OBEDIENCE ONLY BY RECEIVING THE PROMISES
OBEDIENCE ONLY BY RECEIVING THE PROMISES
It seems that there is much confusion on man's ability to obey the commands of God and overcome all sin. Many people honestly believe that they must live with sin until the day they die. Many actually expect to keep sinning in thought word and deed every day.
Is it possible to truly free from sin? YES!!
Let me make this very clear, NO ONE can ever obey God or overcome sin by his own unaided efforts or power. If man could overcome sin by his own efforts, energy and power, than Christ's death on the cross would have been wasted.
Every person at one point in their life has rebelled and rejected God's rightful ruler ship over them and declared themselves their own king and master. Everyone has committed this crime against God and has made them self an enemy of God. Once a person commits this crime they cut themselves off from God's reign over them and rule in His place. These people while in this state cannot please God.
It is IMPORTANT to see that God so loved the sinner WHILE he was living in his chosen rebellion that He sent Jesus Christ to save men FROM THEIR SINS.
Mat. 1:21 "And she shall bring forth a son, and you shalt call his name JESUS: for He shall save his people from their sins."
Rom. 5:6, 8 "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. But God commends His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
Eph. 2:4-5 "But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith He loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, He has quickened us together with Christ, (by grace you are saved;)"
Mark 2:17b "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
Luke 19:10 "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost."
John 1:29 "The next day John sees Jesus coming unto him, and said, Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world."
All of us truly deserve to spend eternity in hell forever because of our rebellious sin, but God provides every sinner with THE GIFT OF CHRIST. THIS IS REAL GRACE!!
Eph. 2:8-9 "For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."
No man can save himself or ever please God without first coming to Christ. God sent Christ to earth because of His great love and to give everyone the opportunity for salvation from sin. God has offered salvation to everyone in the form of a promise. Now salvation is FREELY available by grace to anyone who is willing to make Him Lord and be set free.
GOD HAS GIVEN US HIS PROMISES AND THEY ARE FULLY AVAILABLE NOW!! The promises when received will fulfill all the requirements of the law.
Now the PROMISE of Christ is designed by God to take a sinner, who is living in sin and rebellion and make him a son of God who truly loves God. This is the ONLY solution that God Himself has provided for mankind. It is NOT POSSIBLE for anyone to ever please God without taking hold of the promise of Jesus Christ. I repeat again, THIS IS THE ONLY SOLUTION!!!
Everything that God offers mankind is in the form of a promise. Salvation itself is based on Gods free gift and promise to us. The gift of Christ is now fully available to anyone who will take hold of the promise by faith. Without receiving the promises of God, salvation is totally impossible.
2 Peter 1:3-4 "According as His divine power has given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that has called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust."
The design of the promises is to make a person a partaker of God's divine nature. God forms His character in the believer by the provisions of the gospel. God has made ample provision for all holiness and spiritual growth. The promise when received fulfills all the requirements of the law. What the law requires, God freely makes available to every person as a gift. We must truly believe and then receive this gift. There is nothing lacking in God's provision for us to fulfill the law and His requirements. What the law requires, God freely gives to those who take it.
God has provided man with everything that he could possibly need to live a pure and Holy life. He has made everything freely available in the form of promises. Salvation, Jesus, Christ, and the Holy Spirit are all offered to mankind by the promises. The ONLY way to experience being a partaker of God's Holy nature and escape the corruption in the word is from receiving the results of the promises. Without first receiving the results of a promise, holiness is impossible.
The main problem with the sinner is, that he is living in total rebellion to God and he does not have any love for God that the law demands on him within himself. God has the ONLY solution for this lack of love in the heart. God freely offers everyone the GIFT of love through Christ!! It is NOT POSSIBLE to love God before receiving God's gift of Christ and love.
For every command of God there is a promise from God that, if received, will fulfill that command. Only as a person receives the promise by faith and experiences its fulfillment in himself will he truly obey the commands of God. For example, the following command will never be obeyed without first receiving the results of the promise.
Matt. 22:37 "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your mind."
Deut. 30:6 "And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart, and the heart of your seed, to love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, that you may live."
It is clear that the love that the law demands is made freely available by God.
1. It is impossible to directly choose to love God.
2. Only when we receive the results of the promise, will we really love God correctly.
3. We have to first receive the fulfillment of the promise before we will love Him as the law demands.
4. Without receiving the results of the promise, we will not fulfill the command.
5. Obedience to God is TOTALLY impossible without first receiving the promise of God.
6. Keeping God's commandments is impossible without first receiving the promise.
7. We are required to lay hold by faith the promise before any obedience can take place.
8. True obedience is the result of are receiving of the promise.
The language of the promise means just as much as the language of the command. It seems that few people misunderstand the command to fully love God continuously. Now, when it comes to the promise many seem to try to dilute it or make it seem weak. Does not the promise mean just as much as the command? The truth is, the only way this command will ever be fulfilled is by first receiving the results of this promise.
