It is one thing to do good; it is quite another to presume one can do it in his own strength and volition. An association of men worldwide, in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, calls itself Promise Keepers, thus declaring the ability to keep promises.
“But I say to you, Do not swear at all!”
Their goal seems a good-intentioned, noble and godly one. After all, they speak of good things, and one might expect that God would help them in this endeavor. But are these people not “dead in the water” before they begin to do that which they presume? Here’s why:
“Again, you have heard that it has been said to the ancients, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but you shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’ But I say to you, Do not swear at all! Not by Heaven, because it is God’s throne; not by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet; not by Jerusalem, because it is the city of the great King; nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your word be, Yes, yes; No, no. For whatever is more than these comes from evil” (Matthew 5:33-37 MKJV).
While these men are apparently able to stir up emotions of sincerity and enthusiasm and keep a few promises for a time, on the whole they are doomed to failure. Why is this? It is because they are manifestly, directly disobeying the Lord. What is this about keeping promises when one is not supposed to be making them in the first place? The Lord taught me a long time ago that aside from daily plans with the proviso of “Lord willing,” I should not make promises to anyone because I was not able to keep them. Think about it: We are mere creatures and not the Creator. We have no control over any circumstances and lives, not even our own. Anything can, and often does, happen to change something or everything in a matter of moments, if not years, often forever, rendering certain options obsolete.
Do Promise Keepers say, “Lord willing, I will do this or that”? Can they say, “Lord willing, I promise to do this or that; I promise to be a good husband, to be faithful, patient, or whatever else needed”? If they promise, are they not depending on their own strength and virtue, on their own righteousness, which is quite contrary to the Savior’s righteousness?
The concept of promising flies in the face of the cross of Jesus Christ.
One does not say, “Lord willing, I promise…” but one may say, “Lord willing, I will do this or that.” So then why the appellation, “Promise Keepers”? It is a declaration of the carnal man, the one presuming to pull himself up by his own bootstraps, the one who thinks he can do things simply because those things seem right enough and godly enough and therefore should be done.
At best, he might presume that God will help him keep every promise he makes, but who is to say that God would agree with every promise, or its timing and way of implementation? Yes, the man may have an apparently good intention, but the very concept of promising and keeping promises to God and wife or anyone else flies in the face of the cross of Jesus Christ and denies His Word.
Why did Jesus command us not to keep such promises? Here is what John said:
“And as He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, at the feast, many believed in His Name when they saw the miracles which He did. But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all and did not need that anyone should testify of man. For He knew what was in man” (John 2:23-25 MKJV).
Jeremiah said this:
“O Lord, I am conscious that a man’s way is not in himself: man has no power of guiding his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23 BBE).
How can man presume to make promises, much less keep them? No, members of Promise Keepers are learning the hard way, bringing God’s wrath on themselves by making promises, contrary to the Lord’s counsel, and finding they are unable to deliver. Indeed, they multiply their sorrows because now they live with disillusioned spouses and others who are solemnly, even sincerely, promised things and are let down. This may not happen every time, but inevitably it must happen, or the Lord is a liar or fool and His Word worthless.
He must humbly turn to Jesus Christ, the Solution to any and all problems.
So what are some of the complications of broken promises, especially when done in the name of godly virtue? For example, let us say that a man promises something to his wife, saying, “Dear, I’ve been wrong on this or that, but I’ve been to Promise Keepers, a group of Christian men who are joining in prayer and commitment to keep promises and encourage fellow members to do the same. I promise you that from now on, I will never do this or that again.”
Then Jeremiah’s words of the Spirit come to pass, the promiser fails, and his wife is disillusioned. If she is not disillusioned, it is because she may not have been naïve enough to believe her husband in the first place, knowing the experience and reality of the fallen human nature manifesting in her husband, and, indeed, in herself. Most wives have enough understanding to be justifiably skeptical. Nevertheless, I have found women willing to go along, if possible, saying, “Sounds good, but we’ll see.”
Why do men join Promise Keepers to begin with? Is it not because they have been failing as faithful husbands? Is it not because they have been letting their wives down, recognizing their faults and looking for ways to change?
Will taking on a system or formula for success solve their dilemma? No. The only answer to the failure of the carnal man is total annihilation. The carnal man must go. Try as he might, he will never succeed. He must make way for the new man in Christ. He must recognize his absolute need of the Savior, repent of his own abilities, which are empty and deceptive, and humbly turn to Jesus Christ, the Solution to any and all problems.
Why do not men simply believe and obey, trusting in the Lord’s righteousness, which is available by His Spirit? The answer:
“Lo, this only I have found, that God has made man upright, but they have sought out many inventions” (Ecclesiastes 7:29 MKJV).
