We will stand as children of the promise We will fix our eyes on Him our soul’s reward Till the race is finished and the work is done We’ll walk by faith and not by sight [Keith and Kristyn Getty, Stuart Townend, By Faith]
Do you know about the Promise? If you don’t, you really need to. It is at the center of the gospel and of our salvation in Christ. Let’s start here:
Exodus 19:5-6 ESV Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; (6) and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”
You were probably taught in church that this was and is a promise for the Jews in some future day when Christ returns. But that explanation is far too small. God’s plan and purpose is bigger. MUCH bigger. Besides, we know that Israel, by sin, failed to be this kingdom of priests and this holy nation. But check this out:
Revelation 1:4-6 ESV John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, (5) and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood (6) and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
See it? The “you shall be” spoken to the Israelites has become “has made us…a kingdom, priests to his God and Father.” Who? Us! The true church. All people from all nations who have been born again in Christ. It is a finished deal. (Christian, you are a king and priest serving the King of kings and the Most High Priest – live like it!)
Now, what of the Promise? The Promise is the promise God made to Abraham –
Romans 4:16-25 ESV That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, (17) as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.
(18) In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” (19) He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. (20) No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, (21) fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.
(22) That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” (23) But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, (24) but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, (25) who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.
WE, every real Christian, is a child of Abraham. We are joined to Christ who is the Seed of Abraham. And because we are Abraham’s children, we are children of the Promise. That is to say, we are heirs of the Promise. It is our inheritance. Here it is again-
Romans 4:13 ESV For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith.
Galatians 3:27-29 ESV For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. (28) There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (29) And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.
So, just what is this inheritance that God Promised to Abraham, and to his children? It is the new heavens and earth. It is the new creation. It is all that we have in Christ – forgiveness of sins, new hearts, a new humanity, a new home where righteousness dwells and the wicked are never seen again. No sin, no death, no crying, no pain, so separation from loved ones, and no ending. It is dwelling with Christ in Eden face to face with no possibility of sin ever entering the scene again.
Abraham knew it, and he believed it –
Hebrews 11:8-10 ESV By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. (9) By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. (10) For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.
WE must look forward to that same city of God. It is ours. It is our real home. By faith we see it because we believe the Promise. Christ has brought it about by His death and resurrection so that already we are a kingdom of priests, a holy nation. Don’t let your thinking be narrowed. Don’t get sucked into the widespread nonsense that the gospel is fundamentally only about Israel and the church is only some afterthought thrown into the mix by God when Israel blew it. No, the Promise was made to Abraham and His Seed, and thus to all who are in Christ. The true Israel of God.
He is coming. Keep watching and be ready, as James Boice wrote in his great hymn. All the evil, all the evildoers, all the pain and suffering effected by the wicked upon the righteous is rapidly racing toward its end. And YOU, if you are in Christ, are children of the Promise.
Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, (2) looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Isaiah 55:8-13 ESV For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. (9) For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (10)...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
I recently read a short story by Shirley Jackson from collection of her short stories entitled Dark Tales. There is a movie out now, recently released, on Jackson’s life – but I don’t recommend it. It may not be that factual...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
Galatians 2:20 ESV I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. What do you do with your...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
Genesis 6:9-11 ESV These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God. (10) And Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. (11) Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
The wicked we deal with – those abusers who crave power and control and use all kinds of self-justifying tactics to get it – never say they are sorry. Never. Oh, they might mouth the words sometimes, cry some crocodile tears,...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
I received this excellent question from an abuse survivor recently. Many thanks to her for thinking about this. The common wrong answer we hear repeated like a mantra by professing Christians is one that keeps the innocent in bondage to the...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
John 5:39-40 ESV You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, (40) yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. I used to think I could find sound, genuine...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
1 Samuel 2:12-17 ESV Now the sons of Eli were worthless men. They did not know the LORD. (13) The custom of the priests with the people was that when any man offered sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come, while the meat was boiling,...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
Here is a very good question one of our readers asked recently. Her question and her insights are very good and we hope will be very helpful to all of you: I have been studying 1Peter, and listening to several sermons on submission. Submission to...[ abbreviated | read entire ]