A few weeks ago I wrote a blog titled, “Done, Done, Done”, and in it there was some good teaching on Grace. We must learn what Grace truly is, and what God wants us to do with it. Why? Because if we don’t learn about Grace properly, then we will abuse grace or never use it properly.
Many Christians, world-wide, are consumed with the wrath and judgment of God. They don’t just ignore it, but they attack the idea of Grace. I have read countless articles where pastors and theologians clearly misunderstand Grace, where they inaccurately assume that Grace is something it isn’t and they attack people like us for being too focused on Grace. I get it. I used to be like them. I used to be a Pharisee, where I was so focused on traditions and doctrines of men that I couldn’t see God working in people, and I used to be focused on identifying false prophets. But I rejoice in the fact that God’s Grace is unconditional, in that no matter what and how many sins I commit, His grace covers every single one. Over the years He has taught me a lot about those errors I had. I’m not consumed with false prophets anymore; because I learned that anyone who perverts the Grace of God is a false prophet (Jude 1:4)… most of the people who are consumed with judgment and wrath are actually false prophets according to scripture. Jude says that Grace is transformed into something it isn’t by ungodly people. When we get confused about the character of God, we start to give Him our characteristics, and in turn try to paint Him in our image. When this happens, we focus on things we aren’t supposed to, which in turn causes us to turn to things that aren’t of God, or aren’t what we are called to do.
For example: forgiveness vs judgment. Matthew 6:14, Mark 11:25, Ephesians 4:32, Colossians 3:13 and many others all tell us to forgive and to not judge people for their sins. Colossians 4:6, Romans 5:21, 2 Corinthians 4:15, and Proverbs 22:11 and many others tell us to pour out grace to people no matter what they are doing. Jesus was documented by Matthew, Mark, and Luke as teaching that we are not to judge, but instead we should focus on Grace.
And then there’s Matthew 18. Many times, I find that people want to use Matthew 18:15-20 as excuse to treat others poorly, or even to kick them out of church. They use this passage to validate their behavior. But keep reading, don’t stop at verse 20. Verse 21-22 is a very well-known passage, but seldom linked to the passage about “how to deal with a brother who sins against you.” This is the place where Jesus told Peter he must forgive someone 70 times 7 times for every single offense, every day. So should we have a reason to kick someone out of our group or church? Not if we are forgiving them 70 times 7… I would encourage you to read the whole chapter. Read verse 35 with me now:
Matthew 18:35-“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”
I would like to ask you to please spend some extra time today and re-read the blog dated from 9/9 titled, “Done, Done, Done.”, because it really addresses God’s Grace. Don’t get caught up in wrath and judgment. Romans 5:16 begins with the subject of judgment, but quickly shifts to Grace. Grace has the final word! Focusing on wrath and judgment, when we have been called to give Grace in abundance, is a terrible sin. So let us focus on Grace, not abusing it or misusing it. Let us no longer battle with the lie that wrath and judgment ever advance the Kingdom of God. All they have every done is reset the Kindgom…
We need to grow in Grace. This can only be done by practicing giving Grace, by blessing those who don’t know the Truth and are not free from it. Let us learn to Stand on the Grace of God, to partner with His Grace, and to give out His Grace freely to all we see, because we all need His grace. After all, His Grace covers a multitude of sins. Bless you.
“Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin!”
There isn’t a more beautiful gift from God than grace. Grace has been generally defined as “generous, free and totally unexpected and undeserved – that takes the form of divine favor, love, clemency, and a share in the divine life of God. It is an attribute of God that is most manifest in the salvation of sinners.”
Each of us knows what grace is. Ephesians 2:8 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Our salvation has come by grace. God has pardoned us, covering every single one of our sins with His grace.
But why? Why has God covered us with His grace? Some would try to teach us (incorrectly) that His grace is so great that it will cover everything you do, so go do what you want. We call that “hyper-grace” and it is a terrible lie of the devil. You don’t get to sin and get away with it. You don’t get to abuse the grace of God. Paul wrote in Romans 6:1-2
“What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?”
Either we have died to sin, and the old human nature- and are alive in Christ, living by the Spirit, and partakers of the divine nature- or we have not died to sin, and still live by the carnal nature. There are a lot of Christians that live carnally, as they feed their soul and cater to their fleshly senses. That is why Paul was so focused on teaching about God’s grace. God’s grace is intended to do something for us. In Romans 3, Paul introduces God’s grace, and then teaches about it in Romans 4. In Romans 5, he explains that we are actually supposed to stand on Grace (Romans 5:2).
In Galatians 5, Paul wrote that if we are led by the Spirit, we will not gratify the sinful nature. However, if we are led by our flesh, then the old sinful nature will abound.
