Are You of the Works of the Law, or Are You of Faith? (Part 4)

by Creflo Dollar | 22 Sep 2019

Summary

It is extremely important to know the difference between being of the works of the law versus being of faith. Under the law, we depend on our own efforts to deserve something from God. Religion tells us we must do something to get blessed; however, where God is concerned, our dead-end works get us nowhere. By comparison, when we are under grace and believe what Jesus did, we begin to distinguish the difference between law-based “doing” and grace-based “done.” We cannot be made righteous both by faith and by works; believing this will make us double-minded and block manifestations in our lives. Performance-based Christianity is sin, because the only true righteousness is Christ’s righteousness. Like faithful Abraham, our belief in God results in blessings for which we are not responsible.

  1. We cannot do what God has already done. Our efforts only amount to dead works.
    1. Everything we receive and all that we are is based on what Jesus has already done, not on what we can do to make things happen. Our faith in Him, not our good behavior, makes us right with God.
      1. 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).
      2. Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law (Galatians 2:16, NLT).
    2. We need to be delivered from our self-efforts. We must not think that what we do makes us godlier than what Jesus did.
      1. And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work (Romans 11:6).
      2. And since it is through God’s kindness, then it is not by their good works. For in that case, God’s grace would not be what it really is—free and undeserved (Romans 11:6, NLT).
    3. For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death (Romans 7:5).
      1. Being “in the flesh” is not sinning, but trying to perform under the law. This applies to more than one level.
      2. Going on a fast to get God to move is being in the flesh. Coming to church to deserve the right to be blessed is being in the flesh. Also, praying and begging God to do what He has already done is in the flesh.
  1. We are made righteous in God’s eyes by faith in Christ, not by anything we do.
    1. What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness (Romans 4:1-5).
      1. Abraham may not have been a model citizen, but he was a model of God’s grace. He had a covenant with God which extended to all his descendants. Through Jesus, we are part of Abraham’s family.
      2. Abraham’s righteousness did not come through his self-efforts, but through his faith in God. Our salvation, healing, deliverance, prosperity, and everything else Jesus finished for us come the same way—by believing.
      3. We must never diminish the power of belief. Jesus, alone, will always be enough; we do not need to add anything to what He did.
      4. If the blessing is a reward for our good behavior, then we can take the credit for earning it. If it is a gift, however, then Jesus gets the credit.
      5. What we do does not send us to hell or get us into heaven, but what we believe.
    2. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth (Romans 10:3, 4).
      1. The Jews did not know or believe in righteousness by faith, only in righteousness by works.
      2. It is impossible to establish our own righteousness.
      3. If we believe our righteousness comes by our own works and that it is a gift, we are double-minded.
      4. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways (James 1:7, 8).
      5. And the law is not of faith… (Galatians 3:12).
  1. Our belief in the finished works of Jesus, not our good behavior, is what matters to God.
    1. In the same way, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” The real children of Abraham, then, are those who put their faith in God. What’s more, the Scriptures looked forward to this time when God would make the Gentiles right in his sight because of their faith. God proclaimed this good news to Abraham long ago when he said, “All nations will be blessed through you.” So all who put their faith in Christ share the same blessing Abraham received because of his faith. But those who depend on the law to make them right with God are under his curse, for the Scriptures say, “Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the commands that are written in God’s Book of the Law.” So it is clear that no one can be made right with God by trying to keep the law. For the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” This way of faith is very different from the way of law, which says, “It is through obeying the law that a person has life.” But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” Through Christ Jesus, God has blessed the Gentiles with the same blessing he promised to Abraham, so that we who are believers might receive the promised Holy Spirit through faith (Galatians 3:6-14, NLT).
      1. The Abrahamic covenant was an agreement between God, Abraham, and Abraham’s seed. Under this agreement, a person had to be part of the lineage to be blessed.
      2. Our faith puts us in the lineage to inherit the blessings.
      3. To be cursed is to be empowered to fail; to be blessed is to be empowered to succeed.
    2. And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister: and Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah… 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 (Genesis 20:2, 11-17).
      1. Abraham deceived the king when he lied about Sarah. He also feared for his life and displayed cowardice, yet God still blessed him.
      2. Religion tells us God will not hear our prayers if we have sin in our lives. However, God heard Abraham’s prayer despite his bad behavior.
      3. Abraham was rewarded because he was still the righteousness of God by faith. God treated Abraham based on who he was, not on what he did.

    For more on the differences between works of the law and faith, click on the link below for the CD, Are You of the Works of the Law, or Are You of Faith? (Part 4).

    http://bit.ly/AreYouoftheWorksoftheLaworAreYouofFaithPart4

Scripture References

Galatians 2:16

Romans 10:3, 4

Galatians 2:16, NLT

James 1:7, 8

Romans 11:6

Galatians 3:12

Romans 11:6, NLT

Romans 7:5

Romans 4:1-5

Galatians 3:6-14, NLT

Genesis 20:2, 11-17