Here’s an excerpt from my shortly to be released book A Household Gospel. The book concludes with a chapter entitled, “Living in the Promises.”
I’m writing this chapter in the twelfth inning. I’ve had the main body of this book written for well over a month, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on how I wanted to conclude the book. Through the summer, my pastor Brian Habig preached through the book of Joshua. He handles the Old Testament context masterfully and always points us back to Jesus Christ in a way which is organic to the unfolding story of the gospel.
One of the final Sundays, his text was Joshua 21:43-45 and 23:14. He asked the question, “What if the skeptics are right? What if religion is really a social construct?” Have you ever had that thought?
Israel had a lot of reasons to doubt God would fulfill His words. They were enslaved in Egypt for over four hundred years and the situation looked bleak even after they left Egypt—pinned against the water. That doesn’t mean their unbelief was excusable. Many of them were simply expressing their unbelief in doubt through their actions, but others saw the same situations and rejoiced in belief (see Joshua and Caleb).
What’s the difference between those two groups of people? One viewed their situation and doubted the promises of God. The other viewed their situation and believed the promises of God.
When Satan tempts us to doubt, he does so subtly: “Is God really for you?” We fall prey to this trap all the time. We read the promises of God and we “believe,” but we make preparations just in case. We have a backup plan. That’s unbelief—plain and simple. Jared Wilson says, “If you give the devil a cookie, he’s going to want a glass of milk.” Once you take that small step of unbelief, you will find yourself taking the next and the next and the next. I can tell you from personal experience that’s a road you don’t want to travel. You will look back and find yourself deep in a dark wood wondering how you arrived lost.
What I’ve written so far may sound ideal. I hardly talked about marriages where the husband and wife are at each other’s throats. Where kids and parents are fighting daily. Where hope seems all but lost. And let’s be honest. In our churches, these kinds of family conflicts are not all that uncommon. Some of you may be reading this book as a last hope. You may be looking for a quick fix.
There’s an answer to your problem. It’s found in the person and work of Jesus Christ. If you’re a Christian, He’s put your old man to death and raised you to new life.
In the new covenant, Paul reminds us, “For all the promises of God find their Yes in [Jesus]. That is why it is through him that we utter Amen to God for his glory” (2 Cor 1:20). In the covenant of grace, God fulfilled, fulfills, and will fulfill all His promises in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
We can be assured God will keep His promises because Jesus rose from the grave and is sitting at the right hand of the Father and He sent the Spirit to testify to us.
You can read the rest of the book when it releases September 15, 2013.