3 Things God Never Promised

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In Scripture, God makes a lot of promises. He keeps them all, but there are a few things he never promised that might surprise you. Here are three; can you think of others?

Justice on earth

God keeps score. He promises to heal the wounded, reward the faithful, and punish the wicked (2 Corinthians 5:10). But he doesn’t promise to do any of that until after heaven and earth are remade without the curse of sin. He promises justice. He does not promise swift justice.

God is patient with us all (2 Peter 3:9). That’s a great comfort until we realize that he’s also patient with those who harm, oppress, and offend us.

To my regular frustration, Scripture never gives permission for us to enforce our own interpretation of justice (Romans 12:9). Instead, we’re told to wait on God’s perfect plan to be carried out on his perfect time (Psalm 37:7).

Comfort

Many television preachers have built a personal empire on the false promise that obeying God will lead to material prosperity and success. But God never promised his followers an easy life. In fact, he warned us to expect the opposite (John 16:33)—hardship and persecution from the world, and even correction from his own hand (Hebrews 12:7).

The Christian life is not a comfortable life, but it is a fulfilling one. (Click to tweet)

Instant change

I love hearing stories of miraculous life transformation. They fuel my faith in the transformative power of God’s Word more than anything else. But they also plant a desire for the same sort of instant change in my own life. Yet still I still wrestle with entrenched habits and besetting sins (Hebrews 12:1). Much as I love to see instant change in others, and long to experience it myself, I must remember that God has promised to change me, but hasn’t promised to do it instantly.

He has promised to complete the transformative work that he’s begun in me (Philippians 1:6), a promise that implies this change is going to take a while.

What other nonpromises can you think of? Tell us in the comments.

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Comments

  1. Excellent thoughts

  2. On this last day January 2014 I have been blessed with the truth of God's word pertaining to my life on this earth. Thanks for the remind.

  3. This is very good. There are many who think that all healing is promised here on earth, if that was truth no one would die. We would all have to die in accidents, etc. I love how you brought this out, and I believe we need to be more aware of the truth of His promises and the truth of what he doesn't promise!!! Thanks!

  4. Great points!

  5. "When the Israelites saw the mighty hand of God displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared God and put their trust in Him and in Moses His servant." (Exodus 14: 31 NIV). God is able to do even what we think impossible or the not for now solutions that are entrenched in our id. What we need very often is to trust him do the impossible in our lives.

    What I've also noticed is that, sometimes negative excitement can blind us from seeing God's purpose for the time, at the time , to the people intended to encourage their trust in God. Let us allow ourselves to be instruments in God's perfect plan (Numbers 20:12).

  6. "When the Israelites saw the mighty hand of God displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared God and put their trust in Him and in Moses His servant." (Exodus 14: 31 NIV). God is able to do even what we think impossible or the not for now solutions that are entrenched in our id. What we need very often is to trust him do the impossible in our lives.

    What I've also noticed is that, sometimes negative excitement can blind us from seeing God's purpose for the time, at the time, to the people intended to encourage their trust in God. Let us allow ourselves to be instruments in God's perfect plan (Numbers 20:12).

  7. My pleasure. It was a fun topic to study and write about.

  8. Your comment on comfort misrepresents what those television preachers are saying. They are not talking about an easy life but an overcoming life. Picture the life of the Israelites in the OT. Did God want them to live under the rule of other nations or defeat them? Did God want David to kill Goliath or just live as servants to the Philistines? Does God want us to live sickly lives or healthy ones? The only Jesus we know is the Jesus of the Bible. And He healed everyone who came to Him. Christians in the West have pretty much lost the idea of God actually changing things in their lives. They just need to endure them with a smile. :)

  9. Don Johnson says:

    The last article C.S. Lewis wrote is entitled "We Have No Right To Happiness". Read that for a thought-provoking counterpoint to a culture he saw developing 50 years ago.

  10. Jeff Lisa Beard says:

    Amen. Our western culture theology needs to stop adding to the promises of God in scripture. Our hearts are to be fixed on things above, not on the constant changing here. He "never promised us a rose garden." But He did promise us the thorns.

  11. Mark Diane Engle Henzler says:

    Logos recently posted this verse on our homepages: "Through many tribulations we must enter the Kingdom of God." Acts 14:22 Good reminder. Hmmm. I never had to memorize that verse when I was a kid. I guess because its Old Testam…. oh, wait.

