“…in the midst of the congregation I will sing Your praise; and again, ‘I will put My trust in Him.’ …
” … And again, ‘Behold, I and the children who God has given Me.’” (Heb 2:11-13 nasb)
Notice the bold portion of the above Scriptures where we hear Jesus say, “Behold, I and the children who God has given Me.”
This statement draws on a redemption promise that God gave through the prophet Isaiah.
“And I will wait for the LORD who is hiding His face from the house of Jacob; I will even look eagerly for Him. Behold, I and the children whom the LORD has given me are for signs and wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion.” (Isa 8:17-18)
Then we have this in Isaiah:
“Therefore thus says the LORD, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob: ‘Jacob shall not now be ashamed, nor shall his face now turn pale; but when he sees his children, the work of My hands, in his midst, they will sanctify My name; indeed, they will sanctify the Holy One of Jacob and will stand in awe of the God of Israel.” (Isa 29:22-23)
Fulfilled in Christ
“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. …
“ … This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds [looks to] the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.” (Joh 6:37-40)
Again pay close attention to the words in bold print – “Of all that He [the Father] has given Me I lose nothing.”
Christians who lack knowledge in how salvation works will always battle insecurity. The problem isn’t merely with the believer. In some pulpits Jesus Christ is being presented in a way that is not worthy of the gospel message.
The message they hear is often filled with fear and condemnation. It centers on a salvation through works, that is, a salvation that is based on a believer becoming good enough.
This kind of thinking is a misreading of the gospel story. The work of salvation is not our work. We are all sinners saved by grace. Salvation is God’s work from beginning to finish. He alone is the author and the finisher of our faith.
Here is an example where a Scripture is sometimes mismanaged:.
“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” (Php 2:12)
Sounds pretty plain. How then is it mismanaged? The problem is that this statement is only half of what is being said. Listen to the rest of the statement:
“ … for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” (Php 2:13)
Notice carefully that the working out has to do with God Himself. The believer is to place his faith in God who is at work in his life. The believer is to trust that the Lord is working His will in the believer’s life.
That isn’t the only Scripture that sets forth God at work in the believer. Listen with your heart:
“Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, …
“… working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Heb 13:20-21)
Once again note the words in bold. God is the one who equips us to do His will. God is the one who is working in us that which is pleasing in His sight.
The Author and Finisher
The apostle said he was convinced the good work that God began in us, He would perfect until the day of Jesus Christ. God is the author and the finisher of our faith. He is the perfecter of His work. The Lord God began the work and the Lord God finishes the work
The Lord does not want His children to live in fear of any nature. And when the Lord speaks into our lives it is His purpose is to destroy our fears. Even when He needs to correct us, it is a correction towards life.
Here is an example from my walk with Jesus -
It was 1974
I had just resigned from my former church affiliation. The following morning at my office a dark cloud settled over me. What will we do? Where do we go? Where will we find fellowship? Did I miss God?
The last words my former pastor had spoken to me when I handed him my resignation was ringing in my ears, “Brother Martin, these people will never anything else to do with you.”
I fell on my knees next to a chair, and reached for my Bible. Lord, I need to hear from You.
My Bible actually fell open to Philippians 1:6, and my gaze riveted on these words,
“Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
The Son of God had spoken to my heart. Instantly the cloud vanished. No more fear! No more uncertainty. I knew everything would be alright. Our future was well cared for.
In my excitement I reached for the phone to call Betty. Little did I realize that she was facing the very same struggle at that very same moment. Before I could get the words out of my mouth, Betty said, “Honey, listen to what the Lord just shared with me.”
“For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” (Gal 1:10) — We were both using the KJV at the time —
The Lord had spoken to both of us at the same time. Betty knew just as I knew that our future was well cared for.
God’s Unconditional Promises
Of course I’m not telling any true believer something that you don’t know. Jesus has come to my aid myriads of times on my pilgrim journey. He does the same for all who belong to Him. What did the Lord say about His presence in our lives?
“ … for He Himself has said, ‘I will never desert you, or will I ever forsake you,’ so that we confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?’” (Heb 13:5-6)
That, dear friend, is an unconditional promise.
This is where we need to understand Biblical promises.
Conditional promises are based upon some action on our part. Unconditional promises are based upon something God has promised with no aid from us. These are the, “I will” promises of God.
An example of a conditional promise is Luke 6:38, where the Lord says,
“Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure — pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”
Notice that it is by ‘our standard’ of measure that gauges the ‘pressed down’ blessings.
Unconditional promises are different. Unconditional promises are generally summed up as redemption promises. These kinds of promises are, ‘from God, through God, and to God’ promises. They cannot be broken by believers simply because we have no role to play in them. They are based entirely on the sovereignty of God.
The Bedrock of the Faith Walk
These ‘never-ever’ promises serve as the bedrock of our walk with the Lord. One of the very last things Jesus said to the disciples was,
“I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matt28:20)
Another one is the John 10:27,28, promise where Jesus said,
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.”
Some believers see the strength of their walk in how strong their grip is on God. This is not what Jesus is saying. The safety for a child of God does not depend on his or her grip. It rests entirely in the hands of the Lord. Jesus said,
“No one will snatch them out of my hand.”
A few more ‘never-ever’ promises
“…whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” (John 4:14)
“…everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:26)
“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom 8:38-39)
Our Inheritance in Christ
The point being that these promises are based upon something God says He will do. These unconditional promises relate to God’s redemption plan in Christ, a plan that was set forth before time.
Paul gave insight into this area, when he said,
“We have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to [God's] purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will.” (Eph1:11)
Notice that Paul said it is God’s will that is at work. The apostle John certainly agrees. He said that our birth from heaven was not a thing of our will. He says,
“[We] were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:13)
When we were born again, it is because God opened our ears to hear, and placed in our heart to respond. We see this being worked out in a lady named Lydia. It says,
“A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshipper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.” (Acts 16:14)
The stumbling, bumbling apostle
Have you ever been a stumbling believer? Sure you have. Think about a man called Peter. Peter actually denied the Lord three times. Was that the end of the story? Certainly not. Jesus sought him out, restored him in faith, and gave him the privilege of preaching the gospel at the very place where Peter had become fearful for his life.
Have you caught the point in all this?
— Regardless of how well we think we understand the mystery of our salvation, the fact remains that God’s unconditional promises do not rest upon how well we are able to do or how much we understand. They are not performance promises. Each of these promises rest upon God Himself. When He says that He will never desert us or forsake us, that promise cannot be broken.
Yes, we all become stumblers at times. So we ask, “Why me, Lord?” About the best any of us can do is write songs about all this.
In the Midst of the Congregation
And so, we agree with the Psalmist who said,
“…in the midst of the congregation I will sing Your praise; and again, ‘I will put My trust in Him.’ …
“I don’t know why Jesus loved me. I don’t know why He cared. I don’t know why He gave His life for me. Oh, but I’m glad. So glad He did.”
“Jesus loves me, this I know. For the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong. They are weak, but He is strong.”
‘All hail the power of Jesus name! Let angels prostrate fall…”
“I am weak but Thou art strong, Jesus keep me from all wrong…”
“So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross, … Till my trophies at last I lay down; I will cling to the old rugged cross, and exchange it some day for a crown.”
Oh yes, we Christians write songs without end. And we will continue to write them.
But the message from heaven never changes. While we love the Lord with a love that cannot be measured, John wants us to understand something very special when he writes,
“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1Jn4:10)
Think about these things.
In the meantime listen to this song that was written and sung by Kris Kristofferson – ‘Why Me Lord.’
Your Servant in Christ,