Every Command of God is a Promise in Disguise

This Sunday we will be studying Colossians 3:1-11. The key idea of the sermon is: Every command of God is a promise in disguise. Put another way, God’s grace motivates obedience. Or, God never calls us to do anything in order to merit his love, but rather because he loves us. One more: believing in specific Biblical promises leads to specific ways of living.

I want to share with you a list of sins, followed by a description of the sin, followed by verses that are to be believed upon in order to destroy those sins. This list is based on the above idea. Sin is the fruit of unbelief in God’s grace and power. Holiness is the fruit of trusting those two things. I hope you find this list of “fighter verses”, that is promises to fight for faith with, as helpful as I have found them.

Spiritual Examination—Hebrew 3:12-14

Have you ever experienced or engaged in:
1) Poor Self-Image. Insecurity springing from guilt that we haven’t been able to act “nobly” through our own wisdom and strength. Negative comparisons with others (Romans 8:14-17; John 1:12; 1 John 1:7-9; 3:1-2; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Philippians 3:30).
2) Anxiety. Lack of peace springing from dwelling on some dark scenario that we think will occur in the future. Loss of hope. Fear blocking a person from obeying God
(1 Peter 5:7; Matthew 6:25-33; Isaiah 51:12; 2 Chronicles 20:20; Proverbs 12:25)
3) Regret. Believing that a mistake we’ve made in the past virtually rules out a happy future (1 Samuel 12:20; Romans 8:28, 32, 37; Genesis 50:20).
4) Covetousness. Discontent with what we possess or with our station or situation in life. Lack of gratefulness. Negative comparisons with others. Leading to a lack of generosity, hospitality (1 Timothy 6:6-12; Philippians 4:11-13; Hebrews 13:5-6).
5) Bitterness. Harboring a grudge or an unforgiving spirit (Matthew 6:12, 18:23-35; Romans 12:19-21; Exodus 23:4ff).
6) Jealousy or Envy. Becoming angry and upset when we see a person get something we wish we had (Psalm 37:7ff; 73:25-28; Galatians 5:19-21, 26; 1 Thessalonians 5:18).
7) Impatience. The feeling that we should be getting on with something more quickly than we are, leading to lack of peace, burst of anger, lack of love for others and trying to get blessings our way (Isaiah 40:28-31; 50:10-11; 64:4; Numbers 9:15ff).
8) Despondency or lack of enthusiasm. Believing we are at a dead-end with no way out, a no win situation. Leads to burn out. Lack of interest in prayer, word and ministry (Psalm 16:11; 23:1ff; Hebrews 10:35-38).
9) Self-adulation. Savoring something one has done or said (or simply some “distinctive”) as particularly good, clever, creative or wise. Positive comparison to others. Competitiveness, provoking others and making others look bad (1 Corinthians 1:28ff; 4:77; Deuteronomy 8; Jeremiah 9:23-24; James 4:6-8; Matthew 23:12; 1 Peter 5:5; Proverbs 27:2; 29:23).
10) Indulgent Desires. Lack of self-control in sexual area. Lustful and/or romantic fantasizing. Exposing oneself to sexually explicit material. Habitual masturbation. Inappropriate sexual tension. Lack of self-control in eating, sleeping or any other area (Galatians 5:14-21; 6:7-10; Mark 7:20-23; 1 Corinthians 4:1-5).
11) Critical Spirit. Exalting oneself by harshly evaluating others, leading to cruelty and unreasonable demands (Matthew 5:7; 7:1-5; 1 Corinthians 4:1-5).
12) Divisiveness. Exalting oneself by harshly evaluating the distinctives of oneself or a sub-group to which one belongs (Galatians 5:19-21; 6:7-10; 1 Corinthians 1:10ff; 12:12-13, 24-26).
13) Drivenness. Rejecting the Sabbath. Believing that “success” in life can only be achieved by the maximum output of your own wisdom and strength (Isaiah 58:1-2, 13-14; Exodus 20:8-11; Psalm 23:1-3; Mark 2:27; Proverbs 3:9-10).
14) Deceitfulness. Knowingly falsifying the truth to make oneself look better or to avoid something bad in the future (Proverbs 19:22; 20:17).



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5 responses to “Every Command of God is a Promise in Disguise

  1. Mike

    Thanks Jay,
    I would like to ask if my take on responding to temptions like mentioned above fits your key idea.
    My heart is deceived to think that when a temptation comes, I only have two choices. One is to do do do what ever to “not break a command”. The second is to give in cause I can’t keep the command, so why try. I have determined from much reading(the bible other Christian writers-i.e, Crabb, Willard, Beth Moore), and self awareness, and mentoring that we do not want to be condemned. If I keep the commands I will not be condemned, if I excuse myself from having to obey the law I deceive myself that I will not be condemned.
    The third option is God loved me while still a sinner-obeying law, breaking law, deceiving myself that law is not important anymore since we cann0t keep it. He died to take away sin that leads to condemnation. Let me repeat that: He died to take away the sin and its power, and its condemnation in death. I CANNOT DO THAT. I rest. I rest in the peace of God through Christ dwelling in me. Not my keeping law or denying it. Nothing I can do. Thanks be to God who giveth us the victory.

  2. Mike

    Thanks be to God for your awesome sermon today on Col 3: 1-11.
    The promise before the commandments: “I AM the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt” was discussed also in Rick Hoves Sunday school class today.
    After church on the way home, my wife, and family were discussing the sermon.
    The thought of just “I AM. The Lord. Your God.” came across to me as THREE PROMISES in one phrase.
    I AM that I AM Boundless, perameterless,
    The Lord-of all lords, kings, queens, presidents, etc of this world
    Your God-with me in my every moment of entire life.

  3. Mike

    Sorry to be a blog hog.
    I plan to start a time of reflecting on these with my 17 year old son this week. I challenge all fathers to do the same.

    • Jay Thomas

      Mike, was your initial question answered? So thankful you are going to reflect with your son. Oh that all fathers had the sense of pastoral ministry to do that with their kids.

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