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Happy New Year

THE END OF LAW – FREE EBOOK

Happy new year! I believe 2015 is a year when the Holy Spirit is going to be delivering many of us from living under a mixture of Law and Grace. May my second short book: The End Of Law, be a tool in the hands of the Holy Spirit, to enable believers everywhere clearly understand the truth that a believer is no longer under law – in any shape or form.

In 2015 may the Grace Revolution begin in your life!

The End of Law coverTo download FREE version 1.1 PDF please click here. The End of Law

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Chapter 1-  Introduction

If you want to learn to drive do you go to a Driving Examiner or a Driving Instructor? Likewise, if you want to be holy do you go to the Law of Moses for help, or the Holy Spirit? Now, there is nothing wrong with what Driving Examiners do and the standards they uphold – although they could be a little bit friendlier sometimes! However, their job is not to help you, only to see if you meet the required standard.

Sin is missing the mark. How do we miss that mark? We fall short of the glory or goodness of God. The Law of course is a perfect standard of righteousness; it points out all your faults with absolute accuracy but does nothing to help you become righteous or holy.

Likewise, the UK driving test has to be passed by law and in many ways functions like the Law of Moses – it points out all your faults: major, serious and minor but doesn’t lift a finger to help you! It is totally negative and doesn’t focus at all on what you might have done right. Thus, passing a driving test doesn’t help you learn to drive – it doesn’t produce drivers at all. All it does is prevent bad drivers taking to the roads!

For example: Imagine if you never had a driving lesson and all you had to help you was the driving test form. Would it be possible to drive by just looking and learning from that list of possible faults? No, of course not, that would be ridiculous! Imagine working out how to control the clutch or deal with traffic just looking at a list of faults – impossible! No, what you need is an instructor or a coach who knows HOW to drive – an expert, an example. As believers, that’s exactly what we have – the most patient, gracious, enthusiastic coach – the expert and wonderful Holy Spirit.

My hope and aim therefore, in this short book is to explain clearly why Jesus freed us from the the Law of Moses and I hope my insights as a Driving Instructor have already peaked your interest!

Thanks and a Happy New Year – Paul Noble

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The law of christ

the lawAs a child, I was brought up in the Exclusive Brethren: a christian sect that was birthed in revival but unfortunately largely ended up legalistic, religious and dead. The Gospel was preached for salvation but unfortunately those “breaking bread” , or officially part of the congregation were expected to adhere to the unwritten rules. Rules like: no television, radio, pop-music and a strict dress code in church. Of course this sort of legalism isn’t exclusive to the brethren (excuse the pun) and most christian denominations exhibit similar manifestations of joyless religion. However,  I do honour my heritage, because for one thing it gave me a love and knowledge of the scriptures and a hunger and a thirst for the truth.

The religious right

In Jesus day, likewise there were religious groups that started off with a genuine desire to arrest the moral decline in the nation. One of these was the Pharisees or ‘separate ones’ and their mission was a determination to get back to the Bible, or in their case the Torah or Law. Unfortunately,  in their zeal they elaborated the law with their own self-righteous additions to which Jesus often sarcastically refers to ‘your law’ meaning the extra interpretations, interpolations and additions the Pharisees had introduced.

This meant of course, that Jesus often came head to head with the Pharisees  because he revealed their double standards. On one such day, a teacher of the law or lawyer, was trying to trap Jesus with a clever question:

What is the greatest commandment?

Matthew 22:42 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law? And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. The second like it: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself”  On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets”

What a brilliant answer! The Pharisees had complicated the law and made it even more difficult for the man on the street to understand let alone keep. In a paragraph, Jesus has reduced the whole of the law and the prophets to basically: love God and love man. Who can’t understand that! Who needs a lawyer or a pharisee! Its like a complicated quadratic equation being simplified  to x= a + b!

Paul’s teaching on the law of christ

In the Epistles, the Apostle Paul takes the truth that Jesus revealed in the Gospels and further amplifies it. In Galatians he refers to it as the Law of Christ:

Galatians 6:2 “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.”

In Romans, Paul shows how that loving God and loving man is the fulfillment of the law:

Romans 13:8 “Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law “ For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”

The end is love

The grace of God therefore, through Jesus, has successfully achieved the end that the law had no power to achieve because of the weakness of the flesh.

