Monday, July 18, 2011

Grace is NEVER the problem

The message of God's grace is often misunderstood by many to be suggesting that sin is fine, and that it's ok to live however we want.
It must be clearly understood that this is NOT the case.

This, however, does not mean that we have licence to "adjust" the gospel in any way because of fear of such misunderstandings, or even the fact that some might even use the "grace message" to preach that sin is ok (I personally haven't come across anyone who preaches that).

God, by His grace (and through our faith in Him) actually has a new and COMPLETE life HE would rather lead us into, instead of us attempting to patch together our own one...with a bit of "Rock" here and a bit of "sand" there.

Paul himself said that if anyone (including himself or even angels) were to preach a different gospel to what he had layed down before them, they were to shun it!
Realistically, what Paul was saying here was, "if by some chance it ever seems I've started preaching law, or started mixing law with grace (like many jews around him were buckling towards again - even some elders), or maybe even begun persecuting again, don't follow me just because I'm Paul, but stick to what I first preached to you, regardless!"

Did Paul go around encouraging people to sin and do evil?
Not at all.
Was he slanderously and repeatedly accused of preaching a message that was doing this?
Then how can he be slandered for what there was no account of him actually doing/saying?

It’s called ‘religious political propaganda’ stirred up by demons.

[Romans 3:8] – “Some people are actually trying to put such words in our mouths, claiming that we go around saying, ‘The more evil we do, the more good God does, so let’s just do it!’ That’s pure slander...” (The Message).

The term ‘political spin’ is used to describe when someone takes something that is essentially true, but subtly distorts it so that it comes across contrary to what is actually going in.

If we look at the accusations against Steven and Paul (they were accused of speaking against the temple of Moses, and against God’s law that was delivered through Moses), we think to ourselves...”Well, Steven and Paul were actually doing that!?”.
It’s the spin that the Pharisees put on it that made it look like it was evil what Steven and Paul were going around saying...that it was encouraging rebellion against leaders...that it was encouraging licentious, loose living...that it was ignoring God-given codes and principles. And that’s NOT what Steven and Paul were ACTUALLY doing at all!

[Acts 6] – Steven accused, with political spin and lies, for instigating against “truth”.
[Acts 13] – Who forced Paul and Barnabas to eventually leave after they presented the gospel? Was it the sinners and pagans, was it satan worshippers? No.
[Acts 21] – By this stage the Jews had pretty much gone back under law, and the elders were embarrassed since they had now become aware of how this message of God’s grace carried controversy with it – not within itself, but due to the resistance it stirred in the face of the religious – Martin Luther also tasted a bit of this sort of resistance).

It’s important to know that the Holy Spirit is not stirring up this controversy around the truth of God’s grace, it is stirred up by religious demons – “The battle is not against flesh and blood...”!

If we don’t want controversy to surround us because of this message, but want to balance it with a bit of law so as to make it palatable to the religious, we would then need to distance ourselves from Christ and side with demons and the flesh of man (sounds harsh, but we must understand that people are not demons, demons are demons – let’s love people, but use the purity of Christ’s gospel to “overcome” the deception of the demonic realm).

Many could then compromise and say, “Ok, I will accept that we are saved by grace, but then we are most certainly sanctified by the keeping of the laws of God” – this is a lot of nonsense.
[Romans 10:3] – “Christ is the end of the law to all who believe...”
We don’t have ANYTHING to do with the law; we are DEAD to the law.
Christ is the end of the law.
Our sanctification is by grace and by the Spirit of God.

Don’t just assume that because someone carries a title, even of an apostle, that deviation, mixture or abandonment of the gospel is permissible. Paul had to rebuke Peter (an apostle) to his face because he deviated from the gospel.

The issue, in fact, is not about law and grace.
The issue is about who controls the church.
If we mix law and grace together, the leaders (i.e. man) controls the church.
If we take the law completely off (as we should do), then the Holy Spirit controls the church of Christ.
We still have elders and leaders, but they are not the managers, rather, they are the liberators of God’s people!

