Series: Don’t waste your waiting.

During a season of prolonged illness in my own life, I got to a place where I wondered if I’d ever be healthy again. Discouragement and depression set in. However, my turning point came when I actively searched Scripture and started memorising God’s promises as if my life depended on them. As I spoke these promises of God’s faithfulness out loud, praying them back to God and believing them for my own circumstances, the thick cloud of despair was gradually replaced by a cocoon of hope and trust. Unlike us, God never makes a promise that He doesn’t keep. His promises are dependable and true, because they are founded on His unchangeable attributes and sovereign power. God cannot lie.

In part 1, we saw that God’s promises are rooted in the salvation which Jesus achieved for His people in His life, death, and resurrection. The apostle Paul wrote to the Christians at Corinth, For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God” (2 Cor 1:20). The whole New Testament affirms that Jesus is the Promised One of the Old Testament (Luke 24:25-27). Since Jesus is the fulfilment of all God’s promises to His people, we need to understand and trust those promises through the lens of the cross.

Ten Promises you can bank on.

One of the greatest treasury of God’s promises is found in Romans 8. I have crystallised ten promises from this chapter. Read the chapter on your own as we record, personalise, and believe God’s promises together.

# 1. God has declared me “not guilty”!

I am forgiven, not condemned (Rom 8:1) God declares this verdict, not me. I can trust this promise because Christ’s perfect sacrifice on the cross has turned away God’s wrath for all who have repented and believed in Him. It has nothing to do with me! This means that I can get off the performance treadmill because justification is a once-for-all time event and entirely God’s work. However bad my day may be, however unworthy I may feel, whatever accusers may throw at me, my sin has been fully paid for. Jesus, my righteous advocate, speaks forgiveness and acceptance, not accusation and shame. “Not guilty” is God’s Truth, not just ‘my truth’.

# 2. God has set me free from the bondage of sin and death!

I am now under new management, no longer ruled by the selfishness of Adam, but by the Spirit of God (Rom 8:5-11). “Free” is my permanent status. Although I still sin, I’m no longer helplessly in its grip. I’m no longer a slave to my sinful nature (Rom 8:2-4). This promise matters, because it assures me that I have been redeemed from sin’s power and penalty. Therefore, I can put off sin and put on a life of righteousness (Rom 8:13). My previous Master’s wages were death (Rom 8:6a) but my new Master’s wages are life and peace (Rom 8:6b). I am not the person I once was. I am slowly changing day-by-day.

# 3. God’s Spirit lives in me to sanctify me.

This promise matters, because I know that I cannot conquer sin on my own, but the Holy Spirit empowers me to live a fruitful and faithful Christian life, which pleases God (Rom 8:2-3; 9-11). Like a new navigation system, the Holy Spirit helps me to think, speak and act as Christ directs (Rom 8:5). Like a skilled surgeon, the Spirit enables me to surgically remove every sin that resists Christ’s lordship (Rom 8:12-14). Without the Holy Spirit leading me, I would have no desire nor power to conquer sin. Without Him, I would be on a trajectory of death. But because He lives in me, I am on the side of life (Rom 8:13).

# 4. The Holy Spirit is a foretaste of heaven.

 The Spirit who breathed spiritual life into my dead soul and raised Jesus from the dead will surely do for me what He did for Jesus! He will give me a glorious new body on the Resurrection Day that has been promised to the living and the dead (Rom 8:11). I will rise to sin no more. Having tasted heaven, I long for the feast, but the hors d’oeuvres is the guarantee that the feast is going to follow.

When I don’t have the right words or strength to pray, God promises that the Spirit will pray with me and for me, according to His will (Rom 8:26-27). So when I bring my requests to God, I can be sure that He will always do what is best. What blessed assurance the Holy Spirit gives me!

#5. I am God’s adopted child.

This promise means that I’m no longer a cringing, fearful slave seeking to impress or appease God with my performance (Rom 8:14-17). I can give up on virtue-signalling. Fear-based religion has given way to faithful relationship with a good Father. I’m in line for all His treasures and can approach Him as Abba, daddy. I have all the privileges and responsibilities of a legitimate child in His family. One of these privileges is the Holy Spirit, who reminds me daily of who and whose I am. The Holy Spirit is my inner witness who signed my adoption order and assures me of my Father’s love.

#6. Present sufferings are a prelude to glory.