Romans 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

Bible teacher Derek Prince said the following: “Both under law and under grace the end to be achieved is love. But under law the means used to that end is an external system of commandments and ordinances, imposed upon man from without; and under grace the means is a miraculous and continuing operation of the Holy Spirit within the believers heart”

A believer therefore, is not trying to produce good or loving behaviour by a set of rules that he or she keeps. No, a new law is at work because a new power is at work in our lives – the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit: God’s love has been poured into our hearts so that as we experience God’s love towards us, it causes us to reciprocate and also express that to others.

Romans 5:5 “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”

A person full of the Holy Spirit therefore doesn’t need the law!

Galatians 5:23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”

A man in love with his wife doesn’t need the law “do not commit adultery”.

Consequently, under the new covenant, we walk by the spirit and operate by a different set of rules or laws. There has been a change of covenant; a change of law. Hebrews 7:12.

Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

Romans 3:27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.

The law of liberty

Therefore, the believer under grace is called to freedom and liberty. James talks about this freedom as the law of liberty:

James 1:25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

James 2:12 “So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.”

In other words, you are free to do what you like as long as it brings glory to God and blesses those around you.

Again, Derek Prince puts it this way: “as a christian you are free to do anything that you can do with perfect love in your heart towards God and man. Your are not free to do anything that cannot be done in love”.

How is this worked out practically?

There are three ways practically this is outworked:

Does it bring glory to God?

Firstly, loving God means bringing glory to God. So, I don’t have to follow complicated dietary laws as per the law. No, its as simple as:

1 Cor 10:31 “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God”

Is it beneficial?

Secondly, what I do or do not allow or participate in, is governed very simply by nothing is unlawful as long as it is beneficial and doesn’t control me:

1 Cor 6:12 “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful to me but I will not be brought under the power of any”

For example: I believe a christian is free to drink or not to drink alcohol but if we become addicted or drunk, then we are under the power of alcohol and are behaving foolishly and are indulging the flesh. In addition, we must take the truth of Roman’s 14 into account, whereby if my “freedom” affects the conscience of my brother or sister and causes them to stubble, then love for my brother overrides my freedom!

Romans 14:21 It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.

Serve others

Thirdly, I don’t use this liberty to indulge the flesh. No, I use it to serve others. So, by all this we are establishing and fulfilling the law: love your neighbour as yourself.

Galatians 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

The Royal law

James calls loving your neighbour the Royal or Noble Law:

James 2:8 “If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:”

As believers therefore, we are called to behave and act like nobility or kings! God wants us to reign in life!

Romans 5:17 “For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.”

Therefore, because we are under grace doesn’t mean we are lawless. In fact, the whole of the New Testament is full of commands. Don’t get drunk on wine; Do not love the world; Husbands love your wives and so on. In fact, Paul refers to these as the commandments of God some of which he gave under apostolic authority. However, again these commands  are describing the behaviour of etiquette of royalty. In other words this is who you are so live like it!

The Jesus commandments

Thankfully, Jesus didn’t leave us another 613 commandments to keep. No, he said if you love me keep my commandments one of which was love one another.

Love one another

John 15:12 “This is my commandment that you love one another just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.”

John in his Epistle further reiterates this:

1 John 4:21 “And this is the commandment we have from him that the one who loves God should love his brother also. Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God and whoever loves the Father love the child born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments; and his commandments are not burdensome.”

Love God

The second is simply to believe in the name of his son Jesus Christ, in other words love God with all your heart.

1 John 3:22 “and whatever we ask we receive from him because we keep his commandments and do the things that are pleasing in his sight. And this is His commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another just as he commanded us. And the one who keeps his commandments abides in him and He in him.”

In conclusion therefore, Paul neatly wraps up the way a christian is to live with a simple rule or canon.

Galatians 6:15 “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.”

Further articles:

Do not steal (Part 3)

Jesus and the mosaic law (Part 2)

The end of the law (part 1)

Living by law or grace – prophecy

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Do not steal

the lawYou read the law – do not steal. Is this law good? Absolutely. The law do not steal is necessary in society to restrain evil. Stealing will never be ok with God. Often people try and justify stealing: for example, they might justify stealing from their workplace because according to them, the employer owes it them and it’s not hurting anyone else.