Many leaders, ALL of whom God sincerely loves (and let’s be careful not to become judgmental towards people), but many leaders are frightened of losing control of their churches, and can react very angrily when their own control is in question since they have probably carried with them a "mission statement" they've been working towards as a yardstick of success for years.
And as you give in to that bully-boy tactic (empowered by the religious spirit) everything is sweet and nice again - you fit in and create no waves. However, if you dare to preach the gospel that Paul preached, you will then be sweetly asked to be more accountable, and if you carry on you will see the brutal cruel face of religion.
WE ARE NOT FIGHTING AGAINST HUMAN BEINGS HERE. WE ARE NOT FIGHTING AGAINST MEN AND WOMEN’S NAMES. It’s just that behind such people, there is something very destructive manifesting.

The call is NOT to create problems, but to walk in the purity of the gospel under the leading of the Holy Spirit – let’s not rebel (that is legalism in itself). But, if responding to our revelation of the pure gospel of His grace and goodness results in conflict...then be encouraged to persevere and endure in Him who has set you free from sin and death (and the law, which is the power of sin).

“By one sacrifice, He has perfected forever all of those who are sanctified.”
In Christ you have been perfected FOREVER in the eyes of God.
Sanctification, a completed work in Christ, bears it's fruit by grace through faith, and not by the law or mixture.

[Colossians 1] – He sees you without accusation; without condemnation. He sees you as perfect forever. He sees you in Christ Jesus.
He does NOT, nor will He EVER, hold our faults and mistakes against us [2 Corinthians 5]

This security that comes into your heart makes you open to the Spirit of Grace, and the power of the operation of the Spirit.
His grace is not a message to simply agree with. It is a lover having removed EVERY stumbling block, and calling His bride into an intimate, non-judgmental relationship with Him (lead by Holy Spirit).

[2 Corinthians 3] Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. And we are all being transformed from one degree of glory to the next degree of glory; into the likeness of Jesus Christ.
We are not being progressively changed by legalism, judgment and wrath, but we are being transformed by a Spirit of LIBERTY, in the KNOWLEDGE THAT WE ARE ALREADY FOREVER PERFECT IN THE EYES OF OUR FATHER.

Legalism points out and highlights that you’re “not quite there yet".
And the fact that there is certainly evidence of imperfection in everyone's life, makes focusing on the PROBLEM all-the-more tempting and logical, leaving one attempting to beat themselves up toward perfection (in fear).

The ultimate sanctification, in fact, is when someone loves Jesus more than anything else, because they have become established in the truth that He loved them first...unconditionally! And this change is evidenced by fruits of love.

You may very well be aware of areas in your life that require change, but while legalism highlights these areas (even with good intention at times) and makes them your yardstick of pleasure unto God, the grace of God distracts us from being overtaken by our current imperfections and draws us into the revelation of HIS - and this "distraction" comes with freedom and power to change.

If someone puts you under PRESSURE to present YOURSELF holy, God!
Grace is a voice that says, “Why are you hiding in the knowledge of your imperfections? Don’t be ashamed. Come to me and let ME clothe you.”

Our biggest problem (in the wake of religion), is being impatient with the RATE of the manifestation of grace in our (and other’s) lives.
And do you know why?
Because we don’t like sin.
But praise God, the cross has done a work of cleansing us from being sin conscious aswell – and surprisingly, GOD is not as hung up on our sin as WE sometimes are.

God should be comfortable to live with.

Boldness and shame cannot be present in the same room together, and God beckons us to approach Him with BOLDNESS.

Everyone, even the most bound-up legalist, is under grace because the law has been done away with, and grace is God’s only and everlasting covenant with ALL.

Even those who have embraced and opened themselves up to the message about the grace of God, are still on there own journey of appropriating grace and the accomplishments of the cross to every area of there lives (If not, I encourage you to. There is far more abundance in the cross than just forgiveness of sins - and I'm certainly not watering that down).
So we must never become grace Pharisees with an elitist attitude, shoving the grace finger into other’s noses, because that’s ungracious and counter-productive in itself.

Let’s be motivated by Love and lead by the Spirit.
And if what we say is constantly opposed, quietly leave without rallying a rebellion.

Be encouraged, because it is for FREEDOM (from sin, death and the law) that Christ has set us free. No longer to be subject to a yolk of slavery...but to pursuit Him and embrace the new life He has for us in Christ.

Thank You JESUS!!!