Can I Trust God to Keep His Promises?

Jonathan Griffiths
header for Can I Trust God to Keep His Promises?

Each of us must eventually confront that basic question: Can I trust God’s Word and rely on His promises? As we grapple with that—either in exploring the faith or in walking through a season of trial or doubt—hardly any more reassurance can be more powerful than to know that God has proved He knows and controls the future.

It is a feature of our creatureliness that we do not know the future. But God knows all things and He knows what is to come. At the end of the day, that means that there is nothing more sensible or wise for me and you to do than simply to put our hand into the hand of Him who knows the future and entrust ourselves to Him. The way before us is dark to our eyes but the darkness is as light to Him. We can trust Him. He knows what lies ahead. He knows what the future holds. In fact, He controls the future, and has proved it time and time again. So, when He tells us in His Word that Jesus will return in glory; that He will save His people; that He will judge the wicked—when He makes promises like that—we can rely upon those promises and build our lives on them. We do well to listen to what He says.

If you and I had even a fraction of the power and knowledge of God, in our natural state we would do everything we could to use it for our own satisfaction and pleasure.

Having considered God’s perfect knowledge, I want to now turn to His perfect wisdom and consider, first, that it is displayed supremely in Christ crucified. It is one thing to know information; it is quite another to know how to use it well. To know how to make good decisions and good plans based on your knowledge— that is the heart of wisdom. The Scriptures tell us that God is not only supremely knowledgeable but also infinitely wise. Paul wrote that He is the “only wise God” (Rom. 16:27), while Job insisted, “With God are wisdom and might; he has counsel and understanding” (Job 12:13).

We could think pretty widely from Scripture about the wisdom of God, but I would like to focus on what is the central outworking of God’s wisdom in the Bible, the pinnacle and the chief display of His wise planning and wise action, the greatest self-expression of His perfect wisdom, that is, Christ crucified.

To see this, I would like to consider Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. Paul was aware that many in his contemporary society were impressed by what sounded like wise speech and clever teaching, and he was aware that by comparison the gospel message he preached sounded simple, even absurd, to unbelievers. So he opened his letter by writing:

“For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (1 Cor. 1:18–25)

The world has its own wisdom, but God’s thoughts and God’s ways are higher than ours. His wisdom is supreme, even if it looks like foolishness to the world. It is an extraordinary thing to consider. Knowing all things and having power over all things, the supreme wisdom of God was displayed in this: His incarnate Son hanging on a Roman cross to pay the penalty of my wrongdoing and yours. The wisdom of the all-knowing and all-powerful God was showcased as His sinless Son suffered the agony of death in the place of the guilty. That is the wisdom of our God.

The world, in all its wisdom, does not get it. It did not then, and it does not now. But it pleases God, wrote Paul, to save those who believe the preaching of the gospel. It is so very unexpected. So surprising. Jews demand signs and Greeks want the highest wisdom from the best philosophers, but we preach Christ crucified. The message is a stumbling block to Jews and it is sheer foolishness to Gentiles, but for those whom God has called, it is God’s own power and God’s own wisdom.

Jesus is Himself the very embodiment of the wisdom of God.

If you and I had even a fraction of the power and knowledge of God, in our natural state we would do everything we could to use it for our own satisfaction and pleasure. I have little doubt of that. But with all the knowledge and all the power in the universe within Himself, what does God do? How does He harness all that to carry out His supremely wise plan? In the person of His Son, He became human, humbled Himself, suffered agony, and died a shameful and excruciating death as a criminal.

Here, as we look on His wisdom at the cross, perhaps we gain the deepest insight of all the insights we can gain: the all-wise God displays and expresses His wisdom supremely in the agony and shame of the cross. It seems like utter foolishness to the darkened mind. It looks like a disaster and seems like a gargantuan mistake. Why would God’s Son die? Why would His Messiah suffer? But here is wisdom beyond all wisdom. Here is power beyond all strength. Here is a display of the glorious wisdom of God like no other. This display of God’s wisdom tells us that the mind of God is profoundly unlike ours. We would never think of His plan. It is strange to our mind. But the cross of Christ is wisdom. Jesus is Himself the very embodiment of the wisdom of God. To see that moves us to humility as we recognize how darkened our own understanding is. To see that moves us to praise as we begin to understand that God is so much higher, so much more wonderful, than we can fully grasp.

For Further Reading:

God Alone

by Jonathan Griffiths

Our constant danger is that we have a view of God that is too small. We are living in a me-focused, treat-yourself world—a world that...

book cover for God Alone