General and limited promises

By Dave Henning / May 25, 2015

In Chapter 5 of Waiting on God, Charles Stanley next discusses how we can be sure a particular promise is for us, and how, once we identify a verse in the Bible that is meaningful for us, we can appropriate it and claim it for our own.  Dr. Stanley provides two guidelines.

1.  We must understand that not every promise of Scripture is intended for us.  Dr. Stanley categorizes God’s biblical assurances as general and limited promises.

General promises are available for any Christian who wants to claim them.  For example, in Luke 11:9-10 Jesus says: “Ask and it will be given you, seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seek finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”  This is a promise we can appropriate with confidence because Jesus said we could do so.

Limited promises, Dr. Stanley states, “are given to a specific person, group, or nation, usually during an identifiable time, for a distinctive purpose that God desires to carry out.”  This can apply to us if the Lord announces to us what He will do in our life, as opposed to our finding this promise and appropriating it of our own volition.

2.  It is absolutely essential to learn how to listen to the Father and discern when His Spirit is speaking to you.  We must know with certainty that our imagination isn’t just interpreting our circumstances in a way that caters to our desires, but that the Spirit of God is revealing a biblical principle we can live by and telling us His plans for our life.

Today’s question: Who or what has been most helpful in enabling you to develop discernment?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Conditional promises”

About the author

Dave Henning


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