Lutheran Spokesman

"…the Scriptures cannot be broken." John 10:35

Subscribe

When God Gave His Oath

Written by | December, 2015
Post Tags
Post Categories Series,Studies in the New Testatment

“For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, ‘Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.’ And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. For men indeed swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of all dispute. Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 6:13-20).

Jewish Christians would understand the certainty of God’s promise by looking to Abraham as an example. But what a miraculous message of God’s grace in Jesus He gives us, assuring us of His love and mercy in this Scripture! “Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us!” That “hope” is the certainty of unconditional forgiveness and life eternal, freely given to us through the work of Jesus and God’s promise in the Gospel.

God makes His Gift, if possible, even more than certain by placing His own perfect and unchangeable seal on it. He gives us strength and comfort to hold patiently to that promise, and not to become discouraged no matter what the world throws at us. After all, “Neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39). God, Who cannot lie, has given us His own personal oath. Nothing can change that! God removes all doubt from our hearts even as He did from Abraham’s. “For men indeed swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of all dispute.” He accomplished this in the context of a human custom. Wanting to demonstrate beyond any possible uncertainty, He gave an oath! The Lord, knowing our weakness, gave more than a promise—He demonstrated His unchangeableness, the absolute inevitability of His promise, in Jesus, Who “is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He didn’t want anyone to be tortured by doubt.

Since it is impossible for God to break His Word, we have a solid and unfailing promise, that no one and nothing in all creation can change. As a result, we can be patient in faith, knowing that this life will not be easy, but nonetheless guaranteed of its outcome in Jesus! Abraham—the father of faith—was patient, knowing the certainty of the promise. He was rewarded in time by a son. But far more important than Isaac’s birth was God’s guarantee to Abraham that, through his descendants, a Savior would be given. “For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, ‘Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.’” Abraham, having witnessed a fulfillment of God’s promise in Isaac, was also assured that the promise of a Savior would come true. God would redeem and bless all nations through one of Abraham’s descendants. We have the same assurance!

“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast.” Jesus is our anchor! Just as the anchor of a ship holds it safe and secure against a deadly storm, so also our faith is anchored securely in the promises of the Lord. Jesus is also in the very presence of Almighty God, “where, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek,” He continually intercedes for us. As our High Priest, Jesus is even more peerless than was the enigmatic Melchizedek, mentioned in Genesis 14:18-20 and Psalm 110:4. Alone among High Priests, Jesus offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world. Since our great High Priest intercedes for us, salvation is certain. Relax, take a deep breath, and rejoice! Beyond any doubt our Lord will see us safely through this life to our eternal home. “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1).

Jay Hartmann is pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Coloma, Michigan.