The Good News - Home
By David A. DePra
When God gave to Israel the Promised Land, He told them to enter the land and TAKE POSSESSION. Of course, this required that they drive out those in the land who already had possession. That would be the battle. But having said that, God had given them the land by His grace. There was no requirement upon them to earn the land. They were simply told to enter the land and take possession.
The Promised Land, or inheritance, was a type of FULLNESS IN CHRIST. Thus, it seems astounding, but it is true – God says to take possession. You cannot earn fullness in Christ. There is no requirement. All is by grace. We are told to take possession of what God has given us in His Son.
It is here that Christian people usually misunderstand and get off the track. If we simply need to take possession of fullness in Christ, then why can’t we seem to do that? Well, we fail to take possession of our inheritance in Christ for the same reasons that Israel failed to take possession of the land – they tried to take possession on the WRONG BASIS.
Now, note that. I did not say that we use the wrong method or technique. I did not say we follow the wrong rules or laws. I did not say that we have the wrong doctrines. All of those matters have another place. Rather, I said we must take possession of our inheritance in Christ on the right basis. What is that basis? Well, FAITH. Or, if you prefer, TRUTH.
This was the case with Israel, and the epistle to the Hebrews says so. It says that they could not enter because of their unbelief, and that we do enter by faith. The only way to take possession of our inheritance is to see the Truth and to embrace it by faith.
This is really a matter of RELATIONSHIP with God. In fact, we might say that fullness in Christ is fully based in relationship with God – what else could it be based upon? Nothing. Thus, it is a simple fact that we have to enter the land upon the same basis that we are to live in the land, and take possession of the land – let alone drive out the enemy. We have to enter upon a relationship with God that is by faith in Christ and the Truth.
Faith and Truth
I related faith and Truth because you really cannot have faith unless you see some Truth. You cannot. Paul wrote, "Faith comes by hearing… the Word of God." The Word of God is any Truth that God speaks or reveals to us – primarily it is some revelation of His Son. This can take many forms – but it will always agree with the Bible. Paul says that faith COMES TO BE IN US if God first speaks Truth – and then, once He does speak, we HEAR.
We have to see this. We don’t generate faith out of ourselves up to God simply because we decide. No. Faith COMES… We don’t originate faith. And faith can only come to be in us once God initiates the possibility by speaking Truth. Then we have something TO hear. And if we do hear, then faith comes to be IN US.
No one can hear Truth unless God speaks Truth. Faith comes by hearing (or seeing) the Truth God speaks. But notice what this means – if faith comes by hearing the Truth God speaks, then the only faith that is real is faith that is the PRODUCT of hearing the Truth. This means that faith in error isn’t real faith. It cannot be. Faith comes by hearing the Truth. Thus, if I hear error, I don’t have true faith – I have false faith.
What we see in all of this is that God must initiate the possibility of faith in each of us. Only then can we have some Truth to hear. When God speaks He doesn’t make us embrace what He speaks. But God along must initiate the possibility by first speaking Truth to our hearts.
Once a person hears God speak, and then opens himself to what God is speaking, FAITH COMES TO BE IN THEM. This is really nothing more than another way of saying that if we hear the Truth then we will be MADE TRUE unto God. Sure. Being made true unto God, and having true faith, are the same thing. The Truth we have heard has set us free to fellowship with God.
This ought to clear up a lot of confusion about faith. You and I cannot initiate faith from out of ourselves up to God – hoping to drag out of Him what we desire. Faith is not from out of natural man up to God. No. Faith comes to be in natural man as the result of hearing the Truth that is from out of God. Faith COMES – we have to receive the Truth.
This means that faith is not emotional. Faith is not intellectual. At the root it is neither. Faith is the outcome of the reception of the Truth. Do you want more faith? Then open yourself to what GOD HIMSELF is saying to you. Open yourself to the Person of Jesus Christ. Faith will come. But that faith will be OF THE TRUTH – and IN THE TRUTH, who is a Person. It won’t be something you create, generate, or decide.
I said all of this to get to a point regarding our taking possession of the Promised Land, or inheritance in Christ. The call upon us in this matter is not that we muster up faith from out of ourselves and storm the Promised Land. No. The call upon us is to enter into fellowship with God through Christ and begin walking with God in real faith that is based upon the TRUTH.
Christians today have completely put aside the Truth. Many openly proclaim that Truth doesn’t matter. Well, faith COMES by hearing the Truth. Thus, if you do not know the Truth, you do not have much faith. This will be exposed when the test comes.
Entering by Faith
There is a common misconception about faith that is vital to clear up if we are to enter our inheritance by faith. That misconception is that we think that FAITH is a merit that earns us something from God.
