Let me ask you a question: How can you grow spiritually in your relationship with God and enjoy all the things He’s given you without stress and strain?
It is critical to have the right answer to this question because there are two answers to this question. One makes you feel inadequate and guilty and the other makes you feel alive, awesome and significant.
So what are these two answers to how you can walk in fullness of identity and inheritance?
One answer is law-oriented (that is religion); the other is grace-oriented.
The law-oriented person will give you a long list of things you need to commit to, like ”You need to pursue this noble goal. You need to commit to these things…and you need to practice these spiritual disciplines.”
With a sincere heart and a real desire to want to live a Christ-like life you’ll end up making endless promises to God saying, “God, I’ll do this, I’ll do that, I’ll promise to be this type of person and I’ll promise to do these type of activities.”
But guess what…
The inevitable tragedy happens again.
You are not able to keep the promises you’ve made.
After a few weeks or months you fizzle and fail to keep those promises you once were so serious about of keeping them.
Talking about frustration, feeling inadequate and guilty!
Obviously this approach of “promise-keeping” doesn’t work and will never work. Why?
Because the whole idea and practice of promise-keeping is not Biblical.
By understanding what the Bible actually says about the whole matter of promise making will save you a lot of stress and strain.
Click on the image to watch the Vlog:
Your Role Is To Receive
So what is the answer to walk in fullness of all that Christ has done and given to you from a grace-oriented perspective?
The answer is found in understanding that you are to be a promise-receiver and not a promise-keeper.
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.
How are the roles divided?
Here it is: God gives and we receive.
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.
Paul said that the promises of God are all “Yes!” in Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 1:20 says,
For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.
The promises of God are all “Yes!” in 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!” How much work is that?
Through the life of Jesus Christ in us, we experience the realization of God’s fulfilled promises as we trust Christ every moment.
So Christ is the embodiment of God’s promises. And where does Christ live? In you!
You need to realize that you cannot keep your promises. Only Jesus Christ can successfully keep promises and live the perfect life. He lives in you and wants to reveal His promises and perfect life through you.
God doesn’t want you to stand on your promises to Him, but on His promises to you.
So before we can be effective promise-keepers we must be promise-receivers.
To try to be first a promise-keeper, before being a promise-receiver is to live a life of frustration and condemnation…
Because if you believe your grace walk is based on your promises to God rather than His promises to you, you’re putting yourself under the death-dealing system of the law. Let God down and you will need to make new promises and work harder to keep them. Where is the peace and security in this? There is none.
The moment you rely on your promise-keeping you’ve set yourself up to experience guilt and condemnation. You might start out “strong” but sooner than later you’ll fail in keeping your promises leaving you with a nagging sense of condemnation. And you know that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ (Rom. 8:1).
Be A Promise-Receiver, Not A Promise-Keeper
“Ok, I get what you’re saying Bas, we are not called to be promise-keepers, but to be a promise-receivers or else we’re putting ourselves in trouble since we then put ourselves under the curse of the law. But what about that organization the Promise-Keepers?”
If you don’t know what it is: The Promise-Keepers is an organization that organizes events to gather thousands of man in one conference in order to have them make a bunch of promises.
The Promise-Keeper philosophy is based upon the premise that “Christian growth begins by making promises.”
Listen, I do not question the pure motives of Bill McCartney, the founder of the Promise-Keepers and the thousands of weeping, praying, hand-holding men who are seeking some enhancement for their family relationships.
But I do question – and I know for a fact – that the Promise Keepers is not the answer to spiritual growth and living a fulfilled and impactfull life.
Promise-keeping is not Biblical!
The whole idea of promise keeping reveals a a backwards way of thinking. Thus the wrong type of thinking that is opposite to how God thinks.
Ok, someone has to say it, so I’ll do it as plain as I can:
Anything that has to do with promise-keeping between you and God is NOT OK!
It crushes your faith and isn’t good for your well being, your health and your family.
So, indeed, the Promise-Keepers organization should find another name or just quit leading sincere, God-loving man down the destructive path of promise-keeping, but rather teach people to be promise receivers!
