Tag Archives: Grace

Christian Leadership Development #6

Essential Skill #4

Communicating Grace

grace02

            Once we have given our due diligence to skillful listening we enter the arena of communicating grace.

Colossians 4:6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.

Grace is one of the most important words in the Bible and can be easily defined as,

“The divine influence upon the heart and its reflection in the life.”

            Grace is God’s influence, not necessarily ours. Keeping in mind that God’s influence, should be palpable in our speech will keep us humble, gentle, and conscious of what is being imparted in our conversations.

Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

            The word corrupt in the previous passage simply means, “Worthless and of no value.” If our words are not ministering grace to the hearer it shouldn’t be coming out of our mouths. We should constantly be judging our words before we speak, asking ourselves, “Is this going to edify, help, and bless? Am I truly speaking from the Lord’s perspective, or just mine? Is my tone right, are my motives pure?

grace05            As leaders, we must understand that God uses us as a mouthpiece to speak to others. God does not take this lightly and neither should we. The Bible is replete with scriptures about the power and significance of words and the effect they have on our lives. What we say and how we say it can literally be ministering death or life into a person’s life or situation.

Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.

            This reinforces the importance of being a skilled listener, but even more so, the importance of our own intimate relationship with God. Our spiritual condition has a profound effect on our ability to communicate the heart of God.

Love is the license to speak truth

            An area I see young leaders often miss it is in their delivery of truth. Truth is received in the manner it is delivered. The Word of God is truth. It is also a sword, a double edged one at that. Truth should never be delivered with the intention of “straightening someone out,” or “correcting someone.” Let me explain:

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

            This is the most misused misinterpreted and misunderstood scripture in the New Testament to justify the Bible bashing, finger pointing, and judgmental approach to correcting people in the name of God. Actually it is a self-centered self-righteous assault on people that comes from not understanding their identity in Christ and opens one up to the influence of religious spirits.

            Notice that “all scripture is given by inspiration of God.” God is love according to 1 John 4:8. So we can conclude that if the delivery of truth isn’t inspired by Love it is NOT profitable for doctrine, it will NOT reprove, it will NOT correct, it will NOT instruct, it will NOT complete, and it will NOT equip. It just cuts, and it cuts deep. Love is the license to speak truth. If we don’t have genuine love and compassion in our hearts toward the ones we are speaking to, we have lost our license to speak on God’s behalf.

nausia.03            Let’s say you love a perfectly cooked ribeye steak. It may be your favorite food in the world, but if I serve it to you wrapped in a dirty diaper you aren’t going to eat it. It’s the same with delivering truth. The word of God is so powerful it can change a life but it must be palatable, seasoned with salt, full of grace, and delivered in sincere love for it to be received.

            If we are not imparting God’s grace, communicating God’s heart, and being a vessel of God’s love, we should remain silent. If we can’t correct that on the spot we may need to stop and reschedule a time to finish the conversation giving us time to pray or seek council from another leader. Don’t be pressured into speaking when you know your heart isn’t right.

            There is a simple rule that will keep us from a myriad of problems if we apply it.

silence speaks

“When we speak, be sure it’s an improvement on silence.”

            Following this rule does a few things,

  • It slows down the conversation and keeps us mindful of the power and purpose of our words.
  • It diffuses conflict that arises from elevated emotions.
  • It teaches us the value and power of silence.
  • It gives us greater control over ourselves and the entire situation.
  • It allows us time to hear from our heart what the Holy Spirit is saying in the situation.

            Personally, I believe this is what was happening in John 8:1-11 when Jesus was writing in the sand with His finger while everyone pressed Him for an answer to judge the woman caught in adultery. I think Jesus was simply giving His heart time to tell His mouth what to say.

            Not being willing to speak until He heard from the Father is a lesson that every leader should take to heart. There are few worse feelings than knowing we have hurt one of God’s children with our words.

            As leaders, we think before we speak, selecting words that nurture and build up rather than tear down and destroy. When faced with hostility we speak gently so as to diffuse anger and emotions rather than feed them. When faced with uncertainty, we are slow to speak, letting silence speak to the person and God speak us.

“Godly communication isn’t merely a skill, it is a discipline.”

Question: What is the definition of grace as it pertains to communication?

Question: What defines a “corrupt” word as stated in Ephesians 4:29?

Question: What are 3 things to keep in mind before we speak?

Question: Before we speak, what should our words be an improvement on?

Question: What license must you have before you can speak on God’s behalf?

The Unpardonable Sin

          One of the basic principles in warfare is “divide and conquer.” Division causes weakness and creates vulnerability. In spiritual warfare the same principles apply and the Devil knows it.

          What a misunderstood subject this is. Its not surprising that this revelation has been swept under the rug and taken for granted. So many people with legitimate questions and concerns are confused about the meaning of this passage of scripture, and if they look to Google for answers they see misguided opinions and wrong interpretations everywhere. The internet is absolutely full of wrong doctrine on this subject.

          Satan is sneaky, but we don’t have to be ignorant of his devices. Whenever there is ignorance or misunderstanding about the word of God. Satan will use that to bring God’s people into bondage and deceive them. So I feel it necessary to bring some understanding to a subject that seems to always come up in Christian circles of all denominations. I can’t count the number of people I have encountered that were concerned that they have committed it and were going to hell, when in fact, it has nothing to do with going to hell and everything to do with your identity, your imputed righteousness which is the core message of the gospel.

         We find references to the unpardonable sin in Mark 3, Luke 10, and Matthew 12. We will be focusing on Matthews account for this teaching because it is the most complete, and gives us the proper context to interpret this passage.

          First of all, to establish something as a sound, biblical New Testament doctrine you must have scriptural precedent, and a scriptural type in the Old Testament. These will both be provided in this teaching.

Defining the Kingdoms

          To understand the unpardonable sin, it helps to understand the difference between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of heaven. In short, the Kingdom of Heaven is the place where God the Father dwells. It is our eternal destination if we are born again. It is a specific place.

          The Kingdom of God, on the other hand, is on the earth, and in our heart. (Luke 17:21) It is the place in which, at any given time, Jesus Christ’s rule and reign is acknowledged. Jesus will eventually deliver this Kingdom to the Father (1 Corinthians 15:24) and both Kingdoms will then become congruent.

Romans 14:17 says: “for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

         So the Kingdom of God is IN the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is inside us if we are born again.

What the unpardonable sin is not

          These passages are referring to the promise of the Kingdom of God, not the Kingdom of Heaven, and yes, for this dispensation, there is a difference.

          A common teaching is that a true Christian cannot commit the unpardonable sin, that denying Jesus is the only thing that is unforgivable. This is certainly true, but it’s not what Jesus is talking about. When you look at His audience (Pharisees) and consider the entire context of what Jesus is saying, you will see that ONLY a Christian can commit such a sin. I will clarify this in the following paragraphs.

         First, let’s look at the entire passage in Matthew that puts this whole thing in context. (All scripture will be from the New King James Bible unless noted otherwise.)

A Kingdom Divided

Matthew 12:25-37 But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? 27 And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore, they shall be your judges. 28 But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. 29 Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house. 30 He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.

The Unpardonable Sin

31 “Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. 32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.

A Tree Known by Its Fruit

33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. 34 Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. 36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the Day of Judgment. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

          This entire passage starts off with the Pharisees questioning the authority by which Jesus is doing His mighty works. The said the He cast out devils by the prince of devils. He had just healed a demon possessed, blind and mute man. The miracle could not be denied, so they questioned the authority that Jesus was under to perform such a healing. They knew that true power only comes from authority and they refused to believe that His authority came from God.

         The unpardonable sin is the main topic of this whole passage. Since Jesus starts off talking about a Kingdom divided, we know that the unpardonable sin has to do with a divided Kingdom.