The law demands perfect obedience and threatens with a harsh penalty if the obedience failed. Under the law, it depends only on man's faithfulness to obey. Only IF man obeyed would he be blessed, if he failed he would be cursed. The law will never make any one obedient, in fact the law was never designed to make any person's heart holy. The Law will never supply the love God demanded. All it did was make demands and threats when the demands were not met. Man broke the law time and time again. He proved his unfaithfulness.
God has provided the only solution for mans disobedience and total failure through Jesus Christ. God's provision
WHEN RECEIVED will fulfill all the requirements of the law. What the law demands, grace supplies. God has made provision for mans unfaithfulness and has made this solution freely available in the form of a promise.
Lets examine another command and promise.
Ezek. 18:30b-31 "Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby you have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will you die, O house of Israel?"
Ezek: 36:25-27 "Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you shall keep my judgments, and do them."
Here is an exact Charles Finney quote from The Promise of The Spirit published by Bethany House 1980. Lecture 11. THE PROMISES--No. 1, page 135.
"We never keep the commandments, only as we take hold of the promises. By this I mean that grace alone enables us from the heart, to obey the commandments of God. It is, therefore, only when we lay hold of the promise, by faith, and receive its fulfillment in ourselves, that we really, in heart, obey the commandments of God. For example we never love the Lord our God, according to the first great commandment, only as we lay hold on, and receive the fulfillment of some such promise as this: "I will circumcise your heart, and the heart of your seed, to love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, that you may live."
We can take hold of the promises of God and then receive what we need.
Exact quote from Finney's Systematic Theology -- 1851 Edition Lecture 50
"It is true indeed that God requires of men, especially under the gospel, what they are unable to do directly in their own strength. Or more strictly speaking, he requires them to lay hold on His strength, or to avail themselves of His grace, as the condition of being what he requires them to be. With strict propriety, it cannot be said that in this, or in any case, he requires directly any more than we are able directly to do. The direct requirement in the case under consideration, is to avail ourselves of, or to lay hold upon his strength. This we have power to do. He requires us to lay hold upon his grace and strength, and thereby to rise to a higher knowledge of Himself, and to a consequent higher state of holiness than would be otherwise possible to us. The direct requirement is to believe, or to lay hold upon his strength, or to receive the Holy Spirit, or Christ, who stands at the door, and knocks, and waits for admission. The indirect requirement is to rise to a degree of knowledge of God, and to spiritual attainments that are impossible to us in our own strength. We have ability to obey the direct command directly, and the indirect command indirectly. That is, we are able by virtue of our nature, together with the proffered grace of the Holy Spirit, to comply with all the requirements of God. So that in fact there is no proper inability about it."
The grace of the gospel offers you, with every command, the strength to obey, and work in you the very thing commanded. Every command implies a corresponding promise, that is, if we are required to do anything by Christ, the very requirement is an implied promise or offer of all the aid we need to make it possible for us to perform it. Indeed, the command in itself is an implied gift of all needed help. The command itself implies the ability to obey it. Every command of God implies this in the strongest manner. It should be remembered that God is perfect in both love and wisdom: therefore He cannot be so unjust as to demand something from us that is impossible for us to perform. THE GRACE OF GOD TURNS THE REQUIREMENT OF THE LAW INTO A PROMISE OF GOD.
From Christian Perfection by Asa Mahan
The sinner is not required to "make himself clean," or to "make to himself a new heart," in the exercise of his unaided powers, but by application to the blood of Christ, "which cleanses from all sin." The grace which purifies the heart is provided; the fountain, whose waters cleanse from sin, is set open. To this fountain the sinner is brought, and because he may descend into it, and there "wash his garments and make them white," he can fulfill the command, "Wash you, make you clean," "make to yourself a new heart and a new spirit," and "cleanse yourself from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit." The sinner is able to make to himself a "new heart and a new spirit," because he can instantly avail himself of offered grace. He does literally "make to himself a new heart and a new spirit," ONLY when he yields himself up to the influence of that grace. The power to cleanse from sin lies in the blood and grace of Christ; and hence, when the sinner "purifies himself by obeying the truth through the spirit," the glory of his salvation belongs, not to him, but to Christ.
The grace of God now shows you that there is an entirely new position for you to take. You must take a possible position of simple childlike obedience, day by day, to every command His voice speaks to you through the Spirit. You must take a possible position of simple childlike dependence on and experience of His all-sufficient grace, day by day, for every command He gives
There are two types of commands in the Bible. These are the direct and indirect commands. Everyone is always able to obey the direct command. The indirect command is one that a person WILL NEVER accomplish without first receiving Jesus Christ.