The point is though, as a believer is this law going to help you stop stealing? Well, if you are a thief, say a kleptomaniac, the fear of the penalty of the law: “do not steal” may restrain you for a while, but it will not change your desire or compulsion to steal.  The law has no power in itself to help you become holy. Not even 0.00001%. It is very good however at identifying your failure but only the Gospel and the grace of God has the power to transform you.

So, does this mean that a born again thief might revert back to stealing? Yes of course, he might struggle with the sin and fall to temptation but if he is truly born again, along with the desire to steal because of the flesh (body and soul),  will be the new desire not steal because his spirit man is like Jesus. Therefore, when you are truly born again a miracle takes place : you have a change of nature.

Does it matter if I sin?

Therefore, as believers does it doesn’t matter if we continue to steal –  say download a couple of pirate videos or music tracks, because we are under grace not law?  I believe it matters tremendously, because when we continue to sin we are enslaved to that sin. We are not free. Of course, where sin abounds grace even more abounds but sin always harms others and ourselves. It continues to be deadly and dangerous!

Don’t give the devil an opportunity

For example, if as believer I go out and steal a car I probably will end up in jail just like the unbeliever. I mean, how is it loving your neighbour to steal his car? Do I lose my salvation or relationship with God because I stole a car? No, because I’m under grace but you are giving the devil a big opportunity to mess up your life and the lives of others!

Ephesians 5: 27 “and do not give the devil an opportunity. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

Get a job!

This is not Paul preaching law and laying down a load of rules. He’s not some pentecostal holiness preacher thundering from the pulpit at all the miserable sinners at Ephesus! No, he is  like a father entreating his children from a grace perspective: from an identity perspective – this is who you are, therefore live like it! Put off the old man and put on the new  (Ephesians 5:22).

In the first three chapters of Ephesians Paul establishes all this positive truth about our standing as believers in christ  that our identity is a son seated with Christ in the heavenly places. In  chapter 4 he changes tack to apply this truth to our lives practically.

Ephesians 4:1  “I therefore the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called”.

So, Paul says to the former thief: get a job, earn an honest living and give to the needy! That’s what a christian or one who is christ like looks like! That is loving your neighbour as yourself. Love is the fulfillment of the law. I mean, you may never steal a penny from anyone but still be like scrooge never giving a penny to anyone!

A short man repents

I love the story in Luke 19 of Zac the vertically challenged tax-gatherer because it illustrates the truth that the kindness of God not the law of God leads men to repentance. Zac was a thief. He defrauded people (v8). He was not popular – not surprising! Why did he want to see Jesus? Was it curiosity? Maybe he had heard stories from another tax-gatherer turned disciple – Matthew. Who knows. The fact is, he was pretty determined to see Jesus because  I’m sure climbing sycamore trees was not something he did every day! Little did he know, that Jesus was looking for him! Indeed, he probably didn’t even realise that he was lost as Jesus describes.

What If Jesus had dragged Zac out of the tree and accused him of stealing? The crowd probably would have applauded and executed any punishment that Jesus decided. Did he deserve that? Probably. Instead though, Jesus picks out Zac, the most hated man in town and invites himself to dinner! He gives him a blessing! What does this do to the heart of a man who probably has a complex about his size and is hated by everyone? It melts his hard heart.

What is Jesus doing? He is teaching him to give freely rather than steal starting with a free meal for Jesus and his disciples! This is how grace works and notice the speed it works! Even before Jesus has cleared his preaching notes away, Zac is repenting at a level many christians never practice and at a level far in excess of what the law required. Did Zac say a special prayer or stick up his hand to get saved ( nothing wrong with that by the way!) No, he responds to Jesus invitation and repentance is the fruit. Zac  is declared by Jesus to be son of Abraham. In other words he’s saved!

The thief on the cross

Let’s finish at the end of the Gospel. On the cross Jesus again encounters two criminals ( Matthew’s tells us that they were thieves.) Both have completely different reactions. One, insults Jesus; the other publicly confesses his guilt. Now, this repentant thief has no opportunity to change his ways or right any wrongs but Jesus tells him that he’s going to make it heaven – what amazing grace!  So, Jesus lays down his life and arrives in paradise with his first fruit – a thief saved by grace!

