Last week while we were on vacation I was flipping channels, and caught the telecast of a famous TV preacher. He has the largest audience in America, and is well-known for encouraging people to “live their best life now.”
He is handsome, smooth, and sincere in his delivery. Here’s what I heard him say: “All the promises God has spoken over you will come true. You will achieve financial success, you will overcome that addiction, you will meet the right people, you will recover from that illness.” (That’s not an exact quote, but pretty close).
Giving people hope and encouraging them from God’s promises is a good thing. But the Bible speaks of those promises differently than the TV preacher did. For example, hear what Peter says in his second letter: His [Jesus’] divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 2 Peter 1:3-4, my emphasis.
Notice that God’s promises are granted through the knowledge of Jesus. God’s promises are not handed out like party favors, but are for those who have come to know the glory and excellence of Jesus. Not only that, but God’s promises are given that we might become like the Lord: so that through them you might become partakes of the divine nature. They are not primarily to make us healthy, wealthy, and successful.