The simplest answer to this question is just pure grace.
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."
The journey of grace begins the moment a person first receives God's free gift of grace for salvation, accepting the sacrifice of Jesus Christ's blood as the atonement for his sin. Now, along with every other believer, we share the privilege of glorifying God by walking in His grace and radiating that grace to others. This is the reason God created us.
Grace, God's favor and high esteem for us, is not based on anything we have done to earn it, but upon His eternal, omnipotent, omniscient love for us. God's mercy is what saves us from the pit of hell and keeps us from getting what we deserve because of sin. God's grace gives us what we do not deserve; the opportunity to be quickened by His Word with eternal life and to glorify God in this life.
The journey of grace is learning how to continually receive God's grace for every area of our lives. If we keep that in mind, we won't be concerned with how far we have yet to travel. With each step, we will be filled with awe at the goodness of the Savior, who said, "I am with you always, even unto the end of the world."
Walking in God's Provision
A major difference between Christians in every church service is that some believe God's Word when they hear it and are changed, while others come and listen, yet they remain in Adam (the old sin nature). They do not receive their place at Calvary, and they will not accept their death with Jesus Christ as a Finished Work (Galatians 2:20). They accept Christ's death for them, but they do not accept their death with Christ.
According to Jeremiah 30:12, those who choose to live in Adam cannot be cured. Their wounds and bruises are incurable. Adam will never be healed. These Christians will leave a church service condemning and cutting themselves down. They foolishly forsake God's program of grace in the Bible.
The Psalmist said in his despair, "My soul cleaveth unto the dust; quicken thou me according to thy word" (Psalm 119:25). Do you ever wonder why you are so miserable when you live in Adam? The answer is found when we look at God's Word, the manual that outlines every detail of who we are and how we operate. Because He made us, only God knows the answers to the internal and external problems we face.
Let God Quicken You
"For thus faith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive [quicken] the heart of the contrite ones."
According to this verse, Christians who are humble and contrite will be just quickened, filled with spiritual life, now on earth as God is in heaven.
Every person born into this world lives, speaks, and moves in this world. Ultimately everyone will die. And unless their human spirit has been quickened by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God, they will die without Christ (Ephesians 2:1, 5). No one will be quickened unless he is first made contrite (broken) and humble. That is God's plan. When we refuse His declared provision, we limit the Holy One of Israel (Psalm 78:41).
Accept the Gift of Grace
As Christians in the Church Age, we have a greater provision, a greater privilege, and a greater responsibility than believers in any other time. Acts 2:23 speaks of the "determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God" (the meeting of the Trinity in eternity past to discuss the eternal purpose and plan of the human race). Because they had foreknowledge of all human decisions, the Trinity decided to treat man only according to grace. Grace was to be revealed by the supernatural, unconditional love that sent Jesus Christ to the Cross. He would bear our sins in His own body (1 Peter 2:24) and pay for our iniquities.
According to this plan, whoever believes upon Christ, with all of his heart, will have the record of his sins erased forever. But if a person continues to sin after believing upon Jesus Christ, God will chastise him, in love, in order to restore fellowship. The chastisement is first mental and then emotional. If there is still no response, God intensifies the emotional chastisement and brings it into the physical realm through the central nervous system.
Grace depends upon the character of God never upon the character of a man, and the whole purpose of chastisement is never to condemn a Christian, because the price for our sins was paid in full at Calvary, it is a Finished Work. Now, God's purpose is to draw us with cords of love back to Himself. But the consequence of a decision to continue in sin results in a loss of rewards at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
It Is Finished
Romans 11:6 says, "And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work." We can do nothing to merit God's favor.
In 1 Peter 5:10, God is described as the God of all grace. Jesus Christ finished the work when He paid for the sins of the world on Calvary. John 1:16 tells us that when we were saved, we all received of His fullness," ... "and grace for grace."
The word "fullness" in the Greek is pleroma. It means that Jesus Christ has done every thing that He could ever do for us by shedding His precious blood, and there is nothing more He can do to add to it. God said in Isaiah 5:4a, "What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it?"
"And of His fullness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ" (John 1: 16-17). Whenever we hear the name of Jesus Christ, we should remember that He is constantly revealing His mind about grace and all He has done for us forever through the Finished Work.
Can you grasp this? Without even understanding it, using it, or revealing it, we have already received the fullness of grace. The problem is that we just don't understand how to apply it for deliverance, salvation, or healing, whether physical or emotional. That is why we need to hear the Word of God on a regular basis to begin to grow in maturity and understanding of the eternal security we have in Christ.