A person fulfills the direct command when he repents from sin and makes Christ the Lord of his life. This person then can receive all the help and aid of the Holy Spirit. A person will only fulfill the indirect commands by abiding in Christ. No person will ever grow in grace and the knowledge of God without abiding in Christ. No person will ever overcome sin by his own efforts and strength.
We always can fulfill the direct commands directly and the indirect commands indirectly. God can never require anything that is impossible for us to accomplish. We can become more than conquerors through Christ. Whatever difficulties we face, we are able through Christ to overcome them all.
No man ever will fulfill the indirect commands without depending totally on Christ. A sinner, as long as he remains totally selfish will never love God because pure love does not flow from a selfish heart or mind. The love that the law requires, God freely makes available in the form of a promise. The grace of the gospel gives the very love that the law requires. The grace of the gospel when received will cause the obedience required by the law. Without this love, no one will keep the commandments.
Every person is really able to do whatever God requires of him; that when God requires us to believe in Christ He gives us so much light and imparts grace to us to make us able to believe. When He requires us to repent, He gives us so much light that we are able to repent. We are not able to work out anything that God considers good by our own power or strength of what we have within us, independently of His divine light.
The Law demands obedience (and rightly so). Man broke the law and proved he was unfaithful in keeping it. The receiving of the God's promise actually secures the obedience that the law requires!!!! If it did not really secure the obedience required than the promise would be no better then the law.
Romans 8:3-4 "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."
God offers the LOVE that the law requires as a FREE gift. This gift is offered by promise and the ONLY way to receive it is by faith.
Please note God is NEVER responsible for any person not receiving the results of any promise. God ONLY takes responsibility AFTER THE RESULTS ARE RECEIVED. The bible has over 2000 promises and they all have conditions. God is NEVER responsible for any man not fulfilling the conditions or for any man not receiving the results of His promises. Just because God makes the promise available to man on certain conditions, does not mean that He is responsible if a person fails to fulfill the conditions or fails to receive the results. How can God be responsible for any man failing to receive His promise? How can God be responsible for any man failing to fulfill the conditions? I think that you will agree that the possibility of the commands being fulfilled by a promise received WOULD NOT make God responsible.
All promises have one thing in common; they all have at least one condition. This condition is faith. A person must exercise faith and be willing to receive the results promised. No one can believe in a promise that he does not know exists. He also needs some understanding of the promise or he could fail when trying to apply it.
Some promises require other conditions that are necessary to fulfill before anyone can experience the results. Only when a person satisfies all the conditions and requirements can he receive the result of the promise. An example of this type of promise would be, 1 John 1:7 "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his son cleanses us from all sin."
This is a conditional promise. If we..., then. No person can ever expect the cleansing from all sin until he first walks in the light. This is an ongoing and continuous process. If anyone stops walking in the light, he is no longer cleansed. He must repent and obey all known truth.
A person cannot believe in specific promises without a confidence and trust in the character and truth of God. The promises depend on a person's confidence in God's truth, willingness and ability to accomplish what He says. God has placed all spiritual and temporal needs in promise form. There will be no obedience without receiving the results of a promise.
There are promises suited for every possible human condition and circumstance, from the worst sinner to the holy saint. The following promises are examples for different circumstances. Please examine them carefully.
For the spiritually blind
Isaiah 42:7 "To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house."
Isaiah 42:16 "And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them."
For the sinner
Isaiah 1:19 "If you be willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land:"
Isaiah 55:7 "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon."
For the backslider
Jer. 3:12-14 "Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the Lord; and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the Lord, and I will not keep anger for ever. Only acknowledge your iniquity, that you have transgressed against the Lord your God, and have scattered your ways to the strangers under every green tree, and you have not obeyed my voice, saith the Lord. Turn, O backsliding children saith the Lord; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion:"
For weak believers
Isaiah 41:10-14 "Fear thou not; For I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am your God: I will strengthen you; yes, I will help you; yes, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Behold, all they that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded: they shall be as nothing; and they that strive with thee shall perish. Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, even them that contended with thee: they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought. For I the Lord your God will hold your right hand, saying unto you, Fear not; I will help thee. Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and you men of Israel; I will help you, saith the Lord, and your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel."
Isaiah 40:29-31 "He gives power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and you shall walk, and not faint."
Psalm 68:35b "The God of Israel is he that gives strength and power unto his people."
For victory over temptation
I Cor. 10:13 "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it."
II Peter 2:9 "The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:"
Psalm 34:17-19 "The righteous cry, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saves such as be of a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivers him out of them all."
For the spiritually hungry
Matt. 5:6 "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled."
