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Have We Resolved?

Have We Resolved?

     We have now entered a new year.  2020 is a reality and many of us have endeavored to participate in the time-honored tradition of making New Years Resolutions.    By definition, a resolution is: “a formal expression of opinion or intention made”, or “the act of resolving or determining upon an action”.    Nowhere in the definitions I found is the word “promise”, but it seems to me that if we have “resolved” to do something, we have made the decision or promise to be “firm in purpose or intent; determined”. 

     In short, when we make a resolution, we have promised ourselves or others that we will do a certain thing.  In the case of New Years Resolutions, we make ourselves the promise to: exercise more, eat better, save more, spend less, etc., all designed to make improvements in our status from the previous year.   The words “resolve”, “resolved” and “resolution” are not to be found in the Word of God.   However, “promise” is found 53 times in 50 verses of the Bible.   The word “promised” is found 48 times in 47 verses.

     In Titus 1:2 we are told that God made a resolution to man.  The actual Word used is “promised”.  He made this promise before man was.   In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;   This passage also tells us what God “promised” or resolved.   But He never “promised” this unconditionally.   In Titus 1:3 we see how God made His conditions known so we could be recipients of that promise.  But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour;  God has a plan and that plan is to be carried out per God’s “conditions”.   Those who will not adhere to God’s plan cannot expect to receive God’s promise. 

     That plan of God included the sending of His Son to die on the cross to purchase the church.   Therefore, those who are not willing to follow and abide by the “rightly divided” teaching of the Word of God, aren’t in the church and are not going to receive what God has promised in His Word.  In Matthew 7:21, nearing the end of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus stated: “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. “  This “will” is found in the Word of God.  

      In Romans 1:16 we learn that God’s power unto Salvation is none other than the gospel.  For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. Then in 2Peter 1:3-4 we read that the same “power” - the gospel, provides great and precious promises.  According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

    What if God “broke His promise” (resolution) to mankind?  One particular promise springs to the author’s mind.    In Genesis 9:11-13 God made a “promise” to Noah and called it a “covenant”, which also is a covenant (contract) between God and the earth.  And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth. 12 And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: 

13 I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.    A “covenant” is indeed a “promise” and God keeps His promises.   If He does not, we are all in danger of being wiped out by another flood that will cover the whole world.  

      We are told in 2Peter 3:9 that God does indeed keep His part of His covenants, or promises.  The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.   A covenant is a “contract” and a contract has obligations to be fulfilled by both parties.  God provided the means and conditions for man to be saved.  Man’s part is to be obedient to the gospel (the Word of God), and remain faithful.  This is our part in the contract which is laid out in God’s New Testament Law to man. 

      According to Ephesians 1:3 all spiritual blessings are “in Christ”.  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:   And we are informed in Galatians 3:27 that to be “in Christ” one must be “baptized into Christ”. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on ChristThen as we read Romans 6:3 we see how Jesus death is part of that plan of God and when we are “baptized into Christ”, we make a Commitment, promise and a covenant with God.  Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

      Have you “resolved” to follow God in 2020?   If not, “promise” to follow Him now in accordance to His plan.   Do it!   Then strive to remain faithful.  God will keep His part of the covenant.   The rest is up to you.

                   Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ            

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