The Word of God: The Final Authority

by Creflo Dollar | 9 Jun 2018

Summary

When we are expecting things from God, it is important to be aware of the covenant under which we are living. We can expect different things from each agreement, and we do not want to live in expectation of something that is not in the agreement. God wants to bless us abundantly, but a religious mindset will keep us struggling and wondering why we are not receiving from Him. The Law of Moses was only between God and the Jews, but the current covenant of grace is between God and Jesus; all believers—Jew and Gentile alike—are the beneficiaries. The old covenant was based on performance and God’s blessings were contingent on how well the people kept the law. The new covenant is based on faith; the only requirement to be blessed is to be born again and accept what Jesus has already done. This means that to see any manifestations from God, we no longer have to perform empty works, but simply use our faith consistently.

  1. We must know the difference between law-based and grace-based teachings.
    1. Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).
      1. Usually, when we do not understand what is being preached, it is because we are not rightly dividing the Word.
      2. We get confused when we hear something that is not grounded in the Bible as our final authority.
    2. Study  and be eager  and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing  and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15, AMPC).
      1. The books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are actually extensions of the Old Testament. If we take things we read from these books and try to apply them to our lives, we are still operating under the law. This is wrong-believing.
    3. And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God. Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field…But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee: Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field (Deuteronomy 28:1-3, 15, 16).
      1. This covenant was conditional and based on man’s performance. It operated by the “if-then” principle.
      2. Most churches still preach the “do good, get good; do bad, get bad” doctrine. This is only true for people still living under this agreement.
  1. Jesus was the only one who could keep the entire law. We must believe on Him.
    1. Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled (Matthew 5:17, 18).
      1. Jesus was the only one who could keep all the law. Under the law, a blood sacrifice was required to take care of sin. Jesus was that sacrifice.
      2. In the Old Testament, the people agreed to obey what God said.
      3. And all the people answered together, and said, All that the Lord hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the Lord (Exodus 19:8).
      4. They failed to keep God’s Word, which was why God gave Moses the Ten Commandments.
    2. And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments (Matthew 19:16, 17).
      1. Jesus was still operating under the law until His death; therefore, the requirements for being saved were the ones required by law. If we operate under these requirements, we will have to perform.
    3. And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house (Acts 16:30, 31).
      1. The requirements for salvation under the law differed from the requirements under grace.
      2. The new covenant only requires faith for us to be saved; works are no longer necessary.
  1. For those who live by faith, the rules of life have radically changed for the better.
    1. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace (Romans 6:14).
      1. Sin dominates our lives when we live under the law. The law was designed to increase sin, but we are no longer subject to it.
      2. Many churches around the world still live by the law because they are not interpreting the Bible correctly.
    2. And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses (Mark 11:25, 26).
      1. Although Jesus, Himself, uttered these words, He said them while He was still under the law.
    3. Under the law, men had to perform and forgive first, in order to receive forgiveness from God. The covenant of grace radically changed the requirements for forgiveness by replacing works with belief.
      1. For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses (Matthew 6:14, 15).
      2. And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you (Ephesians 4:32).
      3. Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye (Colossians 3:13).
    4. The law stressed that people had to work hard to love God with all their might. Grace reminds us that God loved us first, so that we can be empowered to love others.
      1. And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment (Mark 12:30).
      2. We love him, because he first loved us (1 John 4:19).
  1. Grace does perfectly what the Law of Moses could never do: it makes us holy.
    1. Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert (Isaiah 43:18, 19).
      1. “The former things” is the old covenant; “a new thing” is the new covenant. This is a prophecy of the coming of the covenant of grace.
      2. Many people are not even aware that the new covenant has already been established.
      3. Grace breaks the yoke the law lays on people.
      4. Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly (Matthew 11:28-30, MSG).
    2. But then Law came in, [only] to expand  and increase the trespass [making it more apparent and exciting opposition]. But where sin increased and abounded, grace (God’s unmerited favor) has surpassed it  and increased the more  and superabounded (Romans 5:20, AMPC).
      1. The Ten Commandments were not given to make men holy, but to increase awareness of sin.
      2. Before the law was given, Abraham lied, but back then there was no law yet against lying.
      3. The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law (1 Corinthians 15:56).
      4. The law was designed to show us what was wrong with us, but it could not correct the problem. Under grace, the Holy Spirit shows us what to do to fix the problem.
    3. Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,  For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine (1 Timothy 1:9, 10).
      1. The law was only for Jewish people, but the covenant of grace is for everyone who believes.

Scripture References

2 Timothy 2:15

2 Timothy 2:15, AMPC

Deuteronomy 28:1-3, 15, 16

Matthew 5:17, 18

Exodus 19:8

Matthew 19:16, 17

Acts 16:30, 31

Romans 6:14

Mark 11:25, 26

Matthew 6:14, 15

Ephesians 4:32

Colossians 3:13

Mark 12:30

1 John 4:19

Isaiah 43:18, 19

Matthew 11:28-30, MSG

Romans 5:20, AMPC

1 Corinthians 15:56

1 Timothy 1:9, 10