God Is Keeping His Promises
“He shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord. . . . And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth. And he shall be their peace.” Micah 5:4–5
At Advent, we celebrate God’s faithfulness to his promises in sending Jesus, and we trust that he remains faithful as we look forward to Christ’s second coming.
God Promises Salvation
Throughout the Old Testament, God makes promises to his people of a future deliverer he will send. Often, his people try to develop their own plans to get deliverance from enemies or to win God’s favor and love. But God continually points ahead to another Savior who will come.
Isaiah 7:10–16 recounts the story of King Ahaz, king of Judah at a time when Judah was facing a foreign invasion. Ahaz hoped for help from the king of Assyria. The prophet Isaiah, however, downplays human-oriented deliverance and instead points to God’s ultimate divine intervention to bring about his kingdom—an intervention through a baby born in Bethlehem. Isaiah says, “The Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isa. 7:14).
Something similar happens in 2 Samuel 7:1–16, when God corrects King David’s human plans by revealing his divine plan. When David starts to make plans to build a temple for God to dwell in, God counters that he himself will build his own “house” through the dynasty of David, ultimately dwelling among his people as God with us—Immanuel—in Jesus Christ. God promises that he will make for David a great name, give his people eternal rest from enemies, and give him an everlasting kingdom (Isa. 7:9–16). These promises are fulfilled in the coming of Jesus.
With the coming of Jesus, we see God’s faithfulness to his promises. As Paul writes, the gospel message was “promised beforehand through [God’s] prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 1:2–4). The good news of salvation is that God has been faithful to his promise in sending Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
At his second coming, Jesus will complete what he started.
Jesus’ coming obliterates the system of sacrifices for sin, and with them all our human attempts to save ourselves and win favor with God through our own effort or willpower. Because of Jesus’ sinless life, sacrificial death on our behalf, and resurrection from death, “We have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Heb. 10:9–10). When we think about Jesus’ birth and rejoice in the salvation that he has brought, we can take courage in knowing God is faithful to his promises.
God is Faithful
The Advent season is a journey through the biblical story that shows us how “all the promises of God find their Yes” in Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 1:20). Advent points us to Jesus, just like all Scripture. At his first coming, which we celebrate at Christmas, Jesus showed us his humility, his love for us, and his heart of grace toward sinners and sufferers. At his second coming, which we look forward to in Advent, he will complete what he started, bringing a final end to suffering, sin, and death, restoring his creation, and setting up a new kingdom of righteousness and peace. God keeps his promises.