         Notice that the context of the unpardonable sin is sandwiched between the His explanation of “a kingdom divided,” and His comments on “the good and bad trees.” In verse 31, immediately following the explanation of a kingdom divided, Jesus says “Therefore I say to you…” In other words, Jesus is saying, “because of what I just told you, I also say this about it,” and He proceeds to tell them about the unpardonable sin.

          In verse 33, He follows right in to the parable of the good and bad trees, which is instruction on how to prevent a divided kingdom. This tells us that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is clearly a matter of having a divided Kingdom. So let’s break this down.

This passage is about embracing our identity in Christ.

         The unpardonable sin has to do with NOT submitting to the authority of the Holy Spirit to rule and reign in our lives. We have been bought and paid for by the precious blood of the Lamb. We are not our own and submission to the Spirit of God is not just expected, but it is required if we are to function in His Kingdom.

          His Kingdom within us must be undivided, congruent, and in total agreement with the Holy Spirit. This passage is teaching us about accepting the fact that we are righteous and holy, being single minded about who we are in Him. It’s about making our tree good so that good fruit will be produced.

Let’s start by defining some terminology in verses 31, and 32.

          The Greek word for blasphemy is; blasphēmía. It comes from ( blax, “sluggish/slow,” and phḗmē, “reputation, fame”) – blasphemy – literally means, slow to call something good (that really is good) – and slow to identify what is truly bad (that really is evil). Blasphemy also means “to speak against.” It is primarily a sin of the mouth but can be expressed in actions as well.

          Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit takes the faith principle of calling things that are not as though they were, (Romans 4:17) and twists it. Instead of speaking faith and eternal truth over something that is in opposition to truth, instead of speaking life to something that is dead, blasphemy of the Holy Spirit despises (lightly esteems) the Holy Spirit’s work and continues to speak unbelief instead of speaking words of faith. It calls things that were as though they still are, instead of calling things that are not yet manifest as though they already were.

Romans 4:17 as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did;

           If the words and actions of a “believer” do not line up with Gods word, that means they don’t believe, regardless of what they think. To call yourself a believer and deny the truth that you have been made the righteousness of God is being a house divided, it’s calling the good tree bad. This is the blasphemy that Jesus is talking about. Jesus has made your tree good. For you to call your tree bad, even in the face of a recent gross sin, is blasphemy and causes you to have a house divided.

          The Pharisees that Jesus was talking to were NOT believers. The instruction He was giving them was not about them, but about Himself. They were not capable of committing the unpardonable sin. This is why He said in verses 34 “How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”  Jesus was telling them that they weren’t even capable of speaking faith because of what was in them.

          It is when we speak against the Holy Spirit in us that blasphemy occurs. The most common occurrence of this sin happens when we speak directly against God’s accomplished work and fail to recognize the righteousness that was imputed to us. We deny Christ’s redemptive work through the way we talk about ourselves. In essence, we despise our complete salvation and say in our heart that “What Christ did was not enough.” We do this by continuing to live by the law of sin and death, after Jesus has delivered us from it. This is offensive behavior to God, and there is nothing more He can do to deliver us from this deception. There is no other sacrifice that He can make to convince you to get on board with Him in faith, so the transforming power of His grace can actually produce good fruit in your life.

          If we could just bring ourselves to agree with the truth that He has made us worthy, righteous, and holy through His blood sacrifice, the Holy Spirit would be released to transform us into the reality of that truth. Our good trees would begin to bear the good fruit. If we don’t set ourselves in agreement with His completed work by what we say and how we act, we treat the blood of Jesus as common, insulting the Spirit of grace, and blaspheme the Holy Spirit.

Hebrews 10:26-29  For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?

          The sin of blasphemy can be expressed in a couple of ways. The most common way is to remain conscious of sin, allowing guilt, condemnation, and shame to rule our lives, rule our speech, and hinder us in our relationship with God. It is blatant unbelief in Christ’s accomplished work. I think this unbelief comes mainly from ignorance, not from a wrong heart. This part of the Gospel does not seem to get the attention that it should. Yet, when you read the New Testament, you will see that almost every epistle focuses in part, on this topic. The books of Romans, Galatians, Hebrews, and 1st and 2nd Corinthians are devoted almost entirely to addressing this.

          When we try to justify ourselves by our works (performance) after we have been born again, we blaspheme the Holy Spirit. We say, by our actions, that Jesus was not enough to make me righteous, and the Holy Spirit is not at work to change me. This is why it is so important to continually renew our mind to God’s word. This is a revelation that we should constantly revisit and strengthen.

          Most Christians don’t understand the work of redemption, which changes who they are. God intends for us to start our new life where Jesus finished His. We must start where He finished and be raised up together with Him as a new creation. Dead to sin, and alive to God.

          We have reduced the gospel to a prayer that gets us to heaven, and completely ignored the truth that we can NOW have a transformed life through relationship with the Father, the power of the Holy Spirit, and the grace of God. This is the hope of the gospel.

Colossians 1:21-23 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.

          The issue is, most Christians have not heard, or do not understand this hope of the gospel. The hope that we were made righteous and holy in the sight of God, so we could be restored in relationship to Him. The hope that sin has been dealt with and no longer is a barrier to that relationship. Not understanding what Christ did, and who we are in God’s sight prevents us from embracing the power of the gospel. We are NOW “holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight— if indeed we continue in the faith”

          In the next two passages, we see this “hope of the gospel” mentioned again.

Hebrews 10:19-23  Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and having a High Priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

          So how does this tie to a house, or kingdom being divided? First, we need to understand that we are NOW Christ’s house, the temple of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit MUST live in a holy temple.

1Corinthians 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?

          We let sin separate us from our Father, AFTER He has paid the FULL price to remove that obstacle. When we allow sin to dictate our behavior by fighting against it in our own strength, we are saying in our hearts that what He did was not enough. In our heart, we speak against the Holy Spirit denying Him the access to change us and our Kingdom is divided. We attempt to stand with one foot in the Kingdom of God, and one foot still in darkness. We try to serve the master, Jesus, and the master of the law of sin and death. You can’t serve both. Jesus knew this, so he fulfilled the law and did away with it, and where no law is, there is no transgression (sin).

Romans 4:14-15 For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of no effect, 15 because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression.

Romans 5:13 For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

          These two passages make it clear that sin is still present, yet we are not judged for it because there is no law to transgress IF we live by faith. There is only the law of love, which is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. This is the law that makes us free. The law that makes our house undivided and our tree good. This law sets us in agreement with God’s transforming power of grace through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 8:1-4 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

          When we live with guilt, condemnation, and shame, it means we have a sin consciousness. It means we are living by the Old Testament law of Sin and Death and not by the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus. This is having a house divided and being guilty of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Sin consciousness establishes your identity as unforgiven, guilty, and worthy of judgment. It believes you still have the need for redemption. It sends a message that Jesus sacrifice was not enough to buy you back from the fall of man. It denies the holiness of the temple (you) where the Holy Spirit dwells. It says that Jesus was not enough to make you holy. Blasphemy!

          Now let us address what Jesus said about not being forgiven in the age to come. This is the key portion of scripture that has Christians all twisted up in their understanding. Let’s start by reviewing our main text;

Matthew 12:25-37 But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? 27 And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore, they shall be your judges. 28 But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. 29 Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house. 30 He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.

31 “Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. 32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.

33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. 34 Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. 36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

          Let’s start with the phrase that we see in Matthew 12:32.  “Whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.” 

