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Promises Pleaded—Facts Accepted

It is essential to distinguish between the faith that asks and the faith that takes. There is a close association in Paul’s Epistles between prayer and thanksgiving; prayer being the faith that asks, and thanksgiving the faith that appropriates. It is only too possible for us to go on asking without receiving, but faith is seen as much in appropriating as in appealing to the Father.

In the same way, it is equally important to distinguish between God’s promises and His facts. A promise is something to be pleaded and expected (e.g. eternally saved in heaven—NC), but a fact is something to be believed and accepted (e.g. now and forever redeemed from the earth—NC). Promises are to be fulfilled in the future, and we wait as we expect the Father to be true to His Word (the waiting determines the strength of faith - Jas 1:3—NC); but a fact is something to be accepted and enjoyed here and now (walking in godliness manifests the presence of faith - Jam 2:18, 24—NC).

The Lord Jesus drew this distinction when He said: “What things so ever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them” (in reference to spiritual things - Mar 11:24—NC). Promises are always worded in the future tense, God saying either “will” or “shall”; but facts are always in the present tense like “the Lord is my Shepherd,” and “my grace is sufficient for thee.” – Griffith Thomas

The Lord Jesus promised, “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you (Jhn 15:7). The conditions of this promise are to be met, and then we are to trust God for His answer in His own good time and way. But when we come to those things which the Bible declares to be facts, we are to respond to them quite differently. The promises may refer to the future; the facts are of the present and the past.

One of the most blessed facts in the entire Word is stated in the first verse of the 23rd Psalm: “The Lord is my Shepherd.” The Bible says that is a fact. We do not need to ask God to make the Lord our Shepherd. He is our Shepherd (He inevitably teaches each Christian the meaning of this—NC). The fact remains unaltered. We may properly ask God to fulfill a promise but we must not ask Him to fulfill a fact, but rather thank Him that He is fulfilling it. The promises are to be pleaded; the facts are to be accepted.

In 2 Corinthians 12:9 we are told, “My grace is sufficient for thee.” That is not a promise, but a fact. The Rev. P. Webb-Peploe once prayed in an agony of sorrow, “O Lord, make Thy grace sufficient for me in this hour of grief and darkness.” His eye was caught by the framed text on the wall, “My grace is sufficient for thee.” He saw that he had been asking the Father to make a fact what He had already told him was a fact. He could only exclaim, in joy and thanksgiving, “Lord, I do not need to ask Thee to make Thy grace sufficient for me; I praise Thee that it is sufficient!”

You will not find anywhere in the New Testament a passage telling the believer to pray for deliverance from the power of sin. Romans Six tells us why (sin does not reign and dominate the believer – vs 12, 14—NC). There are wonderful facts of the deliverance which has been completely wrought for us in the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Our Father says the work is done; shall we not thank Him for it (“the work” i.e. delivered from sin’s damnation and dominion, but not from its indwelling and effects of temptations, which are the ongoing lessons of growth in our faith—NC)? We are not to pray for deliverance from the power of sin for the simple reason that we cannot be delivered (e.g. mentally—NC) as long as we keep on praying for this: we can be delivered only when we stop praying and begin accepting the completely wrought deliverance (in reference to being already delivered spiritually – Rom 7:12, 14; 8:1—though in continual need of deliverance in our conscience - Heb 10:2, 22—NC). We are not fighting to win freedom; we are celebrating the liberty that has been won on the Cross for us.

—C G Trumbull

“It is necessary that the truth conferred by grace should be known as a possession and the virtue of it apprehended, before there can be any walk in keeping with it. For if there be ignorance or misapprehension, the truer the conscience, the more defective is the practice.” -J.B.S.

None But The Hungry Heart