Freedom from the Heart

by Creflo Dollar | 16 Jan 2019

Summary

What we hear from others about God’s nature helps shape our impression of Him. This is important, because our impression might have been shaped in the negative. An incorrect concept about God will determine the direction in which our lives go. Some know Him as the God of punishment and judgment; others know Him as the God of mercy and love. If we do not correctly interpret the difference between the Old and the New Testament, we can get the wrong idea about God directly from the Bible. What people fail to understand is that the Bible is divided into covenants; to truly understand God’s nature, we must look at Him through the new covenant. Jesus was the perfect expression of God’s nature. When we see God through the lens of Jesus, we will no longer fear Him.

  1. We are made righteous by our faith, not by our deeds. This knowledge frees us.
    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 holy; it was given to bring sin back to life, and to bring us to the end of ourselves. It was God’s wrath, not His love.
      2. Our faith will work based on our correct concept of who God is.
      3. …But faith which worketh by love (Galatians 5:6).
      4. The Ten Commandments were designed to break us down and force us to acknowledge that we need God.
      5. Faith is not required to live by the law; however, it is required to live by the new covenant.
      6. Until Jesus, no one could do all the things written in the book of the law. Therefore, man lived under a curse.
      7. The law was all about performance and self-effort. Jesus redeemed and delivered us from this.
    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…I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain (Galatians 2:16, 21).
      1. Most people believe that God moves in their lives in proportion to their performance. This is performance-based Christianity, and it falls under the law.
      2. God does not bless us according to how well we perform, but according to how well we believe in what He has already done.
      3. “The flesh” refers to our efforts to do something to get God to bless us.
  1. Grace is on the opposite end of the spectrum from the law. We must not mix the two.
    1. 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. The law can never justify us or make us righteous. Only Jesus can do that.
    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, itself, is not of faith. Under the law, condemnation and punishment were common. It sometimes called for the death of anyone who violated any part of it.
      2. Grace and the law do not mix; however, religion teaches a mixture of both. This produces no results.
      3. Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved (Matthew 9:17).
    3. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all (James 2:10).
      1. The Law of Moses consisted of the Ten Commandments, plus more than six hundred additional requirements. Under the old covenant, no one could keep the entire law.
      2. If sin continues to dominate us, it is because we are still living by the law.
  1. The law tells us we must work hard to overcome sin, but Jesus already took care of it.
    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 God well enough to realize that God did not require perfect performance, but a repentant heart.
    2. The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law (1 Corinthians 15:56).
      1. Trying to follow the law actually makes us sin more. The law makes sin come alive.
      2. …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).
    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. If we believe Jesus took care of sin once for all time, sin is no longer an issue for us; we do not need to continue making it an issue.
      2. Sin will continue to have consequences and affect our horizontal relationships with others, but it will not affect our vertical relationship with God if we are born again.
      3. People do not go to hell for sinning, but for rejecting Jesus as the ransom paid for their sins.
      4. And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2).
  1. Grace was in operation before the law was established. To know grace is to know God.
    1. And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD. And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper? And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground. And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand; When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth. And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me. And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him (Genesis 4:1-15).
      1. When God banished Adam and Eve from the garden of Eden after they sinned, it was an act of mercy, not punishment. Their natures had become sinful; if they had been allowed to stay in the garden in their fallen spiritual state, mankind would have remained that way forever. There would have been no hope of redemption.
      2. Religion tells us that God will not talk to us if we sin or if we are angry; however, God spoke to Cain even after Cain killed Abel out of wrath.
      3. Cain’s murder of his brother happened before the law was established and murder was declared a sin, but grace was already operating.
      4. God’s refusal to kill Cain, and His promise of protection, was another act of grace and mercy. Cain did not deserve this favor, and could not earn it.
    2. And Lamech said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice; ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech: for I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt. If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold (Genesis 4:23, 24).
      1. The incident in which Lamech killed someone and referred back to Cain’s lack of punishment for killing Abel illustrates a reason why God brought in the law.
      2. The law was designed to highlight the sinfulness of sin, to curb man’s sinful nature until Jesus came, and to bring death so that sin could not continue indefinitely.
    3. [For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death, [in the hope] (Philippians 3:10, AMPC).
      1. We must know God’s nature and have the correct impression of Him, based on the new covenant. We get to know God through a relationship with Him.
      2. We undergo a transformation as we deepen our relationship with God. When we see Jesus with our spiritual eyes, we will be increasingly like Him.