The Power Of The Promise Part I

The Power Of The New Covenant Call

God's redemptive 7-fold promise to Abraham contained God's call and God's election according to His grace. In other words the Father's eternal call and His eternal purpose are to be found in His promises. And all His promises are comprehended in the Promise.

“Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, and to seeds, as of many; but as of One, And to thy Seed, which is Christ.”

“And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Gal. 3:16, 29.

“For all the promises of God in Him (Christ Jesus) are yea, and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.” 2 Cor. 1:20.

Or as the TEV (Today's English Version) puts it, reading from verse 19:
“ For Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was preached among you by Silas, Timothy, and myself, is not one who is “Yes” and “No.” On the contrary He is God's “YES;” for it is He who is the “Yes” to all of God's promises. This is why through Jesus Christ our “Amen” is said to the glory of God.” 2 Cor. 1:19, 20.

Abraham's response was “Amen.” The Hebrew word for “Amen” means “to believe” i.e. a heart-felt appreciation for and surrender to God's love. Abraham's faith, when eventually perfected, exercised complete and full confidence in God alone and therefore was a faith which stood, without wavering, upon the naked promise of God!

“He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith giving glory to God; being fully persuaded that, what God has promised, He was able to perform” Romans 4:20,21.

The Power Of The Call In The Promise

The call is a call to come into the Promise by genuine faith. It is the work of the Holy Spirit. And all the power of the Promise is in the call.

“No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:44.

“But there are some of you that believe not. (For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray Him) And He said: Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto Me, except it were given unto him of My Father.” John 6: 64, 65.

Therefore it should be clear to everyone that the desire, the ability and the power to come into the Promise are all in the call. Moreover the faith required, to believe the Promise and to come into the Promise, is given by the Promise itself through the call!

“So then faith (cometh) by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Rom. 10:17.

“By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.” Heb. 11:8.

We see in this text (Heb 11:8) that Abraham received the faith and the power to obey in the call itself and the call contained all the power of the promised inheritance which is God and His kingdom!

“For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” Heb. 11:10. “ After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I AM THY SHIELD, AND THY EXCEEDING GREAT REWARD.” Gen. 15:1.

The Call Is Based Entirely On God's Eternal Choice

“According as He hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will. To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved.” Ephesians 1:4-6.

We should read this passage again, this time from the TEV.

“Even before the world was made God had already chosen us to be His through our union with Christ, so that we would be holy and without blame before Him. Because of His love God had already decided that through Jesus Christ He would make us His sons – this was his pleasure and purpose. Let us praise God for His glorious grace, for the free gift He gave us in His dear Son.” Eph. 1:4-6 (TEV).

Since the call is grounded in God's eternal decision it cannot be changed, it cannot be defeated and those who oppose it do so not only in vain but to their own destruction! Not even God can rescind His call.

“For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” Rom. 11:29.

Or as it is better translated in the TEV:

“For God does not change His mind about whom He chooses and blesses.” Romans 11:29. (TEV).

The Apostle Paul further deepens the sweetness of this mystery in Romans 9:10-13 which we shall read in the KJV before reading it in the TEV.

“And this is not all. For Rebecca's two sons had the same father, our ancestor Isaac. But in order that the choice of one son might be completely the result of God's own purpose, God said to her, ‘The older will serve the younger.’ He said this before they were born, before they had done anything either good or bad; so God's choice was based on His call, and not on anything they had done. As the scripture says, ‘I loved Jacob, but I hated Esau.” Rom. 9:10-13. (TEV).

Is Paul teaching that God has predestinated some individuals to be lost and some to be saved? Is God unfair?

NO! Absolutely not!

What then is the Apostle saying? How are we to understand such mysteries?

The Call Is Fixed Unchangeably In The Promise

The mystery unfolds when we understand that the calling and the gifts and the eternal decision and the promises are all in CHRIST the Promised Seed or, as He is indeed, the living Promise.

Individuals can accept the call by faith or reject the call by unbelief but with the call “is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” James 1:17 because the call like the promise is fixed, eternally fixed, in the Seed, Jesus Christ! Read Romans 9:14-16 in the KJV. And listen to it in the TEV.

“Shall we say, then, that God is unjust? Not at all. For he said to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on anyone I wish; I will take pity on anyone I wish. So then, everything depends, not on what man wants or does, but only on God's mercy.” Rom. 9:14-16. (TEV).

The soul that depends on God's mercy and believes His promise is safe.

We see then the futility of Israel's Old Covenant promises at Sinai.

We also see the absurdity of the bewitched Galatians trying to finish by their efforts what was begun by the Spirit.

Our promises are like ropes of sand. God's promises are as eternal and as secure as His Godhead. God calls and God makes the promises, our response is to believe and therefore to receive His call and His promises in the Seed Christ Jesus. Let us read John 1:12, 13.

The Old Covenant Israelites exerted all their efforts to call themselves to God. Whereas the gentiles who were not trying to be called believed God's call when they heard it and became the called of God! Let us read Romans 9:25-33.

Called To Be Children Of The Promise

“That is, they which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed. Romans 9:8.

Children of the promise! Who are they? They are those who exercise the faith given by the Promise through the call and by exercising this faith they receive the Promise itself; eternal righteousness, eternal life, eternal inheritance. Yea rather they receive the Promise Himself – The Father in Christ by the Holy Spirit! John 17:21-24.

Opposition To The Call And The Promise Swept Away

The call need not vary and cannot vary because all the obstacles, anything or everything that can possibly stand between the transgressor and God is swept away in the sacrifice of Christ.