Upheld by the Power of Grace
"For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace" (Romans 6:14). Grace has supreme authority because the Lord Jesus Christ is grace. Jesus said in Matthew 28: 18, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth." That "all power" (omnipotence) is released in grace. God will never release His power to anyone except through grace.
When a person's faith responds to grace, faith and grace are "married." In this union, they have communion through the Word of God and love is manifested. The manifestation of this love goes deep inside a person no matter what condition they are in, regardless of whether they are neurotic, psychotic, born with a genetic defect, or suffer from a chemical imbalance. When the power of this love is internalized, it does a miraculous work because of the nature of grace that is demonstrated by love and experienced through faith, while God's mercy rejoices against judgment. (I can really testify to this!)
Grace is the most marvelous thing in the world. There's nothing like it under heaven. It is unfathomable, incomprehensible, and overwhelming to the human mind. Grace is God's nature. It is who He is. It is God acting through Christ, on behalf of all sinners, at Calvary. That's where we find grace. "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2: 8-9). This is how grace functions: through child-like faith.
Staying On Balance
In Psalm 51:6, God desires for us to have emeth in the inward parts. The Hebrew word emeth means truth that comes from thinking with God, which equals doctrine. This doctrine must be presented precisely and learned in the balance of God's nature. Absolute truth should continually reside in our souls as we appropriate it by our personal faith.
Malachi 2: 6 tells us that this type of truth (emeth) is the law of God's mouth. "Thy law is the truth" (Psalm 119:142b).
The Greek word for truth is aletheia (2 Timothy 2:15), precise categorical thinking with God according to His nature, appropriated in personal faith through the Spirit of the living Word.
Our Accountability to Truth
Why is our accountability to truth important? We need to accept God's call in our lives. We need to be faithful to a local assembly and with a pastor-teacher who is faithful to God's call. Guaranteed, we will all be accountable when we face God at the Judgement Seat, whether or not we lived by emeth or aletheia, because every one of us has been given a provision to receive the truth.
Love Not the World
"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever. Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, ever now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things"
(1 John 2:15-20).
One of the most vital things we can do for ourselves is to make sure we have a good attitude in the morning. Then throughout the day, we need to make sure we don't slip into a bad attitude. It is the difference between godliness and worldliness. A bad attitude comes from the negative transference of energy in the air and can easily stir up an otherwise peaceful atmosphere. We need to discover the Cross.
We are not to love anything in the world. Many Christians knows what the Bible says about worldliness, but they do not obey the Word.
Paul, in 1 Corinthians 13:12 says, "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known."
The "world" is kosmos diabolicus, the system of government operated by the prince and the power of the air, Satan. "If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." Theantric action (God's nature controlling a meek believer through the government of the indwelling Word and the power of the Holy Spirit) cannot operate in one who loves the world, because a love for the world system and the love of God the Father cannot co-exist in a person.
And we know the whole world lies in satanic infections, then the world is a system and an organization whereby Satan is the god of its productions, purposes, and promotions. The world's domestic values belong to Satan, the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4).
As Christians, we are to go into the world to preach the Gospel, but we are not to become a part of the world. Are you of the opinion that certain things in the world are okay? "Love not the world, neither any thing in the world."
Establishing the Right Point of Reference
"And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness" (1 John 5:18-19). Every single thing in the kosmos, the world system, is wicked. I am not speaking of asceticism, legalism, or taboos. I am speaking of the world. It should be easy to see why we must rightly divide the Word of truth.
"Whom shall he teach knowledge? And whom shall he make to understand doctrine? Them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line; here a little, and there a little."
We must have knowledge and understanding of doctrine and be weaned from the milk of self-reliance. This requires having the Cross as a point of reference in our hearts. Then we must have a frame of reference, categories of doctrine of the Word of God, with explanations and vocabulary that precisely orders our hearts and minds.
The Word that we receive beyond mere knowledge goes into our human spirit and is then transferred into the memory center. The memory center is in the soul, which includes categorical storage of Bible doctrine and other compartments of the heart and the streams of consciousness.
The point of reference for everything is the Cross. We cannot have a proper frame of reference without the right point of reference. The Cross is the point of reference for the new heart and the human spirit. Jesus Christ gives us a commandment to take up our Cross and follow Him (Matthew 16:24). In Matthew 10:38, Jesus says, "He that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me." The Greek tenses in this passage indicate a requirement of commitment that is personal to the Cross just as commitment is personal to salvation.
