Abraham’s Promise Is Your Promise

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Galatians 3:23-29

Before there was faith, by law we were prisoners under guard. Until faith appeared, the rulebook was our master. But then Jesus came so we could do what is right implicitly. Now, living by faith we have no master. Instead, Jesus has made us God’s children. If you’ve been through Jesus’ baptism, you’ve taken on Jesus’ life. You’re not defined by your ethnicity. You’re not defined by your economic status. You’re not defined by your gender. You’re now all alike defined by the Jesus mission. And if you’re on the Jesus mission, the promise God gave to Abraham falls to you.

The Abrahamic promise (see Genesis 12:1-3) is three-fold:

  1. that you’ll become a great nation,
  2. that your name will be great, and
  3. that you’ll be blessed in order to bless others.

The audacity of Paul’s claim lies not in the part we moderns like to think, “neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female” (though this is an extraordinary statement for its time). The real audacity is that Paul is taking what had been reserved for a single great mythological archetypical persona from the ancient past and applying it to everyone who is a part of the Jesus mission in the present. The responsibility to give rise to a great movement, to be great, and to be blessed in order to bless others falls to everyone and anyone who has, like Jesus, realized and accepted with joy who they really are.

If this is true, then the stakes really have gone up. Because you can’t hide behind all the other labels people tend to hide behind: ethnicity, economic status, gender. You’re either on the mission, or you aren’t. You have accepted who you really are, or you haven’t.

Time to fish or cut bait. Take hold of the promise and be great, be blessed, be a blessing to someone. Do something to leave in your wake even more people who know themselves truly and rejoice in who they really are – a great nation.

Saying No Is Better

Broken Promise EggMatthew 5:33-37

Again, you’ll recall the old law that says, “You shall not lie, but you shall do what you’ve promised.” But I say, don’t even make promises. Don’t say, “heaven help me,” because heaven is up to God. And don’t promise the world; the world’s not yours to promise. Don’t make it contingent on politics. And don’t think that by dying your hair you’re fooling anybody about who you really are. Just do what you say you’re going to do. And if you’re not going to do something, say so. Anything beyond that is jank.

People make a lot of promises. Sometimes people make them with good intentions. Sometimes people make them with no intention to keep them at all.

How many times have you heard, “I’ll be praying for you.” How many times did you believe it? How many times have you said you would do something just to get somebody off your case? Of those times, how many times did you not follow through, either because you never really intended to, or because your heart wasn’t in it and you forgot, or because you’d made too many commitments ran out of time, or…. The list goes on.

But the truth is, the list of excuses doesn’t really matter. Someone who was expecting something has been let down. And, sure, maybe they’ll say they understand. Maybe they say they’ll forgive you. Maybe they will. But it still would have been better to say no up front.

Jesus says, better not to make promises. Or if you do, make sure you know you can deliver beforehand. Better just to do than just to say, and it’s no sin to say no.