Even with all of Paul’s teachings, we still struggle with Grace. Many Christians are fixated on “hyper-grace” when in reality they are teaching a limited grace. Somewhere in the middle, Grace abounds for both. The Pharisees hated grace. They were such sticklers of the Law that they ended up killing Jesus, and then hunting down anyone who followed Him. And Peter got caught up in that mindset, which is why Paul wrote about the whole situation in Galatians 2 (starts in verse 11).
Many people get lost in the confusion surrounding grace… The truth is Grace covers all of your sins- past, and future. Romans 3:23-24 says that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all have been justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Jesus’ blood. But don’t use that truth to try to sin and get away with it.
And one more thing: extend grace to people who don’t deserve it- just as God has given you grace even though you don’t deserve it. Romans 6:14 says, “For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.” So the truth is that if you live by the Spirit, you are no longer under the Law, you are under grace. And if you are under grace, then give that grace to all, forgiving them for every wrong they have done, just as you have been forgiven. Freely you have been given, so freely give. Bless you.
Sometimes I feel that life is filled with distractions. It just seems like everything that crosses my path every day is trying to steal my time with the Lord. A lot of the time, I’m the culprit as much as I am the victim. I woke up this morning wanting to watch a football game. I didn’t want to pray, read scripture, or worship. I just didn’t feel like it.
So when I grabbed my phone, I checked to see if anyone had called or messaged me over night, and found that someone had indeed texted me: “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. James 3:13. Learn from ourselves and other’s mistakes! Use them to move on to a better future. Be wise. Much love and respect…”
I then opened my Bible app to read the scripture for today, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8
I thanked God for His wonderful goodness. Today, Jews all over the world are celebrating the Day of Atonement, the day where their sins are forgiven. In the Old Testament Torah, the rule is “eye for eye” and “soul for soul”. The only thing that can pay redemption (p’dion, פדיון ) for the soul of a sinner is the soul of a perfectly righteous man. Since they don’t believe in Jesus, they don’t have anyone to pay for all of their sins. So today on the streets of Jerusalem you will find venders selling “atonement” to people. The people go to these venders and pay a small fee (an offering) and the vender (a Jewish, modern day Pharisee) will hold up an empty envelope over their head and wave it ceremonially for their sins to be forgiven for the past year.
Zechariah saw this practice being done in his day and wrote, “pour out the spirit of grace and supplication upon the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and they will look upon Me whom they have pierced” – Zechariah 12:10.
Oh that the world would truly see Jesus! That is precisely why it is up to us to live as Jesus did, love as Jesus loved, walk as Jesus walked, and to imitate God, to be His ambassador. We must live boldly. Our Faith must be put on display! Not our politics, not our feelings, not our desires… Jesus. He is waiting. The world is waiting. All of creation is waiting for you to boldly and faithfully put Jesus on display today. Not to be a “nice and good Christian”, but to be the real deal.
He has chosen to reveal Himself through you. You don’t need to get all cleaned up and pure before you go out… Jesus has already done that. He has made you Holy, without blemish, and above reproach. You are His chosen and dearly loved heir. Just boldly walk in faith today. Be a blessing. Set captives free. With Boldness…
Our relationship with God is both simple and complicated, isn’t it? It’s simple in how clear it is about what God has done for us & what we are to do, but it is complicated (or rather can become complicated) in that it isn’t necessarily clear about HOW we are to do it.
This morning, I read Romans 5, and I saw the simplicity and complications right there in the text. It tells us that we have been justified by Jesus because of our faith, and that justification produces peace with God. It then tells us that we are to stand on His grace. Let me take a moment to explain something here: If you are standing on God’s wrath, if you stand on being critical of others, or if you stand on fear (for a few examples) then you will not have peace with God. Peace with God comes from standing on His grace, alone. So when people make mistakes, or when they do bad things on purpose to entice you, and you aren’t standing on God’s grace then you will be unable to forgive people or extend grace to them. Not only are we to extend grace, but we are to rejoice when suffering because we understand how God uses those difficult moments to teach us and transform us since we are standing on His grace. Standing on His grace allows God to transform us.
And then Paul began to really teach us. In Romans 5:6 he introduced the topic of sin. Most people know Romans 5:8- “But God demonstrates His love for us in this: While we were yet sinning, Christ died for us.” From there, Paul takes us into some amazing truths, but when I get to verse 12 I see something very profound: Sin entered the world through Adam, and because sin was rampant, death reigned because the wages of sin is death- sin brings death. Death reigned (past tense). The gift of God, which is Jesus, came because of grace came to all men.