Taking up the Cross is first a commandment (Matthew 16:24, Luke 9:23). After fulfilling the commandment, a Christian must make a personal commitment to the Cross (Matthew 10:38). First, it is called His Cross. Next, it is call the Cross and then finally it is called Your Cross. "For Christ sent me not to baptize, Paul says, but to preach the gospel; not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish, foolishness; but unto us which are saved, it is the power of God."
It is made clear that our communication must be through the spirit of the Cross. So, we have a commandment of the Cross, a commitment to the Cross, and communication based on the Cross. The Cross brings reconciliation (Ephesians 2:16), and the Blood shed on that Cross brings forgiveness and peace in that reconciliation (Colossians 1:20).
What is the problem between the Cross and the world? They are at odds. The attitude of every non-Christian and of every carnal Christian (those who are saved but backslidden) toward the Cross is that they hate it. The world hates what the Cross stands for. They don't understand that Jesus Christ's love is unconditional and immutable and that His love is for everyone. The message of the Cross is a grace message with a mercy reference and a love motivation.
Called to Intimacy with Christ
"For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God" (Corinthians 1:22-24). The key word in this passage is "called." I've been summoned. I don't have an option. Through the Church, God issues a universal call to the whole world: that men and women everywhere would repent (Acts 17:30). We are to proclaim that call.
We are called ones. This is why we don't get weary in well-doing. Because we accept the fact that we are called, we don't struggle with our moods. And along with accepting the call comes the provision for maturity and stability. We preach the Cross, and to those who perish it is foolishness; but to those who are saved it is the power of God (1 Corinthians 1:18).
God, the Creator, the Redeemer, the Savior, the Lord of everything has given each of us a personal call. According to Ephesians 4:1, we have a personal accountability and responsibility to that call. First, Paul builds us up in how to think with God, how to derive our thoughts from Him. Then he brings us into the privilege of experiencing God's life. It is not a list of rules or a standard for conduct, but we are called to have an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.
Equity: God's Perfect Justice
Webster's Dictionary defines "equity" as "... a body of legal doctrines and rules developed to enlarge, supplement, or override a narrow rigid system of law." Here, "equity" refers to the Finished Work of God, judging Christ on the Cross for our sins so that we, who were condemned in our old sin nature by the law, could freely receive eternal life.
"Verily, Verily, I say unto you, he that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation [(judgment)]; but is passed from death unto life"
There is now no judgment for sins; there is now no condemnation ( Romans 8:1). Because of the Finished Work, "judgment stands afar off" from anyone who receives Christ as his Savior. Yet, experiencing the Finished Work stands afar off from the person who refuses to abide in truth. The equity of "it is finished" cannot enter into his soul. When a person is saved and departs from Satan's kingdom of evil, he needs to be sanctified in aletheia, truth found in precise categories from God's Word, so he can understand and experience what God is saying.
Second Peter 1:12 instructs us to be established in truth (aletheia). 2 Corinthians 13:8 says that we cannot do anything against aletheia. We are set apart with God's viewpoint through the Holy Spirit of love when we rightly divide the precise Word of God in a balanced way, to represent God's nature through our personal faith.
The Word Alive in Us
While we live in this crooked and perverse world (Philippians 2:15-16), the Word of God comes alive in us. This is why Jesus said to Satan, "It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God" (Matthew 4:4). This is why He said in Matthew 4:7, "It is written, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God." In Matthew 7:10, He said, "It is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only."
What was Jesus doing by answering every temptation from the devil with those words? He was living by emeth and aletheia. We are to live by every single word of God (Matthew 4:4).
The Finished Work declares that we are free in Christ, that He is in us, and that we are His children when we have received Him by faith. It says that He is Savior and Lord. The Finished Work, however, cannot be the equity of our lives if we are not receiving precise truth communicated in the power and the nature of God's love. We need to have a personal faith established in what Paul calls the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27).
All Scripture is inspired (2 Timothy 3:16). Each verse is profitable for reproof, for correction, and for doctrine (which is instruction in righteousness), that we may be thoroughly furnished with truth.
The Savor of Truth
Matthew 5:13 says we are the salt of the earth. In Luke 14:34, if salt has lost its savor, it is good for nothing. Henceforth, men tread it under their feet. Salt is the resurrection life of knowledge in the power of the whole counsel of God through personal faith. This means God causes us to triumph in every place.
