Live your life based on God’s promises to you,
not your promises to God.
A number of those involved in our Kansas ministry were at Glen Eyrie in Colorado Springs, CO where we heard Mike make this statement. He illustrated the necessity for this in his own life and called our attention to the importance of living our life based on His promises to us. All of us are able to remember a time in our lives when our spiritual walk seemed to be dependent on fulfilling our promises to Him. It may have been the promise that we would cease from a certain activity only to find ourselves repeating that activity in a few weeks. Perhaps it was a recurring attitude of resentment, jealousy, or an impure thought life about which we made promises to God that we would overcome. On the other hand, our promises to Him may have been that we would finally become consistent in our devotional life. Whatever the promises were, our experience eventually would be failure which led to guilt and the accusations of our enemy the devil. His voice, though not audible, would impress us with the thought that we had tried the Christian life and failed. Not only were we not able to do it, but the possibility of anyone living that life seemed so remote that we may have been tempted to deny its reality.
In the Old Testament, it is recorded in a number of instances that the people of Israel made promises to God, promises that they could not keep. One of these is recorded in Exodus 19:8. “The people all responded together, ‘We will do everything the LORD has said.’” Their history after this statement revealed many centuries of broken promises. Under the old covenant everything came from man and man was not able to keep his promises. In the new covenant, or as Ray Stedman related, the “new arrangement for living,” everything comes from God. This new covenant is the basis for His promises to us, promises that we may live by. Let me choose three of these for the purposes of illustration.
Galatians 5:16 “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” God’s promise is that His Spirit is given to lead us moment by moment. We are not told to stop gratifying the desires of the sinful nature in order to live by the Spirit. That is the old covenant. The new covenant, based on His promise to us, is that in living by His Spirit, we are freed from the sinful nature.
II Corinthians 3:18 “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect (contemplate) the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” His promise to us is that he is transforming us into the likeness of Christ. This is not our promise to Him, but His to us. The Holy Spirit leads us (Galatians 5:16) to contemplate-to behold-to spend time with Christ resulting in His likeness becoming more and more evident in our lives. As we make our lives available to Him He makes His life available to us.
I Corinthians 1:30 “It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God-that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.” This is the most amazing promise of all. Being led by the Spirit (Galatians 5:16) to contemplate Christ (II Corinthians 3:18) we are led to the understanding that Christ Himself is our righteousness, He himself is our holiness, and He is our redemption. We have nothing apart from Him. God does not give us righteousness. He gives us Christ, who is our righteousness. He does not give us holiness. He gives us Christ who is our holiness. God does not give us redemption. He gives us Christ who is our redemption. He who lives in us as our very life (Galatians 2:20, Colossians 3:3-4) daily expresses Himself through our lives as righteousness, holiness and redemption.
What, then, should our response be to these promises? How do we live life based on His promises to us? Paul answers these questions in II Corinthians 7:1. “Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.” Paul describes two steps in our response to these promises. The first is to purify ourselves, which is confession. I John 1:9 states “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” The second is to perfect holiness, which is always by faith. Romans 1:17 relates, “For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’” It is by faith that we claim these promises and live by them.
What are the promises that the Lord has given you to live by? I would encourage you to write them down, memorize them and daily affirm His promises to you that you may live on the basis of His promises to you, not your promises to Him.