            This throws people for a loop because they immediately think of losing salvation, or missing out on heaven. First, we will look at the New Testament and see what has been accomplished through Jesus sacrifice, and then we will look at the Old Testament for scriptural precedent, and example of the unpardonable sin. Any principle that you find about Christ or His Kingdom in the New Testament, you will also be able to find in the Old, in type or example. The Old Testament was written to tutor us to faith in Christ Galatians 3:24 , so the type and shadow of what Jesus is talking about can always be found in the Old Testament in some form.

          The King James version says “neither in this world, neither in the world to come.” The second word; “world” (KJV) or the second word; “age” (NKJV) is not in the original Greek text. The Young’s Literal Translation is fairly accurate. It says; “it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this age, nor in that which is coming.” The Original Greek uses the word “mello” for the last phrase, which implies an expectation of something intended or promised, so it should read something like this:

Matthew 12:32 (my paraphrase) And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man it can be forgiven him, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, not in this age, and in that which is promised to come.

          The age to come” is talking about heaven, but not eternal judgment of hell. It’s talking about the judgment seat of Christ. The promise of reward that is attained by faith from operating within the Kingdom of God on earth. Only works that are done in faith will receive rewards in heaven.

           Here is what this looks like: You faithfully attend church, give of your time, talent, and resources, you are faithful to the work of the ministry and even help to bear fruit in the Kingdom of God leading people to Christ. This would appear to be worthy of heavenly reward. In fact, you are waiting to hear the Lord say, “well done good and faithful servant,” but if you have denied the work of the Holy Spirit in your own heart and continue to live your life by law and works, believing that your reward is based on your performance, you will have no reward at the judgment seat of Christ because your works were done in the flesh and not in faith.

          Not submitting to the righteousness of God is denying the Holy Spirit’s work in you and is blasphemy against Him. This will not be forgiven when you stand before Christ at His judgment seat. You will go to Heaven, but you will not go with rewards. You can be a zealous Christian and still miss it when it comes to submitting to righteousness and cooperating with the Holy Spirit. This has been a common problem for the Church from the very beginning. Look at what Paul said about the Jews in Romans 10.

Romans 10:1-4 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they, being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

          Obviously, Paul’s heart was going out to these Jews because he saw that they were sincere in their zeal and love for God, but they were ignorant of the righteousness of God that was given to us through Christ. Not knowing that righteousness was available to them as a gift, they continued to try and establish their own righteousness through the works of the Law. They tried to behave themselves into righteousness.

          There are too many well-meaning, sincere Christians that are in the same boat as these Jews. They are ignorant of the fact that they have been made righteous, and that sin no longer has power over them unless they allow it. They still believe that how close they are to God depends on how good they perform. Through trying to be good, and do good, struggling to NOT sin, they try to establish their own righteousness instead of submitting to the righteousness of God and letting Him change their behavior. This is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. There is no other sacrifice that can make them any more righteous. They are holy and blameless in God’s sight, just not in their sight.

          The problem is that they don’t believe they are actually holy and blameless. They believe that if they fall into sin they are worthy of judgment and have fallen from righteousness. They allow their self to be condemned and they become a landing strip for demonic activity that keeps them deceived and oppressed with the lie that they are not good enough. The truth is, they are good enough, not because of what they do, but because of what Jesus did. To refuse to believe that Jesus sacrifice was enough to make them righteous is to blaspheme the Holy Spirit. It is being a house divided, it is the cycle of sin consciousness.

“Unbelief in what God has said about you is blasphemy. When you refuse to believe your creator, you are in essence, calling Him a liar. When God says, “I have removed the sin problem” and you still live as though sin determines your ability to approach God, you have blasphemed the Holy Spirit.”

          Let’s settle this terrible lie once and for all with the scriptures.

Romans 11:27  For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.

1 John 3:5  And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. 

          Here is the picture the scapegoat that was led out into the wilderness, never to return.  Jesus is our scapegoat for sins, yet he was resurrected from the dead.

Jeremiah 31:34 No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

Hebrews 10:17 then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”

          God has perfect forgetfulness!  If He forgets them, why should we continue to allow the devil to condemn us or why should we continue to condemn ourselves?

Isaiah 43:25  I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins.

         God did this for His sake! So that he could once again have intimate relationship with His children.

Isaiah 44:22 I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions, And like a cloud, your sins. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.

          The stain of breaking God’s law is completely removed.  It was transferred from us to Jesus on the cross.

2 Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

1 John 2:2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

          The word “propitiation” speaks of Jesus being a substitute. Jesus offered himself as one sacrifice forever for our sins.

Romans 8:3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh,

1 John 3:9 whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.

Ephesians 2:14 -16 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.

          Sin has been condemned, abolished, removed, taken away. We must learn to live our lives unto God as though sin does not exist. This is the first step in living unto righteousness. This is making the tree good. This is submitting to God and allowing the Holy Spirit to transform us to the point that even the desire to act out in sin gets removed from our life. This is living righteous conscious and not sin conscious. This is why Christ died.

          If we don’t settle in our hearts the revelation that the sin problem has been taken care of, we will not be able to function in our Kingdom authority. We will continue to trust in our own ability to live righteous, and by default, we will blaspheme the Holy Spirit.

          Sin consciousness establishes our identity as unforgiven, guilty, and worthy of judgment. It belief that we still have the need for redemption. It sends a message that Jesus sacrifice was not enough to buy us back from the fall of man. It inevitably leads us to blaspheme the Holy Spirit. If we continue to live like this, we may still do works for the Kingdom of God, but it will be in our own strength, through our own righteousness, and when we get to the judgment seat of Christ, this will not be forgiven. We will lose our rewards.

The Judgment Seat of Christ

Romans 14:10-12 But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 11 For it is written: “As I live, says the Lord, Every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” 12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.

 2 Corinthians 5:10  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

          The judgment seat of Christ, involves believers giving an account of their lives to Christ. The judgment seat of Christ does not determine salvation; that was determined by Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf (1 John 2:2) and our faith in Him (John 3:16). All of our sins are forgiven, and we will never be judged or condemned for them (Romans 8:1). The judgment seat of Christ is not God judging our sins, but rather Jesus judging our faith in what He accomplished. (1 Corinthians 9:4-27; 2 Timothy 2:5)

          So many Christians “serve” in the church without ever understanding love. Love will never be understood without intimacy with the Father. The greatest thing about salvation is the ability to get close to God and become one with Him, just like a marriage. Until we begin to pursue that kind of relationship, we don’t truly understand faith and we will gravitate towards doing thing for God and call that love. It is a deception that is rampant throughout the church. The truth is, you can be a Pastor, a faithful giver, prophesy in Jesus name, cast out devils, heal the sick, and still miss the whole point of why you are saved. The purpose of your salvation is to know Him and be transformed into His likeness.

Israel’s blasphemy

          The first Old Testament example of the Unpardonable Sin is Israel, wandering in the wilderness for 40 years and not entering into the Promised Land. This is just one of the many “types” in the Old Testament of blasphemy and not being forgiven in this world or the world to come. They were delivered from the bondage of slavery with a promise of a land flowing with milk and honey. They started the journey, they began the process of entering the Promised Land, but because of their unbelief, (blasphemy) brought judgment upon themselves and never entered in to the fullness of what God had promised them. They never received their reward, even though it was promised. Why? The Bible says that their words were stout against God. (blasphemy)

Malachi 3:13-14 “Your words have been harsh against Me,” Says the Lord, “Yet you say, ‘What have we spoken against You?’ 14 You have said, ‘It is useless to serve God; What profit is it that we have kept His ordinance, and that we have walked as mourners before the Lord of hosts?

          This brings us back to our main text. In the last portion, Matthew 12:37. It says: “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Israel condemned themselves by speaking blasphemy against God. It caused them to wander aimlessly for 40 years in a dry desert on a trip that should have taken less than two weeks.