Abide in the Truth
It takes more that just knowledge to live triumphantly. It is not about quoting chapter and verse. Jesus said, "the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, an they are life" (John 6:63). He was talking about aletheia, the precise, accurate power of God's thinking and God's mind; the fullness of the Holy Spirit in a person who understands the Finished Work. This person understands that he can endure anything and that he will end up with the crown of life. He abides in the tabernacle; he dwells in the holy presence of God.
Isaiah 33:6a tells us that wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of our times. That is true, because wisdom is the proper application of knowledge. According to Psalm 111:10, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Wisdom goes beyond knowledge into the way God thinks releasing the Holy Spirit of resurrection in a person who is obedient to the word he has received. Proverbs 9:19 says that a man who fears God has not only wisdom but also understanding which is knowledge of the holy. The original Hebrew text says, "knowledge of the holy place", that is where we are seated. So, the fear of God is wisdom, and knowledge of the holy place is understanding, which includes what we experience.
Jesus said, "If you continue in my word, you will be My Learner, My disciplined one, My disciple. And, you will know the truth." The definite article specifies a system of how to think in every area, and it will set us free.
As believers, our walk must have its source in Bible doctrine, not in human good or natural disposition. Some people get saved yet never grow in their walk with God because they rely on their upbringing, their natural disposition, and their natural understanding of moral light. They're stabilized at that level and never learn how to derive power for their walk through thinking accurately with God with categorical doctrine in the power of His Spirit.
Maintaining a Vision
We cannot let our personal vision be weakened. Let's grow from strength to strength in our valleys. Leave the wilderness filled with pools of living water, in stead of old, dried-up places (Isaiah 35: 6-7). We go from "strength to strength" (Psalm 84:7), "faith to faith" (Romans 1:17), and "glory to glory": (2 Corinthians 3:18). As we are decreasing, Christ is increasing (John 3:30).
Romans 8:30, "Moreover whom He did predestinate (because He foreknew who would choose His Son), them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified." Our calling came before our justification and our future glorification.
Second Timothy 1:9 calls it "a holy calling"; Hebrews 3:1 say it's "a heavenly calling" and Philippians 3:14 calls it a high calling." "Holy," means to be separated unto categories, having spirituality with godliness. "Heavenly" speaks of having positional truth above the chief demon of the air (2 Corinthians 10: 5; Ephesians 6:12) and the demons of the dust (James 3:15). "The prize of the high calling" speaks of our entrance into maturity to experience the phenomenal rewards of Jesus Christ.
We have a heavenly calling, not an earthly one. The call comes from Jesus Christ, not from men, and everything in our life must submit to that call. It should be every Christian's vocation and emphasis. Our vocation is to have doctrine as our profession and trade so we can live by every single Word of God. Then, when we face Jesus Christ individually at the Judgment Seat, it can be said of each of us that we honored the mandate of the Word of God. We honor and live up to our vocation, using rebound when we make mistakes and fail, as all of us do.
Quickened to Grow
"Even when we were dead in sins, [He] hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus."
We couldn't quicken ourselves; we were quickened by the call. When we were dead, we were quickened with Him, raised up with Him and seated with Him. The power was in the Word that called us. This is so important to understand, because the average Christian does not know how to abide in his calling (1 Corinthians 7:20).
Seeds Sown on the Inside
Titus 2:10 speaks of adorning "the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things" This principle means that our vocation springs from the Word of God within us. When a farmer puts a seed into the ground and buries it, there will be a season where there is no evidence of growth. Then the sun will shine and showers will come. The seed germinates and begins to grow though it's hidden. Then finally, a little sprout pushes its way through the ground. For a time, there was no evidence of growth. But through the changes of weather and the process of time, the seed grew. God nurtured it because His life was in the seed.
The Word of God is an incorruptible seed that lives and abides forever (1 Peter 1:23). The seeds of the Word of God that go inside our souls have God's life in them. Just as the seed in the earth goes through changes, we go through various patterns of thinking and behavior in response to what goes on in the world around us.
Even when there is no evidence of growth in the lives of those around you, it doesn't mean that they are not growing. The grace of God is working inside them and they will bring forth fruit, which is evidence of growth, in due season. It is the grace of God that teaches us how to grow.