Further articles:

The woman with the flux of blood

Jesus and the mosaic law

The end of the law (part 1)

Living by law or grace – prophecy

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The end of law (law series part 1)

end of lawEnd of law for righteousness

Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth.

Most protestant christians don’t believe they are saved by works. In other words, they don’t believe that keeping the law will ever make them righteous. And yet, many would say of this verse: “well it only says the end of the law for righteousness”,  implying that we do need the law as a standard to produce correct behaviour in a christian’s life.

Hebrews 7:19: For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.

Well, this verse clearly says that the law made nothing perfect, so why do we think its going to bring perfection or holiness once the believer has experienced salvation? I mean, are we saying that although the law isn’t capable of producing righteousness before were saved, somehow it is capable of producing and maintaining righteousness after we are saved? Go figure!

We need the law to point out sin?

Anyway, some might say: “we need the law to point out sin”. Now, they are right in identifying the strength of law, its expertise: forensically pointing out sin. Indeed, nothing escapes its perfection, skill and legal prowess.

Romans 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

Does that mean then, that pastors and preachers should preach law every Sunday to convict their congregations and keep them in line? Well yes, if their congregations are unsaved because the law is designed by God for just such people. The law is tailor-made for the unrighteous:

1 Timothy 1:9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers

Therefore, if you are preaching the law from the pulpit at believers then you are preaching the wrong covenant and preaching death! In fact, you are putting your congregation under a curse. (Gal 3:10).

Not under law

For the believer however, NO! The law’s task is complete. Law was designed by God to lead us to Christ by demolishing our self-righteousness and showing us we need his righteousness.

Galatians 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

So, once we have been brought to Christ, the law’s schooling and discipline is over. We have graduated from law school, we are now in the school of faith and of the spirit.

the lawCome on! It’s time to take off the trainer wheels and get pedalling!

In Romans 7, Paul illustrates the legal basis by which this marriage to law is terminated. He shows, that we are delivered from the tyranny of law by death – our death in Christ. Therefore, even though the law is not dead, we are dead to the law!

This means three things:

We are not under law but under grace

Romans 6:14 “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”

We are delivered from law

Romans 7:6 “But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.”

We are dead to the law

Romans 7:4 “Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.”

Galatians 2:19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.

How did we die to its demands? Through the crucifixion and death of Jesus.

Galatians 2:20 “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

The law and all of it’s demands therefore, was removed and nailed to the cross of Jesus:

Colossians 2:14 “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;”

Jesus completed the law

Jesus though, was the only human being qualified to do this because he came under law (Galatians 4:4) and perfectly fulfilled it by living a perfect life. When he died at the cross, he completed every requirement of the law and not only that, every shadow and type and detail of the law that alluded to him.

Matt 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

Ah, some will say, Jesus said that as long as heaven and earth exist the law applies.  So, it must apply to us today? Please read carefully! Jesus said that he didn’t come to destroy the law but to fulfill or complete. So, at the point Jesus was speaking (before the cross), the law hadn’t as yet been fulfilled or completed. However at the cross it was perfectly fulfilled.

Hebrews 7:12 For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.

At the cross then, there was a change of covenant and a change of priesthood. Jesus is now the high priest of our confession. We are under a new covenant and so indeed, there has been a change of law.

Dead to the ten commandments

Now of course, some legalistic believers wriggle here and divide the law up into three parts: the ceremonial law,  the judicial law and the moral law and claim that only the first two parts have been done away with and that the moral law or ten commandments still apply.

Firstly,  there are no grounds in scripture to dissect the law in such a way, as the law is always viewed as one complete whole and system of 613 commandments.

For example James 2:10 says:

“For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the lawSo speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.”

Secondly, Paul blows this theory wide open in 2 Corinthians 3 because he refers to the centre-piece of the law: the Ten Commandments (clearly referred to as the ministration of death engraven in stones) –  as done away!

2 Cor 3:7  But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away:

And again:

2 Cor 3:11 For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.

And yet again further down, he makes clear the ten-commandments have been abolished.

In Colossians 2, as we have referred to earlier, Paul shows that the whole law including the ten commandments is blotted out:

Col 2:13 “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

Further down, Paul gives details of this freedom from the law and all its various ordinances:

Col 2:15 “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:”

If you still not convinced, Paul says it a different way in Ephesians 2:14-15:

“For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;”

So what separated Jew and Gentile? It was the law. Gentiles were never under the law even though they “instinctively do the things of the law”  (Romans 2:14) . However the cross has removed that difference and both jew and gentile are made righteous by faith apart from law.