Isaiah 55:1-3 "Ho, every one that thirsts, come to the waters, and he that hath no money; come, but, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do you spend money for that which is not bread? and your labor for that which satisfy not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat you that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David."
For complete holiness
Jer. 32: 39-40 "I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me always, for their own good and for the good of their children after them.
And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good, and I will put the fear of me in their hearts so that they will not turn away from me."
Ezek. 36: 25-27 "I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean, I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from your idols. Moreover I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you, and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you will be careful to observe my ordinances."
Deut. 30:6 "And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart, and the heart of your seed, to love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, that thou may live."
Jer. 24:7 "And I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart."
Jer. 31:31-34 "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was a husband unto them, saith the Lord: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."
Ezek. 11:19-20 "And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh: That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God."
I Thes. 5:23-24 "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calls you, who also will do it."
For the freedom from future sin and backsliding
Jude 24 "Unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy."
Psalm 121:2,5,7 "My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. The Lord is your keeper: the Lord is shade upon your right hand. The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve your soul."
Psalm 37:23-24;31"The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholds him with his hand. The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide."
For divine help
Rev. 22:17b "And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."
Luke 11:11-13 "If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask for a fish, will he for a fish give a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?"
John 7: 37b-38 "If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living waters."
Isa.44:3 “For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon your seed, and my blessing upon your offspring.”
Matt. 11:28,29 "Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest unto your souls."
James 1:5-7 "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that gives to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord."
For all needs
Matt. 7:7-8 "Ask, and it shall be given you: seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened."
Mark 11:24 "Therefore I say unto you. What things soever you desire, when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you shall have them."
I John 3:21 "And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight."
The promises act as stair steps designed to take and change a person closer to God's nature. You need to go from promise to promise taking hold of them as they rise one above the other. No matter what your situation, circumstance or state of mind, God has a promise for you.
Deception can occur when a person takes a promise that is not designed for him and tries to believe the promise. All this does is bring discouragement and disappointment. No person gets to pick or choose which promise applies to him. God only knows the exact one at the right time. He will reveal the one you need by the Holy Spirit. Selfish desires can never bring you closer to God.
James 4:3 "You ask, and receive not, because you ask amiss, that you may consume it upon your lusts."
The promises are not something you add to self. When received they will remove selfishness and make you more God-like. The promises are not to be applied by self at all. Nothing in self, by self, of self or from self can ever be righteous or holy.
There are many people choosing the promises they think they need or desire. Some people use positive thinking and positive confession to bring the results they want into existence. The things accomplished by these methods have nothing to do with making a person holy or God-like. Selfishness is only confirmed and entrenched when a person uses these methods. There is no true virtue independent from God and His grace.
How the promises work.
1. They begin with and in God. They have nothing to do with self at all.
2. God gives love, mercy and grace to all men. All men have some degree of light; no one has an excuse.
3. Man can resist this grace and love.
4. God places desires within us. He births them within us and they only exist by His operating grace. This is how a person becomes born again. God places a desire within him and then stimulates it. The person willing chooses to submit to this work of grace and becomes born again.
5. There is no grace, faith or any other Christian virtue without the working of God's grace.
The secret of obedience is only found in the promises and in Christ! Each promise has been designed to cover the requirement of the law. I do not think I over stress the fact that only by receiving the promises is obedience possible. The law can ONLY be fulfilled by receiving the promise.
Look again what the law states in Deut. 10:12, "And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul?"
This is the whole duty of man to God -- to fear and love Him with all the heart and all the soul. Although this verse names Israel, yet it is equally true for all men. It is equally binding upon all, and is all that God requires of any man in regard to Himself.
Deut. 30:6. "And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart, and the heart of your seed, to love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, that you may live."
Here we have a promise phrased in the same language as the command just given.
It promises just what the law requires. It promises all that the first and great commandment demands.
This promise means just what the law means -- to promise just what the law requires.
The law requires a state of continuous obedience and this is a promise of continuous obedience.
The command is universally binding upon all and applicable to all, so this promise is universally applicable to all who will lay hold upon it.
Faith is an indispensable condition of the fulfillment of this promise. It is entirely impossible that we should love God with all the heart, without confidence in him. God births love in man in no other way than by so revealing Himself as to inspire confidence, that confidence which works by love.
Where a command and a promise are given in the same language, we are bound to interpret the language the same in both cases, unless there be some good reason for a different interpretation." Now here there is no perceivable reason why we should not understand the language of the promise as meaning as much as the language of the command. This promise has been designed to cover the whole ground of the requirement.
God really knows and understands your own state and circumstance better than even you do. He knows exactly what you need. In all His wisdom, loving kindness and unselfish love, God works with you to bring you closer to Him. All you need to do is turn to Him by placing all your confidence and trust in Him. Will you do it now?