Everyone knows that WORKS cannot earn us anything from God. But what we end up doing is transferring our desire to earn over to faith. We think that if we someone have faith, or generate faith up to God, that this gets Him moving or pleases Him to the point where we will merit His gifts, blessings, or help.
Sure. After all, doesn’t the Bible say, "Without faith it is impossible to please God?" And doesn’t the scripture say that, "Abram believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness?." Are these verses not proof that faith is our contribution? We may not have good works, but we have good faith!
Calvinistic teaching harps on this big time. They say, "We cannot contribute to our own salvation. Thus, even our faith is there because God has elected us." From this we get the Calvinist heresy of, "regeneration BEFORE faith." They teach you are FIRST saved so that you can believe. Otherwise, they teach, you would be producing faith from out of yourself and contributing to your own salvation. This, they protest cannot be.
This teaching betrays an appalling ignorance of what God means by faith. In the Bible, faith is NEVER my contribution to anything. Rather, real faith is born out of the Truth God shows me – and a primary Truth God will show me is that I have NOTHING to contribute.
Get that. Faith is not my contribution to anything. Rather, faith is the result of my seeing I have nothing to contribute. Again – faith is not a merit. It is born out of the realization that I have no merits.
Can we see that faith – as I have just described – is the result of seeing the TRUTH? – the Truth that I have NOTHING to contribute, and that I have no merits? Sure. And once I see that Truth – and hear it (embrace it) – this will immediately point me to Jesus Christ as the object of my faith.
It is upon this faith – based upon that Truth – that I enter inheritance in Christ. I see that I have no merits or contribution. I cannot earn entry into the land. I could never meet any requirement. No. That is the Truth God will reveal. Will I hear it? If I will, I can then enter by faith – because I am fully dependent and reliant upon Christ. HE is my basis.
Thus, what we see here is NOT a religious exercise. It is not an emotional or intellectual issue. It is not based upon a single thing about ME. Indeed, I am not even taken into consideration. I am simply told to put my faith on One who is OTHER THAN ME. And as noted, this will be absolutely impossible for me to do unless I see THE TRUTH. I must see the Truth of Christ, which will, in turn, expose the Truth about ME.
The wilderness did not qualify the Israelites for the Promised Land. The wilderness did not equip them with the necessary merits for entry into the Land. No. The wilderness was the place where Israel was showed they had NO merits. In the wilderness they were shown the Truth – that they would never quality for the Land. By the time the forty years were over, they were so convinced they had no merits that they were able to enter the Land with their faith solely upon God.
In the Christian life, God will often put us through a wilderness. Our usual response when God begins to show us that we will never be able to contribute a thing to Him, and will never be good enough – indeed we will be shown our wretchedness – our usual response is to try harder. It would seem that if we cannot get through to God on one basis that we find in ourselves, that we will find another. "O God, I have obeyed You…..I have believed You….I….I….I!" It takes us much time to get to where we can confess with the apostle Paul, "Yet not I, but Christ…"
The wilderness is geared to making us TRUE UNTO GOD – so that we can fellowship with Him and walk in the Light as He is in the Light. But not by making us people who are strong enough to beat the enemy. No. By showing us as so WEAK that we must continually rely upon Christ. None of us are going to get far with God until we are broken of the utter delusion of our own righteousness, spirituality, strength, and merits. And we will never be broken of it by reading books about the wilderness. We must go through the wilderness. Only then can we be made true and enter the inheritance by faith.
Fullness in Christ
Trace the history of Israel and compare it to your own experience. We try and try to enter the land on the basis of our own merits – we don’t even realize it because we are so AT HOME in this way of thinking. We seek THINGS from God and wonder why He won’t bless us. We are on the WRONG BASIS. The basis must be Christ. For EVERYTHING. Or we aren’t going to get far. God will continually bring us back to Christ.
God’s highest way is relationship by faith in Christ – faith based in the Truth. Then we will be MADE TRUE unto God. THEN – we can live in the land and we can drive out the enemy. We enter into deeper relationship with Christ – and that is our basis – and then from OUT OF HIM comes all that God has for us. "Seek you first HIS kingdom and all else will be added unto you." The mistake we often make is to try to get THINGS another way. This is as futile as trying to experience the Promised Land without every crossing the Jordan.
The NT continually says, "IN Him, FROM Him, BY Him…." ALL that God has is in His Son. Enter into fullness in Christ and then from out of Him will emerge all that God has for us in this life and the next.
We take possession of what God has by letting Christ take possession of us. This is not merely a cute catch phrase. It is the Truth.
The Good News - Home