          Every Jew from that generation died without obtaining the promise from God. Entering the Promised Land was their right. God gave them His infallible, unchangeable Word, yet through their unbelief, they disqualified themselves from entering that promise. God repeatedly confirmed that they were His chosen, favored people, the children that He loved with all His heart. Children that He prepared a wonderful inheritance for. The Promise Land is where God’s abundant provision, protection, and favor are accessible. The place where God’s children enter, and receive their full inheritance, but because of their words and actions of unbelief, judgment came instead. They never walked in what they were destined for.

          Israel started out strong, confident, with great expectation, but when hardship arose, or it seemed to take too long, they cast away their confidence and spoke against the promise.

          This is a clear picture of the present-day church. Christians are faced with the same dilemma today. The Kingdom of God is the Promised Land. It’s where the King’s resources, healing, protection, provision, and power are available. Not believing that He loves us, that He has changed us, and that He is for us, shows up in the way we talk and act, and it keeps us from entering the Promised Land.

The Promised Land is not a physical place, but a spiritual Kingdom that resides within you. It is the realm of the King that is in your heart. It is the place within your heart and mind that God has absolute rule, complete authority.

          Israel saw God’s manifested presence and provision constantly and yet they continued to question God and declare that they wanted to return to the place they were delivered from, SLAVERY! Countless times they disobeyed and despised God’s leading and provision. They spoke against God and His leaders, never believing that God was going to do what He said. They were faithless, even in the sight of some of the most spectacular signs and miracles ever recorded. They constantly “spoke against” (blasphemy) God and his leaders. Even though they had a promise of a new and wonderful land, they died before ever walking in it because of their blasphemy.

        Israel is a type of the modern Church, and the Promised Land is a type of the Kingdom of God. Christians that get saved and try to “be good” in their own strength will continue to indulge in their old lifestyle, gravitate to old habits and old thought patterns, and eventually desire their old life more than God. By not counting themselves dead to sin and alive to God, engaging Him in relationship, they blaspheme the Holy Spirit.

Instead of embracing the relationship of sons and daughters, we gravitate to the religion and legalism of hired servants. This is not God’s plan. It is denying the faith. It is blaspheme.”

Galatians 4:6-10  And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods. 9 But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage?

          Just like Israel, some Christians will want to turn back to the slavery of sin. Why is that? Because they haven’t submitted to the righteousness of God. Instead, they try to establish their own righteousness by struggling to do and be good. Not realizing that they have embarked on an impossible task, they soon become discouraged and downcast because of the complete futility of their endeavor. They look at the bad fruit on their tree and get confused, calling their tree bad, and blaspheming the Holy Spirit.

          You are a good tree. Jesus made you that way at the new birth. As long as you keep calling the tree good you are not capable of producing bad fruit because the blood of Christ continually cleanses you from ALL sin.

1 John 1:5-7 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

          Remember, where there is no law, there is no transgression. (Romans 4:15) However, if you choose to live by the law anyway, you will be judged by the law and you will be calling the tree bad after Jesus has made it good. You blaspheme the Holy Spirit.

Moses blasphemy

          Now consider Moses, the leader of God’s people, God’s chosen man. A man of tremendous faith and power. The Bible says that he didn’t sanctify God in the sight of God’s people.

Numbers 20:8-12 Take the rod; you and your brother Aaron gather the congregation together. Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will yield its water; thus you shall bring water for them out of the rock, and give drink to the congregation and their animals.” So Moses took the rod from before the Lord as He commanded him.

10 And Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock; and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?” 11 Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their animals drank.

12 Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.”

          Moses was punished for blasphemy. Striking the rock instead of speaking to it is symbolic of what Christians do today. The Rock is Jesus, the water is a type of Holy Spirit. Striking the rock is a type of Jesus being stricken, smitten of God, wounded for our transgressions. (Isaiah 53:4-5) and Jesus only had to make that sacrifice ONCE!

Hebrews 10:12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, 

Hebrews 7:27 who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.

          When Moses struck the rock instead of speaking to it, it was a type of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. The rock was struck years before. This time Moses was commanded to speak to the rock, but struck it again instead. This is a type of wounding Jesus a second time for our sins to bring the water of the Holy Spirit into our lives. It is a type of the Church not believing that Jesus blood was enough to make us holy and acceptable the first time.

Hebrews 6:4-6  For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.

Numbers 20:10 Then Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock, and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels: shall we bring water for you out of this rock?”

          Notice the words “shall we.” Moses is acting as if He and Aaron are the responsible party for the miracles rather than acknowledging God as the cause. They are taking the credit when the credit belongs to God. Shall we bring you water from this rock yet again? This is blasphemy against the God. This blasphemy was not forgiven. Moses paid for this sin by not being allowed into the Promised Land. Moses lost his promised reward just like the children of Israel did. When we try to take credit for our own righteousness, we do the same thing. When we choose to live by slavery to the bondage of sin instead of by the Spirit, we do the same thing. These are just a few Old Testament types of the unpardonable sin.

          It is also why Jesus never takes credit for His miracles, but acknowledges that nothing He does is of Himself. He says the power is not His. Instead He points to the Father as the reason for all that He says and all that He has done. He claims that the Spirit is within him. He says the Father is with Him and He does the works. Jesus shows us what it looks like to be completely submitted to the authority of the Holy Spirit.

Make the Tree Good

            In Matthew 12:33 Jesus gives us instruction on how to prevent us from blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 12:33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.

          This is an amazing formula for faith, and a great example of the faith principle in Romans 4 of “calling things that are not as though they were.”

Romans 4:17 (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did;

          The quotation in Romans 4:17 refers to Genesis 17:5. God spoke this over Abram when He was 99 years old and childless. At the same time God changed Abram’s name to Abraham and changed Sarai’s name to Sarah. In changing the names, God forced them to say the same thing about themselves that He had just said about them. Abraham means, (“Father of a multitude,” Sarah means, “Mother of nations.”) In the name change, God was showing Abraham and all who would follow after him, the principle of faith that God Himself operates by. He speaks things into existence.

          Let’s apply this to the good and bad tree.

          If you see a tree that has apples and avocados growing on it, what would you call it? An apple tree? An avocado tree? A hybrid? Would you just make up a name? The truth is, you wouldn’t know what to call it.

         The Bible says in Isaiah 61:3 that we are “trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord.”

          When we look at ourselves and behold the fruit of our lives, we see our mistakes, our bad habits, our inconsistencies, our failures, our secret sins, and we think “I must be a bad tree.” But then we look closer and say, “Wait a minute, not all the fruit in my life is bad. I help people, I am faithful to my church family, I serve in different areas in the ministry, I love people, I am generous with my time and resources, so not all the fruit in my life is bad. I am confused! What kind of tree am I?”

          We see the good and bad fruit in our lives and gravitate towards walking by sight and living by feelings. The Bible says that we are NOT to live our lives this way.

2 Corinthians 5:7 For we walk by faith, not by sight.

            We cannot allow our physical senses to dictate our identity. We must set ourselves in agreement with what God has spoken about us and not be moved by our feelings and our fallen experience. What we see, feel and experience must never be a consideration in light of what God has said about us. Abraham, the father of faith, has set the example for us.

Romans 4:19-22 And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. 20 He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. 22 And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.”

          Abraham refused to consider the weakness in his flesh, but was fully convinced that what God said about him, God would bring to pass.

          So the question is: What has God said about us?

Romans 5:17  For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)

Romans 5:19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.

2 Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Colossians 1:21-22 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight.

          God says that He has made us righteous, holy, blameless, and above reproach in His sight. Although we may not look like that in our sight we must not consider what we see and believe what He said about us is true.