Why is it a destructive path?
1) God isn’t expecting nor asking you to make promises to do better and to do more.
2) Because making promises you want to keep is as silly as to throw gasoline on fire. It doesn’t extinguish the fire, it only makes it flare up more. Dedicating yourself to keep promises only makes you sign up for another miserable ride on the famous flesh-empowered cycle of motivation-condemnation-rededication.
If you’re interested, I have a video explaining this cycle in detail it’s called “The Key to break free from the cycle of motivation-condemnation-rededication.” Click HERE to watch the video.
Anyway, if we think we’re suppose to be a promise-keeper then we’re signing up to try to do better or to do more “good” works and that is living after the flesh.
Living after the Spirit, however, means to understand that God’s promises to you have been already fulfilled in Jesus – they’re all “Yes!” in Him – and that your part is ONLY to say “Amen.”
The moral of the story?
Be a promise-receiver and not a promise-keeper!
Claiming God’s Promises
If you’ve spend two minutes in the charismatic/evangelical circles you probably have come accross someone who is fanatically claiming the promises of God over their life or some situation that needs transformation.
They might tell you, “If you want to see all that Christ has purchased for you manifest in your life, then you need to name and claim the promises of God.”
Often the idea behind this is if you name and claim God’s promises long and hard enough then you’ll see the desired breakthrough, then you’ll see the healing or money appear, then you’ll have victory over sin or see the marriage being restored.
Here’s the deal…
If you think that your breakthrough or any change comes from just naming and claiming some promises then you might have put yourself under some self-imposed rules, thus fallen into the trap of putting your trust in what you do instead of what Christ has done.
The reason why many of us struggle is because we have focused more on our performance to make things happen then on Jesus Christ.
I’m not saying our words don’t have power. They do. Life and death is in the power the tongue, so we do want to watch what we say.
But my point is that we cannot put one iota of confidence in our actions, as if there’s magic power in your rebuking, naming and claiming, reading pre-formulated prayers itself.
We cannot put one iota of confidence in our actions, as if going through some religious ritual and applying this formula or these steps or this particular list of prayers, will give you the result you want. No.
Only faith brings results.
That is, only if you rest in Christ and let Him do His work through you’ll see God’s promises become a reality in your life, and that is without strenuous effort on your part.
“Well, should we then still claim the promises of God?”
Yes, and let me share what it means to claim the promises of God.
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” (Rom. 9:8) and as “heirs of the promise” (Hebr. 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.
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” (Eph. 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 of every divine promise will be realized in your life as you simply trust Christ to be who He is in and through you. Doesn’t sound like a lot of work, does it?
Simply put, you in and of yourself cannot bring any of God’s promises into fulfillment. No matter how often and how loud you proclaim God’s word.
Only Christ can successfully bring all the promises into your life and your environment and He wants to do that through you.
The 64.000 dollar question is: will you let Him? Will you cease from your own works and learn to rest in Christ.
Remember He is the embodiment of God’s promises. He lives in you. Only He can bring the promises into fulfillment, into existence, through you.
I paraphrase Philippians 2:13 here…”For it is God – not you – who is at work in you, both to will and to work out His promises for His good pleasure. To experience God’s promises in your life is based on His ability, not yours.”
Your only responsibility is to rely on His ability!
What You Must Do
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. 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).
Still, our unrenewed thinking might be yelling, “but what must I do…give me at least one thing I can do in order to experience the fullness of God’s promises and my inheritance!”
After sharing about grace and that you can’t do anything yourself to make God’s promises manifest…Now, I’ll tell you what you must do.
Are you ready for the answer?
What you must to is…
To be seated with Christ.
You are already seated with Christ, on a throne.
Yes, that’s all you have to do too.
Just believe you are seated and 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.
Religion insists that you “have to do your part” by naming and claiming promises or 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.
Are you ready for a statement you don’t want to forget?
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 gives you the thrill of experiencing life and that abundantly.
Love, Peace, and Chicken Grease,