18th Apr, 2008

I’m a Christian…. So, What Am I Supposed To Do?

When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, saying, “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.” And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised. Men swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged.

Oh, there is so much packed up in the above paragraph from Hebrews 6:13-18, and I hope to unpack it a little. First, what was God’s promise to Abraham??? We can see bits and pieces of it in Genesis 12, 15, 18, and 22, but I want to put Genesis 22 here.

The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, “I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”

We see God confirming His promise to Abraham with an oath. The promise is that He will bless Abraham and His descendents, so that through Abraham’s descendants ALL NATIONS ON EARTH WILL BE BLESSED. The promise to Abraham – the Abrahamic Covenant – is that God blesses so that those who are blessed will bless all the nations on the earth.

It seems odd, God taking an oath, but we see what He meant in the coming of Jesus. Notice that in the Hebrews 6 passage the scripture tells us that “an oath puts an end to all argument.” In short, it is as though God said “It is finished,” when He made this oath to Abraham. And, He did it on Himself. Fast forward a few years from Abraham to Jesus and you will see the outworking of God’s oath – Himself, Jesus, arms outstretched, bloody and pierced, dying on a cross proclaiming “It is finished!”

So, how does this answer what we are supposed to do? Well, in Hebrews 6 it tells us that this was done “to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised.” We are the heirs, and thus His promise and conduct on the cross reveal to us the unchanging nature of His purpose.” Moreover, in another passage of scripture people love to quote it says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined “to be conformed to the likeness of his Son….” All the good that we love to see in Romans 8:28 is given so that we can be conformed into the likeness of Jesus, the man who gave up everything to bless all the world. He didn’t worry with having a home, a job, a place to lay his head. His focus was self-denial to the benefit of all to God’s glory.

You see, God’s purpose never changes. It is unchanging. He announced that purpose several thousand years ago to Abraham – I will bless you so that you will be a blessing, not just to your own people but to all the peoples of the earth. Christ fulfilled that promise and it continues on to Abraham’s heirs, which are those who “belong to Christ.” Galatians 3:29. We have the same covenant in our pocket that Abraham carried around. And, throughout all of history you see God blessing His people and causing that blessing to flow over unto peoples all over the earth. It’s written about throughout the OT and NT and is still God’s purpose today (see, e.g., Acts 3, Galatians 3, Romans 15).

So, what are you doing about it? Are you willing to deny yourself and take up your cross to see all nations blessed? Does your life reflect that you truly are a representative of Jesus, one whom He commanded to make disciples of all nations as you go to the nations, teach the nations about Jesus and His commands, and baptize or immerse them in the name and glory and reputation of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit? Matthew 28:18-20. Does it?? If not, why not? Are there things in your life too precious to you and you need to cast them down? Hebrews 12:1-3. Can you ask God to help you make that possible?

Thanks to Steve Sullivan of YWAM Harpenden for his teaching on the Abrahamic Covenant!

Responses

What a great reminder that God’s purpose never changes! I was led to your blog from the Pyro site. I just wanted to thank you for your comments over there–you are a brave soul. The Lord gave you the words to share and the spirit in which to say them. May the Father keep giving you courage to share your heart.

Good post. But I don’t think it was patient waiting that produced Ishmael.

Bob Cleveland’s last blog post..AND … If You’ve Been Wondering……

Thanks, JT, for those encouraging words. I definitely receive your prayer – it doesn’t come naturally – i’d much rather just get into verbal altercations.

Bob, It’s just how the author of Hebrews characterizes Abraham! Is it warm yet in Alabama? I miss warm weather!

Great post. The other interesting aspect is the aspect of waiting. If this promise was given today we would be anxious because the “great and mighty nation” took a while. Most of our work overseas is similar. We must obey and sacrifice in the “now” for something that may not come to fruition until the “future.”

Camel Rider’s last blog post..Friday is for Fotos

And we may not even see the future until after our life here, just as is described by some who have gone before us in hebrews 11. Great addition, Camel Rider!

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