Are You of the Works of the Law, or Are You of Faith?

by Creflo Dollar | 4 Sep 2019

Summary

If we feel we constantly have to do something to get something from God, we must ask ourselves if we are living by the works of the law, or by faith. In the Old Testament, the Law of Moses focused on works, and demanded that the people do something, first, to get God to bless them. The mindset that results from this actually encourages faith in our own works instead of in the finished works of Jesus Christ. By contrast, living under the grace that came by Jesus requires belief in what He has done. This even extends to what we say; although our words carry great weight, what we declare will never be more powerful than what Jesus already did. This means that we no longer have to live based on what we do; we are now free to live based on what Jesus did, and our belief in that. We see results when we act on our faith in Him, without any interference from religious thinking.

  1. Our righteousness is not by our actions; it occurs by our faith in what Jesus did.
    1. 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. People who are of the faith are blessed; people who are of the works of the law are cursed.
      2. Under the law, the focus is on what to do.
      3. The just live by faith; specifically, faith in what Jesus did to make them righteous. We are justified by what we believe, not by what we do.
      4. We are blessed because Jesus delivered us from the curse of the law.
    2. 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. Living under the law renders faith useless. The mindset that says we must do something, first, to get God to move leads to performance-based Christianity.
      2. Faith and rule-keeping as a means of relating to God are in direct opposition to each other; they are incompatible.
      3. If we choose rule-keeping, we are required to keep all of the six-hundred-plus laws.
      4. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all (James 2:10).
      5. Paul did not say we are cursed because we break the law; he said we are cursed if we live by it.
  1. Our speech and our actions should reflect our faith in the finished works of Jesus.
    1. Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof (Proverbs 18:21).
      1. Our verbal confessions are extremely important. However, if we look at this Scripture through the lens of the law, we will believe that our words are more important than what Jesus did. This thinking is according to the merit system; this system says if we make a bad confession we deserve death, and if we make a good confession we deserve life.
      2. In light of this line of reasoning, we must ask ourselves if we are blessed because we made a positive confession, or because Christ has redeemed us.
      3. When we truly believe He has redeemed us from the curse of the law, we will speak that. We confess what we believe.
    2. 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. When we are of faith, we believe we are already blessed; therefore, we declare it.
      2. We should not act on the Word to get it to happen; instead, faith should be our response to what Jesus already made happen.
      3. We make a mistake when we think we must constantly do things for God when He has already done everything that needed to be done; He does not need our help. We need Him more than He needs us.
      4. But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).
      5. When we look at our blessings under the merit system, we buy into a way of thinking called “the karma life,” which is a Buddhist term. This mindset says we get good when we do good, and get bad when we do bad. “Karma” means “to do.”
  1. God has already done everything that needed to be done; we can now simply receive.
    1. 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 3:13, 14).
      1. Christ paid the ransom to free us from being cursed because of what we cannot do according to the law.
      2. God gave the law to show us that religion does not work; no religion has a Savior. Christians are the only people who do have a Savior.
      3. Religion expects us to save ourselves by behaving ourselves. Only the one true God provided a Savior who could redeem us from every curse, so that we could be blessed simply by receiving His grace.
    2. How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Hebrews 9:14).
      1. “Dead works” are the efforts we put forth to try to deserve what has already been done. We must be delivered from these dead works, which are what performance-based Christianity focuses on.
      2. We need to believe in Christ—and believe consistently—no matter what happens. We must not take our faith off the field by letting it waver because we have not seen manifestations yet.
      3. The centurion showed strong faith in Jesus when he asked Him to heal his servant (Matthew 8:5-13). The Canaanite woman also demonstrated her faith when she asked Jesus to cast out demons from her daughter (Matthew 15:21-28). We need faith like this.