Reformed Ragamuffins – The Promises of God: Part 2

Here is a sample of a blog post I wrote for Reformed Ragamuffins for their series “The promises of God.” Check out their blog!


Dallas and His Dad
I have a Golden Retriever named Dallas, he’s a little over three years old now so he is kind of still a puppy. I remember the day that I got him, it was a Wednesday morning and we were getting him from a friend. My family wanted a boy dog and not a girl dog and he was the only one left, so we walked into their backyard to check the puppies out. I remember walking over to the dog run and seeing an explosion of puppies. As soon as the puppies heard me walking they exploded out of the dog house and ran over to the gate. They all seemed pretty excited, then all of a sudden another puppy runs out of the dog house and jumps on top of all the other puppies. He starts climbing all over the other one, even standing on top of them trying to climb over the fence. This was Dallas. Dallas showed his cards before we even took him, he would be trouble. So after playing with the puppies a little bit we took home the only boy puppy, Dallas. We got home set him up in the kitchen, gave him some water, some toys, and a training pad then put a puppy fence around his area. I walk out of the room and 2 minutes later I hear a loud crash. Somehow this little puppy knocked over a fence made for 75-100 pound dogs. I put the fence back up and lo and behold a few minutes later he is climbing it and has gotten stuck, now Dallas is crying. After that incident we decided fences couldn’t contain Dallas. Then we tried to teach him to go on walks… this too was a disaster. Actually it wasn’t a disaster, Dallas ended up taking us for walks instead. To tell you the truth his dad was actually like this. His dad was an outside dog, but when he got in he wrecked the house. His dad would knock over kids and old people. His dad was impossible to walk. All this to say that Dallas much like his dad is a trainwreck. Two rambunctious Golden Retrievers…. like father like son. I guess its family resemblance. I believe that understanding the concept of family resemblance can help shed light on the nature of our promises especially in light of our Father’s promises to us.

Let what you say say be simply “yes” or “no”; anything more than this comes from evil. -Matthew 5:27

Here Jesus says it quite simply. Let your “yes” be “yes” or your “no” be “no.” Don’t swear falsely. Say what you mean. Keep your promises. If you say you will do something for someone do it. Don’t say you will do it then not follow through. Don’t be flaky. Okay you get the point, keep your promises!

The Righteousness of God
There is much discussion over what the term “the righteousness of God” is, two that jump out at me are the following:

  • God’s commitment to get his glory
  • God’s covenantal faithfulness

Either way you go, you must admit that at least a part of The Righteousness of God is his covenantal faithfulness. God makes covenants and he keeps them. God makes a covenant with Abraham to fulfill three promises 1-Land, 2-Progeny, 3-Blessings to the nations. This covenant runs throughout the Bible (see Exodus 1, 2 Samuel 7, Jeremiah 29, Colossians 1); and its all about God’s attempts to rescue and redeem the world through Abraham’s descendants, specifically through the one who embodies and represents Abraham’s descendants, Jesus Christ himself. The point is God has a commitment to restore and redeem this world, and the Abrahamic covenant is a means to this end. This commitment to his purposes finds a very articulate expression in the fifth chapter of 2nd Corinthians where Paul says that “in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Within a context of the ministry of reconciliation this passage shows that God reconciled us to himself in the Messiah and that God has entrusted to us the ministry of reconciliation; As Wright has argued “in the Messiah, we embody God’s faithfulness, God’s covenantal faithfulness, God’s actions in reconciling the world to himself.”

All this to say:

God has made a commitment to restore and redeem this universe and he has called us to work alongside of him.

Family Resemblance
Why does this matter? Its called family resemblance. Like Father like Sons and Daughters. The God who asks us to keep our promises is the God who is faithful to keep his promises, especially his promise to restore all of restoration. Our “promise keeping” at a horizontal level is grounded on God’s “promise keeping” (God’s Righteousness) at a vertical level. It is because God has promised to rescue and restore us that we even have the power to obey his command to make our “yes” be “yes” and our “no” be “no.” When we are adopted into the Family of God we take on a family resemblance; we start to look a lot like our Dad. Just like Dallas took on some of the characteristics of his dad we begin to take on the characteristics of our Dad. And our Dad is fundamentally one who keeps his promises (his covenant to the human race). So as you go about making promises this week, make sure you stick to them because your Father has kept his promise to rescue and redeem you.


Published by cwoznicki

Chris Woznicki is an Assistant Adjunct Professor of Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary. He works as the regional training associate for the Los Angeles region of Young Life.

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