Possessing Our Blessings by Faith
The Promised Land is actually a symbol of the Spirit-filled life. We have already seen the characteristics of Egypt and the wilderness. Now, let’s consider the distinguishing landmarks of the Promised Land because as we look at the distinguishing characteristics of Canaan, it will help you to know where we are in our spiritual pilgrimage. The Promised Land represents a mature, balanced spiritual life – a life which enjoys the fullness of God’s blessings.
The Bible is a book about destiny—the great plan God has for each of our lives. Just as He offered a Promised Land to the Israelites, He has a wonderful inheritance for us as well. This is described as “an exceedingly good land … a land which flows with milk and honey” (Numbers 14:7-8).
The older generation that left Egypt did not have to fight the Egyptian army. That was taken care of for them by the Lord. The new generation entering into Canaan, however, had to take the offensive against the enemy. But they did this, not on their own, but as they followed their Captain. He promises that we shall have tribulation in this world, but we are to be of good cheer for he has overcome the world. “…In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
All the power necessary for the conquest of Canaan was already provided for the Israelites when they crossed the Red Sea. This great potential, however, was not experienced by them until they accepted by faith. It was a tragedy that the older generation forgot the fact that God’s deliverance of Israel at the Red Sea had struck terror in the hearts of the Canaanites. That fear stayed with the Canaanites all the time the Israelites were in the desert. So the new generation under Joshua crossed the Jordan by an act of faith. They entered the land to conquer it and to possess it.
This points to the fact that every blessing of God is ours actually or potentially, the very moment we are born again. We have been blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. These blessings become ours in reality as we approach them by faith.
How sad it was that after the Israelites had been conquering the land for five years, Joshua had to say, “…there remaineth yet much land to be possessed” (Joshua 13:1). Why were the Israelites so slow in possessing what God had provided for them? We might well ask ourselves why we are so slow in possessing our spiritual heritage in Christ. Why don’t we go in and take what is ours by faith?
Someone has said, “What is unfolded in regeneration should be unfolded in sanctification. What is ours should become ours. What is possible should become actual. What is potential should become potent.” So in the book of Joshua we see the process of becoming what we are to be. We also see why much that ought to have been was never fully realized. There is a wonderful inheritance that we have right here, that is kept in trust for us in Christ, and it is ours as we learn to possess it and take it.
Our actual possession of these things will depend upon our attitude toward them. Paul said concerning his own mind on these matters: “…I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ” (Philippians 3:8). Paul saw that there was much in store for him and he had not yet attained to all of it, but he determined to follow after Christ so that he might receive what was provided for him. This was why he pressed toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:7-15).
To grasp this line of truth, we must understand at least two things. First of all, every Christian is and has in Christ from the moment of his conversion, all the potential of salvation. Everything that Christ has for us was at our disposal, either actually or potentially, the moment we were born again. It is kept in trust for us so that we might by believing attain to it.
The second thing is that each Christian should, by faith claim these riches in Christ. It is one thing to have them reserved for us, it is quite another thing enter into the blessings and privileges now.
When we speak of what we have the moment we believe in Christ, we are dealing with our spiritual standing in Him. This is not altered by what we do or what our experiences may be. Our position before God is fixed and unalterable the moment we trust Christ.
When we speak of claiming by faith these riches in Christ, we are speaking of our state or walk here on earth among men. It is here that by faith we claim that which is ours in Christ. Just as being freed from slavery in Egypt pictures our salvation, so wandering in the wilderness pictures the carnal Christian life, going nowhere! Canaan, however, is a picture of the victorious Christian life.
It is crucial for us to understand that having the title to our “Promised Land” is not the same thing as occupying or possessing it. The challenge for you and me is to take possession of what is rightfully ours in Christ. The spiritual realm is full of un-possessed possessions. How poorly we live. How spiritually poverty-stricken we are. We must walk by faith in the Spirit to possess our possessions.
“Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12).