Promises Made, Promises Kept

In a recent assignment for my Hermeneutics class, I wrote the following about the theme of the Bible:

The Old Testament is God’s Word about Christ, for the message of the New Testament is that Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the Old Testament – all of God’s promises to Jacob, Isaac and Abraham, as well as the royal line of King David. The covenantal promises that were made by God in the Old Testament finds its fulfillment in the New Testament testimony of Jesus Christ.

For in the past few years, I felt like I was in the inter-testamental period — the so-called 400 years of silence between the Old and New Testaments when it seemed like God was not speaking or working in Israel. God had promised his people a land to possess, a King who would rule over them, a Savior who would save them from their enslavement to the Greco-Roman powers.

In that time, the Scriptures do not tell of the faith of the Israelites, but it was there. In the silence, God was working. In the silence, God was working out his plan to redeem a people for himself. Those people and those generations probably struggled very hard to keep their faith and their Jewish religion: for without the Temple they were stripped naked of all that made them Jewish — except for the “boundary markers” of Sabbath, circumcision and food laws. Four centuries is a long time of silence, and nothing compared to the 3 years that I have experienced.

And despite the difficulty in keeping the faith, I now know that God had never forsaken me. He has kept the promises that he has made 100%. In these first days in my own so-called “new testament”, the means of salvation is the same as it was in the old: faith in God alone. In the New Testament, the way God saves his people has never changed, and is the same as it was in the Old Testament and Inter-testamental period: sola fide.

I have for a long time equated myself with the disciple Thomas, or as he is popularly known, “Doubting Thomas”. I have doubted in the corner of my heart; I needed to see the promised risen Christ myself; to touch and feel his nail-pierced hands; to see the scars on his skin. It is quite ironic that Thomas should be called the doubter, for no one else was in a position like him: the other disciples had already seen Christ themselves; they saw and believed.

And thus, isn’t it true that we too are like that, like Thomas. We live by faith, and yet we need to see the tangible outworkings of that faith. We want to see the work of God in our lives. In seasons of doubt and unbelief, of sin and temptation, of grief and sorrow, those evidences of grace are hard to see. It requires spiritual eyes to be focused on Christ alone through faith. He gives such renewed vision according to the riches of his glorious grace, at a time of his choosing. All we can do is pray that he would gives us eyes to see and ears to hear.

And wait.

In faith.

And sooner (hopefully), rather than later…

He will answer prayer, and show himself to be the perfect keeper of his promises.

He is faithful and true to all that He has promised. His words never return void.

Thus, here I am. Here we are, my dear, living by faith and not by sight. And yet faith is what enables us to see!

I now see. And hear. And know.

Father God,
Thank you for keeping the promises that you yourself have made. I honor you with my life because you have proved yourself to be utterly and completely faithful. I am sorry for doubting you. Forgive me of my tresspasses. Guard me — us — from evil, even as we grow in Christ and in each other. Help us to trust in your word. In the precious name of Christ we pray,
Amen.

Trying to treasure and remember this day of gladness for the rest of my days…

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