Are God’s Promises Conditional or Unconditional?


A careful Bible reader notices that they are usually a mixture of both. Listen carefully to what God promises the young king Solomon:

And God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you. I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days. And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.” (1 Kings 3:11–14 ESV)

Understanding this is one of the keys to understanding the Old Testament – more than that, it’s one of the keys to understanding the Gospel!

There is a sense in which God’s promises are unconditional, in that our disobedience will not ultimately thwart God’s intention to be gracious, but there is also a sense in which they will be released only through the obedience of God’s people. This tension is not finally resolved until Jesus comes and fulfills the law completely. Through his obedient life and sacrificial death, all of the promises of God can finally be released to men and women. Thus the Apostle Paul can say: “For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory” (2 Corinthians 1:20 ESV).

All the promises of God find their YES! in Jesus Christ. When we add our “amen” to his perfect life and sacrifice, we receive all things promised for God’s glory and our everlasting good.

Thanks be to God!


Paul Carter

N.B. The Into The Word podcast featuring Pastor Paul Carter returns on October 16th. Listen to past episodes here

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