Conclusions

In conclusion, therefore the believer in Christ  is not under any part of the law.

We are not children of Moses but the children of Abraham. Abraham the man of faith was never under law!

Of course, does this mean, that a believer is lawless, that we are spiritual anarchists? Of course not but we will discuss this later on in the series.

Why not sign for email updates and ensure you get the next post of the law series part 2 Jesus and the law

Further articles:

Living by law or grace – prophecy

The law our school master

The shadow of the law

613 jewish commands

 

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Living under law or grace – prophecy

under law

Under Law or Grace? Illustration by Carol Winkler (c) 2015

Romans 6:1 4 “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”

Dear Son,

How do you know whether you are living under the law or under grace? If you are constantly stressed, tired, irritable, fearful, worried and anxious then maybe you are living life not to the full – but by your own strength?

Those who live after the flesh think they are strong enough to overcome and to win by their own clever design and thinking. They rely on their education, natural talents and abilities. However, the just live by their faith!

Therefore, I am determined to bring you to the end of yourself, not because I hate you but because I love you. I discipline and train those I love. I want you live in the strength of Christ not your own strength. You live by faith and that by the faith of the son of God. Jesus was crucified in weakness but it was at the cross that my power was revealed. I want to you show you that rest is not inactivity, it is living by new principles and a legislation that is counter-intuitive.

Therefore, walking by the spirit is not anarchy, it is living by a different set of principles that only work in this new environment of grace. Law and grace don’t mix – grace supersedes law. You know this in the computer world: when you upgrade your operating system you can’t go back to the old system. It is obsolete; it has been replaced!

Living by law is like riding a bike with training wheels! Take off those training wheels, cast out the slave women and enjoy the freedom of grace!

Gideon learnt this: trim your army down, increase the odds in the favour of the enemy. Attack with crazy weapons: a lamp and a trumpet – ridiculous but powerful!

Walking by the spirit therefore,  is obeying my voice and command. Jonah walked in the flesh. I said go to Nineveh he went to Tarshish! He didn’t like my grace towards those people not realising that I didn’t choose Israel because they were any better than the nations around them – I chose them by the election of grace! If Jonah had listened, he wouldn’t have had to learn the hard way that walking in the flesh doesn’t pay! Well it does, but only in pain, suffering and a near death experience in a large fish!

The children of Israel learnt this when they took Jericho. Did they do it by their excellent warfare and engineering skills? Did I tell them to build siege engines and catapults? No, I told them to walk in silence around the city for seven days. That was how that stronghold was taken. Likewise, I am teaching you that the weapons of your warfare are not carnal for the pulling down of strongholds. Take hold of my promises. Take hold of eternal life.

Look at Jesus the author and finisher of your faith.  He was a man who came under the law and fulfilled it completely for you so that you didn’t have to come under its heavy load. He set you free from the law and that means that you are not living by rules, methods and great planning but by listening and obeying the voice of the Holy Spirit. Look at how Philip could be directed to start a revival and save hundreds, or just find and save one man in the middle of a desert!  If you learn this, you will find that suddenly there will be such divine acceleration that you will arrive at your destination immediately!

Peter had to learn to crucify his flesh and renew his thinking. I offended his cultural norms and years of his education and expertise regards fishing! He learnt that miracles mean that fish can be caught in unexpected places and the money to pay taxes found inside a fish!

Living by the spirit is learning to live a life of miracles. That is because I am a living God that means I am active; I am working. My word is living and active. I never want it to be dead on the page. I want the miracles you read in the scriptures pages to active in your life. So, do I perform miracles in your life by you following rules and methods,  fighting sin in your own strength and being a perfect christian –  or by the hearing of faith?

Therefore, all of this flows out of our relationship. When you listen, hear and obey then you will see what is impossible become possible.

Love Father

The shadow of the law

The law our schoolmaster

Why are you stressed out – prophecy

 

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Billy Graham’s Grandson Preaches On Grace

This is a must listen by Tullian Tchividjian (Billy Graham’s grandson),  on grace – frankly brilliant!

More:

The Gospel For Those broken By The Church

How had your grandfather influenced your faith?

