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Biblical, battle-tested, real-life help for "living by faith in the Son of God" (Galatians 2:20). — Steve Fuller

Don’t Neglect God’s Promises

Bible from everystockphoto by cnw

God’s Promises

Yesterday I got an email from a reader of this blog.

He mentioned that his band “The Remnant” just put out their first album, and one of the songs is called “Promises” (check it out here).

The song contains this line —

All my trust is in what You have said / Standing firm on all You have promised (Ps. 31:14)

That made me think of how crucial God’s promises are.  They are crucial, because we are called to live by faith in Christ (Galatians 2:20), and because faith means trusting all that God promises to be to us in Christ Jesus (Romans 4:20-21).

Other Approaches

But I find that many Christians neglect God’s promises.  Instead of trusting God’s promises, they try to live the Christian life by will-power, or by gratitude, or by focusing on who they are in Christ.

These have their place.  But the main way to live the Christian life is by faith, and faith means trusting God’s promises.

So whatever else we do, we must not neglect God’s promises.

We can see this by noticing that the biblical authors don’t just give us commands — telling us WHAT to do.  They also give us promises — telling us HOW to do it.

Which shows that God wants a certain kind of obedience — the kind that includes conscious trust in God’s promises.

Cleanse Ourselves

We can see this in how Paul motivates us to battle sin —

“Therefore … touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.” Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God. (2 Corinthians 6:17-7:1)

It’s not that seeking to be cleansed from sin earns God’s welcome.

It’s that because of Christ’s shed blood and perfect righteousness, God will mercifully reward our undeserving battle against sin with his fatherly welcome.

So Paul does not just want us to battle sin.  He wants us to battle sin because we are consciously trusting the promise of deeper fellowship with the Father.

Work Heartily

We can also see this in Paul’s command that we work heartily —

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:23-24)

The inheritance is the joy of beholding Christ forever.

So Paul is not just calling us to work heartily.  He’s calling us to work heartily in a certain way.

He’s calling us to work heartily because we are intentionally trusting the promise that if we work heartily, then because of Jesus’ blood and righteousness God will mercifully give us even more joy in Christ forever.

Fear Not

And notice how Isaiah urges us to not be afraid —

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

Isaiah’s aim is not just to free us from fear.

His aim is that we be free from fear because we are consciously trusting God’s promises — that God is our God, that he will strengthen us, that he will help us, that he will uphold us.

Count It All Joy

And look at how James encourages joy during trials —

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4)

James not only urges us to count trials as all joy.  He also tells us how to have this joy.

It’s by trusting the promise that (by God’s grace, through the Cross) the testing of our faith produces steadfastness, and steadfastness will bring us final perfection in heaven.

So James is not just calling us to have joy in trials.  He’s calling us to pursue this joy in a certain way — with conscious faith in God’s promise.

Obey by Faith

These verses are convicting.  Too much of my obedience is done without any thought of God’s promises.

But God does not just want obedience.  He wants obedience that’s from faith, which means it’s done with conscious trust in God’s promises.

So, by God’s grace, I’m going to work on this.

Join me. 

Comments?  Questions?

I’d love to hear them.  Leave a reply below — thanks.

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(Picture is from everystockphoto by cnw.)

Category: God's Promises

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12 Responses

  1. Bill Schuler says:

    Wow that is soooo good! Thank you Steve. 🙂 I need to focus so much more on what God is doing by focusing on obediance by TRUSTING in His PROMISES! I’m going to begin by actively trusting in 2 Corinthians 6:17–7:1! Please pray for me.

  2. Shawn Cox says:

    Great post. So often we (myself included) simply do not stand or trust the promises of God. We do this because of fear and we simply do not believe. Thank you for shedding light on this issue .

  3. Mary Damon says:

    Thank you. This really spoke to me today. Have you been reading my prayer notebook, or what?

  4. AmaLah says:

    I’m confused. Is there a difference between trusting in who we are in Christ and trusting in God’s promises? We are who we are in Christ cos we have faith that all the package of the new covenant is now ours through God’s grace. Anyway u can throw more light on the difference to make me understand. Thank you!

  5. Mary Damon says:

    Hi AmaLah, I’m not Steve, but to me there’s a huge difference. If we are trusting in who WE are in Christ, it is too easy then to forget Christ altogether–He’s given me thus so, so I don’t need Him for anything else. To me the key is that all we have and are is still and only IN CHRIST, not IN US. We must continue to look to Him to supply moment by moment (and those promises tell us what He is always holding out to us), rather than expecting to find everything within ourselves once we become His.

  6. Lisa says:

    But God does not just want obedience. He wants obedience that’s from faith, which means it’s done with conscious trust in God’s promises. – What a powerful statement you made. And this is what I do. I obey, but I never really looked at the promises of God. Then when I find myself in doubt about anything I feel God is nowhere to be found. Do you have any suggestions on this matter because when I feel away from God I feel Satan could come and draw me away at any minute

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Good question, Lisa.

      I think every believer struggles with doubts. I know I do.

      So here’s what I do: I confess my doubt to the Father, and ask him to forgive me through Christ.

      Then I pray and ask for more of the work of the Spirit to strengthened my faith, along the lines of Mark 9:24.

      And then, since “faith comes by hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17), I pray over promises from God’s word, and declarations of God’s faithfulness, until my faith starts to strengthen.

      I hope that helps. In Christ,

      Steve Fuller

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