LIVING IN GRACE
In reality, we are empowered by the indwelling Holy Spirit once we receive the free gift of God’s grace of salvation through faith alone in Jesus Christ and His Finished work on the cross in our place.
We are further empowered from within by the Holy Spirit through the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. This is how our lives become “empowered” and aided by the Holy Spirit and we gain access to His “grace-gifts”.
This is available to all who desire it as our blood bought inheritance that we did nothing to merit, earn or deserve. All we have to do is receive it by faith as a gift.
Jesus qualified us and sent the Holy Spirit to fill, empower and baptize us; immerse and saturate us in His Spirit.
The grace-gifts are ours to use freely under the power of the Holy Spirit to bring life, freedom, healing, wisdom, miracles and salvation for the advancement of His Kingdom in the earth.
The Holy Spirit desires to empower and fill each of us to overflowing by His love and grace even more than we may realize. It is His greatest pleasure to fill us to overflowing with Himself and to release His gifts through us. (Ephesians 5:18)
As with any gift it becomes ours when we receive it as ours.
It is free for the taking but we have to choose to receive it and enjoy it, or not. It is up to us. There is no other qualification. Paul urges us to be continually filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit. This is to be our way of life; to be filled with the Spirit of Grace.
SO WHAT ABOUT SIN ?
God extending His son, stretched out on the cross for you and me; in our place as our substitute and payment for our sins. This is God’s grace and love demonstration.
Seriously, if you knew someone had done this for you would you want to do anything to discredit or lesson the importance of their sacrifice? Wouldn’t you want to live the rest of your life in a way that honored what they willing did for you? How much more, with knowing that God sent His own Son who willing died in our place so we wouldn’t have to experience death, judgment and separation from God in hell for all eternity?
The only reasonable response is to be overwhelmed with a sense of how great His love is and to want to show Him how much we love Him as a response to His love. This comes only by revelation of the Holy Spirit and never by putting ourselves or others under the law.
In fact, any act of outward “obedience” to try to earn or deserve God’s favor is treason against the Gospel of Grace preached by Paul and the other disciples. It is an insult to the Spirit of Grace.
We cannot earn our salvation in the first place by our good works. What makes us think that once we are saved we keep ourselves saved by our acts of obedience? If that is the case, then Jesus didn’t need to come and die for us however it is not the case and thank God the Father that He did come and die in our place.
“Anyone who uses grace as an excuse to sin does not understand what it is.” (4.)
Anyone who believes that there are no consequences for sin because of grace are also sadly mistaken.
There are always consequences resulting from sinful behavior. No one is exempt from this. It is the natural consequence of going against the way God set the world up to work best. It is always a lesser road that leads to disastrous results and bondage. Sin is enslavement, not freedom; resulting in death.
No one who persists in a sinful lifestyle will reap anything but destruction in their lives and relationships. If they remain unrepentant, refusing to change their minds in light of the truth that Jesus by His grace came to set us free from sin and its consequences which ultimately leads to death, will suffer the consequences of their poor choices.
They need to examine themselves to see if they are even in the faith and definitely need to reexamine the Gospel of grace which sets out to set us free from sin, death and destruction by the gracious favor of God. (2 Peter 1:2-11)
No one can deliver themselves from sin. We need a Savior to do that for us. His name is Jesus and He is the one that Grace and Truth came through. (John 1)
Jesus came to set us free not just from the penalty of sin but from sin itself.
I believe the reason people who know Jesus persist in sinful, self-destructive lifestyles is because they live in confusion under guilt, shame, and condemnation and believe the lies of the enemy about themselves and God.
Some pridefully presume upon the grace of God as an excuse for their behavior with the notion that one day they will change while remaining captive and in bondage to what Jesus died to set them free from. This adds to the downward spiral of more guilt, condemnation and hopelessness. It leads to acceptance of a lesser level of life way below their privileges and calling in Christ rather than the abundant life Jesus came and died to give us. If left unchecked it will lead to a progressively destructive life of defeat and despair.
This is what living by self-effort, self dependence and self righteousness under the law looks like. I believe this grieves the Spirit of Grace who has all that we need for life and godliness readily available to us; free for the taking. (2 Peter 1:3)
It is the same as those who think they can be righteous before God by their “obedience” and “holiness” by their own efforts. Both have “fallen from grace” and have placed themselves back under the yoke of bondage to the law / self-effort. Rather than a humble dependence upon His power that can free them they walk in the lie of independence and self reliance in self deception, darkness and confusion. It is a slow and painful journey that leads to death, not life and certainly not freedom.
