Study 2 VERY GREAT AND PRECIOUS PROMISES
THE SECOND LETTER OF PETER
by Francis Dixon
Scripture Portions: 2 Peter 1: 1-4; Romans 4: 1-5 and 13-25
This study is centred around the words in 2 Peter 1:4 – “…He has given us his very great and precious promises”. Notice that Peter not only describes the promises as being “great”, but “very great”; he tells us they are “precious” and that God has given them to us. God is the great Giver and His greatest gift was that of His Son (John 3:16 and 2 Corinthians 9:15). With His Son He has “graciously given us all things” – see Romans 8:32; 1 Timothy 6:17. He has given us the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5) and the great gift of eternal life (Romans 6:23; 1 John 5:11). Here, the writer tells us that God has given us wonderful promises, and someone has estimated that in the Bible there are at least 30,000 of them! In the four Gospels we have many clear promises from the Saviour’s lips, and we need to remember that promises may be couched in different terms. Think of the Jehovah titles of the Old Testament, the significance of the rainbow and of the promise that it reminds us of; read Psalm 51 and John 21, which contain the promise of restoration for the backslider; think of Jesus as our Rock, speaking to us of the promise that He will be our security and our shelter; think of the names ascribed to the Lord, such as Friend, Shepherd, Saviour; think of the marriage at Cana, which tells us of God’s provision in times of need; think of the leper who came to Jesus asking for cleansing, telling us of His promise to free us from defilement. Peter says that God’s promises are “very great and precious”. Why are they so precious?
1. THEIR SOURCE
They are precious because it is God who makes them. The source of any promise is very important, but when God makes a promise we can be absolutely sure He will honour His word. We may make a promise to our friends and have every intention of keeping it, yet we may be prevented through no fault of our own. But there are no conceivable circumstances which can prevent God from honouring His word of promise. Look up Numbers 23:19, and compare 1 Kings 8:56, Luke 21:33 and Matthew 5:18. When God makes a promise it is based upon His sovereignty, His righteousness, His holiness, His justice and His mercy – all of which are involved in His pledged word. When he lay dying, General Booth turned to his son, Bramwell, and three times repeated the words, “The promises of God are sure” – and so they are!
2. THEIR SIZE
Peter makes this point in his statement. He describes God’s promises as “very great”, and this surely is a reason why they are so precious. We measure the size of a promise by the benefit it gives us. When we consider the content of God’s promises and the great blessing they offer, then at once we see how very great they are. For example:-
- (1) He not only provides for our redemption but for our eternal redemption (Hebrews 9:12).
- (2) He not only gives us life but the promise of life to the full (John 10:10).
- (3) He not only gives us His joy but joy that is complete (John 15:11). Compare 1 Peter 1:8.
- (4) He not only gives us peace but the promise of perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3). Compare Philippians 4:7.
- (5) He not only promises His forgiveness but He will remember our sins no more (Jeremiah 31:34).
- (6) He not only guarantees heaven but He promises heaven with Him (John 14:2-3 and 1 Thessalonians 4:17).
- (7) He not only offers us His grace but He promises that it will be sufficient for every need (2 Corinthians 12:9).
3. THEIR SUFFICIENCY
Whatever your need may be God has a promise that exactly covers that need (Philippians 4:19), and notice that He promises to supply your need “according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus”. What is your need? Is it food? (see Psalm 34:10). Is it clothing? (see Matthew 6:25, 30-32). Is it guidance you need? (see Psalm 73:24; Isaiah 30:21). Do you lack wisdom? (see Proverbs 16:3; James 1:5). Do you need rest? (see Matthew 11:28; John 6:37). Is it forgiveness you need? (see Isaiah 55:7; Acts 13:38). Do you need salvation? (see Romans 10:8-9, 13). Do you long for a sense of security? (see John 10:27-29). Are you troubled about old age? (see Isaiah 46:4). Are you fearful and unable to sleep? (see Proverbs 3:24; Isaiah 43:1-3). Do you need deliverance from trouble? (see Psalms 50:15 and 55:22).
4. THEIR SIMPLICITY
The promises of God are precious because they are clear.
- (1) They are easy to find because they are everywhere.
- (2) They are easy to understand. A child can understand them (Isaiah 35:8).
- (3) They are easy to claim. Many of God’s promises are conditional: He promises to do something if we will do something – for example, look at John 6:37 and Romans 8:28.
- (4) They are easy to prove. A dear old saint used to put ‘T’ and ‘P’ in the margin of her Bible against the promises of God, which meant she had tried them and proved them! – look up Malachi 3:10.
- (5) They are easy to learn and remember. Start learning them now, one a week or one a day, and do what David did in Psalm 119:11.
In concluding this study please turn to 2 Corinthians 1:20: “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.” In other words, the promises are given to us, are ours to claim and are fulfilled in our experience only as we know Christ as our Saviour and Lord. Do you know Him as your Saviour and Lord?