Do We Really Need God, or Can We Live Without Him? (Part 5)

by Creflo Dollar | 20 Jan 2019

Summary

Most people cannot receive good things from God because they do not know His nature. Many churches still preach from the Old Testament because they do not understand the difference between the old covenant of the law and the new covenant of grace. As a result, they preach punishment, judgment, hellfire, and damnation. What was true before the cross is no longer true after the cross. God’s nature under the law was that of a harsh judge because the old covenant was still in force; His nature now is that of a loving Father. If we fail to see God in light of the new covenant, we will get an incomplete picture of His nature. Jesus is the perfect expression of what God is like; we get to know the Father’s nature by beholding His Son.

  1. The law highlighted God’s punishment, but we are no longer under that agreement.
    1. The law was not a blessing, but a curse. It was not the love of God that we receive by faith, but the wrath of God.
      1. …But faith which worketh by love (Galatians 5:6).
      2. The law was impossible to keep; those who failed to keep it were punished with sickness and death. Many people were killed because of it.
      3. If we have the wrong impression of God, our faith will not produce like it needs to.
      4. We cannot love God until we know Him, first. Studying His Word teaches us about Him and His trustworthiness. Only when we trust God will our faith work.
    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 (Galatians 3:9-12).
      1. The law was not meant to justify us, but to condemn us.
      2. Faith is not required to live under the law, but it is required to live under grace. When the Bible says we are the righteousness of God by faith in Jesus Christ, we need faith to believe this.
    3. 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, itself, is not of faith. Trying to live by the law actually increases sin and gives it the advantage over us.
  1. The law was never designed to redeem us, but instead to show us we need a Redeemer.
    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…But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee (Deuteronomy 28:1, 2, 15).
      1. This is a performance-based agreement. Man had to keep all the law before he could be blessed. Otherwise, he would be cursed.
      2. The law encouraged self-righteousness; people compared themselves to each other, thinking their sin was not as bad as someone else’s.
      3. Born-again believers no longer need the law; however, it is still valid for everyone else.
      4. 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).
    2. Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law (Romans 3:31).
      1. We revere the law and hold it in high esteem, because it shows us we need Jesus.
    3. 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. Before the law, sin was not counted against the people, because there was nothing to call attention to the fact that they did something wrong.
      2. When the Jews exited Egypt, no one died for murmuring and complaining. However, after the law was given, many people died for complaining.
      3. Abraham lived before the law; although he lied and did a number of other things wrong, God still blessed Abraham and treated him as righteous because of his faith.
      4. Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness (Galatians 3:6)
      5. David also sinned, yet he knew God wanted a repentant heart rather than empty works.
      6. 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. The covenant of grace allows us to receive new natures. No self-effort is required.
    1. 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. Sin entered the world because of what Adam did; as a result, man’s nature changed and he operated with a fallen nature from that point on. No one could get born again and receive a new nature until Jesus came.
    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. Under the new covenant, God charges righteousness to us without us having to work to deserve it.
      2. The day we got born again, God stopped counting sin against us.
    3. 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).
      1. We do not need to keep making our sins and our performance an issue; Christ already took care of sin on the cross.
  1. The law focuses on sin-consciousness. Grace focuses our spiritual sight on Jesus.
    1. 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. The old covenant was all about what man had to do; the new covenant is all about what Jesus already did, and our faith in it.
      2. Christ can have no effect in our lives if we think that we can make ourselves righteous by what we do.
    2. 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. Jesus’ blood purges our consciences from the performance-based mentality affecting so many Christians, and keeping them under the law.
    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. When we behold Jesus, the Holy Spirit accepts responsibility for transforming us into the image we are beholding.
      2. Under the law, we must keep looking at our problems and issues; under grace, we can keep looking at Jesus.