God’s Great & Precious Promises

adapted from PCC Prayer Meeting Exhortation on 22 May 2009
2nd Peter was probably written to the Christians “scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia” (1 Pet 1:1) as with 1 Peter. We say probably because 2 Pet 3:1 refers to an earlier letter, but we are not entirely sure whether that is referring to 1 Peter or to another letter which is now lost, and therefore uninspired. If 2 Pet 3:1 does refer to 1st Peter, then 2nd Peter was sent to the same recipients, otherwise we don’t know who the letter was sent to.

In any case, this letter must have been written not long before A.D. 68, which is the accepted date of Peter’s martyrdom. Tradition has it that he was martyred upside-down because he felt unworthy to be crucified in the same way as his Lord.

This letter was written to encourage Christians to persevere on in faithful and holy Christian lives despite the godlessness, immorality and false doctrines that surround them in the last days.

It begins with a word of comfort:

2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, 3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Notice how Peter speaks of how we are given great and precious promises, whereby we are made partakers of the divine nature (v. 3-4). What does that mean? Well, it certainly does not mean that we are absorbed into God or that we become divine as some Charismatic cults will teach.

Rather, it refers to the fact that we are given the Holy Spirit to indwell us that so we may be joint heirs with Christ and partake of the blessing of God through union with Christ. “The word nature is not here essence but quality,” says Calvin.

But take note of how Peter speaks of promises, and not merely promise.

The Holy Spirit, we must remember, is the epitome of the “great and precious promises” purchased by Christ in His fulfilling the covenant of grace on behalf of His children. Peter tells the congregation listening to him at Pentecost: “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call” (Acts 2:39). That promise he was referring to is the promise of the Holy Spirit which is part of the Abrahamic Covenant (Gal 3:14-16).

We may say that promise of the Holy Spirit is the basis and heart of all of God’s promises to His people. All the other promises that God made can only be enjoyed by those who have the Holy Spirit.…


Or to put in another way: together with the promise of the Holy Spirit God made many other exceeding great and precious promises to those who would receive the Spirit.

What are these promises? Well, the Lord helping us, we want to consider briefly a promise from each of the books of the Bible in our subsequent studies.

But in this introduction, we are going to do something different. We are going to pick out some of the more well-known and significant great and precious promises given for us in the Bible, and we are just going to read them. Now, of these promises, you must realise that some may not be given directly to God’s people, and indeed, some of them are not even stated in the form of a promise. But it is not difficult to see, I believe, that they are promises. Some of these promises are really prophesies concerning the plan of redemption. Others are personal assurances. But I trust that they will be a source of comfort to us when they are brought to mind by the Spirit in various circumstances in our lives. Let’s begin at Genesis. We will skip some books largely because the promises found in them do not stand out so distinctly as promises, but you will see a good representation, I believe.

·  Genesis 3:15—And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. 

·  Genesis 17:7—And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.

·  Genesis 22:8—And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering…

·  Genesis 49:10—The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.

·  Exodus 19:5-6—Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: 6 And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.

·  Leviticus 1:4—And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him.

·  Leviticus 20:26—And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the LORD am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine.

·  Numbers 23:19—God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good.

·  Deuteronomy 18:18-19—18 I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. 19 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.

·  Deuteronomy 31:6—Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

·  Joshua 1:5—There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

·  Judges 2:16—Nevertheless the LORD raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them.

·  Job 19:25-26—For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: 26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God…

·  Job 23:10—But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

·  Psalms 1:1-3—Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.  2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

·  Psalm 27:13—I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.

·  Psalms 34:7—The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.

·  Psalm 91:5-7 ­—Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; 6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. 7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.

·  Psalm 128:5-6—The LORD shall bless thee out of Zion: and thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life. 6 Yea, thou shalt see thy children’s children, and peace upon Israel.

·  Proverbs 3:5-8—Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. 7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. 8 It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.

·  Proverbs 8:17—I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.

·  Proverbs 14:26—In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.

·  Proverbs 16:3—Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.

·  Ecclesiastes 11:1—Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.

·  Isaiah 1:18—Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

·  Isaiah 7:14—“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

·  Isaiah 9:6—For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

·  Isaiah 25:4—For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.

·  Isaiah 35:10—And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

·  Isaiah 40:8—The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.

·  Isaiah 40:31—But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

·  Isaiah 43:2—When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.

·  Isaiah 55:7—Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

·  Isaiah 55:11—So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

·  Jerermiah 6:16—Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.

·  Jeremiah 29:11—For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

·  Jeremiah 32:27—Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me.

·  Jeremiah 33:3—Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.

·  Lamentations 3:22-24—It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. 24 The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.

·  Ezekiel 11:19-20 —And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: 20 That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.

·  Daniel 12:2—“And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

·  Joel 2:25—And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.

·  Micah 7:18,19—Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. 19 He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.

·  Nahum 1:7—The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.

·  Habbakuk 2:4—Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.

·  Malachi 3:10—Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

·  Matthew 5:5—Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

·  Matthew 6:33-34—But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

·  Matthew 10:29-31—Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.  30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

·  John 3:16-17 —For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

·  John 14:1-3—Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

·  John 14:26—But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

·  John 16:33—These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

·  Romans 5:1—Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

·  Romans 5:3-5—And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

·  Romans 8:1—There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

·  Romans 8:28—And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

·  Romans 8:33-39—Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. 34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written,  For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

·  1 Corinthians 1:18—For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

·  1 Corinthians 13:13—And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

·  1 Corinthians 15:58—Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

·  2 Corinthians 1:20— For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.

·  2 Corinthians 9:8—And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.

·  2 Corinthians 5:17—Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

·  Ephesians 1:3-6—Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:  4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

·  Philippians 1:6—Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ…

·  1 Thessalonians 4:16-17—For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

·  Titus 1:2—In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began” (Tit 1:2)

·  Titus 3:7—That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

·  Hebrews 12:11—Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

·  Hebrews 13:5—Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

·  1 Peter 3:18—For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.

·  2 Peter 3:13—Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

·  1 John 1:9—If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

·  1 John 2:25—And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.

·  1 John 3:2—Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

·  Jude 24—Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.

·  Revelation 21:4—And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

·  Revelation 22:12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.


Well, beloved brethren and children, what else can we say, but let us encourage ourselves in the Lord, clinging on to all the promises that he has given us. The Lord has given us exceeding great and precious promises that by these we might be partakers of the divine nature as we journey on in this world that is not our home. Amen.

—JJ Lim