But For the Grace

Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil. Luke 4:1, NKJV

For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15, NKJV

This morning the headlines were many announcing an evangelical preacher of a very large church resigning due to moral failings. Some reports indicated possible porn addiction and extra-marital affairs. These specific failings were not confirmed officially.

I saw the headlines and my heart sank. A family betrayed and hurting. A congregation, including this pastor’s staff, confused and hurting. I prayed for them and then I prayed for this pastor.

I think of the saying, “There but for the grace of God.” We hear it everywhere, but I don’t think it’s usually said with the true weight and meaning that this statement should carry.

I started this post with two scriptures that speak of our Lord Jesus Christ being tempted. He was tempted but did not sin. This was not because He was the Son of God. He laid down His divine nature and came to earth as a man. I believe the reason He did not fall under the weight of such great temptation was because of what happened prior to His entering the wilderness. “Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit…”

But He gives us more and more grace (power of the Holy Spirit, to meet this evil tendency and all others fully). That is why He says, God sets Himself against the proud and haughty, but gives grace [continually] to the lowly (those who are humble enough to receive it). James 4:6, Amplified

There but for the grace of God. There but for the power of the Holy Spirit to meet this evil tendency and all others fully. I think it’s important to realize that just as Jesus was tempted, we too can be tempted. If we think we have arrived at a place where we cannot be tempted, we may fail to humble ourselves and receive the grace that He is freely offering.

I don’t say this in judgement of this pastor. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

I share all this as a reminder to myself and to anyone who reads this, when tempted, humble yourself and receive His grace, His power to meet and overcome all temptation.

One final thing, Pastor Joseph Prince says that when facing addictions and reoccurring sins in our lives, to remind ourselves  out loud as often as needed, “I am the righteousness of God in Christ.” In the face of addictions and failings, it takes humility to press through shame and guilt to say what God says about us. This is an act of faith. It is by faith that it might be by grace. We humble ourselves with an act of faith and receive the grace that sets us free. Whom the Son sets free is free indeed.

We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. Romans 6:6-7, NLT

By Faith, Grace, and Love

What’s on my heart today.

Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace… (Romans 4:16, KJV)

For [if we are] in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith activated and energized and expressed and working through love. (Galatians 5:6, Amplified)

IT IS BY FAITH

For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus [the leaning of your entire human personality on Him in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness]… (Colossians 1:4, Amplified)

Faith is leaning entirely on Him, trusting in His power, wisdom, goodness.

Because of faith also Sarah herself received physical power to conceive a child, even when she was long past the age for it, because she considered [God] Who had given her the promise to be reliable and trustworthy and true to His word. (Hebrews 11:11, Amplified)

Faith is believing that God is reliable, trustworthy and true to His word. He will do what He said He would do.

For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Romans 10:10, KJV)

How did you release faith to receive the grace for salvation? Believe in your heart and confess with your mouth.

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17, KJV)

THAT IT MIGHT BE BY GRACE

But He gives us more and more grace (power of the Holy Spirit, to meet this evil tendency and all others fully). That is why He says, God sets Himself against the proud and haughty, but gives grace [continually] to the lowly (those who are humble enough to receive it). (James 4:6, Amplified)

Grace is the power of the Holy Spirit.

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:9, KJV)

Grace is the power of Christ (the Anointed One and His Anointing) resting upon us.

WORKING BY LOVE

For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love. (Galatians 5:6; KJV)

…and if I have faith [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but have not love (God’s love in me) I am nothing (a useless nobody). (1 Corinthians 13:2, Amplified)

No man has at any time [yet] seen God. But if we love one another, God abides (lives and remains) in us and His love (that love which is essentially His) is brought to completion (to its full maturity, runs its full course, is perfected) in us! (1 John 4:12, Amplified)

…God is love… (1 John 4:16, Amplified)

It is by faith (trusting entirely, believing in our hearts and confessing with our mouths) that we receive the promises by grace (His power, the power of Christ, the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives). It works by love, by receiving His love and humbling ourselves to yield to His love in us (allowing God to run His full course in us) so that we may truly love with His love.

It’s by faith that it might be by grace and faith works by love. Selah.

Sin No More II

Yesterday we read about the woman caught in adultery and how Jesus spoke words of grace to her that empowered her to do just what He said, “Go and sin no more.” Today I want to look at another person that Jesus spoke these same words to, the man healed at the pool called Bethesda.

Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches… And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years... Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed and walk. And immediately the man was made whole… Now the invalid who had been healed did not know who it was… Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee. The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole. (John 5:2,5, 8-9, 14 KJV; John 5:13 Amplified)

Just as the woman caught in adultery encountered not judgement, but mercy and grace, so too do this man. As I have often mentioned it is important to note where this all took place, at a pool called Bethesda in the Hebrew tongue. This word is made up of two Hebrew words bet which means ‘house’ and hesda which means ‘mercy’. It was at the house of mercy where Jesus healed this man who had been an invalid for 38 years. Once again, what is mercy for? It’s for when you didn’t do everything right. Jesus wasn’t asking this man to jump through all the right hoops to earn his healing. He wanted to show this man mercy. The Hebrew word hesda (mercy) comes from the Hebrew word hesed which means God’s unfailing love. He wanted to show him mercy simply because He loved him.

Jesus once again spoke words of grace in this man’s situation as He did with the woman caught in adultery. His words were filled with grace when He said, “Rise, take up thy bed, and walk”. His words were filled with grace when He said, “sin no more”. He imparted the power of the Holy Spirit through His very words.

Let 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. (Ephesians 4:29, KJV)

But He gives us more and more grace (power of the Holy Spirit, to meet this evil tendency and all others fully)… (James 4:6, Amplified)

Throughout your life He has spoken and will continue to speak words of grace. Words that help you to walk free and words that help you to be all that He has called you to be.

Grace be with you all. Amen. (Hebrews 13:25, KJV)

Grace

Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace… (Romans 4:16, KJV)

…He gives us more and more grace (power of the Holy Spirit)… (James 4:6, Amplified)

…faith activated and energized and expressed and working through love. (Galatians 5:6, Amplified)

How do we access grace which is the power of the Holy Spirit? By faith.

How does our faith work? By love.

We have a commandment, love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and love one another as He has loved you. What happens when we do this? Our faith works and we access grace. We access His power.

This process begins with first having faith in His love for us.

We love because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19, NIV)

We believe this. We receive this. We access grace from God. Then what?

…speaking the truth in love… (Ephesians 4:15, KJV)

Let 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. (Ephesians 4:29, KJV)

When you love the ones your are speaking His truth to, your very words will actually minister grace to them. You will take the grace, the power of the Holy Spirit, that you received from God and make it available to others.

For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him. (John 3:17, Amplified)

As you speak His truth, don’t judge, reject, condemn, or pass sentence on the hearers. Love them. Grace them. Empower them to be saved, safe and sound through Him. Selah.

Words of Grace

Let 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. (Ephesians 4:29, KJV)

But He gives us more and more grace (power of the Holy Spirit…) (James 4:6, Amplified)

That your words may minister grace unto the hearer. The Lord asks us and anoints us to speak words of grace. Words that minister the power needed to do what God has called us to do.

God has called us to be like Him. Our words are to minister grace, because His words minister grace.

How do you access grace? By faith. It is by faith that it might be by grace (Romans 4:16)

I once asked the Lord for the grace to walk in love. His response was an instant insight into how Jesus walked as the Son of God in this earth. Here is what He showed me.

And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased. (Luke 3:22, KJV)

Jesus believed what God said about Him. He believed that He was God’s Son. He believed that God loved Him. He believed that God was pleased with Him. He had faith in God and in God’s Words to Him and by that faith, He accessed the grace to walk it out in this earth.

In Luke 4:18-21 we also see that He believed that the Holy Spirit was upon Him and that He was anointed and by faith He accessed the grace (the power of the Holy Spirit) to walk it out.

Now the Bible says that I am born of God’s seed and God is Love. I am born of God, I am born of Love. The Bible also states that God’s love has been shed abroad in my heart by the Holy Spirit.

What happens when I believe this? I access the grace to walk it out in this earth.

This is not only true of the few scriptures I have shared in this post. It is true for all the things God has spoken to us in His Word.

Believe what He says and by faith access the grace in His Words to walk it out in this earth.

Faith Works By Love

I have been ministering to people in need of healing for almost 12 years now. I’ve seen people at many different stages in their walk with God. Some who didn’t know Him yet, to those who had known Him all their lives. Some who simply knew His acts, and others that knew His ways.

The other day I made a statement that summed up the relationship of many of those who found it difficult to receive their healing. I said it concerning one person, and then realized how true it was for many. “She knew the law, but she didn’t know the love.”

