POSSESS YOUR POSSESSIONS!
- "Then the house of Jacob shall possess their own possessions" (Obadiah, verse 17).
What a strange expression! How can you "possess" what you already possess?
The prophet is thinking about Israel. That nation had received some stunning promises from God (for example, Deuteronomy 28:9-13). What astonishing prosperity God offered Israel! In the mind of God, everything he had promised already belonged to the people, but they had never seized their inheritance. Sometimes through unbelief, sometimes through cowardice, sometimes through ignorance, or for another reason, they had left the splendid promise of God unclaimed. But one day, said Obadiah, that will all change, and Israel will at last fully possess its own possessions.
The church is like Israel. God has given us immense benefits. Christians are the owners of those blessings, yet they don’t possess them. We live as though our property were not ours, as though we still have to buy God’s gracious gifts by our own works, as though they have to be earned instead of received joyfully by faith.
This opening chapter does two things: it presents three of the benefits that we Christians are called upon to "possess" by faith; and it lays a foundation for the chapters that follow, for the basic theme of this book is how you, by faith, can "possess your own possessions!"
POSSESS YOUR RIGHT TO PARDON
Christians often receive forgiveness from God without going on to grasp boldly his full pardon. They know they have escaped the penalty of sin, yet they walk in apprehension, sure that God still remembers every fault, and that he is unwilling to restore them to his full favour. Indeed, it takes a certain tenacity of faith, a certain aggressiveness of spirit, to possess the complete pardon, the full restoration, that the Father freely offers us in Christ.
Simply because every time you step up to the throne, and begin to ask God for some great thing, some mighty miracle, your own conscience (with some assistance from the Accuser) will stand in your way. A voice will whisper in your ear: "Who do you think you are? What right do you have to approach God like this? How dare you ask God for such a splendid gift! Don’t you remember how roughly you spoke to your wife this morning?" And so on ... the list of accusations grows, the remembrance of your guilt intensifies, until you stammer an apology to God for having the effrontery ever to come before him with anything but tears! You cannot imagine how you had the gall to suppose you ever deserved anything from the Father except stern discipline!
But hear what God thinks about the matter: Psalm 103:12; Isaiah 44:22; Hebrews 8:12; and Jeremiah 50:20, which says, "search will be made for your sins, but none will be found." Why won’t they be found? See Micah 7:18-19. How hard it is to find something that has been buried at sea! Those who hunt for shipwrecks often know the exact location where a vessel once sank, yet they cannot find it. The shifting tides and sand do their work well and swallow into oblivion the ships and treasure that fall under their power.
Personal victory, bold access to the throne of grace, authority in prayer, your right to great answers from God, all begin here; that is, with an unwavering assurance that by the Blood of Jesus all memory of your sin has been erased, and that you can come freely before God as his faultless child (Hebrews 4:16; 10:19-23). Do not be denied. Possess your pardon!
Take time also to read the following promises - 1 John 1:9-10; 2:1-2; Titus 2:14; Hebrews 9:14; Revelation 1:5-6; 5:9-10; and many others. Those references all declare in different ways that God has utterly destroyed, not only our sins, but also all evidence of that sin, and even the very memory of it! There is a poetic licence in such statements. It is plain that neither God nor we can literally forget that we have sinned. But the scripture is graphically showing how God is ready to behave toward us as if we had never sinned. In response, he expects us to put the memory of sin out of our minds, and by the Blood of Christ to come freely into his presence.
Note also how the apostle, in Hebrews 6:1, instructs us not to keep on repenting over sins that have already been the subject of repentance. Don’t let Satan block your access to the throne of God by constantly stirring up the memory of sin. When God forgives, he forgets, and is willing to deal with you as if you never had violated any of his commands.
Because of Calvary, you have a right to affirm,
- "Search may be made for my sins, but none will be found! I stand forgiven and restored to the favour of God."