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Pointers along the way #79

In line with the promises
- Jacob Ninan

God has given us many promises in the Bible. If we are wondering why we are not receiving what are promised, one reason may be that we are not taking hold of those promises.

What happens when we come across a promise in the Bible? Let us look at one example. "For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace" (Ro.6:14). This means we are to be on top of sin. We don't have to be defeated by sin. What is our response?

"That's all very well. It'll be good if it happens. But I am only human and I am not strong enough to defeat sin." Is that our response? There are a couple of things wrong with this approach because we have misunderstood what is involved. We think that it is up to us to defeat sin, and that we have to struggle and fight to get the victory. The other thing is that we don't believe God really means what He says. Then it is no wonder we never get to experience what is promised.

If we read the promise again we can see that it is "grace" that will make the difference in our lives. If we are to struggle to keep the "law" then it is hopeless. Then it would have been a commandment that tells us to be free from sin. But here it is a promise given to us that since we are under grace, sin need not rule over us.

'Grace' is not just to do with God forgiving our sins and accepting us. It is also a 'help' (He.4:16). In this context it is a help God gives us so that sin need not rule over us.

Whether it is this promise or something else that God has given us, let us start from a point of faith and not unbelief. Let us believe that whatever God promises He is able to fulfil (Is.55:11).

Of course, we must not fall into the common practice of reading only the promises in the Bible without looking at what we are expected to do on our part. Also, we must not imagine that all the promises in the Bible are meant for us. Some of them have conditions attached to them, and some others are only for certain groups of people.

If we really believe, we will look forward with expectation to the fulfillment of the promises (Jn.11:40). If there is no such expectation on our side it may be that our 'faith' is just a theoretical acceptance of the doctrine which does not touch our practical lives. Our way of life must be in line with what we believe God is going to do for us. For example, with respect to the promise we have been considering above, when there is a fall we must not accept that as an inevitable thing. We must see it as something unacceptable and press on with God so that it doesn't happen again.