Friday, December 7, 2012

Making Promises to God - Steve McVey

Source:  Global Grace News http://www.globalgracenews.org
Have you ever been told to “stand on the promises of God?” Maybe you have also thought that you should do your part and make your own promises to Him.
For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore, also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us (2 Corinthians 1:20).
I spent many years with my life revolving around promises. Half the time I was making promises to God and the other half I was trying to “stand on the promises of God” by appropriating His promises to my situations and trying my best to believe that He would indeed keep them.
Do you find yourself doing that too? It’s not an uncommon thing for people to do, but as I look at the many years I was either claiming God’s promises or making my own to Him, I wish I’d known something. I thought that making promises to Him and standing on the promises He had made to me was a vital part of my daily walk, but I was wrong.

Our Role is to Receive

If I had only understood then what the Bible says about the whole matter of promise making and promise believing, I could have saved myself a lot of stress and strain. We’re never told in the New Testament to promise anything to God. It’s not there. The Bible is, however, full of promises that God has made to us. That’s the part of grace that people find so hard to accept - it’s one-sided. He gives and we get. We have nothing to offer in return nor is there anything He wants or needs from us. Our only role is to receive all He has promised, but even that doesn’t come from our own effort.
Even understanding that God made promises to us isn’t enough, because if we don’t understand the whole story we will think we have to try to muster the faith to believe He will keep His promises. The truth of the matter is this: God has already fulfilled every promise He has made to us! He has done it in Christ.
We’re never told in the New Testament to promise anything to God.
Paul said that the promises of God are all “Yes!” in Jesus Christ. That means He is the embodiment of God’s promises. God’s promises to us have been already fulfilled in Jesus! What’s our part now?
Paul says it is simply to say “Amen!” Through the life of Jesus Christ in us, we experience the realization of God’s fulfilled promises as we trust Christ every moment. Claiming the promises of God is nothing more than simply resting in the finished work of Jesus Christ.
In other words, whatever God has promised us, we already have it in Christ. We are “children of the promise” (Romans 9:8) and as “heirs of the promise” (Hebrews 6:17) we can relax and know we don’t have to do anything to gain God’s blessings in our lives. Everything He has ever promised to do on our behalf has been accomplished and given to us in Christ.
whatever God has promised us, we already have it in Christ.
No wonder the Apostle Paul praised God by saying, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). Notice that he didn’t say that God will bless us with spiritual blessings but that in Christ we have already been “blessed” with every spiritual blessing. The fulfillment to every divine promise will be realized in your life as you simply trust Christ to be who He is in and through you.

God’s Covenant with Abraham

When God got ready to enter into covenant with Abraham as the beneficiary, Abraham went to work to prepare for the ratification ceremony (See Genesis 15). He assumed that he and God were about to enter into covenant together.
He prepared the sacrificial animals by filleting them and laying the halves on two sides with a bloody path down the middle. Normally, when two people entered into covenant together they would walk arm in arm down that bloody pathway together. In so doing, they were promising that they would each keep their part of the covenant, even if it meant shedding their last drop of blood to do it.
But when the time came for the covenant to be ratified with Abraham, God caused him to fall into a deep sleep and God walked alone down the bloody pathway. It was a flaming fire and a smoking wick that passed through that bloody pathway produced by the sacrifice.
What did that mean? It meant that there was no need for Abraham to make any promises.
We aren’t standing on the promises. We are seated on the premises with Him!
The covenant was between the Father (fire), the Spirit (smoke) and the Son (blood). Abraham had no part as far as having to keep up his end of the covenant. He didn’t have an end. Keep promises to God? The only thing he would have ended up doing was breaking them anyway. So our Triune God walked the path and entered covenant together, and in so doing, proved that He would keep the terms of the covenant. The only thing Abraham had to do was trust Him by realizing that he was the beneficiary. When it was all said and done, Abraham did believe it and “it was counted to him for righteousness”(Romans 4:3).

Seated with Christ

That’s all you have to do too. Just believe that Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s promises to you in every situation. You don’t have to make anything happen. You don’t have an end to hold up in this matter. Legalism insists that we “do our part” by working up enough faith to believe His promises or by making promises to Him about how we’ll do better and try harder, but grace tells us that He has done it all. We are seated with Christ in the heavenly places. We aren’t standing on the promises. We are seated on the premises with Him! So just rest in what He has done and give a loud and hearty “Amen!” to Jesus. That and that alone is what brings the highest glory to God.

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