Faith in God's Future for Us
Paul Dean Dr. Paul J. Dean's Weblog
- 2005 Apr 15
The Lord constantly reminds us that we exist for His glory. In a day when so many people are focused on themselves and their own pleasure, we need a fresh reminder that we are not our own but we were bought with a price.
Yet, let me suggest that in a very real sense we are to seek our own pleasure to the fullest extent, that is, if we understand that true pleasure and joy come from a focus not on ourselves, but on Christ. God wants us to have great joy, yet our ultimate joy is in Him. As our joy is in Him, God is glorified. John Piper put it this way: "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him." The Psalmist said in Ps 16:11, "Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore." With Ps 36:7-8 we affirm, "How excellent is thy loving kindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings. They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures." Seek pleasure, in Christ, for His glory.
One of the greatest ways we can find our pleasure in God is to rest in the future He has for us. While we are justified by the objective righteousness of Christ appropriated once for all, through a once for all act of faith in Him and His finished work on the cross, that faith being the result of the regenerating work of the Spirit, we may also look forward to the grace God has for us in the future by virtue of our union with Christ and His preserving power. Remember, faith in God's future for us produces a number of powerful dynamics in the life of the believer.
First, faith in God's future for us produces a certainty of fulfillment. Paul wrote, "Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all (as it is written, "I have made you a father of many nations") in the presence of Him whom he believed--God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, "So shall your descendants be (Rom. 4:16-18)." As we trust in the Lord, His cross, and His promises, we will receive the fulfillment of the promises He gives to us in Christ.
That certainty of fulfillment is grounded in God. Our hope or confidence is in Him. That certainty of fulfillment is despite all appearances. We may look at our circumstances and become discouraged. We may feel that we face a situation in which God cannot work. But, God is true. Because God is true, that certainty of fulfillment is according to promise. The truth of the matter is that, not only will God not break His promise, but God cannot break His promise.
Second, faith in God's future for us produces a life of endurance. Paul affirmed, "and not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah's womb (Rom. 4:19)." Over time, Abraham contemplated the deadness of his body, and yet, his faith did not weaken. Over time, Abraham contemplated the deadness of Sara's womb, and yet, his faith did not weaken. God had made a promise twenty-five years earlier. With the passage of time, Abraham’s faith did not weaken. In fact, it grew stronger. That truth is spelled out below.
Third, faith in God's future for us produces strength of faith. "He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God (Rom. 4:20a)." A strong faith is a stable faith. We will not waver in the midst of adversity if our focus is upon Christ and His promises. A strong faith is an abundant faith. Don't you know that God will provide? Don't you know that God will see you through? The same God who has provided for you in the past is the same God who will do so in the future. How many times does He have to prove Himself? It's faith in God and His future for us that will give you strong faith, not a focus on circumstances, but a focus on God's grace toward you.
Fourth, faith in God's future for us produces the glory of God. Again, "He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, (Rom. 4:20b)." Note the last phrase of that verse: "giving glory to God." Remember, our faith does not add to God's glory, rather, it displays God's glory. His gift is on display in us. People see our faith and are encouraged. His power is on display in us as we exude our confidence in Christ. Our faith does not add to God's glory, rather, it embraces God’s glory. Taking God at His word honors Him while a lack of faith dishonors Him.
I remember not being able to get my daughter Christi to trust me enough to jump off the diving board into my waiting arms. In one sense, that dishonored me, until she jumped. Moreover, taking God at His word satisfies us. Once my daughter trusted me and jumped, she was satisfied. She said, "let's do it again Daddy!" To give God glory is to trust and magnify His grace, power, beauty, holiness, etc., and, to find satisfaction in Him.
Fifth, faith in God's future for us produces a fullness of assurance. Paul said that Abraham was "...fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. (Rom. 4:21)." A fullness of assurance is focused on God's character. God has promised salvation in Christ, and Christ alone. And, God does not lie. A fullness of assurance is focused on God's ability. God is able to perform that which He promises. He is able to save us to the uttermost.
Sixth, faith in God's future for us produces righteousness from God. Paul concludes, "And therefore it was accounted to him for righteousness (Rom. 4:22)." As we look to the finished work of Christ on the cross and the fulfillment of the promises of God in Him, we are declared righteous by God. We have no righteousness of our own, yet, in order to stand before God without being condemned to Hell, we need righteousness. The good news is that we get an alien righteousness, a righteousness that is not our own. When we trust Christ, we get His righteousness credited to our accounts. The Father no longer sees us as the sinners we are. Rather, He sees us clothed in the righteousness of Christ. Won't you place your faith in Christ today, that you might have a future in Him? May God bless each one of you as you seek Him, by His grace and for His glory.