The “Promise”, In Christ, and Evangelism

[tagline_box  description=”I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. –Philemon  1:6“][/tagline_box] Discerning what it means to be “in Christ” paves the way for the Christian to be used by God in evangelism.  More fundamentally, without understanding the “promise” of God woven through the Scriptures, there is bound to be discouragement in life. We devote countless hours to our worldly pursuits without spiritually meaningful endpoints. These represent  mere shadows of the promise of God. Do you work hard to complete a project to be used, read, or seen by many? Maybe you have all the gear and know how for the big catch that you know is waiting in that lake? Or you have studied all the recruits and cleared your calendar and plan to get to every game leading to that elusive national title certain to happen this year? Or maybe you hit the neighborhoods religiously in search of that great garage sale find that is a true “steal”? The “promise” of a certain glorious endpoint will produce continual dedication to that pursuit. I believe the biblical promise of God should supersede the fleeting promises of worldly pursuits and understanding this “promise” is the first step.

[tagline_box  title=”” description=”‘If I am devoted solely to the cause of humanity, I will soon be exhausted and come to the point where my love will waver and stumble.’-Oswald Chambers“][/tagline_box]

This “promise” of God I keep referring to goes back all the way to the covenant God made with Abraham. He is told that through his seed all nations will be blessed (Genesis 12:3,7). Abraham’s descendants shall be “like the dust of the earth” (Genesis 13:16) and “the stars in the sky” (Genesis 15:5, 22:17) and “the sand on the seashore” (Genesis 22:17)—these are the startling metaphors used by God to describe this blessing. And this covenantal promise has been passed down to those in Christ as described here by Paul:

”Consider Abraham ‘He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness’? Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham. The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: ‘All nations will be be blessed through you.’ So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith….But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe…If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:6-9,22,29)

Theologian J.I. Packer provides this insight:
The fulfillment of the old covenant in Christ opens the door of faith to the Gentiles. The “seed of Abraham”, the defined community with which the covenant was made, was redefined in Christ. Gentiles with Jews who are united to Christ by faith become Abraham’s seed in Him (Gal 3:26-29), while no one outside of Christ can be in covenant with God (Romans 4:9-17;11:13-24) (Packer, 1993, p. 89)

I will not devote more time to discussion of the promise, but encourage you to view this great recent video message.

As just a sampling, God’s word richly tells us that “in Christ” we are

  • Made alive
  • Fruit-bearing
  • Without need
  • Given the desires of our hearts
  • Told “Yes” to all His promises
  • Free to approach God
  • Dwellingplaces of God’s Holy Spirit
  • Sealed with the promised Holy Spirit
  • Doers of good works
  • At Peace with God
  • Brought near to God
  • Created new
  • Inseparable from God’s love
  • Redeemed
  • Forgiven
  • Given the fullness of God
  • Hidden and waiting to appear with Him in glory

These promises in Christ provide some serious weapons against worldly discouragements. Evangelism-sharing the true gospel of salvation from the spiritual death of sin by faith– improves our understanding of what we have in Christ (Philemon 1:6). And if we better comprehend the inherited covenantal promise traced from the time of Abraham and what it means that we are a “seed”, then we know that nations shall be blessed and God shall be glorified through us “in Christ”.

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