Christ's Walk in Us
In Christ we have our heavenly standing (Ephesians 2:6; Romans 5:2). In Him are the riches of grace. All of His ways are perfect. In us, however, Christ must have His earthly walk, a true expression of His character as He dwells in us and manifests Himself through us, His body.
In us, Christ has His walk on earth (2 Corinthians 6:16). That is the call of God, and the call is in the Word. Our vocation is His Word, categorical doctrine, how to think as He thinks while we grow in grace, rebounding when we fail.
How are we to walk? "With all lowliness, and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love" (Ephesians 4:2). "Lowliness" in the Greek is taipeinophrosune, meaning that inwardly I think and live in the spirit of grace through humility produced by the Holy Spirit when I take up the Cross. Lowliness springs from a true estimation of myself. Lowliness is what I am like inside as I think in grace, which is unmerited favor. It is thinking in love with a humility that is produced not by self-effacement, but by the Cross of Calvary as I experience the truth of my death, burial, resurrection and ascension with Christ. This produces humility in the presence of God who indwells me: "I will dwell in them, and walk in them..." (2 Corinthians 6:16).
Next, we are to walk with "meekness", kaipraotes in the Greek. No one who depends on human good and natural disposition is meek. People who get angry in a moment have never had the Spirit's fruit of meekness. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance (Galatians 5: 22-23).
Meekness, then is a fruit of the Holy Spirit that brings in a divine disposition. It is produced by being humbled and accepting retroactive positional truth for personal application and experience as I accept my vocation in the power of His Word. The truth of my position is retroactive because two thousand years ago I was crucified, buried, resurrected and ascended in Christ. Meekness is grace that takes over the capacity of my mind, emotions, conscience, self-consciousness, and volition. It renders my old sin nature dormant because of the activity of the retroactive truth of Calvary.
In myself, I can never produce meekness. If I have the right genetic makeup and moral training, I may try to counterfeit it through human goodness and natural disposition, but I can never produce genuine meekness.
I have received so much truth studying this article. I believe this truth applies to me as much as it applies to every Christian around the world. If we can just grasp that, grace is a free gift and all we need to do is believe in the Finished Work of Jesus Christ. The gift of the grace of God is given to us by the effectual working of His power. Grace is the authority of our victory, the badge of overcoming, and the transforming power to be continually renewed. The old things like lust, pride, and arrogance pass away, and grace comes inside to stabilize our faculties, making us brand new, edifying, creative, constructive, happy, and joyful, as God shares His life with sinners who have become saints.
I have found a church with a good pastor-teacher, who is very dogmatic about his beliefs. It gives me the confidence to believe in Jesus Christ, because I'm hearing the teachings and I know where to find the lesson I have just heard, reading and studying to make sure what I'm hearing is truth. I have no doubt in my mind that I am receiving the Word, rightly dividing the Word of God. One of the greatest secrets of experiencing Jesus is to hear in meekness and to mix faith with what you hear. It produces a faith that obeys God by grace through love in the intimacy of knowing who God is. To know God is to love Him. To love God is to think with Christ. To think with Christ is to speak His words. And to speak His word is to show His character.
Obedient faith serves everyone by God's love (Galatians 5:6), a love that does not fail (1 Corinthians 13: 8a). The Bible says that no one can please God without faith. And when you come to God, you must believe that He rewards those that diligently seek Him ( Hebrews 11:6).
My church offers Bible College courses to attend so that I can be sure I'm continuously receiving God's Word and growing in knowledge and in truth. I am challenged on all sides, which keeps me alert and keep to the mandates that are required of me. I can truly say I have peace with God. I know who I am and where I'm going, and no matter what affliction I suffer, I am dogmatic in my belief as a child of God. And when I die, there is no fear, for I know where I'm hidden. I will see Christ face to face and be with Him forever, ruling and reigning with Him on the new heaven and the new earth. Look to Jesus Christ. Follow Him, respect Him, respond to Jesus Christ and receive His love just as you are. Go forward in the grace of God, through the love of God, in the joy of God, by the forgiveness of God, in the power of God, and in the patience of God. Rebound and go forward so that you can be transformed. This is His work, not yours (Romans 12:2). You do the believing. He does the changing. You do the following. He does the transforming. You do the asking. He does the answering. Praise be to God our Father, who loves you so much He sent His Son to die and shed His blood on Calvary. He did it for all mankind. You can be forgiven and have eternal life. The only thing He requires of you is to come to Him in simple faith trusting His character and love for you, and accepting Jesus as your Savior. "Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Acts 2:21).
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