The Fear of the Lord
The church has unfortunately added to their sense of condemnation by demanding that they shape up or ship out by preaching the “Fear of the Lord” implying we can still fall under His condemnation if we’re not careful.
Jesus removed all the reasons for God’s wrath when He absorbed all of it in His body on the cross. The only ones needing to “fear” God are those that reject Jesus and His grace; His unmerited favor.
Now our “fear of the Lord” is out of honor, respect and reverence for His awesomeness and appreciation for His amazing grace and love shown to us through Jesus.
Jesus even changed the word “fear” to “worship” when confronting the devil in the wilderness temptations. In Luke 4:8, it says “Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’ ” This was His interpretation of the commandment in Deuteronomy 6:13 and 10:20 and other places where the command is to “Fear the Lord.”
This is an old covenant requirement that Jesus changed to a New Covenant reality based on a new relationship with our Heavenly Abba –Daddy brought to us by grace through Jesus Christ.
Interestingly, in the Greek the word for “worship” means “to give a kiss” or to “throw a kiss” in abeyance out of love and respect. (proskynéō pro “towards” kyneo “ to kiss”.)
A kiss can also be an intimate display between two lovers; between a bride and her husband; Jesus our Heavenly King-husband and His church; His bride.
Worship is entering freely into intimacy with Jesus in the Presence of the Father through the power of the Holy Spirit.
We are qualified through Jesus; His blood and His righteousness which have been given to us as a gift. Through Jesus, we have been made holy, righteous and pure and free to be who He created us to be. We are able to rejoice without “fear” in His Presence. And all this by His abundance and overflow of grace and the gift of righteousness. (Romans 5:17)
Jesus came to bring us into intimate relationship with our Abba-Daddy who we love because He first loved us and who we hold in absolute honor, reverence, and awe and who commands us to “come boldly before His throne of grace to find help in our time of need”. Hebrews 4:16
We can do this because of the blood sacrifice of Jesus who opened the way through His body for us to have free access even into the Holy of Holy’s; the throne room and Presence of Almighty God who calls us His children. Hebrews 10:19
“Look at how great a love the Father has given us that we should be called God’s children. And we are!”(I John 3:1)
Paul further clarified the issue of the “fear of the Lord” in Hebrews 12: 8-24,28-29 “For you have not come to what could be touched, to a blazing fire, to darkness, gloom, and storm, to the blast of a trumpet, and the sound of words. (Those who heard it begged that not another word be spoken to them, for they could not bear what was commanded: And if even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned! The appearance was so terrifying that Moses said, I am terrified and trembling.)
Instead, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God (the heavenly Jerusalem), to myriads of angels in festive gathering, to the assembly of the firstborn whose names have been written in heaven, to God who is the Judge of all, to the spirits of righteous people made perfect, to Jesus (mediator of a new covenant ), and to the sprinkled blood, which says better things than the blood of Abel…
“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us hold on to grace. By it, we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.”
Whatever fire consumes becomes fire.
To this I say, “Amen!” Lord, by your grace, consume us so that we become more like You!
So what is the remedy for sin in a believer in Jesus?
The only remedy is not more condemnation but a revelation of the grace (unmerited favor) of God which in Paul’s words in Romans 8:1 says “There is therefore now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.”
The gift of no condemnation is what sets us free to sin no more, just as the woman caught in adultery thrown at Jesus feet received.
Knowing how much we are loved and forgiven sets us free by His grace to walk in freedom from sin and this gives us the desire to do good and to please Him and to live a life of love.
“Right believing always leads to right living.” (5.)
If we see ourselves as our Heavenly Father now sees us, as holy and righteous as Jesus Himself, we will want to live to please Him and to live up to who we actually are in Christ; empowered by the indwelling Holy Spirit where His life is lived supernaturally through us.
By His grace, we have been set free from sin. We now can choose to rely on His grace to walk in true freedom and depend on His Holy Spirit to produce His fruit; the life of Jesus in and through us.
“Therefore, if the Son sets you free, you really will be free.” John 8:6
“You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. . But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.” Romans 6.18,22.