Are God’s promises and blessings conditional?

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Conditional Promises in the Old Testament

The Scriptures in the OT, teach that God’s promises and blessings are conditional and dependent upon obedience to His commandments (Exodus 20:3-17). The Lord says, “Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine” (Exodus 19:5).

God explains, “if you keep the commandments of the LORD your God and walk in His ways… And the LORD will grant you plenty of goods, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your ground, in the land of which the LORD swore to your fathers to give you… if you heed the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you today, and are careful to observe them…” (Deuteronomy 28:9-14). On no other terms but obedience does God agree to be our God or to have us for as His special people (Deuteronomy 7:12).

Conditional Promises in the New Testament

Jesus affirms, in the NT, the same truth. We read in the gospel of Matthew: “Now behold, one came and said to Him, Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life? So He said to him, Why do you call Me good?  … if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments” (ch. 19:16-17).

In order to reflect the “love,” of God, we must love Him completely and our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:37, 39). If we ask how we are to show our love to God and our fellow men, Jesus answers by keeping the Ten Commandments, which He clarified and exalted (Isaiah 42:21) in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:17–48).

Jesus adds that only when we put first things first, that we obtain His promises of blessings. “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). Unfortunately, most people are busy working for “the food which perishes” (John 6:27), for the water for which, when they drink, they will thirst again (John 4:13). Most people “spend money for what is not bread” and “wages for what does not satisfy?” (Isaiah 55:2).

Grace Doesn’t Free the Believers From Duty

The grace of Christ that brings redemption to all people (Titus 2:11) does not free people from their duty to obey God’s moral law. Paul wrote, “Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law” (Romans 3:31). Faith in the saving merit of Christ when united with the power of His indwelling Spirit, helps the believers to keep the Ten Commandments (Romans 8:1–4).

The apostles of Christ also affirm this same principle of obedience to God’s divine law. John writes, “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:3,4). And Paul declares, “Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God is what matters” (1 Corinthians 7:19).

Also, James stresses that all the commandments are manifestations of love at work, either to God or to our fellow men. “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law” (James 2:10-11). In summary, the apostle invites all to strive to speak and act in harmony with God’s law (verse 12).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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