Do We Really Need God, or Can We Live Without Him? (Part 4) NY

by Creflo Dollar | 19 Jan 2019

Summary

Our impression of who God is determines how we receive from Him. If we do not believe God heals us, delivers us, and blesses us financially and in every other area of our lives, we will not receive those things from Him. If we think He is an angry God who punishes and judges harshly, we will have a negative impression of Him. Thinking of God in terms of the Old Testament, instead of the New Testament, gives us an incomplete picture of His nature. When we try to apply what He did under the old covenant to the new covenant, we get a wrong idea of what He is really like. Jesus, who perfectly demonstrated mercy, grace, compassion, and forgiveness, was the mirror image of God. Letting Jesus’ nature shape our impression of who God is will dramatically impact our lives.

  1. The law demands strict obedience through self-effort. It is not for born-again believers.
    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. The law was not given to bless us or make us righteous, but to bring us under a curse. It was not given to decrease sin or make us holy, but to condemn us and show us our faults.
      2. Trying to perform under the law was itself a curse.
      3. The law was both bad and good. It was bad in that it put us under a curse; it was good in that it made us realize we need a Savior.
    2. And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin (Romans 14:23).
      1. The law is not of faith; this Scripture is very clear on this point.
      2. Faith is not required to live under the law; however, it is required to live as the righteousness of God through Christ Jesus, under the new covenant.
    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. Born-again believers are in Christ and have no need of the law. The law was designed for sinners.
  1. The law brings curses for failing to keep it all. Christ brought us out from under the law.
    1. Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law (Romans 3:31).
      1. The law needs to be held in reverence because it points us to Jesus.
    2. But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died (Romans 7:8, 9).
      1. The law makes sin come alive. The law is patterned to reinforce the mindset that says we must do something, first, to get God to bless us.
      2. 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).
      3. We are freed from the law when we shift our focus from what we must do to what Jesus already did.
    3. Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned (Romans 5:12).
      1. When sin came into the world, there was no way to be born again and receive a new nature, until Jesus came.
      2. When God first created man, He created them as immortal beings. In the Old Testament before the law was given, man lived as long as nine hundred years because there was no imputation of sin.
      3. Grace operated even before the law. Abraham was under grace; the Abrahamic covenant was grace-based.
      4. The children of Israel were delivered from bondage in Egypt, crossed the Red Sea, and traveled through the wilderness by grace.
  1. God does not want our works, but our faith. We must depend on grace, not on the law.
    1. For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise (Psalm 51:16, 17).
      1. David knew that God did not want self-effort, but instead He wanted a repentant heart.
    2. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin (Romans 4:6-8).
      1. David sinned greatly, yet he believed in God’s grace and forgiveness.
      2. Sin is not charged to our account once we are born again. Old-Testament thinking tells us God will judge us for our sins; New-Testament thinking reassures us that Jesus took all our sins on Himself, and God judged Jesus accordingly.
      3. We avoid performance-based Christianity by continuing to behold Jesus, not our own works. Our motives are important; the purpose of our actions is to activate our God-given authority, not to try to get God to move.
      4. Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you (Luke 10:19).
    3. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace (Galatians 5:4).
      1. Our efforts to perform cause us to fall from grace.
  1. We cannot make ourselves righteous by our own works; Christ makes us righteous.
    1. Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: 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 9:12-14).
      1. We are eternally delivered. Our deliverance does not hinge on what we do or do not do, but on the blood of Jesus that was shed for us.
    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. Most people do not understand the distinction between God’s righteousness and the works of righteousness. We are not righteous apart from God.
    3. Brothers, listen! We are here to proclaim that through this man Jesus there is forgiveness for your sins. Everyone who believes in him is made right in God’s sight—something the law of Moses could never do (Acts 13:38, 39, NLT).
      1. Faith accomplishes what the law never could.
  1. Our trust in what Jesus did frees us from our self-efforts and cleanses us from sin.
    1. …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…I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die (Galatians 2:16, 21, NLT).
      1. This Scripture completely contradicts what most churches teach. The misconceptions and wrong impressions of God’s nature originate from church, and from incorrectly dividing God’s Word.
    2. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all (James 2:10).
      1. No one but Jesus could keep the whole law.
    3. The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law (1 Corinthians 15:56).
      1. The law’s purpose is to make us conscious of sin, not to deliver us from it. The law shows us what is wrong with us, but it does not fix the problem; it shows no mercy.
      2. The law gives sin the advantage over us; grace gives us the advantage over sin.
      3. The law causes self-righteousness when we compare ourselves to others whose sin we perceive to be worse than ours.
      4. For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise (2 Corinthians 10:12).