The Power Of The Promise Part II

The Height Of The New Covenant Call

God has a purpose; it works by a process of election; and it cannot fail. In other words, whatever happens, God's purpose, which operates on the basis of election, stands firm. When viewed from the human side this means that not works but the call of God is decisive. Obviously and evidently calling and faith correspond; faith is the answer to God's call – as the example of Abraham makes clear (Heb. 11:8).

Not works but faith leads to justification, and faith works!

Not works but God's call admits to the promise and the faith, which answers the call, works.

These are different ways of expressing the same truth!

It is important to recall here that the seed of Abraham contracted until it became ultimately Christ, and was subsequently expanded to include those who were or are in Christ. This means that election does not take place (as might at first appear from Paul's examples) arbitrarily or fortuitously; it takes place always and only in Christ. They are elect who are in Him; they who are elect are in Him.

It is failure to remember this fact that causes confusion over Paul's doctrines of election and predestination.

The High Calling Of God In Christ Jesus (Phil. 3:8-14)

There are two distinct but inseparable dimensions of the call. The first is the call to come into the Promise. The second is the call to reach the highest height within the Promise. In both cases the drawing power is the power of God's Agapé love and our response is to exercise our God-given faith to believe and surrender completely to Jesus.

The New Covenant principles are clear. God promises all and gives all because God is love. And the same divine self-sacrificing love, which promises all and gives all, calls us to believe and receive the promises and gifts and to let them work in us that miraculous transformation of character which will bring us to the measure of the stature of Christ!

Always remember that all the power of the promise is in the call. In other words; in the New Covenant, the call is the call of God; the drawing-power is the drawing power of God's infinite Love; the promises are the promises of God; the work is the work of God; the gifts are freely given by God. And the believer's response from start to finish is the faith-response which lets the call, the promises, the gifts and the works of God accomplish God's will in the believer's life.

In the Old Covenant people seek by their own calling, their own promises, their own devisings, their own works, to start (Israel at Sinai) or to complete (the Galatians error) the work of God both in their own lives and in the world. In either case it is the flesh and not the Spirit in control.

As A T Jones puts it:
“ The Old Covenant consisted, and ever consists, of the promises and the works, of the righteousness, of people who know only the birth and the mind of the flesh. The New Covenant consists forever of the promises and the works of righteousness of God in those who know the birth of the Spirit by the promise of God.” R & H. 1900-07-24

The 8 Characteristics Of The Call

    1. It is a heavenly calling. Hebrews 3:1

    2. It is a holy calling. 2 Tim. 1:9; 1 Thess. 4:7

    3. It is a high calling. Phil. 3:14; Rev. 3:21; Rom. 8:37

    4. It is an unchangeable calling. Rom. 11:29

    5. It is a call to liberty. Gal. 5:13

    6. It is a call to peace. 1 Cor. 7:15

    7. It is a call to glory and virtue. 2 Peter 1:3; 2 Thess. 2:14

    8. It is a call to eternal life.1 Tim. 6:12

Our Responsibilities

    1. To walk worthy of our calling. Ephesians 4:1

    2. To work out our salvation with fear and trembling. Phil. 2:12

    3. To make our calling and election sure. 2 Peter 1:10

But how do we walk worthy of our God-given calling? How do we work out our own salvation with fear and trembling?

We should fear and tremble less we take ourselves out of God's hands and try, at any stage in our spiritual growth, to do the work ourselves.

“For it is god which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” Phil. 2:13.

Oh how easy it is, especially when God is doing a great work in our lives or in our Movement, to transfer our dependence from God to ourselves! The thought of this should make us fear and tremble.

The Apostle Peter tells us that we must always remember that God has already given us all things that are necessary for spiritual life and godliness through the knowledge of Jesus. And the “all things” He has given us, are in His promises! Let us read 2 Peter 1:3,4. Then in verses 5-7 the Apostle tells us that our responsibility is to claim and receive into our character building the following gifts: faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, love.

Finally the Apostle gives his admonition in verses 8-12. Let us read these verses carefully.

Who Does The Work Is Of Crucial And Critical Importance

When God works, self is crucified and buried out of sight and there is rest in the soul. Let us read Galatians 2:20, 21; Romans 4:5; Matt. 11:28-30; Hebrews 4:3.

When self works, God is put out of sight and there is no rest. Romans 4:4; Hebrews 4:1, 2; 3:10, 11.

And yet when God works, the believer is worked by God's Spirit to manifest good works in the life and to be busy doing God's work in God's way in the world. John 14:10; 1 Thess. 2:13; Eph. 3:16-21; 1 Thess. 1:3, 4.

Conclusion

‘Know ye not … that ye are not your own? for ye are bought with a price. What a price has been paid for us! Behold the cross and the victim uplifted upon it. Look at those hands, pierced with cruel nails. Look at his feet, fastened with spikes to the tree. Christ bore our sins in his own body. That suffering, that agony, is the price of your redemption. Know you not that he loved us, and gave himself for us, that we in return should give ourselves to him? Why should not love to Christ be expressed by all who received him by faith, as verily as his love has been expressed for us for whom he died?

Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. ‘There is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.’ Christ the Word, the revelation of God, – the manifestation of his character, his law, his love, his life, – is the only foundation upon which we can build a character that will endure.

We build on Christ by obeying his word. It is not he who merely enjoys righteousness, that is righteous, but he who does righteousness. Holiness is not rapture; it is the result of surrendering all to God; it is doing the will of our Heavenly Father. Religion consists in doing the words of Christ; not doing to earn God’s favor, but because, all undeserving, we have received the gift of his love. Christ places the salvation of man, not upon profession merely, but upon faith that is made manifest in works of righteousness. ‘As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. Not those whose hearts are touched by the Spirit, not those who now and then yield to its power, but they that are led by the Spirit, are the sons of God.

To live by the word of God means the surrender to him of the whole life. There will be felt a continual sense of need and dependence, a drawing out of the heart after God. Prayer is a necessity; for it is the life of the soul. Family prayer, public prayer, have their place; but it is secret communion with God that sustains the soul-life. It was in the mount with God that Moses beheld the pattern of that wonderful building that was to be the abiding-place of God’s glory. It is in the mount with God, – in the secret place of communion, – that we are to contemplate his glorious ideal for humanity. Thus we shall be able so to fashion our character building that to us may be fulfilled his promise. ‘I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.’ R .H. Dec 31, 1908.

Appeal

God in Christ by His Holy Spirit is calling you into the Promise, into Christ. And within the Promise, in Christ, God is still calling you to the highest height of the measure of the stature of Jesus.

Look to Jesus. He is the beginner and finisher of our faith. Believe His promises, surrender to His call. Always be children of the Promise, always be driven by the call.

His love will never fail you.

Do not fail Him through unbelief.

Have faith in God!