The promises of God are not unconditional

The promises of God are not unconditional

      There are those who believe that the promises which God makes in Scripture must be fulfilled by God, without a care about our behavior. I have not seen in the entire Bible one solitary divine promise that does not have an explicit or implicit condition. Some believe that they can claim a promise and that is all that is necessary. We will see some promises in order to show that there is always a conditional if in them.

      Many believers think that once God promises something, they can behave in any way, because God is obliged to fulfill his promises in any event. What they don't realize is that although at times a verse of the Bible has a promise and not a condition required, much later in another verse they have not read or have not wanted to understand, is the condition God required for the fulfillment of that promise to take place. It would be good for those who believe that the promises of God are unconditional, to review all the verses where there are promises and look for the references to other verses so they can see that in order to obtain that promise, we must act in accordance with something on our part, even if that is only having faith. Let us see what the following verses say.


   And ye shall be left few in number, whereas ye were as the stars of heaven for multitude; because thou wouldest not obey the voice of the LORD thy God.”                                                                                        (Deut. 28:62)

      This verse refers to the promise that the Jewish people would be as numerous as the stars. However, it is here where it is recorded that this promise would be fulfilled if they obeyed, not if they disobeyed the commandments of God. In other words, the promise was not unconditional.

      There are many who have the foolish notion that after God makes a promise, they can do whatever they want because they believe that God is obligated to fulfill what they imagine is His Word. When they read in the Bible a promise made by God, they only pay attention to or only remember the part which is most advantageous or beneficial to them, not the implicit or explicit conditions God has ordained for the fulfillment of His promise.


   1 And an angel of the LORD came up from Gulag to Bochum, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I swore unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you. 2 And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars; but ye have not obeyed my voice; why have ye done this? 3 Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you.”                        (Judges 2:1-3)

      In this verses, God said that he would never invalidate His covenant (which is the part they want to remember), on the condition that they not form an alliance with the enemy (which is the part they do not want to remember). Many Christians proceed in this manner now. They remember that Christ liberated us from all sin, but they do not want to remember that it is necessary to repent wholeheartedly of their sin and not continue to commit the sin.

      In the 16th and 17th century, there were corsairs and pirates. Both dedicated themselves to attacking ships at sea in order to kill and rob. The difference between a corsair and a pirate is that the latter acted for himself, while the corsair was sent to pilfer ships belonging to an enemy nation they were at war with. In other words, the pirate was a bandoleer on his own, he did not represent any nation and no one backed him up. The corsair was a bandoleer authorized by the government of his country, he served his nation whereby he obtained what is known as Letters of Marque which was a license to assault, kill and rob enemy ships.

      When God makes a promise, he does not give us a Letter of Marque that allows us to do whatever we want, with the assurance that God is obligated to fulfill His word. See below.


   Neither will I any more remove the foot of Israel from out of the land which I have appointed for your fathers; so that they will take heed to do all that I have commanded them, according to the whole law and the statutes and the ordinances by the hand of Moses.”                                (II Chronicles 33:8)

      It is similar with salvation. Christ did all the work for us, we simply have to accept it; but we should not believe that we have a Letter of Marque to continue sinning voluntarily and not lose it. Like all of God's promises, salvation has its conditions: the true and profound repentance of sin, something that a person who continually repeats voluntarily his sin cannot have.

      The following verse shows David explaining to his son, Solomon, how the promise made by God had conditions.

   That the LORD may continue his word which he spake concerning me, saying: If thy children take heed to their way, to walk before me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail thee a man on the throne of Israel.”                                                                                          (I K 2:4)

      Note that God said to David, If thy children take heed to their way”, in which case means that if they do not heed their way, the promise would not be fulfilled. We see it again in I Kings 3:14, 6:12-13 and 9:4-5. Do not be deceived, not even those who are great in the faith received promises without conditions.

      The promises of our Lord Jesus Christ, like his Father's, are conditional as well. For example, in Matthew 6:14, Christ says, if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you”, which means that if we do not forgive, we will not be forgiven. As we see, the if is conditional and states that the promise has conditions.

      If we read Matthew 17:20, we will note that the promise of being able to remove a mountain to yonder place depended on faith the size of a grain of mustard. That's why it says, if ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed Another example is in Matthew 18:19 where God promises, Again I say unto you, that if two of you shall agree on Earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.” This is not unconditional.

      In Jesus Christ's letters to the Seven Churches, there are conditional promises.

      To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life...” (Rev. 2:7). This implies that if one does not overcome, he will not receive the promise.

      He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.” (Rev. 2:11). There is the promise of not dying a second time, if he overcomes.

      We see the same if we read Rev. 2:17, 2:26, 3:5, and 3:21. In other words, we confirm that the promises of God are not unconditional. Let us not have the dangerous notion that the grace of God consists in the continuation of sin without losing salvation.

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