of his time, however, it is very difficult to read. John Piper has written an excellent work, God’s Passion for His Glory, that accompanies the full text of the essay and has hundreds of footnotes of explanation. I highly recommend it.  |  [3] Genesis 1:27 NASB  |  [4]  When God looked upon His creation of Adam and Eve, He said it was “very good.” For an extended reflection on the concept of friendship with God, see Billy Graham’s The Journey, chapter 3 (“The Great Design”).  |  [5]  Genesis 2:15-17, 3:1-6  |  [6]  Genesis 3:1-7  |   |  [7]  The frequent Biblical analogy to show that holiness cannot coexist with unholiness is that light cannot coexist with darkness. Once a light shines in the darkness, there is no more darkness; the light has overcome it. Similarly, once holiness shines in unholiness, the holiness overcomes the unholiness; the unholiness has been extinguished. See, e.g., Luke 11, John 1, John 12, 1 Corinthians 6.  |  [8] 1 Timothy 1:9  |  [9]  As we will see in the advent readings, God used the covenant, the law, the temple, the sacrifices, etc., to communicate His promise of salvation in ways that we could understand.  |  [10]  Luke 24:44 NASB  |  [11] Exodus 34:6-7 (announcing His character to Moses, the Lord said that He was, “The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished … NASB).

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One Comment to “Advent: Why Did God Make Promises?”

  1. The 1st Day of Creation

    “The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep, and the Spirit of GOD moved upon the face of the waters.” (Gen 1:2)

    Then GOD spoke HIS Word into being…….

    “Let there be Light”!

    And “There was Light”…….(Gen 1:3)

    And such ‘Light’ was to be, and is, Eternal!

    So it is that Hope is Alive!

    Even though this wicked world begins and ends it’s day in darkness it is good to realize that the 1st Day of Creation, although begun midst the darkness, ended in ‘Light’! (Gen 1:5)

    And such ‘Light’ was not the sun, moon or stars for they were not created until the 4th Day. (Gen 1:14-19)

    GOD’s Word “Let there be Light” became “The Light which enlightens every man born into the world” and was “the glory The Messiah had with Our Father before the world began”…….(John 1:9, 17:5)

    LIGHT Begot Light…….

    LIKE Begot Like…….

    The Messiah, “The Light of the world”…….(Jn8:12)

    The Messiah, “The beginning of The Creation of GOD”…….(Rev1:1, 3:14)

    The Messiah, “The Son of The Living GOD”…….(John 6:69)

    And Our Father, HE “created all things by(of, in and thru) The Messiah”…….(Ep3:9)

    The 1st Day of Creation.

    “And GOD called The Light, Day, and the darkness HE called night. And the evening(darkness) and The Morning(Light) was The 1st Day.” (Gen 1:5)

    Now if the beginning can not be ‘seen’ nor understood, then what of the end?

    Confusion would reign! And today confusion does reign midst the religious systems of this world, for apart from “The Light” there is only darkness, “the blind leading the blind” ;-(

    And the Apostle Paul saw “The Light” that is The Messiah on the road to Damascus:

    “At midday, O king, I saw in the way a Light from Heaven, which was above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me.

    And when we had all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.

    And I said, Who are you, Master? And The Messiah said, I am Y’shua(for He spoke in the Hebrew tongue) Whom you are persecuting”. (Acts 26:13-15)

    GOD’s Word “Let there be Light” became “The Light which enlightens every man born into the world”, “The Light” that is The Messiah, and was “the glory The Messiah had with Our Father before the world began”…….(John 1:9, 17:5)

    Peace, in spite of the dis-ease(no-peace) that is of this world and it’s systems of religion “for the WHOLE(not just a portion) world is under the control of the evil one”, indeed and Truth…….(1John 5:19)

    Truth IS, a lie never was and is not…….

    Abide in Truth…….

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