          How we refer to ourselves is a huge deal, the words we say about ourselves should align in agreement with what God says about us. The Righteousness of Faith speaks a certain way. There are things that says, and things that faith doesn’t say.

Romans 10:6-10 But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ down from above) or, “ ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

          Now, I know that Romans 10:9-10 are our “go-to” scriptures when ministering the message of salvation, but salvation is far more than our ticket to heaven. It is our promise of transformation here on earth. We can experience a whole bunch of heaven before we ever get there if we will align our belief and our words with the Spirit of grace inside us.

          When we begin to speak what God says about us, the grace of God is released in our lives to transform us into what He has spoken. When we align our words with His words, the fruit of what He said will start growing in our life. This is how we make our tree good. This is how we fight the good fight of faith. This is what produces transformation in our life.

Winning the Battle for Your Identity

          The Old Testament is full of stories about natural battles. We must look at those physical battles and learn how to apply them spiritually to our lives. For the most part, we see two ways that God calls his people to battle.

  • He gives His people specific instruction on what, when and how to conquer the enemy. When Gods people follow the instruction, He is with them in battle and the victory comes easy.
  • He tells His people to stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. He fights the battle for us and the victory is ours.

          When fighting to be free from our sin nature, to live righteous and holy, we tend to try and do this by our own works. We struggle against our sin, our bad habits, wrong thinking and destructive cycles of failure and disappointment. This type of behavior will only produce a sin consciousness that insures failure. The Old Testament has already proved that no one can become righteous by works.

          In the battle for our identity we are supposed to follow the example of our father Abraham and set ourselves in agreement with His word, letting the Spirit of grace shape us and mold us into His image. We are not to consider the weakness of our flesh, but stand strong in faith, trusting that God is able to bring His word to pass in our lives.

            Submitting to the authority of the Holy Spirit on the inside of us places us in a powerful position to be transformed and overcome the sin nature. We must call ourselves righteous and holy, believing that He is at work in us to bring that to pass. 

Matthew 12:36-37 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.

          We are ruled by our confession. Death and life are in the power of our tongue!Proverbs 18:20-21 A man’s belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled. 21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.

lets pray

          Confess that you are righteous. Confess that you are holy. Thank God for freeing you from sin and transforming you into His image. If you happen to stumble and fall into weakness, let godly sorrow grip your heart and then run to God and say: “I am sorry Father that is not me! That is certainly not You in me! I thank You for the Spirit of grace that is transforming me and shaping me into Your image, removing that junk from my life and molding me into everything You have created me to be. Thank you for changing me from the inside out so that my behavior becomes more like you every day. Thank You for fathering me! Thank you for loving me, for believing in me, for being patient with me. Thank you for completing the work that you began in me. Where would I be if You didn’t father me.”

          This prayer is a good example of biblical confession. This type of confession sets you in agreement with His work and His plan for your life. When you begin believe and speak this way, almost immediately it will begin to produce the fruit of righteousness and holiness in your life.

            So hold fast to the confession of who you are in Him and trust that He will complete the work that he began in you.

Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

Philippians 1:6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

            The Unpardonable Sin is all about us NOT submitting to the Holy Spirit’s transforming work in our life.

          If you are a Christian you have probably committed blasphemy against the Holy Spirit at some point. Only a Christian can commit this sin. But if you are endeavoring to walk by the Spirit and making progress in this area, you have nothing to worry about, you are maturing into a son or daughter and God honors a sincere and willing heart. It is when you live and die without ever submitting to the Holy Spirit’s transformation and maturing process that you set yourself up for disappointment by never being able to enter into the Promise Land here, and losing your rewards at the Judgment Seat of Christ.

I hope this brings some clarification to this topic. If you have any questions, feel free to post ask. There is a bunch more on this topic that can solidify this teaching.

Many Blessings!

Sincerely, JC

Where does the Supply Of The Spirit come from? (you may be surprised)

are1

The supply of the Spirit is largely governed by the relationships with other Christians in our local assembly. 

Ephesians 4:16 talks about the body being knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working of every part.

           Take note that it is the joint that brings the supply, not the body part. Think about a joint in a physical body. The joint is the relationship between the parts. The place where two or more body parts meet. When the joint is healthy, and the adjoining parts are healthy (doing their part) it dramatically increases the overall abilities of every part. 

          When Christians give themselves completely to the betterment of  the other parts. It enables the Holy Spirit to come alongside and make you exceedingly more than the sum of all the parts.

Colossians 2:18-19  Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, 19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.

          The level of supply, nourishment and unity experienced through horizontal relationships, is a reflection of our vertical relationship. If we don’t have a healthy growing relationship with our Father, we won’t have healthy relationships with others. It is imperative we spend time with our Father, beholding Him so we can be more like Him.

are2          We are instructed in the Bible how to behave toward others so that spiritual empowerment would be available to all parties. We know from scripture that natural things must come before spiritual things.

1 Corinthians 15:46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. 

Spiritual supply comes from natural behavior.

          Imagine all the body parts are sharing their strengths and abilities with all the adjoining parts, bringing their supply if you will. There is something in that exchange that honors God and invites the Holy Spirit’s involvement.

          When the parts share in the work of ministry, something supernatural occurs in the relationships between the parts, inviting the Holy Spirit to provide what is needed for growth and edification. Sounds a lot like Grace doesn’t it?

          Think about an knee joint. If the joint is healthy it helps the entire body walk, run, carry heavy loads, etc. But if that joint is hurt or strained, it hinders the mobility, progress, and overall function of the rest of the body. Relationships in our Church are the very same way.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8a  Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.

This passage describes the Christian’s model for existence: LOVE! A life free of selfish behavior toward others. All Human behavior is either an act of love, or a cry of need for love.(selfishness)

Spiritual supply comes from natural behavior. So….. behave

What is Grace?

When you think of God’s grace, what immediately comes to mind? God’s unmerited favor? His salvation, love or kindness? I am not going to argue those points, they are all true, but I will say that grace has a broader, deeper meaning and I want to explore that in this teaching. Grace is one of the most important words in the New Testament and yet it is not well understood and even taken for granted.

Luke 2:40 ~ And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.

The grace of God was upon Jesus and to understand New Testament grace we should consider what was upon Him so we can understand what is upon us, for we are in Him. One of the greatest definitions of grace that I have found is:

 “The divine influence on the heart of man, and the reflection of that influence in the life of the man.”

 If you look at grace from the standpoint of divine influence, it automatically broadens your idea of what grace is. When reading the bible and you see the word grace, replace it with “divine influence,” or “God’s influence”. You will see that it fits and it will provide a deeper understanding of the scriptures.

 We really need to stretch our understanding to even begin to grasp the full meaning of grace and what it means to us as believers. The Greek word for grace is “charis,” In addition to charis, there is the word charismata, which is a word related to charis, but it is only used in reference to what have become known as the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit, which are mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12. I don’t think that anyone could argue that the those nine gifts are manifest by the divine influence of the Holy Spirit and the believer allowing that influence to reflect in his life.  

Acts 11:23 ~ When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord.

This scripture refers to Barnabas SEEING the grace of God on others. This implies that grace should be evident. That God’s influence in your heart should be manifest in such a way that it could be seen outwardly by others. We have a world full of believers that have no outward evidence of the grace of God on their lives and therefore are not a witness of the grace of God to the world. Why is that? A part of the reason is legalism. Legalism is a belief system that attempts to establish your own righteousness by following laws, rules and religious traditions. The more we allow ourselves to slip into legalism, the farther we fall from grace and deny God’s influence in our life.

Virtually the entire book of Galatians addresses this problem of legalism.

Galatians 5:4 ~ You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.

