Claiming the Promises (1)
And He put all thingsunder His feet, and gave Him to behead over all thingsto the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. Ephesians 1.22, 23
“You have put all things in subjection under his feet.” For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that isnot put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him. But we see Jesus… Hebrews 2.8, 9
Plundering the Syrians
God holds out to us who believe in Jesus, exceedingly great and precious promises, promises which, as we live toward them, draw us increasingly into His presence and power. There we are blessed with the knowledge of God and the experience of His glory, transforming us into the image of Jesus, and leading to righteousness, peace, and joy in the Spirit (Jn. 17.3; 2 Cor. 3.12-18; Rom. 14.17, 18). From there we go forth into our daily lives to glorify God (1 Cor. 10.31), acting in faith and obedience to bring the blessings of His grace and truth to the people and situations of our lives.
This calling to live toward the promises of God is a daily and ongoing challenge. It comes to every believer, and obligates us to press on daily, seeking the prize of the upward calling of God in Christ Jesus increasingly, in every area of our lives (Phil. 2.13; 3.14; Eph. 4.17-24). We must prepare daily for this calling, and show up in our respective Personal Mission Fields, ready to struggle against whatever foes or obstacles might seek to impede our walk with and work for the Lord. In Jesus Christ, we go forth conquering and to conquer, that meekness, righteousness, and truth might prevail (Rev. 6.1, 2; Ps. 45.3-6). We bring the Good News of Christ and His Kingdom to every person and place in our lives, and to that end we prepare faithfully, plan prayerfully, purify ourselves daily, preserve whatever of good we may possess or discover, and plunder all things, taking all things captive for Christ and His Kingdom (2 Cor. 10.3-5).
The story of the Samaritan lepers illustrates this life of living toward the promises of God (2 Kgs. 7.3-16). Samaria had been under a terrible siege by the Assyrians. Famine had set in, and the people turned to horrible practices to satisfy their raging hunger. Then, at the word of Elisha, the Syrians suddenly fled by night, terrified at what they supposed to be the sound of approaching armies. They left everything in their camp and fled. At twilight, two lepers came upon the abandoned spoils, and helped themselves to as much as they could consume or carry away. Suddenly struck by their crass self-interest, they returned to the city and alerted the people to the situation. The people rushed upon the spoil, plundering the Assyrians of every good thing, and thus realizing the promised deliverance of the Lord.
God provided for His people, putting all their enemies’ goods and wealth at their disposal, blessing His people and allowing them to bless one another, according to His promises.
Good gifts, usable truth
This story illustrates an important principle: Every good gift comes down from God the Father, no matter where or through whom those good gifts come to light (Jms. 1.17). The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it (Ps. 24.1). All truth, wherever it may be found, even in the mouths of His enemies, is God’s truth (cf. Jn. 11.49-52). God has put all things under the feet of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is Lord of all; and He intends that all things should be put to use for the purpose of building His Church and advancing His Kingdom.
But now, as the writer of Hebrews observed, we do not yet see all things being put to this use. But we see Jesus, and as we look to Jesus, we are encouraged to join in His work of reconciling all things to God, taking all things captive, purifying, preserving, and plundering all things, for the sake of filling all things with the grace and truth of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 5.17-21; Eph. 4.8-10).
This principle of plundering and taking captive good things for God’s use and glory shows up in many places in Scripture. Abram plundered the kings of his region, and distributed their wealth among his faithful servants, and as an offering to the Lord (Gen. 14). The people of Israel plundered the Egyptians to sustain and enrich themselves in preparation for entering the land of promise (Ex. 12.31-36). The Israelites plundered the cities and people of Canaan as they advanced their claims in the land of promise. Nehemiah used the resources of the Persian empire to rebuild the wall and city of Jerusalem. Even Jesus boasted of plundering the devil and everything in his possession by the power of the Holy Spirit, working with His Word (Matt. 12.22-29).
All things are ours
As we live toward the promises of God, we should expect that, increasingly, the reality of the Kingdom of God – the rule of King Jesus – will become manifest in and through us, whatever we do, wherever we go, with whomever we encounter. We do not hold back from raising the banner of our Lord Jesus Christ over every aspect of our lives – all our time, and all our relationships, roles, and responsibilities. Our cry and commitment is that “Jesus shall reign wher’er the sun/ does its successive journeys run.” We pray for His Kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven, and to that end, we ready ourselves to make the most of every opportunity, to take every thought and all things captive, and to flow the grace and truth of Jesus Christ to every person, place, and thing in our lives (Matt. 6.10; Eph. 5.15-17; Jn. 7.37-39).
No, we do not yet see all things put under our feet for the honor and glory of Jesus Christ. But seeing Jesus, gazing upon His beauty, contemplating His sovereign might, being transformed into His image, and drawing on His power, we live toward the promises of His Word, preparing, planning, purifying, preserving, and plundering all things, so that His blessings may flow through us “far as the curse of sin is found,” to the praise of the glory of His grace.
Thus we claim the promises of blessing from our Lord, so that we may live more fully as a blessing to others for our Lord.
1. In what ways is it evident that all things in your life have not yet been put under the feet of King Jesus?
2. How would you assess your work of preparing, planning, purifying, preserving, and plundering in claiming the promises of Jesus?
3. What are the greatest obstacles presently keeping you from living more consistently and fruitfully toward the promises of God?
Next steps – Preparation: Are you faithfully working your Personal Mission Field? Have you mapped your Personal Mission Field? Do you have a prayer partner or accountability partner to help you in this effort? Watch the brief video introduction of our Mission Partners Outreach program, then download the brochure and share it with a friend (click here).
T. M. Moore
This is part 4 of a 5-part series, Living toward the Promises. You can download this week’s study as a free PDF, suitable for personal or group use, by clicking here. You can learn more about living toward the promises of God by ordering a copy of the book, I Will Be Your God, from our online store (click here).
We invite you to register for the free online course, One in Twelve: Introduction to Christian Worldview. In this course we provide a sweeping panorama of how life in the Kingdom of God unfolds in an age in flight from God such as ours. Set your own schedule and study at your own pace. Learn more, and register for One in Twelve, by clicking here.
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.