Why Does God Make Promises . . . and tell us not to make promises?
Question: People talk about God and his promises, but isn’t it redundant for God to make a promise if he does not lie and can always be trusted? I recall Jesus talking about NOT promising and he says to: “Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.”
Answer: I think we are forbidden to “promise,” because all of our promises are lies, for none of us controls the future. God’s promises are His Word with which He creates all things. His Word became flesh in Jesus. He “cuts” the covenant; He makes the promise with Jesus. At communion, we see that His promise is good. We surrender our decisions to His decision, which is Christ Jesus.
I am not to promise anything, for God has already promised everything in Christ. In this fallen world, I come to see that His promise is good and empowered by the Spirit I say, “Come Lord Jesus,” which is to say, “Come Word of God,” which is to say, “Come New Creation,” which is to say, “I trust you, Father.”
John 12:50 “His commandment is eternal life.” That means His judgment is “eternal life.” We think God’s Judgment, His Promise, is bad, but it is Goodness Himself. It is redundant for God to promise, except that we don’t believe His Word–His Promise so He cuts a covenant and has us nail His Promise to a tree and then eat His body and blood. He’s causing us to believe what we doubted in the garden—that God is Good, and His Word is Good. He’s asking us to agree with our own creation, for God creates all things with His Word.