God promises that present suffering is a price for being identified with Jesus (Rom 8:17). It can also be traced back to the Fall, because “we know that all creation has been subjected to frustration because of the sin of Adam” (Rom 8:20). But we will share in Christ’s glory too! (Rom 8:17-18) The two are not even comparable. “Our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”

If I truly believe this promise, I cannot be complacent or discouraged. When I face trials or pressures to conform to the world, I am assured that glory is not just a place to which I go, but also a condition that is being revealed in me. My transformed body awaits me, but so does the perfection of my character, so that Christ will be admired and glorified in those who trust Him.

#7. The curse will be lifted!

God has promised that better things lie ahead. In my lifetime, I have never seen such physical, emotional, financial, social and relational suffering in people. For many, hope is lost. But when brokenness is all around, a believer’s anchor is the promise of final redemption, a day when God’s children are openly announced and the curse of sin is finally lifted. My hope is the climax and completion of my salvation. Sin and suffering will be replaced by glory! (Rom 8:19-25)

Paul says, “For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has?” (Romans 8:24).

Hope is not an optimistic wish for utopia, but the absolute certainty of our promised home where there is safety, peace, and plenty for all God’s people. Sin will never enter its gates. “The glory and honour of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Rev 21:27). No longer will there be any curse. This promise is confirmed throughout the Bible (Rev 22:1-5; Isaiah 65:17-25; 2 Peter 3:1-10; Matt 24:29-31; Rev 21:1-4).

Until this promise of redemption is fulfilled, creation groans to be free, like a woman in labour longs to give birth (Romans 8:19-22). We groan too (Rom 8:23). The whole creation yearns for deliverance when all our longings will be met in the new heavens and new earth, the home of righteousness.

#8. All things are working together for good!

Romans 8:28-30 is probably the most cherished biblical promise for good reason. God promises that without exception, He is working all things together for the good of His people and for His glory. All things are not just some things. What does this promise mean?

It means that the sovereign God who subjected creation to frustration still rules over it– pain, mistakes and evil included. God is in control of all nations, shaping events and decisions to fulfil his will. God is working in the hearts of people and leaders to move them to fulfil his purposes. Even the weather and laws of nature are operating according to God’s direct will. Good or bad, everything is part of God’s plan for us, to conform us to the likeness of Christ, our elder brother in the great family of God. All who love God are included in this promise.

This sweeping promise assures me that God never wastes pain. He uses all things to accomplish His purpose, for His glory and my welfare. Therefore, I can trust Him even when my heart is broken or my body is racked with pain. I can always trust Him in all things.

This monumental promise is all of grace. Not everyone has been foreknown by God in an intimate and loving way. But everyone who has been called by the gospel has been justified and glorified (Rom 8:29-30). It’s all in the past tense, so it’s as good as done. Not one person on whom God has set His love will fail to arrive in heaven. If this promise doesn’t move us to worship, nothing will.

#9. God is for us!

Are there any four words that move you to gratitude more than these? No “trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword” can alter the promise that God is for his people and will not hold back anything from us (Rom 8:32). “He will freely give us all things”. (Rom 8:31-39). No if’s, but’s or maybe’s.

No enemy or circumstance can breach this promise. If God delivered up the greatest gift of His own Son for me, how can I doubt that He will give me the grace, courage, strength, wisdom and steadfastness to live through my present trials? My faithful God will hold me fast.

Promise #10. God loves us!

Are there any three words more triumphant and affirming than these? (Rom 8:31-39). Who is going to condemn those for whom God’s Son has died? (Rom 8:34) God’s love is an unfailing and unconquerable love. It is especially precious to His own who suffer as sheep for the slaughter (Rom 8:36). No disaster or unseen forces of evil can separate us from God’s embrace or divert our path to heaven. None can cut us off from the presence of Jesus, whose nail-pierced hands and feet prove His Father’s great love for us. Not even death can sever this cord of divine love. Nothing can diminish God’s love for us because he has loved us in Christ Jesus from eternity. If I believe this great love is true, how can I ever be afraid?

I pray that these ten great and precious promises will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus as you live out the Christian life. Write them down, meditate on them, memorise them, pray them back to God, so that you will be anchored by God’s sure and precious promises in the waiting room, before you see Him face to face.

Prayer

I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
    and in his word I put my hope.
 I wait for the Lord
    more than watchmen wait for the morning,
    more than watchmen wait for the morning. (Psalm 130:5-6). Amen.

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