  12. Kathleen D. Jackson says:

    This posting is a good reminder for all of us. Some people love to elaborate on the Bible based on no more than their own wishes and fears. But the Bible also gave us Jesus' example to help us have a better life here on earth. The more we follow his example, the fewer problems we will have of our own making.That knowledge can bring some level of comfort.

  13. Another thing God never promised is that He would never give us more than we can handle. This is a false promise gleaned from a real one from 1 Corinthians 10:13 (No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.)

  14. Are the promises of God primarily about this life or do they point us forward in eager expectation? Are God's gospel promises more like an inheritance or an ATM card? The “overcoming” life is an over-realized eschatology that recognizes comfort exclusively in victory rather discovering the hiddenness of God and His grace in our defeat.
    How much real overcoming do we experience in this life?? To be sure there are little victories and some surface change (maybe), but what have we really overcome? We are and will remain sinners until the day we die. And death can only be understood as our ultimate defeat. And here is exactly where God hides himself and promises that even death cannot separate us from His love! He meets us in our ultimate failure and points us to our ultimate hope (the resurrection). Where O death is your victory, where O death is your sting? It is swallowed up not in our overcoming, but in Christ’s overcoming for us. That is the comfort of the Gospel. That is the comfort of Grace.

  15. Glenn-and Kitty Hawkins says:

    Larry,
    I think I will refer you to Paul, who had a thorn in the flesh and Timothy whom Paul told to drink a little wine for his stomach ailments. And the number of people who suffered tremendously down through the ages who loved the Lord will all their heart. Please read the story of William Borden.

    The truth is, and it's what we all know, is that we live in a fallen world precisely because of the curse due to Adam's sin. At the consummation of all things is when the curse will be lifted and God will remake everything like it's supposed to be. Only then will we truly free of the sickness all of us are prone to. And I do have to take issue with your premise. Prosperity gospel preachers tell us outright that God wants us to, as Joel Osteen's book title states have our "best life now." We need, he says, to speak it, to claim it and it is ours. No, our victory comes as we see and respond in a godly way, by the power of His spirit in the midst of suffering, in the midst of the messiness that our fallen world brings.

    One thing we have to always keep in mind–if truth is true in one place, it's true everywhere. Your question followed by your statements, " Does God want us to live sickly lives or healthy ones? The only Jesus we know is the Jesus of the Bible. And He healed everyone who came to Him. Christians in the West have pretty much lost the idea of God actually changing things in their lives. They just need to endure them with a smile," really, in my opinion almost borders on falsely accusing our suffering brethren in countries that are hostile to the gospel. How many of our persecuted brethren in North Korea or Iran would see the reality of your assertion that God wants us healthy rather than sickly?

    This is not to say that God can't do miracles today. I've personally witnessed them where the laws of nature were definitely suspended–instanteous healings and demons being cast out as examples. But to say that it's God's will for no one of His children to suffer hardship but to live "above it all" is, in my opinion, worthy of further reflection, further study and most of all, retraction. Because it does not bode with reality.

  16. Jeff Thompson says:

    2 classics that aren't in the Bible: "Everything happens for a reason" and "God helps those who help themselves".