A T Jones:
“ He took the place of the transgressor: he became flesh, just as is the transgressor: he was made to be sin, just as the transgressor is sin: he bore the sins of men, ‘for the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.’ He took the condemnation, because the sins of the transgressor were imputed to him. And, as to the transgressor himself, the consciousness of sin is accompanied with the consciousness of guilt and condemnation; so when these sins were imputed to Him who knew no sin, it was the sin indeed, with its accompanying sense of guilt and condemnation. He bore the curse, for sin brings the curse; and he bore the curse even unto death, because sin brings the curse even unto death.

“Thus, ‘Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us.’ Thus he redeems them that are under the law. All the penalty, all the curse, all the wrath, all the condemnation, that the law can work upon the transgressor met upon him. And, in the divine sacrifice which he thus made, there was rendered all that the law can ever demand of the transgressor. So that everything that can possibly stand between the transgressor and God is swept away in the sacrifice of Christ.

“In this, God has reconciled the world unto himself so completely that he cannot impute their trespasses unto them (2 Cor. 5:19); and thus is extended freedom – absolute freedom – to every soul in the wide world. And every soul can have it, to the full and to all eternity, merely by accepting it. And, in accepting this redemption from under the law, every soul receives ‘the adoption of sons:’ for, ‘as many as received him, to them gave he power (‘the right, or privilege’ margin) to become the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.’ Gal. 3:26.

“And then, being sons of God, and ‘because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou are no more a servant, but a son; and if a son then an heir of God through Christ.’

“Before this deliverance, we ‘were in bondage under the elements of the world.’ The only elements of the world that there are, are the elements of sin; for ‘all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.’ 1 John 2:16. But, when delivered into the glorious liberty of the sons of God, we ‘have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear,’ but ‘have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself bearing ‘witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God; and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ:’ Romans 8:15 – 17.

“Joint heirs with Christ.’ That is, all that he had falls also to each one of the other sons. The inheritance is not divided up in equal shares among all the sons, as if they were equal heirs. No; all the inheritance belongs to each one of the sons, because they are joint heirs. This because God has no favorites among his sons; but all that belongs to any one, belongs equally to every other one. Accordingly, all that falls to Christ the son and heir falls also to each and every other son and heir. And this wonderful truth Jesus wants the world to know; for, in his great prayer for us all, he prayed, ‘That the world may know that thou has sent me and has loved them, as thou has loved me.” John 17:23.

“And, this wonderful fact: that God has no favorite nor preference among his sons, but that all are equal, and, therefore, that each redeemed soul is, in his estimation, equal to Jesus, and takes his stand on a plane, and in the reward, equal in all things to Christ: it is this wonderful fact that caused John, in beholding it, to exclaim: ‘Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God….

“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 1 John 3:1, 2.” R.H May 8, 1900.

Christ therefore is the One who was called and who always responded to the call. He is the Seed in whom is the call and in whom is the promise. But even in His earthly ministry He had to choose to believe in and surrender to His Father's word. In other words Christ as Representative Man accepted and endorsed God's eternal choice for the redemption of Adam's lost race. Therefore God's eternal call has met its fulfillment in humanity in Christ! The Father therefore draws all human beings to Christ by the same Agapé love which sent Jesus to the Cross and whoever responds to the drawing power of that love by yielding his heart to it will come to Christ and receive Christ and by having Christ will have eternal life!

Only by being in Christ is anyone in God's call. And only by remaining in Christ does anyone remain in God's call. Individuals, nations, races or churches which claim that since they were called they must always be the only true people of God irrespective of their acceptance or rejection of gospel truth, deceive themselves.

“The Jews had misinterpreted God's promise of eternal favour to Israel: ‘Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; the Lord of host is his name: If those ordinances depart from before Me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before Me forever. Thus saith the Lord; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the Lord.’ Jeremiah 31:35-37. The Jews regarded their natural descent from Abraham as giving them a claim to this promise. But they overlooked the conditions which God had specified. Before giving the promise, He had said, ‘I will put My law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be My people…. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.’ Jeremiah 31:33, 34.

“To a people in whose hearts His law is written, the favor of God is assured. They are one with Him. But the Jews had separated themselves from God. Because of their sins they were suffering under His judgements. This was the cause of their bondage to a heathen nation. Their minds were darkened by transgression, and because in times past the Lord had shown them so great favor, they excused their sins. They flattered themselves that they were better than other men, and entitled to His blessing.

“These things ‘are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.’ 1 Corinthians 10:11. How often we misinterpret God's blessings, and flatter ourselves that we are favored on account of some goodness in us! God cannot do for us that which He longs to do. His gifts are used to increase our self-satisfaction, and to harden our hearts in unbelief and sin.

“John declared to the teachers of Israel that their pride, selfishness, and cruelty, showed them to be a generation of vipers, a deadly curse to the people, rather than the children of just and obedient Abraham. In view of the light they had received from God, they were even worse than the heathen, to whom they felt so much superior. They had forgotten the rock whence they were hewn, and the hole of the pit from which they had been dug. God was not dependent upon them for the fulfilling of His purpose. As He had called Abraham out from a heathen people, so He could call others to His service. Their hearts might now appear as lifeless as the stones of the desert, but His Spirit could quicken them to do His will, and receive the fulfillment of His promise.” D.A. p. 106-107.

New Covenant Appeal

“The birth of a son to Zacharias, like the birth of the child of Abraham, and that of Mary, was to teach a great spiritual truth, a truth that we are slow to learn and ready to forget. In ourselves we are incapable of doing any good thing: but that which we cannot do will be wrought by the power of God in every submissive and believing soul. It was through faith that the child of promise was given. It is through faith that spiritual life is begotten, and we are enabled to do the works of righteousness.” D.A. p. 98.