Surprised by Grace

 

 

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Grace a License To Sin?

driving test certificateIs preaching grace a license to sin? Often the charge levelled at those who preach grace and unconditional forgiveness, is that we are encouraging believers to sin and live licentiousness lives. However, as far as I know, unlike learning to drive or owning a dog, you don’t need a license to sin and most sinners don’t feel the need to apply anyway!

Paul’s answer

The Apostle Paul in Romans, sensed this accusation from the legalists when he writes in Romans 6:1:

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?” 

It’s a good question. I mean, if we have been forgiven of all sin past present and future; there is no condemnation (future punishment for sin) and God isn’t reckoning our sins – then what’s to stop us just doing what we like and sinning with impunity knowing we’ve already been forgiven?

Paul answers his own question in the next verse with a pretty vehement ‘no way’!

No way!

Romans 6:2 “God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?”

Basically, Paul is saying you don’t even understand grace if you are even thinking that question. Salvation is not just the forgiveness of sins, it’s the solution to the sin problem which stems from our nature of sin: the old man or SIN (noun).  God’s solution to SIN is that we get to die with Christ and receive  a brand new life through his resurrection. A true believer therefore, has Christ living in them; they have a change of nature so why would they want to abuse God’s grace? If they are born again they are dead to SIN( the sinful nature).

Is your good news that good?

In fact, I believe that if your Gospel cannot be abused then it is not the true Gospel and it is not grace. What do I mean by that?

For example, some christians of the holiness persuasion, believe that only past sins have been forgiven. This means that future sins have to individually confessed and repented of as they occur in order to ensure continued relationship with God and forgiveness. Consequently, If these individual sins are not repented of, then the penalty of losing their salvation is incurred; grace has evidently run out, hit a ceiling, and even though for the sinner – where sin abounds grace even more abounds – for the backslider this verse is no longer true!

Grace our teacher

So, do we continue to live in sin then because we have unlimited favour with God? No, because an internal transformation has taken place and we have a new identity. That is why the New Testament is full of exhortations to live in a new way:

Ephesians 4:24 “And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore ( for this reason) putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.”

The Gospel of grace teaches us therefore to live holy lives (to be separate to God). This happens  through the mirror of the word which shows us our true identity and the behaviour compatible with that identity! In other words – you are the son of a king so live like it! We live holy lives externally because we are holy internally!

Titus 2:11 “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;”

Legalism

Legalistic teachers and preachers on the other hand, try to change and motivate their listeners by preaching law – this is what you are NOT so try and meet this standard by changing your behaviour.

Often the new believer hearing this sort of message, who in fact already has God’s law written on the heart and desires to be holy instinctively because of the new nature through new birth,  goes away deceived and tries to generate this behaviour all by himself – and of course fails spectacularly!

Romans 7:19 “For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.”

Romans 7:8 But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin [was] dead.

The Apostle Paul’s conclusion to all  this therefore,  is that law, rules  and self-discipline cannot produce holiness – as he concludes in the last verse of Romans 7:

“O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”

Trying to fight sin with the law is like pouring water on a chip-pan fire!

Good News

The good news for the believer however, is the amazing statement of Romans 8:1:

“There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus”

Note:  (who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit) was added by the King James Version translators because they couldn’t believe the truth of grace that this verse expresses! 

Therefore, it’s not what you do or don’t do that counts any more – it’s where you are located (in christ.) The truth of grace though, is that there is NOW (today; this moment; this very second), NO (zero) condemnation ( future penalty to pay!)

This is the too good to be true news of grace; God has removed the link between your performance and your relationship with him.

Of course, for the holiness preacher this cannot be true because according to them, the minute you sin you are condemned and continued relationship with God is dependent on your response i.e – repentance and confession.

For those standing in the grace of God however, if we are conscious of sin in our lives, we can come boldly to the throne of grace to receive help in time of need because we know that we are not condemned – ever. Repentance and confession of sin therefore become a response to God’s amazing grace!

Rooted and grounded

Consequently, It is only when you are rooted in this foundation of grace and the fact that Jesus has set you free by his death, that you will have any victory over sin!

“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”

So in conclusion, grace is clearly not a license to sin,  in fact it’s a license for holiness! You are now fully qualified to live holy because of the work of Jesus Christ for you and in you!

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