  17. Fannie M. Killebrew says:

    What is the Justice of God? Because God is JUSTICE & RIGHTEOUSNESS
    The justice of God is the perfect rectitude and equity of his nature; whereby he is just in Himself, and in all his ways towards the creatures; Deut. 32:4. He is the rock, his work is perfect; for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth, and without iniquity: Just and Right is He.
    Justice
    Despite its prevalence, there is no singular definition of justice in the OT and NT. However, the Bible’s constant focus on justice provides a wealth of material with which to survey its various meanings. Unlike the gods of other ancient Near Eastern cultures of the time, the God of the OT exhibits deep concern for human beings and the issues they face. This God is a personal being, interested in justice, and often referred to as “just” and “righteous” in the biblical texts. God’s concern for humanity and justice manifests itself in several ways.
    When Cain kills Abel, God exiles him and marks him (Gen 4:9–16). While the passage can be interpreted as exhibiting God’s compassion, it presents a strong focus on God’s justice; while Cain isn’t killed, he is punished for murdering his brother. The laws in the OT emphasize retributive justice, or lex talionis (Exod 21:22–25). If someone takes an eye, an eye must be taken from the offender as retribution. As an equal and opposite reaction to the perpetrator’s action, lex talionis served to limit blood vengeance. It required that the punishment of a crime not exceed the crime itself, avoiding further damage to the community. While temperance results from lex talionis, justice represents its true focus. When actions cause harm to others, punishment must be exacted from the wrongdoer.
    God came into the world to proclaim Justice for those that were without Justice in the land; God appointed Judges and civil servants for each tribe in all the villages, and He said they must judge the people fairly; God would not have gone through all of that trouble if HE did not love Justice. God set laws in Israel to judge the people righteously. HE gave judges the authority to judge people according to right and wrong; then to bring justice to a matter in people’s life. Hence, last but not least, preachers, prophets, and priest to stand in the way of judgment, because man and woman must demonstrate the principals of God, which is to be like God or act like God when they embrace Justice, because God is Justice. Micah 6:8 stated, “O man what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with they GOD.
    Injustice
    When man will not give Justice; the Bible states, “To not put your trust in man, because he will fail you”. Therefore, according to the laws of land, when one court does not judge righteously, you attend a higher court. Therefore, when man fails you, you have to option to pass it to the SUPREME COURT, which is GOD and HE is JUSTICE; therefore, He is Competent and Supreme enough to serve my cause and I believe HIM, because HE has never failed me. Amos 5:24 “But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.” Because what we turn our back on in our back yard, will face us in our front yard. In others words, the Bible tell us what we will not do for our fellowman or woman, will happen to us.
    Wisdom
    Exodus 23:1-3 Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment.
    Jer. 23:5 Behold I will send a King into the earth to execute judgment and justice in the earth. We are not greater than God is; therefore, we must execute justice.
    Proverbs 8:15 BY ME king’s reign and princes decree justice.
    Isa. 59:14-15 And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street and equity cannot enter; 15 the LORD saw it and it displeased HIM that there was no judgment.
    Isa. 59:4 None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: Because they trust in vanity.
    Isa. 1:17 Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.
    Isa. 1:26 God had to restore because of transgression; And I will restore they judges as at the first, and thy counsellors as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called, The city of righteousness, the faithful city.
    IT is always right to do Justice and Righteousness to GOD’s people, because GOD said if you cause HIS people to call upon HIM, HE said I will hear them and act.
    BY: FMK

  18. Jennifer Higginson Morton says:

    OK I have one that might surprise you. God never tells us that we have free will.In fact God always seems to make it clear that He is in charge. Men make their plans but God orders their steps.wish I could remember that verse. Anyway the Bible is full of such examples.

  19. Jeffrey Green says:

    Jesus Christ said, "I am come that you might have life, and that you might have it more abundantly. " He was speaking in spiritual terms. The gift of the Holy Spirit was the key ingredient to the fullfillment of His promise. He gives us riches of the heavenly realm.

  20. Shawn McCown says:

    Amen. Too many people twisting scripture to appease others. So many Christians are silent on immoral things happening in the world because they believe we are not to judge or seek justice. We would have a world filled with anarchy if God did not provide justice on the earth. His judgement is tempered by His love, but His grace is tempered by His righteousness.

  21. Darrell Balfour says:

    I wonder if God is in charge, how come there is so much murder, rape, torture etc. God is not in charge for if He were would these exist? Adam gave over charge of this world to Lucifer. But I believe that God is sovereign and works in lives and situations as He sees fit to do and God is good all the time!

  22. Jennifer Higginson Morton says:

    Darrell Balfour I hate to be the one to tell you this but there is a verse in the Bible that clearly states God created evil. For some reason it is necessary for our growth. While God is not the one causing the sin, Satan is, God has ordained evil to be in the world for a reason. IF you are interested I can find the verses for you so you can read them yourself. God is indeed good all the time.

  23. God never promised skies always blue; flower-strewn pathways, all our lives thru.
    He never promised sun without rain, joy without sorrow, peace without pain.
    But He has promised: strength fro the day, rest fro your labors, light for the way;
    Strength fro your trials, and help from above.
    Unfailing Sympathy … Undying Love!

  24. Samuel James says:

    If anyone is interested about God's Chastisement in Hebrew 12 please listen this video:
    You come to know how our understanding is wrong..

    How we wrongly pictured our FATHER….

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DoeQw_4yi9w

    (John 16:33) We have troubles but CHRIST tells, HE has Solution…. GOD didnt tell we need to win the trouble like HIM instead HE tells HE has overcome it,….

  25. keijo leppioja says:

    So a lot promises God already has give to us to joy and be strong in faith and his love endures forever in the Lord and his power will never finish or leave us in christ when we wll obey his the word and livng after the bible teaching in love and in sowing our seed to multuiply our harvest thanks and bless,keijo sweden

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