What does it mean to ‘claim’ the promises of God?
A quick study of the definition and origin of the word is surprisingly enriching. Turns out the root word of ‘claim’ come from Latin and Old French words meaning to DECLARE, to CALL OUT or CRY OUT. Often when we ‘claim’ a promise of God we ‘cry out’ to Him, reminding Him and ourselves of something He has said and asking that it be actualized in our present situation or need.
In law The term means “a request or demand for payment” in accordance with some prior “contract” or “agreement.” The Bible speaks of God’s “covenant” with His people.
In 2 Cor. 6:16-18 Paul cites several O.T promises of God.
“I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
“Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.”
“I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” (See Lev. 26:12; Jer. 32:38; Ezek. 37:27; Isa. 52:11; Ezek. 20:34,41; 2 Sam. 7:14; 7:8).
Paul had been speaking to them about the sin of being joined in some way to an unbeliever–reminding them of their obligation to live purely as a people separated to God. Then he writes, “Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.” (2 Cor. 7:1)
Knowing the promises of God is one thing; ‘claiming’ them changes your behavior.
At least once in scripture we see a man holding the Almighty to His Word or Character. Abraham declared, “Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?” (Gen. 18:25). And years later Moses cried out
“Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, to whom you swore by your own self: ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and I will give your descendants all this land I promised them, and it will be their inheritance forever.’” Then the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.” (Exod. 32:13-14)
When I think of the word ‘claim’ the first thing to come to my mind is a prospector. In the late 1800s an estimated 100,000 seekers of fortune flooded the Klondike in search of gold. Finding it, they registered a ‘claim’ on the pristine property indicating the land and it’s resources were theirs.
In Christ God has given us “very great and precious promises” (2 Pet. 1:4). God loves it when we call out to claim His promises, for it demonstrates to Him our faith in what He has said.
The promises of God are yours as a sinner made saint in Christ. Get out your Bible… start digging… stake some ‘claims.’