What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, And whose sins are covered; Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin.” Does this blessedness then come upon the circumcised only, or upon the uncircumcised also? For we say that faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness. How then was it accounted? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised. And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they are uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also, and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had while still uncircumcised. For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of no effect, because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression. Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be.” Romans 4:1-18 NKJV
One of the most profound things I believe I have learned is that God’s promises are an anchor to our soul. In the past, I believed that hope was having faith in the “unknown.” In other words, we need to dive in to something believing that God will bless us no matter what – as long as we are doing what we “think” He wants us to do. If we are doing the “right” thing, why wouldn’t He bless our course of action and make it happen.
However, Hebrews chapter 6 speaks of God’s promises. God made a promise with Abraham, for example, that He would bless him and multiply him. The following passage reveals a lot about God and His promises.
For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, “Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.” And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. For men indeed swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of all dispute. Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.
This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. Hebrews 6:13-20 NKJV
First, I noticed that God can swear by no one greater than Himself. So, what does He do? When He made the promise with Abraham, He swore to Himself. Oaths are important. When we enter into an oath, we need to be careful who we are making that oath with and what promises we are making. Our words are a very powerful thing.
Second, it is impossible for God to lie. If that is the case, then we can have complete confidence in what He says. God does not lie to us. There is one who does speak lies. And, does he ever make his words sound like that of the Father God. It is important to know when God speak because His words are true.
So, we can conclude that when God speaks a promise, He cannot lie. Therefore, hope is created in us when we have heard His promise and have faith that God is who He says He is. God’s promises set hope before us and it is up to us to “lay hold of” it. Then, when adversity strikes (as it surely will), hope is an anchor to our soul in troubled times. Abraham had to “patiently endure” time before he obtained the promise of God.
The most obvious example of this in my life (where this lesson made such a profound impact on me), was when my wife and I lost our baby boy. We knew he had a major medical problem. We sought the best care we could at the time and we prayed for him. A friend and teacher of ours helped us find the words to express what we wanted to pray. However, I personally never received a promise from God that our son would survive. He only live about 34 days.
However, after my son had passed away, I did hear from the Lord that my wife and I would have another child. I specifically heard that we were young and that we would have another healthy child. Now, that was a promise from God! That was something that gave me hope in what was to come because of faith (because I believed God spoke to me and that He doesn’t lie).
That hope became an anchor to my soul as my wife and I were tested shortly after my daughter was born. Here she was, the promise of God delivered. However, we received a letter in the mail that she had a life threatening condition detected by her blood work. Confronted with this news, the fear and pain began to swell up again. The only thing that held those feelings at bay was God’s promise. The anchor was there and I stood on the promise He had given me for this little girl. I prayed God’s protection around my family and I was standing on the power of the promise He had given me. We would not accept this lie because God’s spoken word was true.
We took our daughter in to be tested, hoping and praying for a negative test result. Talk about patiently enduring on a promise. The pressure was on. But, I will never forget the peace I felt because of God giving me a promise this time around. Sure enough, the test results came back negative and our daughter is healthy. That is one of the closest encounters I have had with the Lord. I am so thankful that He spoke a promise to me and I will always treasure that.