Another important aspect of grace is that God uses people to impart it to His body.

2 Corinthians 8:6 ~ So we urged Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also complete this grace in you as well.

          We see from this verse of scripture that the divine influence (grace) can come from other believers. Titus was urged to complete the grace that he started. His influence on these people was obviously of a divine nature, God influencing people with people. This is seen clearly in the fivefold ministry gifts described in 

         When I came to the conclusion that grace is God’s divine influence in my heart and its reflection in my life, I was forced to consider my definition of God. The book of James says that “God is love.”

1 John 4:8 ~ He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

With that understanding I was left with this thought; Grace is an expression of God’s love, and any time He endeavors to influence a person, it is because He wants to impart His very nature into that individual. Look at the first part the verse above, “He who does not love does not know God”. I believe that the main purpose of grace is so that we may know Him. To know Him we must yield to the divine influence of love (grace) and allow that love to be reflected in our lives.Jesus was the express image of God (love). He is our example. To yield to divine influence is to yield to love. Jesus said:

John 5:19 ~ Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.

 I think we can all agree that Jesus was completely yielded to divine influence. He only did what He saw the father (Love) do.

 

 Grace is the manifestation of the influence of God in you, with the intention that the influence is reflected in your life.

Gifts vs. Graces

This brings us to Romans 12 that most Christians interpret as “motivational gifts”. Paul is not talking about gifts, He is talking about “graces”.

Romans 12:6-8 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

There are 7 GRACES mentioned here: Prophecy, Servant (ministry), Teacher, Exhorter, Giver, Leader, and Mercy Giver.

 Look at Ephesians 4, where Paul starts talking about the 5-fold ministry gifts to the church.

Ephesians 4:7-12 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men.” (Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.) 11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,

You see how the order of grace and gifts are flipped in these passages?

Romans 12:6 says: gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us,

Ephesians 4;7 says: grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

It is clear that Paul is talking about ministry gifts in Ephesians 4, and graces in Romans 12. Many have called them motivational “gifts” having a limited understanding of how they work. But when we understand that they are graces we begin to better understand who we are, and why we do what we do.

What I believe Paul is talking about in Romans 12 is the differences in our gifts produced by the grace (divine influence) that is on our life. In other words, our gifting looks different because the divine influence in our heart is different. Look again at the text, and pay close attention to the wording.

To understand what a GRACE is and how it affects us, let us view them as glasses with colored lenses. When you are looking at life through those glasses, everything you see will be tinted with that color, and your actions and responses will be influenced by it. Your GRACE affects how you see things, how you deal with problems, and how you express yourself in your gifting.

For instance, if you have the GRACE of SERVANT, you see the world through that “colored lens” (GRACE). Maybe your gifting is an Evangelist. So it would be natural for you to engage in “Servant Evangelism.”

Your Grace determines how you think about things, how you approach things. For example: If your GRACE is a GIVER, and you are ministering to someone who needs healing, you automatically think of what you can GIVE to help them. Like buying them some books on divine healing, or sending them to a healing crusade and paying for the whole thing.

If your GRACE is EXHORTER, you may encourage them in faith, read some healing promises from the bible, tell them “this is nothing for God, you can beat this thing easy.”

If your GRACE is TEACHER, you think that all they need is to understand and learn more about divine healing and faith principles.

Look at the rest of that passage in Romans and notice how Paul starts the dialogue.

Romans 12:3-8 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry (servant), let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

When Paul says that he speaks “through the GRACE that is given him,” he is talking about the divine influence upon his heart. When he teaches, that influence is reflected in the life.

Grace is a big subject, and these are just a few small observations. However, grace is one of the most important words to us in the New Testament. We should endeavor to get as much understanding on it as possible. I hope this helps.

JC

 

~ Walking in the F.O.G. (Favor Of God) ~

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What is Favor? How do I get some? How do I know it when I have it?

It is available to everyone in the body of Christ, but not all Christians experience it. Favor is not automatic, we need to learn to experience heavy F.O.G. (Favor Of God) in our lives.

Romans 8:31 ~  What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Having the favor of God in your life means that GOD IS FOR YOU! Favor makes a difference! It helps you, sustains you; it means you are “preferred,” and it’s noticeable! Webster’s Dictionary (1828 edition) defines favor as: “an advantage for success.

Have you ever heard the old saying: “If you see a turtle on a fence post there is one thing you know for sure,

  He had some help!”

The point is; favor gets you to places you couldn’t get to by yourself. The favor of God takes you places that you could not go in your own strength and your own abilities.

Our culture, and our government try to equalize everyone—everything “politically correct,” everybody’s a winner, we don’t keep score…. The reality is, everybody is not a winner. That doesn’t work in the real world. We all have different capacities, different abilities, different strengths and gifts. Yes, we all have the same created value. We all bear the same price tag; The blood of Jesus. However, we see in scripture that there are different levels of rank, authority, and capacity.(Read the Parable of the Talents, Matthew 25 )

Favor is a major theme throughout the Bible. It goes along with grace, mercy, peace, etc. We see favor in the lives of Moses, Noah, Abraham, David, Joseph, Mary and Jesus, and many others.

There is a way for us to find favor with God and with men:

 Proverbs 3 ~  1 My son, do not forget my law, But let your heart keep my commands;  2For length of days and long life and peace they will add to you. 3Let not mercy and truth forsake you; Bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart, 4And so find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man.        

Many Christians don’t experience the Favor of God because they don’t esteem the Word of God properly, they don’t put it first place and they don’t make it final authority in their lives. Being a person committed and submitted to the Word of God is THE quickest way experience favor. Not to mention all the other benefits like spiritual strength, growth, wisdom, understanding, etc.

There are two brands of favor that comes from God: unmerited (we don’t deserve it and we can’t earn it) and merited (we qualify for it). As you cooperate with God, He will put favor on you! And trustme, you don’t want to go bumping along in this life without the favot of God on you.

Psalm 5:12  ~ “For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous; with favor You will surround him as with a shield.”

To “surround” means “to encircle,” “encompass,” or “protect.” The favor of God will protect and preserve you. We need the favor of God to surround us as a shield!

 Look at what God’s favor did for Israel when He delivered them out of Egypt;

Exodus 3:20-2220 So I will stretch out My hand and strike Egypt with all My wonders which I will do in its midst; and after that he will let you go. 21 And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and it shall be, when you go, that you shall not go empty-handed. 22 But every woman shall ask of her neighbor, namely, of her who dwells near her house, articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing; and you shall put them on your sons and on your daughters. So you shall plunder the Egyptians.”

They exited with silver, gold and cloths—loaded up!—because God gave them favor with the Egyptians, their enemies, the ones who enslaved them!

When you have the F.O.G. (Favor of God) in your life, you will never go away empty-handed (at a job interview, at the store, on a sales call, as you travel, in a difficulty, etc.).

Psalm 41:11 ~ (AMP) says, “By this I know that You favor and delight in me, because my enemy does not triumph over me.”

Your enemy is not always a person; it may be a situation, a symptom, a diagnosis, but when you have the favor of God in your life, it means the enemy will not triumph over you!

If favor seems missing from your life, you need to check on it! If you are living without favor, or if you are assuming you have no favor, you’re not looking for favor, or you’re not cooperating with God. If that is the case then you are making it is easy for the enemy to keep you down and hold you back.

Favor is rooted in God’s grace. Everything that God has promised, prepared or provided is contained in His grace—salvation, peace, provision, and favor….

Favor is contained in the grace of God. Favor is divine influence that leads you to success. God will give you unmerited favor, but there’s a merited favor that you qualify for as you cooperate with God. By faith you release the favor that grace contains.

