2018 Grace Life Conference (Session 1
9 Jul 2018
When we examine the subject of grace, we must remember that it involves believing, not performing. It is a misunderstanding to think that grace is a license to sin, however, because holiness is still the objective of grace. The old covenant of the Law of Moses required constant self-effort to do everything right, but Jesus set us free from this type of bondage when He came and established the new covenant of grace. Accepting His finished works brings us from captivity and darkness to freedom and light. Because of what Christ did, we can call ourselves Christians. We no longer have to work to be righteous because, now, faith in Him makes us righteous. Most churches still preach the old religious “must do” mindset, but we are liberated when we accept God’s message of “already done.”
- Grace makes salvation available to us by faith. We no longer have to work for it.
- For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith (Romans 1:16, 17).
- We can say that we are righteous, but we must believe it.
- Faith is not required when we live by the law, but it is required when we consider what Jesus has done.
- To believe means to rely on, be persuaded by, or have confidence in.
- The law is about self-effort, which leads to self-righteousness, and then pride. Grace points us to what Jesus did, not what we do.
- Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent (John 6:28, 29).
- Under the law, the question is what we must do to fulfill God’s requirements for us. Work and performance was correct under the first covenant, and it applies to those who are still living under it. However, the new covenant requires belief, not works.
- We must rely on, have confidence in, and be persuaded by Jesus.
- If we really believe something, it will give birth to an action. Nothing in true Christianity is earned; it is about faith, not works.
- We must not undervalue belief as the underpinnings of action. Faith in Jesus is enough, and nothing more is needed.
- We’re rooting for the truth to win out in you... (2 Corinthians 13:8, MSG).
- When Paul preached grace to the Corinthians, he did not berate or condemn them for their sinful acts. He reminded them of who they were in Christ.
- Jesus willingly went to the cross to replace the requirements of the law with grace.
- The cross marked the point of the great exchange.
- Jesus, who was not a sinner, took on our sins and became sin itself. We, who were apart from righteousness, became righteous because of this act.
- Jesus made the exchange in order to qualify to go to hell, to deliver the captives. He preached the gospel there, and then was raised from the dead on the third day.
- Jesus became a curse for us because He received our sins. He took them to the grave, but rose without them.
- Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth (1 Peter 2:22).
- For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him (2 Corinthians 5:21).
- And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin (1 John 3:5).
- So also Christ was offered once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him (Hebrews 9:28, NLT).
- Whatever is true about Jesus is also true about us. This is all we need to focus on.
- …Because as he is, so are we in this world (1 John 4:17).
- Correspondingly, whatever is not true about Jesus is not true about us. Jesus is not broke, sick, or defeated; therefore, we do not need to accept this about us.
- We receive God’s promises when we believe. No empty works are needed.
- The Holy Spirit needs an opportunity to work in us. We must resist the religious mindset to “do” something to be righteous. Jesus is enough, and we do not have to add our own righteous acts to what He did.
- When we start believing right, we will be transformed from “doing” because we feel we must, to doing because we want to.
- For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his (Hebrews 4:10).
- We must ask ourselves if we have entered into the rest resulting from Jesus’ finished works. This gives us rest from ceaseless “righteous” works.
- And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness (Genesis 15:6).
- When God declares us righteous, He treats us as such. We do not have to earn righteousness.
- Grace was operating even before the law came. God treated Abraham as righteous even in the midst of Abraham’s bad behavior.
- We are righteous not only because we believe, but also because God said it. We cannot sin away our righteousness; God has already dealt with our sins.
- We are now forgiven and God has stopped counting our sins against us. This is a basic tenet of the new covenant.
- For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more (Hebrews 8:12).
- Grace is the answer to sin, not a license to sin.
- God blessed Abraham despite Abraham’s mistakes because Abraham believed God.
- And Abraham journeyed from thence toward the south country, and dwelled between Kadesh and Shur, and sojourned in Gerar. And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister: and Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah. But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, thou art but a dead man, for the woman which thou hast taken; for she is a man's wife. But Abimelech had not come near her: and he said, Lord, wilt thou slay also a righteous nation? Said he not unto me, She is my sister? and she, even she herself said, He is my brother: in the integrity of my heart and innocency of my hands have I done this. And God said unto him in a dream, Yea, I know that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart; for I also withheld thee from sinning against me: therefore suffered I thee not to touch her. Now therefore restore the man his wife; for he is a prophet, and he shall pray for thee, and thou shalt live: and if thou restore her not, know thou that thou shalt surely die, thou, and all that are thine. Therefore Abimelech rose early in the morning, and called all his servants, and told all these things in their ears: and the men were sore afraid (Genesis 20:1-8).
- God showed grace to the people to deliver them from Egypt and parted the sea for them to escape. God did this not because of their behavior, but because of who He is.
- Abraham lied about his wife, yet God showed him favor and gave him increase. Nothing about Abraham’s behavior made him deserve God’s goodness.
- Then Abimelech called Abraham, and said unto him, What hast thou done unto us? and what have I offended thee, that thou hast brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? thou hast done deeds unto me that ought not to be done. And Abimelech said unto Abraham, What sawest thou, that thou hast done this thing? And Abraham said, Because I thought, Surely the fear of God is not in this place; and they will slay me for my wife's sake. And yet indeed she is my sister; she is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife. And it came to pass, when God caused me to wander from my father's house, that I said unto her, This is thy kindness which thou shalt shew unto me; at every place whither we shall come, say of me, He is my brother. And Abimelech took sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and womenservants, and gave them unto Abraham, and restored him Sarah his wife. And Abimelech said, Behold, my land is before thee: dwell where it pleaseth thee. And unto Sarah he said, Behold, I have given thy brother a thousand pieces of silver: behold, he is to thee a covering of the eyes, unto all that are with thee, and with all other: thus she was reproved. So Abraham prayed unto God: and God healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his maidservants; and they bare children. For the Lord had fast closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech, because of Sarah Abraham's wife (Genesis 20:9-18).
- Religion tells us we cannot pray if we are not righteous enough, but God heard Abraham’s prayer.
- The curse was brought onto the house of Abimelech because of Abraham, but God used Abraham to lift the curse afterward.
- And the Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did unto Sarah as he had spoken. For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him (Genesis 21:1, 2).
- Although Sarah had not believed God previously, she still conceived. None of the blessings were deserved, but they took place because Abraham believed.
- We must believe we are the righteousness of God, no matter how many times we miss the mark.
Romans 1:16, 17
1 John 4:17
John 6:28, 29
2 Corinthians 13:8, MSG
1 Peter 2:22
2 Corinthians 5:21
1 John 3:5
Hebrews 9:28, NLT
Genesis 21:1, 2