In verse 16, Paul wrote, “The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification.” And continued in verse 17, “For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.” There is a lot of amazing things to address here! Death reigned because of Adam’s single sin. When are we going to realize that death doesn’t come from God? Death comes from sin… But if we can stand on the Grace of God, which is never in short supply, then death cannot reign in your life! You can only serve one master, either you serve God or you serve something that isn’t God. If you live on God’s grace, giving it freely and abundantly, then you will live free from sin and death. Righteousness comes from Faith. Grace comes from Faith. Righteousness and grace cannot be separated. You are considered righteous when you pour out grace willingly, freely, and abundantly to ALL who test your faith.
Do you see it? The Gospel is simple: give grace to all people, no matter what they do. Forgive them. Don’t hold their faults against them. Don’t allow yourself to be offended by anything people say or do because it is a sign that you are not standing on God’s grace. The Gospel is also very complicated because it is so difficult to always give grace to people, especially when someone has learned they can constantly get away with things because you will forgive them. People say to me often, “Jeff, if you always give grace and always forgive them, they won’t change. You have to hold people accountable.” They are right to an extent. We must hold people accountable when they aren’t standing on Grace. We are to help people who don’t know how to do that. But we cannot use that as an excuse to misrepresent God, who holds no sin against us.
Jesus already made you righteous. He already paid for your sins. He already made you holy. He already gave you His Holy Spirit. So you don’t have to do anything about these things, but to simply stand on His works and grace. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not “Do, do, do!” but is “Done! Done! Done!” Therefore rest in Him, and bless others with Joy and Hope.
For the past few weeks, this blog has been addressing the overall topic of Walking with God, and today we will continue along this line of thought.
Zephaniah 3:17- The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”
I love this scripture because it clearly explains one of the truths about your relationship with God. He is with you, He is for you, He loves you, and He wants to bless you. He doesn’t rebuke you, but instead sings over you with joy.
What would happen if we actually partnered with this scripture and allowed God to quiet all the stuff that goes on in our lives? We have so much noise and distraction around us these days, and our society seems to encourage even more. There is so much indignation in our world today that it is nearly impossible to have a civil conversation anymore. We don’t listen, but instead simply try to make people agree with us, even when we know we don’t have all the facts ourselves. It is far too easy to get consumed with being critical with everything around us, where we cry out for “justice”, never realizing we are really just throwing a tantrum because we haven’t gotten our way. Our phones feed us such negativity, that we end up joining crusades against it, missing the whole point of this scripture. We think it is our job to fight against all the devil is doing, constantly missing the heart of God to rest in Him.
Bob Jones prophesied that the decade of 2020-2030 would be a decade of rest for God’s children. How interesting is it that as soon as 2020 began, chaos and noise seemed to explode all over the world? Fear has been prominent worldwide, and it is difficult to see a real difference between Christians and non-Christians. Oh, the issues clearly define sides of arguments, issues, and politics, but Fear motivates both sides. This prophecy, however, describes God’s people as people who rest in the midst of chaos and injustice, because they trust in God.
Zephaniah prophesied about an age of rest, when God would give rest for His people, and they would simply listen to Him sing over them. The other day, I had a revelation about Adam. Adam was created at the end of the 6th day, and that little bit of information is huge. He was created at the END of the day. So his first real day was day 7, God’s Sabbath. He was the last thing God created. I have a question for you: What did Adam see God do on his first day of existence? Answer: Adam saw God rest. He did not see God do any work! Adam was created into an inheritance of rest, and when he sinned Adam left God’s rest. I have a second question for you: What specifically caused Adam to leave God’s rest? Answer: Genesis 3:10. Adam told God, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” This tells me that Adam said Fear caused his relationship with God to break. Fear causes us to leave God’s presence and damage our relationship with God. Equally, Loving God, trusting Him, and resting in Him brings great reward. As scripture says, “God rewards those who diligently seek Him.”
When Adam let fear get between him and God, he transformed from someone who never needed anything and lived in God’s presence into a man struggling to just stay alive. Adam went from joy and rest to fear and toil.
Jesus came to bring us back into the 7th day, a day of rest. Hebrews 4:1-3a says, “Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed. Now we who have believed enter that rest,…”
We have been given an option to enter in to His rest, but we cannot bring anything with us into it. Truly, we have to leave everything behind us in order to enter His rest.
In order to walk with the Lord, daily, we need to stop fighting the devil. Stop. He is already defeated. Rest in God. You don’t have to fight, and you surely don’t need to argue or get people to believe you. You need to rest in Him. I need to rest in Him. God made us to rest, and He is calling each of us to join Him in resting. It’s interesting; day 7 of creation is the only day that didn’t have an evening and a morning. I believe that means He is still there, resting and enjoying His creation. So stop what you’re doing and ignore “how you feel”, and focus/behold Him, and enter into His rest, because without it we look like everyone else.