If you take a comprehensive read through the New Testament, you will find three great promises God makes to new covenant believers that are repeated over and over again. And just like our old covenant ancestors, faith is a primary requirement to lay hold of and experience the power of these great promises.
The first promise is the most familiar. Believe in Jesus and you will have eternal life. Jesus introduced this promise about a hundred different ways in the gospels. One of the most succinct is, “He who believes in the Son [Jesus] has eternal life” (Jn 3:36). Because we can’t see the future, because people don’t generally come back from the dead and share their experience, we don’t know for sure what our after death experience will be. God has promised that for those who believe in His Son their experience will be eternal life in His presence in heaven. Because we haven’t been there, we believe this by faith.
When my father passed away, my mother knew that he was gone. She knew standing next to and touching his cold body that Adrian had left the scene. Of that, she said, there was no doubt. But where had he gone? To know that she had to open her Bible. It was only on those pages that she found the answer to where he had gone. He went to the presence of the Lord. This we believe by faith in God’s promise of eternal life to all who embrace the gospel message of Jesus Christ.
A second great promise of God to new covenant believers is the indwelling presence of God Himself through the Holy Spirit. In the latter chapters of John’s gospel, Jesus promised the coming of the Holy Spirit to live inside us following His departure. Two hundred and sixteen times in his epistles, Paul writes about Jesus or God living inside us. Let this incredible thought sink into your consciousness. The God of the universe, the creator of all that is, lives inside you and me.
Now if you are like me, you cannot see, hear, smell, or taste the Holy Spirit inside. In fact, I would go so far as to say that I don’t really feel the Spirit inside. How do I know He is there? How do I know He is influencing me? How do I know my conscience is now controlled by the Holy Spirit? I know all of this by faith. By faith I believe God’s New Testament promise that His Holy Spirit is living inside me and helping me to do God’s will.
A third great promise of the New Testament is God’s deliverance, God’s rescue, God’s salvation from the power of sin in my life. God has promised that my old sin nature was crucified with Christ on the cross. God has promised that when I embraced the gospel message of Jesus Christ I received a new identity, a new nature, a new heart, a new disposition, a new power over sin, and much more. All this new is indeed incredible.
Now do I always see all this new playing itself out in perfect obedience? No. I struggle with my sworn enemies of the flesh and the devil. I experience the tug of sin’s power. But by faith, I believe a constant and ongoing conflict with sin is not my destiny. By faith, I believe that I have the indwelling and resurrection power of His Spirit to choose righteousness. One of the great promises of God is that I now have a choice to use my “mortal members as instruments of righteousness to God, not instruments of sin” (Rom 6:13). Because I don’t always feel this, I believe it by faith.
How do we overcome the enemies that challenge our experience of the freedom from sin’s power? “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith” (I Jn 5:4). Faith in the three great promises of God and the hundreds that go with them is how we live the Christian life and how we experience its abundant power.