There are two chief mistakes we can make when we read the promises of God, and they are equally dangerous. The first is to assume that every promise can be lifted from the pages of Scripture and applied directly to our lives. The other is to believe that nearly all of the promises came and went in the ancient world—that the only one meant for us today is the promise of eternal life we receive when we place our trust in Christ. Neither approach is biblical, though, for Scripture says that, “no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ” (2Corinthians 1:20 NIV).
And of course they are! How else would the plans of our “compassionate and gracious God” work (Exodus 34:6)? When every story in the Old Testament points forward to the coming of the Son of God, and every word in the New Testament is a response to His life and work, we should not be surprised to find that every promise is indeed “Yes” in Christ.
Not only that, but all the promises in the Old Testament—the ones we thought were surely over and done with, or meant only for ethnic Israel—are transformed and enlarged in the wake of Christ’s ministry. In many cases, the New Testament writers help us see the way these promises are renewed in Christ. In this way, learning about the promises of God becomes a means of deepening our understanding of Christ and His work, and an occasion to worship our great Savior.