 Daniel 1:9 ~ Now God had brought Daniel into the favor and goodwill of the chief of the eunuchs.

Daniel had been conquered and taken captive, but he did not fret, complain, get depressed or compromise. He made godly choices based on God’s Word. God gave Daniel favor with his captors, and Daniel ended up in a better place! He received promotion, preservation, restoration and increase because of the favor of God that got him through.

The favor of God will not only get you through but it will get you ahead. Whether it’s promotion, preservation, restoration or increase, favor will find you!

You will find repeatedly in Scripture people who “found favor.” To “find” something, you have to “look” for it. Part of looking for something means that you are expecting it. Look for favor, expect it, and cooperate with God and you will experience heavy F.O.G. in your life.

JC

~ Walking in heavy F.O.G. (Favor Of God) ~

Psalm 5:12 ~ For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous; With favor You will surround him as with a shield.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What is Favor? How do I get some? How do I know it when I have it?

It is available to everyone in the body of Christ, but not all Christians experience it. Favor is not automatic, we need to learn to experience heavy F.O.G. (Favor Of God) in our lives.

Romans 8:31 ~  What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Having the favor of God in your life means that GOD IS FOR YOU! Favor makes a difference! It helps you, sustains you; it means you are “preferred,” and it’s noticeable! Webster’s Dictionary (1828 edition) defines favor as: “an advantage for success.

Have you ever heard the old saying: “If you see a turtle on a fence post there is one thing you know for sure,

  He had some help!”

The point is; favor gets you to places you couldn’t get to by yourself. The favor of God takes you places that you could not go in your own strength and your own abilities.

Our culture, and our government try to equalize everyone—everything “politically correct,” everybody’s a winner, we don’t keep score…. The reality is, everybody is not a winner. That doesn’t work in the real world. We all have different capacities, different abilities, different strengths and gifts. Yes, we all have the same created value. We all bear the same price tag; The blood of Jesus. However, we see in scripture that there are different levels of rank, authority, and capacity.(Read the Parable of the Talents, Matthew 25 )

Favor is a major theme throughout the Bible. It goes along with grace, mercy, peace, etc. We see favor in the lives of Moses, Noah, Abraham, David, Joseph, Mary and Jesus, and many others.

There is a way for us to find favor with God and with men:

 Proverbs 3 ~  1 My son, do not forget my law, But let your heart keep my commands;  2For length of days and long life and peace they will add to you. 3Let not mercy and truth forsake you; Bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart, 4And so find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man.        

Many Christians don’t experience the Favor of God because they don’t esteem the Word of God properly, they don’t put it first place and they don’t make it final authority in their lives. Being a person committed and submitted to the Word of God is THE quickest way experience favor. Not to mention all the other benefits like spiritual strength, growth, wisdom, understanding, etc.

There are two brands of favor that comes from God: unmerited (we don’t deserve it and we can’t earn it) and merited (we qualify for it). As you cooperate with God, He will put favor on you! And trustme, you don’t want to go bumping along in this life without the favot of God on you.

Psalm 5:12  ~ “For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous; with favor You will surround him as with a shield.”

To “surround” means “to encircle,” “encompass,” or “protect.” The favor of God will protect and preserve you. We need the favor of God to surround us as a shield!

 Look at what God’s favor did for Israel when He delivered them out of Egypt;

Exodus 3:20-2220 So I will stretch out My hand and strike Egypt with all My wonders which I will do in its midst; and after that he will let you go. 21 And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and it shall be, when you go, that you shall not go empty-handed. 22 But every woman shall ask of her neighbor, namely, of her who dwells near her house, articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing; and you shall put them on your sons and on your daughters. So you shall plunder the Egyptians.”

They exited with silver, gold and cloths—loaded up!—because God gave them favor with the Egyptians, their enemies, the ones who enslaved them!

When you have heavy F.O.G. (Favor of God) in your life, you will never go away empty-handed (at a job interview, at the store, on a sales call, as you travel, in a difficulty, etc.).

Psalm 41:11 ~ (AMP) says, “By this I know that You favor and delight in me, because my enemy does not triumph over me.”

Your enemy is not always a person; it may be a situation, a symptom, a diagnosis, but when you have the favor of God in your life, it means the enemy will not triumph over you!

If favor seems missing from your life, you need to check on it! If you are living without favor, or if you are assuming you have no favor, you’re not looking for favor, or you’re not cooperating with God. If that is the case then you are making it is easy for the enemy to keep you down and hold you back.

Favor is rooted in God’s grace. Everything that God has promised, prepared or provided is contained in His grace—salvation, peace, provision, and favor….

Favor is contained in the grace of God. Favor is divine influence that leads you to success. God will give you unmerited favor, but there’s a merited favor that you qualify for as you cooperate with God. By faith you release the favor that grace contains.

 Daniel 1:9 ~ Now God had brought Daniel into the favor and goodwill of the chief of the eunuchs.

Daniel had been conquered and taken captive, but he did not fret, complain, get depressed or compromise. He made godly choices based on God’s Word. God gave Daniel favor with his captors, and Daniel ended up in a better place! He received promotion, preservation, restoration and increase because of the favor of God that got him through.

The favor of God will not only get you through but it will get you ahead. Whether it’s promotion, preservation, restoration or increase, favor will find you!

You will find repeatedly in Scripture people who “found favor.” To “find” something, you have to “look” for it. Part of looking for something means that you are expecting it. Look for favor, expect it, and cooperate with God and you will experience heavy F.O.G. in your life.

JC

Defining Grace and Graces

111grc          The gospel of grace is a core message of the New Testament. In fact, grace is a thread that can be traced through the entire Bible. But what exactly is grace? How would you define it? The New Testament has much to say about the topic so it’s important to know exactly what is being said when grace is mentioned.

          From my own observation and experience, I see that Christians, for the most part, don’t really understand what grace is. They define it as “unmerited favor” or “God’s love and compassion.” While those are certainly true, they are just a few aspects of grace.

Grace, by definition is Divine Influence. Specifically, the Divine Influence upon the heart of man and the expression, or reflection of that influence through the life of man.

          In simple terms, grace is God’s way of influencing your heart, mind and soul so that the decisions you make in life will enable you to become more like Him and accomplish His purposes through you life.

 divine in        Grace is God’s influence. That influence varies, and is unique to each individual. God tailors His grace according to your gifting, your place in society, your influence over other people, etc. Look at what Paul writes in Romans;

Romans 12:6-8 ~ Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

          The understood topic here is GRACES not gifts. What Paul is talking about here is the differences in our gifts are produced by the graces that are on our life. In other words, our giftings look different because the divine influence (grace) in our heart is unique to the individual. Look again at the above text, and pay close attention to the underlined wording. Then look at Ephesians 4 where it lists the 5-fold ministry gifts. When introducing the idea of ministry gifts, Paul begins with this statement:

Ephesians 4:7  But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

          Compare that to the Statement in Romans 12:6.

Romans 12:6  Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 

          In both passages the language is virtually the same, yet the order is changed. Ephesians says “grace according to the gift,” and Romans says “gifts, according to the grace.” If Ephesians is clearly talking about gifts, then Romans is clearly talking about graces. When you put the two together you see this:

          The measure of grace differs according to the measure of the gift, and those gifts will look different because of the grace, or graces in operation in your life. There are 7 GRACES mentioned Romans 12: 6-8

1) Prophecy

2) Servant (ministry)

3) Teacher

4) Exhorter

5) Giver

6) Leader

7) Mercy giver

          To understand what a GRACE is and how it affects us, let us view them as glasses with colored lenses. When you are looking at life through those glasses, everything you see will be tinted with that color, and your actions and responses will be influenced by it. Your GRACE affects how you see things, how you deal with problems, and how you express yourself in your gifting.

