In the early hours one morning this week I had the word "ask" upon my mind and heart. This drew me to God's Word to find appropriate verses about "asking", which led in turn to passages about the freeness of God's grace toward us in Christ to meet all our needs. I've placed these verses on cards for review and memory.
Here are five verses on the topic of "you have", followed by five verses on "...now ask."
"And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace." (John 1:16) In Christ's fullness we have received... "grace upon grace" which emphasizes ongoing supply. Each day has needs, and each day the Lord has supplied grace.
"He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" (Romans 8:32) This follows Paul's teaching that God's salvation extends from eternity past to eternity future. From foreknowledge and predestination, and calling to justification and final glorification, all things are ordered and secured for us. It is a complete salvation and God has made provision for every step of the way.
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,..." (Ephesians 1:3) Every spiritual blessing... every good thing needed for us to glorify God and to make it safely home. These blessings are in Christ, and we are in Christ (united to him). They are our spiritual blessings for life in this world.
"For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority." (Colossians 2:9-10) Verse 10a in the NAS version reads, "and in Him you have been made complete..." Again, everything we need, a fullness of supply in Christ. We are complete in Christ and adequate to face anything in life (see also Philippians 4:13, 19)
"His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, ..." (2 Peter 1:3-4) All things pertaining to life and godliness. Not necessarily all things that we might wish we had, but all things related to our life and growth in the Lord have been granted to us.
"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." (Matthew 7:7) Ask, and keep asking... and a three-fold emphasis: ask, seek, knock... We should stretch out the hand of faith to receive from God what we need. We are to be active in applying faith.
"Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full." (John 16:24) He promises that we will receive. We should pray, expecting to receive. And we should know that the Lord desires our joy to be full.
"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him." (James 1:5) He gives generously, without begrudging our need. He goes on to say we must ask in faith and not be double-minded.
"You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions." (James 4:2b-3) Problems we may face: either we don't ask for what we need, or we ask selfishly to meet sinful desires.
"And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him." (1 John 5:14-15) We can have confidence... he hears us... we can know we will receive... so we can ask! We should know the promises of God -- those things he has promised to us as his children -- and these we may bring to him with confidence that he hears us and will answer.
Here are a couple of thoughts on the Christian life from William Romaine, an 18th century pastor...
"The Holy Spirit, having thus brought them [believers] to the happy knowledge of their union with Christ, afterwards glorifies him in their walk and conduct, by teaching them how to live by faith upon his fullness, and to be continually receiving out of it grace for grace, according to their continual needs...
"The happiness of this state consists in an abundant supply of all spiritual blessings, freely given to him in Christ, and received as they are needed, by the hand of faith, out of the fullness of Christ...
"Go to him with confidence. You cannot do him greater honor than to receive from him what he has to give. That is glorifying him. It is putting the crown upon his head, and confessing him to be a perfect, all-sufficient Christ, when it pleases you, as it did his Father, that in him should all fullness dwell, and when you are content to live out of yourself upon his fullness, for the supply of all your needs in time and in eternity. To live thus upon him is his glory, and it is your privilege, your interest, and your happiness."
~ William Romaine, The Life of Faith (London, 1764)
Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.