What a curious thing I have discovered! Men will try anything and everything and believe the most outrageous of lies before they will humble themselves at the cross of Christ. They will do anything to “stay alive” and maintain their own righteousness and independence, not knowing they are dead in their sins. They refuse to believe that by coming to the one and only Savior, Jesus Christ, and by acknowledging Him as Lord, they will come from death into life, with true liberty, joy, peace and fulfillment they have never known.
Promise Keepers take on another form of the hero. What is a hero, but one who maintains his own righteousness and seeks somehow to glory and to excel over his fellow man, seeking his applause and approbation? This is just another form of Baal worship, that being “hero worship.”
The walk of faith and righteousness is one of believing and obeying God.
Wives subject to Promise Keepers, seek to turn your husbands away from themselves and turn them to trust in God Almighty, Who alone has the answers.
I will address one more important issue: Men seek to please their wives because they believe and follow them instead of God, even as Adam ignored God’s command and ate of the forbidden fruit that his wife Eve offered him, after she was deceived by the serpent and partook of it. Men have deliberately sought to please and to serve their wives before God. Therefore, even if men do not make promises to their wives, and even if they make and keep them, will it do? Is it enough to keep promises even if one is able to do so? Not nearly. The whole walk of faith and righteousness is one of believing and obeying God:
“Jesus answered and said to them, This is the work of God, that you believe on Him Whom He has sent” (John 6:29 MKJV).
For further instruction and understanding on this matter, read The Vashti-Esther Transmutation.
Promise Keepers is, as Victor pointed out, an oxymoron when speaking of men. As it is written: “But let God be true, and every man a liar…” (Romans 3:4 MKJV).
This applies to professors of Christ who walk not by the Spirit of Christ but by their own strength and righteousness. Let me demonstrate. In Promise Keepers’ statement of faith, Point Three states:
“Since the disbelief and disobedience of Adam and Eve, all humans have failed to obey God’s two major laws summed up by the Lord Jesus Christ. We have failed to love God with our whole being and we have failed to love our neighbors as ourselves. People have become slaves to selfishness and are alienated from God and one another.”
That is most certainly true, applying to all men.
Promise Keeper, how is it that you will now be perfected by your own works?
Point Four goes on to say:
“Jesus’ death in our place reconciles us to God. His atoning sacrifice provided redemption from the power of sin, forgiveness for our guilt, and reconciliation to Himself and others. We become acceptable to God, or justified, not by works, but by God’s grace alone, through faith in Christ alone.”
If you, Promise Keeper, as a member of the human race, have failed to obey God’s Laws, how is it that after being reconciled to God and justified by faith in Christ, you are still not living according to His Laws, but now must gather together with other men to pledge yourselves to doing so?
Can you not see the contradiction? By your own statement of faith, you declare that the power of Christ was not sufficient to save you, so now you propose to succeed where He has apparently failed. Where was the grace of God to begin with, and how is it that you will now be perfected by your own works? All you are confessing is that you have not known His saving grace, by which those who believe keep His commandments.
What is lacking is not self-effort, but application of the cross in obedience to the personal commandments of God by His grace and faith. Do-it-yourself religious works are antiChrist, the paths of the destroyer. Instead of being for God, Promise Keepers are found to be against Him as enemies of the cross.
How can a Promise Keeper keep even the first of his seven promises?
“A Promise Keeper is committed to honoring Jesus Christ through worship, prayer and obedience to God’s Word in the power of the Holy Spirit.”
This is very presumptuous. How can you keep what you do not know? For example, if you knew and honored Jesus Christ according to His ways, you would not be acknowledging and supporting all manner of churches that teach things contrary to His Word and each other.
Choose the lonely path with God rather than the crowded path with men.
Herein lies the problem: Men do not know what the Lord requires, and, until they do (by His grace), they cannot walk with Him in faith, by His Spirit. When men come to the place where they walk with Him by His Spirit (the only acceptable place to be for one professing the Name of Christ), they will not be making promises because they will already be found fulfilling His Law:
“Therefore do we nullify the Law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the Law” (Romans 3:31 EMTV).
For any that presumes to argue this point, thinking he or she already knows all that the Lord commands and is not walking in darkness, read The True Marks of a Cult and Is Your Profession of Faith Vain, Christian?
Don’t even think of starting on, or staying on, the path of self-empowerment and attainment. Repent. Choose the lonely path with God rather than the crowded path with men.
“For though the LORD is high, yet He looks after the lowly; but the proud, He knows from afar” (Psalms 138:6 HNV).