Sunday, February 24, 2008

Earnest Expectations

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness (Numbers 21:4-9), even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; that whoever believes may in Him have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”
(John 3:14-16 NAS)

Here we have set before us the “Law of the Spirit of Life” in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1-2) and an offering of a covenant with promise of eternal life. In this covenant offer, we have the ultimate expression of God’s love for us, inasmuch as He gave His innocent Son to die in man’s stead (Isaiah 53:7-9). Through the power of His death, burial and resurrection there is hope of eternal life for all who believe; thus it is an offering of a covenant with promise that may be obtained by God’s gift of grace through faith.

The unchanging word of God is the corner stone and foundation of faith. And it is this holy faith that “is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1 NAS).

The exercise of this faith from a pure heart of love produces good conscience and gives hope to the believer---without the exercise of faith there is no hope. God’s gift of love and faith is the firm foundation of hope; and this hope is accompanied by earnest expectations. In other words, one who believes, sincerely and confidently anticipates eternal life as if he has already had a foretaste of it; he abides in Christ and His word abides in him while he waits patiently and eagerly, without wavering, for the manifestation of its fullness.

Now, these things being true of God’s covenant promise of eternal life, would it not be true of His other promises as well?

How about the promise made in John 15:7? Here, He tells us to ask---

“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.”
(John 15:7 NAS)

Here we have another covenant promise; the same covenant, bearing the same sign, the blood of Jesus, but with another promise. And again, the qualification and condition are the same---faith.“If you abide in Me,” or if you remain steadfast and faithful in Me---one might would add, without wavering or being double minded----“and My words abide in you”----or, again, one might say, remain diligent to know His will, and without doubting---“ask whatever you wish,” and then patiently and eagerly wait with earnest expectations and hope “and it shall be done for you.”

And there is also:

“Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened.”
(Matthew 7:7-8)

In this verse we are exhorted to not only ask, but to seek and knock, examples of an active, working holy faith.

And then there is also the promise concerning giving.

“Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”
(Luke 6:38 NAS)

If we give of ourselves, and all of the material things with which God has so richly blessed us, from a pure heart of love and faith, could we not earnestly expect God to deliver on this promise also? Is it not again the same covenant; with the same qualification and condition, with yet another one of God’s wonderful promises??

Righteousness is a result of God’s gift of faith and faith results in grace. If one has received the gift of faith in God’s promise of eternal life, then he must also have gained hope, for faith produces hope, thus with a good conscience he waits with earnest expectations for the gracious gift of eternal life. Waiting is a natural part of hope.

“For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one also hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.”
(Romans 8:24-25 NAS)

Now our point is this:

  • If one has received the gift of faith for eternal life, should he not also have gained the same faith for the other promises God has made to him?
  • If so, then should he not have gained the same hope of their fulfillment?
  • And, should he not wait with the same earnest expectations?
  • Is it not all of the same covenant, the same holy faith and from the same faithful God of grace?

What causes one to walk away from God’s blessings?

“Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.”
(1st John 3:21-22 NAS)

Sin comes in many forms, doubt, unbelief, disobedience, lust and worldliness in general, to name just a few. These things cause our hearts to condemn us, or, in other words, our conscience is not clean because of sin. Thus by the guilt of sin we walk away from God’s blessings.

Repentance, sorrowfully turning away from sin and turning toward God with faith, gains forgiveness through our loving Savior and cleanses our conscience of evil works. Thus our heart no longer condemns us.

Our Lord teaches us not to be anxious. He desires for us to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Thus, all our needs will be met (Matthew 6:27-34).

Being anxious is rooted in unbelief and results in discouragement. Discouragement leads to a loss of dedication and devotion to Christ.

We seek God’s kingdom and His righteousness through dedication and devotion to Christ. Thus He assures us that our needs are known and will be supplied in order that we may have a single mind in our dedication and devotion to Him; in other words---that we not be distracted.

Finally, it is God’s purpose for man that he glorifies Christ that the Father be glorified in His Son (John 17:1-4 & 22). Thus the deep heartfelt desire of every sincere and devoted Christian is that Christ be magnified and glorified, that his name be high and lifted up, and that His kingdom come.

Those who truly desire that Christ may be magnified desire that He also may be magnified in their total being---spirit, body and soul. They present their bodies a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1), and yield their members as instruments of righteousness unto God (Romans 6:13). They are willing to serve in His plan, and be instrumental to His glory, with every member of their body, as well as faculty of their soul.

It is for the glory of Christ that true Christians should serve Him boldly and not be ashamed of the gospel concerning Him (Romans 1:16), with freedom and liberty of mind, and without discouragement---that in nothing feeling guilty, that with all boldness Christ may be magnified. The boldness of Christians is to the honor of Christ.

Those who make Christ’s glory their desire and purpose may also, with good conscience, make all His covenant promises (which are fashioned by grace through faith ), their earnest expectation (see Ephesians 2:7-8 and Philippians 1:20).

James C Sanford

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