Are You of the Works of the Law, or Are You of Faith? (Part 3)

by Creflo Dollar | 15 Sep 2019

Summary

Living by the works of the law instead of by faith negatively impacts our entire belief system. The mindset that says we must do something for God, first, to get Him to do something for us puts us in bondage. This is wrong-thinking, because it brings about shame and condemnation when we fail to do what we think is necessary to be blessed. Performance-based religion is sin. By contrast, when we are of faith, we believe that Jesus has finished everything necessary for us to be blessed; releasing our faith this way allows us to take possession of what has already been done. Believing the right thing, first, causes us to verbally confess the right thing, and act on our faith in Christ. This causes the same blessings that Abraham received to show up in our lives.

  1. We are justified by the faith of Jesus Christ. What we believe controls what we do.
    1. We are in spiritual warfare against the devil. Faith is a powerful weapon we use to maintain the victory that Jesus obtained for us.
      1. …And this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith (1 John 5:4).
      2. We are already healed, prosperous, redeemed, and delivered. Our faith requires that we open our mouths and speak the truth.
      3. Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy (Psalm 107:2).
    2. Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified (Galatians 2:16).
      1. We are not made righteous through self-effort.
      2. “The works of the law” are our efforts to operate through the merit system to deserve something.
      3. If we operate by the merit system, we will end up feeling condemned when we fail. We are not justified this way.
    3. …Think how much more the blood of Christ cleans up our whole lives, inside and out. Through the Spirit, Christ offered himself as an unblemished sacrifice, freeing us from all those dead-end efforts to make ourselves respectable, so that we can live all out for God (Hebrews 9:14, 15, MSG).
      1. Any effort we make must be a result of our faith in the finished works of Jesus.
      2. As Christians, our first act should be to believe; everything else follows right-believing.
      3. “Dead-end efforts” are the religious things we do to try to deserve what Jesus did. We are free from these when we release our faith and simply receive.
      4. It is God’s nature to give us good things we do not deserve, because He is good. This is something the rich young ruler did not understand.
      5. And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God (Mark 10:17, 18).
  1. Mosaic Law has ended. To experience the results we want in life, we must use our faith.
    1. 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 (Deuteronomy 28:1, 2).
      1. The law was an agreement between God and Jewish people that required them to meet all the conditions before being blessed.
      2. Most churches do not rightly divide the Word; therefore, they are still under this conditional agreement.
      3. We are now under grace; grace is of faith.
    2. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith (Galatians 3:9-14).
      1. We must believe that all of the blessings of Abraham are ours; we do not have to earn them.
      2. We believe we are blessed not because we see it, but because God said it.
      3. We need the same type of faith the Shunammite woman displayed. When her son died, she still declared that all was well (2 Kings 4:23).
      4. We need faith like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Despite being thrown into the fiery furnace, they were not burned and did not even smell like smoke (Daniel 3:27).
      5. Faith is not required to live by self-effort because performance is part of the merit system.
      6. Whoever did not keep all the law was cursed (Deuteronomy 28:15).
    3. For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect (Romans 4:14).
      1. The law is not of faith. Therefore, if we try to operate in faith under the law, our faith will be made empty and useless.
  1. There is too much emphasis on our doing and not enough on believing what Christ did.
    1. We must not ignore God’s command to believe by trying to do something.
      1. Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth (Mark 9:23).
      2. As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe (Mark 5:36).
      3. Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent” (John 6:29, NLT).
    2. Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof (Proverbs 18:21).
      1. If we look at this through the eyes of the law, we will think our confession is more important than believing what Jesus has done. It is a mistake to think that good confessions will lead to a good life.
      2. If we believe right, first, then we can confess the right confessions with power and authority.
    3. We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak (2 Corinthians 4:13).
      1. Our conviction determines our confessions. When we believe what Christ did, the right speech comes from that belief.
      2. When Moses struck the rock in Horeb and water flowed from it (Exodus 17:6), he believed what God told him, and his actions lined up with his belief. However, when God later told him to speak to the rock for water, he instead struck it (Numbers 20:7-11). Although Moses did not perform right this time, water still came from the rock because of God’s love for His people.
      3. Striking the rock was self-effort; speaking to it was God’s way of showing the people what was available to them.
      4. Water flowed from the rock despite Moses’ mistake. The takeaway here is that we cannot take credit for the good things that happen; it is God’s love that causes them.