Blessing: Does God promise material blessing for godly living
People reap what they sow in their decisions. The Bible clearly tells us that.
7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
Nearly everyone realizes that wise decisions tend to produce far better outcomes than foolish ones. There’s nothing new about this principle. You’d think everyone would think of that in their decision-making. This principle is ongoing in every generation for both believers and unbelievers. All decisions have their consequences or outcomes. But what about God entering into a life situation today to provide special material blessings for a faithful believer? We do know that God has promised to meet our needs.
19 But my God shall supply all your need [CHREIA = need] according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. [Emphasis added]
Because of this we should always give thanks to God for His daily provision.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. [Emphasis added]
But what about God’s provision of special blessings beyond our needs for our faithfulness? Is there anything in the Bible that promises that? Here’s a passage that is often used as documentation to justify that thinking.
15 See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;
16 In that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments [speaking of the three categories of the Mosaic Law], that thou mayest live and multiply: and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it. [Emphasis added]
Then there’s more on this promised a few verses on down that page.
19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
20 That thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them. [Emphasis added]
There are clearly some temporal material blessings in view here. But what about today? Are there promises akin to this for us today? Is this promise in Deuteronomy in some way TO us? Are we living in a promised land today? Have we been promised peace and prosperity for our faithfulness? Some people, even preachers, think we have. But do we have any such promises in Scripture given to us for our time? We do not! Spiritual blessings, yes! But not material ones! They are not guaranteed for our faithfulness. Health, wealth, and more is not promised to us. Here again, the right division of Scripture proves to be important, even essential for a correct understanding of this.
2 Timothy 2:15
15 Study [SPOUDAZO = be diligent] to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. [Emphasis added]
What God promised the people of Israel and what God has promised us as members of His body are quite different.
The book of Job is probably the oldest book in the Bible. In that day God was providing material blessings for faithfulness. That’s not hard to document with Scripture. The man Job is an example of this.
1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.
2 And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters.
3 His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east. [Emphasis added]
Why are his assets listed taking up space in the Bible? Answer: To show us how God blessed this man materially in that day for his faithfulness to God.
Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 are two whole chapters that describe the material wealth and more that God promised His people Israel for their faithfulness to His teaching—The Mosaic Law. But it is important to note that these promises of blessing for obedience came right along with the promises of curses for disobedience. But these promises were never given to us today as members of The Body of Christ. You won’t find anything to indicate that they were given to us in the writings of the apostle Paul. However, very often portions of these Old Testament chapters are quoted as though they contained promises of blessing or cursing that is addressed to us today. Believing the blessings are promised to us can only lead to disappointment and frustration.
God used Satan and his angels to punish the people of Israel for their disobedience, but we today are not under that kind of conditional blessing because we are not under the dictates of the Mosaic Law, we are said to be under a different program called grace.
14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. [Emphasis added]
Today God blesses us up front at the moment of our salvation with what is spoken of in Scripture as “all spiritual blessings.”
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: [Emphasis added]
This means we share in all the spiritual blessings of Christ as of the moment we obtain salvation. We are then exhorted to live a life that expresses our thanksgiving and our worthiness of that wonderful status.
1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy [AXZIOS = worthy] of the vocation [KALEO = calling] wherewith ye are called, [Emphasis added]
This “call” represents an invitation we were given to participate in these blessings of God. To now walk [or live a life] in a way that expresses our worthiness of this we must learn and apply those things we learn from Scripture that are addressed to us.
9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
To know and enjoy the spiritual blessings we must gain the spiritual understanding of them. We can’t appreciate things we don’t know we have.
10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; [Emphasis added]
It is the function of God’s Word in us that gives us the ability to live a life that’s pleasing to Him no matter what our circumstances may be. With or without the material things of life we’re able to enjoy His rich spiritual blessings. Note Paul’s words on this when he had been going through some rough times of suffering. Here he makes some comments after he had received some much-needed financial help from the believers in Philippi. I assure you that if material wealth was somehow connected to or promised in spiritual maturity, the apostle Paul would have been an extremely materially wealthy man. But he certainly wasn’t!
10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care [MERIMNAO = thoughts] of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful[concerned for his welfare], but ye lacked opportunity[to be of help].
11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
12 I know both how to be abased [TAPEINOO = brought low or humbled], and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
Please note that we need instruction and learning in how to handle both adversity and prosperity. Either one can lead us into foolish thinking that’s brought out into the open by one’s actions. But note that through Christ you can learn to handle either one well.
13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. [Emphasis added]
This means Paul was prepared to properly handle anything that happened to him—prosperity or adversity. Are you?
There are all kinds of things that can happen to any one of us. Life certainly can take some interesting and challenging turns. We shouldn’t ever forget that we live in a cursed world in which you can find and experience suffering of every kind. It was not God but man’s sin that brought this situation about.
22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. [Emphasis added]
This “redemption of the body” is the occasion when we as believers will all get a new and perfect body with all the wonderful attributes of Christ’s resurrection body. Then there will no longer be any suffering at all for us. Suffering will then always be something of the past. [For the detail regarding the attributes our resurrection body with have, please see my article about it—Resurrection: What will your resurrection body be like?] But for now, we live in a cursed creation, including a world that is the cause of suffering of every kind. If we make foolish decisions in that, we compound the problem. It is Christ alone who is our true source of hope, that is, our confidence about our future for time and eternity.
13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. [Emphasis added]
Satan’s primary work today is to keep you distracted from Christ and His Word by the material things of the creation. He will use anything in this world to accomplish that.
1 Timothy 4:1
1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times [the time between the two advents of Christ] some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils [DAIMONION = demons (there’s only one devil, but there are many demons)][Emphasis added].
The primary doctrine of Satan is put forth to cause you to think that you don’t need God and that you should live your life apart from His influence. This way you can be a god unto yourself, determining for yourself what you think is good or evil.
The “peace and prosperity gospel” is widespread today. But people have to quote passages outside the writings of the apostle Paul to biblically justify their beliefs. The “peace and prosperity” God offers for our time inner peace and spiritual prosperity. You may be one who gets to enjoy a life of material prosperity, but it won’t be because of your spirituality. It will be because you applied God’s laws of economics and live in a country where that’s permitted. Yes, we can and should give thanks for everything we have materially and otherwise because without God allowing it, we wouldn’t get to enjoy any of it.