          For instance, if you have the grace of SERVANT (ministry), you see the world through that “colored lens” (GRACE). Maybe your gifting is an Evangelist. So it would be natural for you to engage in “Servant Evangelism.”

          Your Grace determines how you think about things, how you approach things. For example: If your grace is a GIVER, and you are ministering to someone who needs healing, you automatically think of what you can GIVE to help them. Like buying them some books on divine healing, or sending them to a healing crusade and paying for the whole thing.

          If your grace is EXHORTER, you may encourage them in faith, read some healing promises from the bible, tell them “this is nothing for God, you can beat this thing easy.” You see the answer as just needing to be encouraged in the Lord.

          If your GRACE is TEACHER, you think that all they need is to understand and learn more about divine healing and faith principles so you try to teach them anything and everything you know on divine healing.

Look at the rest of that passage in Romans and notice how Paul starts the dialogue.

Romans 12:3-8 ~ For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. 4 For as
we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same
function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry (servant), let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

          When Paul says that he speaks “through the GRACE that is given him,” he is talking about the divine influence upon his heart as a leader and exhorter. When he teaches, that influence is reflected in his life.

          Pay attention when you see the word GRACE used from now on. I think you will see that this may be a key to understanding why we do what we do.

          I don’t expect everyone to grasp this right off. It is something to be contemplated, and meditated on. I pray this helps in understanding who you are and how God is influencing your life.

JC

~ Releasing God’s Grace With Your Words~

In the early 90’s I was just beginning to really get stirred up about confession of God’s Word, mainly because I was beginning to understand the principles behind it, and not just mindlessly reciting something that I had no understanding of.

I had an 8 page list of confessions from God’s Word that I would read out loud and declare over my life almost daily. One morning as I was making these declarations the Lord spoke to me and asked, “What are you doing?” I was quiet for a few seconds and then answered, “well, ummmm… I am confessing your Word Lord.” He replied, “You are applying Truth Pressure.” That was the end of that conversation.

That was a new term for me, a new concept. I knew that particular phrase was not in the bible, but to validate what the Lord had just spoken to me I knew I must find the principle in His Word. Any Word that you hear by the Spirit must line up with the written Word or it is not valid.

I knew that God’s Word had power and I knew there was great power in the spoken word, but it wasn’t until I began to understand the grace of God that I saw what Truth Pressure meant and understood why confession works. So lets take a few moments to make sure we understand grace and how it is connected to what we say.  In the book of Ephesians, we see a wonderful truth concerning our speech.

 Ephesians 4:29 ~ Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

This verse is talking about words, that minister grace to the hearer. Since we are always the first one to hear our words, I recommend we take a long look at what is coming from our lips. Is it corrupt or is it grace? Is it faith, or is it fear? Is it blessing or is it cursing? Does it edify or tear down? What kind of influence are we having with our words?

 What exactly is grace? The best definition that I have found is, “The divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life.” Grace is Gods way of working on you from the inside out. The word of God that is spoken ministers to us on the inside in such a powerful way that it begins to show up in our life.

Everything that God has prepared and provided for you, can be found in His Word. His words are words of truth and grace, filled with divine influence that will change and affect you in such a way that it begins to show up and be reflected in your life. We need to be speaking His words, if we are going to experience the fullness of His grace and be ministers of His grace to the world.

I want you to look at verses 29 again and we will add verse 30 and 31.

 Ephesians 4:29-31 ~ 29Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. 30And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. 31Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

In other words, if you are not speaking words that edify, (God’s WORD) and ministering grace to those who hear them, including yourself, you are grieving the Holy Spirit. I know,………….OUCH!

The most frequent sins are sins of the mouth. How we control our mouth and how we bridle our tongue is a direct reflection on how mature we are spiritually. The truth is, if you sin with your mouth daily, you are but a child, regardless of how long you have been a Christian or how much knowledge of God’s word you have. It is not the word that you know that brings maturity, but the word that you DO.

James 3:2-4 ~ 2For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. 3Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. 4Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth.

The word “perfect” in verse two simply means mature, or of full age. maturity is measured, in great part, by your mouth and how you control it.

The bible is very clear that our words have tremendous power, and when it is God’s Word we are speaking, they have the power to minister His grace.

Confession of God’s Word applies “Truth Pressure” to your heart. God’s Word is filled with divine influence (grace) that feeds and strengthens your spirit man until it that truth shows up in your soul and body and is reflected in your life for all to see. Change will always come first in the heart before you see it manifest in the natural.

Proverbs 18:21 ~ Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.

 

 

~ Thoughts on God’s Grace ~

When you think of God’s grace, what immediately comes to mind? God’s unmerited favor? His salvation, love or kindness? I am not going to argue those points, they are all true, but I will say that grace has a broader, deeper meaning and I want to explore that in this teaching. Grace is one of the most important words in the New Testament and yet it is not well understood and even taken for granted.

Luke 2:40 ~ And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.

The grace of God was upon Jesus and to understand New Testament grace we should consider what was upon Him so we can understand what is upon us, for we are in Him. One of the greatest definitions of grace that I have found is:

 “The divine influence on the heart of man, and the reflection of that influence in the life of the man.”

 

If you look at grace from the standpoint of divine influence, it automatically broadens your idea of what grace is. When reading the bible and you see the word grace, replace it with “divine influence,” or “God’s influence”. You will see that it fits and it will provide a deeper understanding of grace and the scriptures in general.

 We really need to stretch our understanding and theology to even begin to grasp the full meaning of grace and what it means to us as believers. The Greek word for grace is “charis,” In addition to charis, there is the word charismata, which is a word related to charis, but it is only used in reference to what have become known as the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit, which are mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12. I don’t think that anyone could argue that the those nine gifts are manifest by the Divine influence of the Holy Spirit and the believer allowing that influence to reflect in his life.  

Acts 11:23 ~ When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord.

This scripture refers to Barnabas SEEING the grace of God on others. This implies that grace should be evident. That God’s influence in your heart should be manifest in such a way that it could be seen outwardly by others. We have a world full of believers that have no outward evidence of the grace of God on their lives and therefore are not a witness of the grace of God to the world. Why is that? A part of the reason is legalism. Legalism is a belief system that attempts to establish your own righteousness by following laws, rules and religious traditions. The more we allow ourselves to slip into legalism, the farther we fall from grace and deny God’s influence in our life.

Virtually the entire book of Galatians addresses this problem of legalism.

Galatians 5:4 ~ You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.

Another important aspect of grace is that God uses people to impart it to His body.

2 Corinthians 8:6 ~ So we urged Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also complete this grace in you as well.

 We see from this verse of scripture that the divine influence (grace) can come from other believers. Titus was urged to complete the grace that he started. His influence on these people was obviously of a divine nature, God influencing people with people. This is seen clearly in the fivefold ministry gifts described in Ephesians 4:11

When I came to the conclusion that grace is God’s divine influence in my heart and its reflection in my life, I was forced to consider my definition of God. The book of James says that “God is love”.

1 John 4:8 ~ He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

With that understanding I was left with this thought; Grace is an expression of God’s love, and any time He endeavors to influence a person, it is because He wants to impart His very nature into that individual. Look at the first part the verse above, “He who does not love does not know God”. I believe that the main purpose of grace is so that we may know Him. To know Him we must yield to the divine influence of love (grace) and allow that love to be reflected in our lives.Jesus was the express image of God (love). He is our example. To yield to divine influence is to yield to love. Jesus said:

John 5:19 ~ Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.

 I think we can all agree that Jesus was completely yielded to divine influence. He only did what He saw the father (Love) do.

 Grace is the influence and manifestation of the Love of God toward you and your expression of that love toward God and others.