Let’s take a look at two scriptures that will help us see the importance of this statement.

For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect; because the law worketh wrath; for where no law is, there is no transgression. Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace… (Romans 4:14-16, KJV)

Therefore, [inheriting] the promise is the outcome of faith and depends [entirely] on faith, in order that it might be given as an act of grace… (Romans 4:16, Amplified)

For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love. (Galatians 5:6, KJV)

In Romans 4 we are told that when we think we have to earn His promises by keeping the law, our “faith is made void”, the promise is “made of none effect”.

I have seen so many try to ‘earn’ their healing by being very legalistic. We could never earn our salvation. It was a free gift. We will never ‘earn’ healing. It too is a free gift.

In the Amplified Bible it said receiving God’s promise “depends entirely on faith… that it might be given as an act of grace.” In James 4:6 in the Amplified Bible we are told what grace is. It is the “power of the Holy Spirit”. Isn’t that how you were born again? With your heart you believed. With your mouth you confessed. And by the power of the Holy Spirit you became a new creation.

That’s how you receive healing. By faith so that it might be by grace.

Galatians 5:6 tells us that faith works by love. If we go after the things of God by becoming harsh and legalistic, our faith won’t work. And we won’t access the grace to receive the promise. But if we realize Our Heavenly Father loves us, and that out of that love He sent His Son to take our sins and take our sicknesses (Isaiah 53:5, 1 Peter 2:24, Psalm 103:3) we will trust Him, believe Him, rely on Him to heal us. That’s called faith and it will access the grace to be healed.

Clothed with Light

The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light… Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh(Romans 13:12, 14; KJV)

…God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5, KJV)

He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. (1 John 2:10, KJV)

As I read Romans 13:12 today from the King James I thought to myself, “That sounds so poetic. The night is far spent, that day is at hand…”

But this is not just poetry, it is reality. I read this scripture in the New Living Translation as well. This is what it said.

The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living. (Romans 13:12, NLT)

…Clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 13:14, NLT)

How do you clothe yourself with His Presence? By putting on the armor of right living.

You may be thinking, “Now wait a minute, what about grace?”

If it wasn’t for grace we wouldn’t be able to live righteously. But thank God we have His grace living in us, because we have His Spirit living in us.

But He gives us more and more grace (power of the Holy Spirit, to meet this evil tendency and all others fully)… (James 4:6, Amplified)

Pastor Terri Pearsons, one of my Pastors, once said, that in the Old Testament they did the works to become righteous. In the New Testament, we have been made righteous so we could do the works. And when we do those works, we release the power of righteousness, God’s righteousness that makes everything right.

So here we have this power in us. Christ in you the hope of Glory. Christ being the Anointed One and His Anointing. We see reference to this power in many other scriptures as well.

By having the eyes of your heart flooded with light, so that you can know and understand the hope to which He has called you, and how rich is His glorious inheritance in the saints… [so that you can know and understand] what is the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His power in and for us who believe, as demonstrated in the working of His mighty strength, which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead… (Ephesians 1:18-20, Amplified)

But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. (Romans 8:11, KJV)

He who believes on Me… as the Scripture has said, From his innermost being shall flow… rivers of living water… He was speaking here of the Spirit, Whom those who believed… in Him were afterward to receive. For the [Holy] Spirit had not yet been given… (John 7:38, Amplified)

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages… (Ephesians 3:20-21, KJV)

By the power that works in us. To Him be Glory in the church. How do you release the power? By walking righteously by the power of His Holy Spirit at work in us. (See Galatians 5:22-25, the fruit of the Spirit).

…[the work which His presence within accomplishes]…. (Galatians 5:22, Amplified)

What is righteous living? Doing what God says is right. Remember God is love. Righteous living is doing what Love says is right.

…for he who loves his neighbor… has fulfilled the Law… (Romans 13:8, Amplified)

The commandments, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet… and any other commandment, are summed up in the single command, You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself. (Romans 13:9, Amplified)

…love meets all the requirements and is the fulfilling of the Law. (Romans 13:10, Amplified)

Walking in light releases God’s glory in the church for this age.

…God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5, KJV)

He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. (1 John 2:10, KJV)

The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living. (Romans 13:12, NLT)

Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ… (Romans 13:14, KJV)

“Clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ” by walking in love.

…For I consider that the sufferings of this present time (this present life) are not worth being compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us and in us and for us and conferred on us! (Romans 8:18, Amplified)