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Promises of God

 

 

CHILDREN OF PROMISE

Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from you father’s house, to the land which I will show you; and I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing; and I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse.  And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed (Genesis 12: 1-3)

And He took him outside and said, “Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.”  And He said to them, So shall your descendants be.”  Then he believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness (Genesis 15: 5, 6)

“Behold the days are coming” declares the Lord, “ when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord.  “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days.” Declares the Lord, “I will put my law within them, and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people, and they shall not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, “Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more” (Jeremiah 31: 31- 345).

And it will come to pass after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions, and even on the male and female servants I will pour out my Spirit in those days. And I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth, blood, fire, and columns of smoke.  The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes.  And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be delivered; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem   there will be those that escape, as the Lord has said, even among the survivors whom the Lord calls (Joel 2: 28-32)

Behold, as for the proud one, his soul is not right within him; But the righteous will live by his faith (Habakkuk 2: 4).

 

What do these promises represent?    

These promises are indicative of the new covenant, the new relationship that God will have with His people.  First, it is through Christ who is the Seed of Abraham.  Second, it is by promise, not law.  Third, it is through faith not works.  Faith will be reckoned for righteousness.  The just shall live by faith.  Fourth, God will forgive their iniquities.  Fifth, God will pour His Spirit upon them.  Sixth, all who call on the name of the Lord will be saved.  Seventh, the new covenant is based on grace, not merit.

What does the Greek word, nomos, signify?

A Greek Lexicon of the New Testament; Bauer, Arndt and Gingrich

 

Are we as Christians under law?

Yes and No.  We are not under a, conditional, codified law such as the Law of Moses but we are under the principles of Christ in the new covenant. The two basic principles are to believe in the name of the Son Jesus Christ and to love one another.  (Romans 6: 14; 1 Corinthians 9: 20. 21; Galatians 6: 2; 1 John 3: 23)

 

How are we lead? 

We are led by the Spirit not the law.  (Romans 8: 14)

 

Who is law designed for?

Law is designed for the unrighteous, the rebellious, not children of God.

(1 Timothy 1: 9- 11)

 

How does God reveal his requirements to us?

They are revealed not as conditional law but as the promises of God. The law is not of faith but the promises are according to faith.  (Galatians 3: 10- 12)

 

What is the significance of living by “promise” and not “law’? 

The new covenant is not conditional.  It is not based on the paradigm or model “if you believe, God will give you life”.  It is stated as the promise, “the just shall live by faith”.  Because of this God is never in the position of obligation.  The reward is never considered to be what God “owes” us.  God is never in debt to us.  We do not “earn” anything.   We do not “work” in that sense.  Hence the reward is reckoned as favor or as a gift.  Grace would not be grace if the reward were of debt.  (Romans 4: 4, 5; 11: 6; Galatians 3: 11, 12)

 

What problem does “obedience” pose for us?

It is imperative that we understand the relationship between faith and obedience.  If we do not it is almost inevitable that we fall into the “faith only” error or the error of changing the law of Christ from a law of faith into a law of works.  The obedience of faith is that which is given by God so we might demonstrate our faith and “perfect” or complete our faith.  Our obedience is not the “why” or even the “how” of our salvation; it is the “when” our faith is fulfilled and our faith is graciously reckoned for righteousness.  Take for example of baptism.  Jesus said, “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved.”  There is nothing inherent in baptism itself that saves.  It is simply a very fitting act that symbolizes the new birth, the cleansing and being united with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection.  When we are baptized the Lord says, “For now I know that you fear God.”  Faith was working with baptism, and as a result of the baptism, faith was perfected.  It is at that time that the Scripture is fulfilled and our belief is reckoned for righteousness.  (James 2: 22, 23; Genesis 22: 12)

 

What is the nature of the believer’s obedience?

Obedience can never be a work of righteousness, a deed done to be righteous before God.  We can never boast of our obedience; obedience is submission to the will of God.  Obedience is God’s work, accomplished according to His will and effort.  Obedience is always of faith, motivated by love.  We love because He first loved us.  Obedience is God’s marker, which He has given to us so that we may know our faith is complete and we are now children of God.

 

But isn’t Acts 2: 28 conditional?

No, it is not.  Acts 2: 38, 39 says, “Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  For the promise is for you and your children; and for all who are afar off. As many as the Lord our God shall call to Himself.”  It does not say, “If you repent and if you are baptized in the name of Christ your sins will be forgiven.”  It is a promise, those who repent and are baptized for the forgiveness of their sins, will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  This does not mean that “repentance” and “baptism” are not essential; they constitute the “obedience of faith” without which faith would not be complete and perfect.  (James 2: 14- 26; Romans 1: 5; 16: 26; Acts 6: 7)

 

What are some of the New Testament promises? 

I dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people (1 Corinthians 6: 16).

And will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me (1 Corinthians 6: 18)

He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who disbelieved shall be condemned (Mark 16:16).

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5: 5)

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God.

Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when men casts insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me.

Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you (Matthew 3- 12). 

According to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.  (Luke 1: 55)

Being exalted therefore at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured out this that you both see and hear.  (Acts 2: 33)

For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith.  (Romans 4: 13)

If it is the adherents of the law who are to be heirs, faith is null and the promise is void.  (Romans 4: 14)

For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and guaranteed to all his descendants, not only the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of us).  (Romans 4: 16)

In order that in Christ Jesus the blessing pf Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

(Galatians 3: 14)

My point is this: the law, which came for hundred thirty years later, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise.  (Galatians 3: 17)

For if the inheritance comes from the law, it no longer comes from the promise, but god granted it to Abraham through the promise.  (Galatians 3: 18)

Why then the law?  It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring would come to whom the promise had been made; and it was ordained through angels by a mediator.  (Galatians 3: 19)

And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.  (Galatians 3: 29)

One, the child of the slave, was born according to the flesh; the other, the child of the free woman, was born through the promise.  (Galatians 4: 23)

Remember that you were at that time without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the World.  (Ephesians 2: 12)

That is, the Gentiles have become fellow heirs, members of the same body, and sharers in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.  (Ephesians 3: 6)

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, for the sake of the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus.  (2 Timothy 1: 1)

Therefore, while the promise of entering His rest is still open, let us take care that none of you should seem to have failed to reach it.  (Hebrews 4: 1)

In the same way, when God desired to show even more clearly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of His purpose, He guaranteed it by an oath.  (Hebrews 6: 17) 

And saying, where is the promise of His coming?   Forever since our ancestors died, all things continue as they were, from the beginning of creation!

(2 Peter 3: 4)

The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all come to repentance.  (2 Peter 3: 9)

But in accordance with His promise, we wait for a new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.  (2 Peter 3: 13)

And this is the promise, which He Himself made to us: eternal life (1 John 2: 25).

 

What is our relation to God in regard to promise?

That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of promise are regarded as descendants (Romans 9: 8).

And you brethren, like Isaac, are children of promise (Galatians 4: 28).

God bless,

 

Arland  Pafford  

 

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Last Update   09/26/12