david

David a man after God’s own heart: Inquired of God

Q: David was a law breaker, a murderer, an adulterer and a deceiver YET David was a man after God’s own heart?

Act_13:22  After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’

A: He was quick to repent, he didn’t care what people thought about him and most of all David inquired of the Lord….he depended on God, expected God to guide him and obeyed.

1Sa_22:15  Was that day the first time I inquired of God for him (David)? Of course not! Let not the king accuse your servant or any of his father’s family, for your servant knows nothing at all about this whole affair.”

1Sa_23:2  David inquired of the LORD, saying, “Shall I go and attack these Philistines?” The LORD answered him, “Go, attack the Philistines and save Keilah.”

1Sa_23:4  Once again David inquired of the LORD, and the LORD answered him, “Go down to Keilah, for I am going to give the Philistines into your hand.”

1Sa_28:6  He inquired of the LORD, but the LORD did not answer him by dreams or Urim or prophets.

1Sa_30:8  and David inquired of the LORD, “Shall I pursue this raiding party? Will I overtake them?” “Pursue them,” he answered. “You will certainly overtake them and succeed in the rescue.”

2Sa_2:1  In the course of time, David inquired of the LORD. “Shall I go up to one of the towns of Judah?” he asked. The LORD said, “Go up.” David asked, “Where shall I go?” “To Hebron,” the LORD answered.

2Sa_5:19  so David inquired of the LORD, “Shall I go and attack the Philistines? Will you deliver them into my hands?” The LORD answered him, “Go, for I will surely deliver the Philistines into your hands.”

2Sa_5:23  so David inquired of the LORD, and he answered, “Do not go straight up, but circle around behind them and attack them in front of the poplar trees.

We too are called to live life this way. Before making decisions, ask the Lord. Ask him for a sign to confirm his will for you. This is life in the Spirit; depending on God, hearing his voice – seeing his signs.

Heb_4:7  God again set a certain day, calling it “Today.” This he did when a long time later he spoke through David, as in the passage already quoted: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”

John 10:27  My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.

Mat_7:7  “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

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islam

ISLAMIC FASCISM

ISLAMIC TERRORISM
What has motivated both the present and historical Islamic violence? What does the Quran actually say?

ISLAMIC PEACE
Firstly one needs to understand that peace in Islam does not mean the same as peace as we understand it. It does not mean the absence of war or violence but the rule of Islam (Caliphate). From the Islamic perspective there cannot be peace without the rule of Islam. Those who claim Islam is a religion of peace, actually mean working toward peace that can only come about once Islam governs all nations. This has always been the Islamic agenda since Mohammed commanded Holy War. His Muslim armies eventually advanced as far as southern France and Austria destroying the ancient Christian nations of Egypt, Libya, Sudan, Tunisia, Turkey etc. Check it out for yourself, Islam has constantly advanced through war and this is not going to go away. This Islamic terrorism (Fascism) and war is nothing new, it’s been going on in various guises since Mohammed’s time and he instigated and modeled it.

VIOLENCE AND WAR IN THE QURAN
The Quran gives a clear mandate that unbelievers (Kafirs) have to convert or been killed or treated as second class citizens……
Quran 9:111 “Lo! Allah has bought the lives and wealth of Muslims because the Garden (of Paradise) will be theirs: Muslims shall fight for Allah, and shall kill and be killed. It is a promise which is binding on Allah in the Torah and the Gospel and in the Quran. Who fulfills His covenant better than Allah? Rejoice then in your bargain that you have made, for that is the supreme triumph.”
Quran 8.12: “Remember thy Lord inspired the angels (with the message): “I am with you: give firmness to the Believers: I will instill terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them.”
Quran 5:38: “Cut off the hands of thieves, whether they are male or female, as punishment for what they have done-a deterrent from God: God is almighty and wise.”
Quran 22:19-22: “Fight and slay the Pagans, seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem” “for them (the unbelievers) garments of fire shall be cut and there shall be poured over their heads boiling water whereby whatever is in their bowels and skin shall be dissolved and they will be punished with hooked iron rods”

Don’t let fear and threats intimidate you. Reach out and share the good news of God’s grace with Muslims.

Lets pray for real peace, love, forgiveness and the rejection of violence, for this is the way of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.

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tree4

In times of drought, trust God!

The heat is on, there is an economic drought in many places resulting in a lot of negativity, anxiety and tension.
God’s word to his people is “Don’t let it panic you. This is nothing new to me, I will see you through”.

Why not spend a bit of time to quietly meditate (which in Biblical terms literally means to chew on, savor and get full nourishment from) on God’s encouragement today……
The prophet Jeremiah took up this theme and God encourages us today with the same word that has been true generation after generation (Jer. 17:7-8):

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

Brothers and sisters, because of Jesus’ grace you are a fruitful tree of The Lord. Do not be shaken. See yourself as God see you, righteous, full of his life and fruit full. He will see you through all droughts and storms. God is saying that He see you as an unshakable Oak of Righteousness that will weather every storm and every drought and eventually change the very world around you (Isa.61:3-5).
Grace and peace.

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positive

Grace thoughts for encouragement

Some thoughts on grace living….
>>Grace puts aside every barrier & disqualification that has robbed us of our true identity as mature children of God. #jesusgrace transforms!
>>Don’t miss Gods grace & allow offense & bitterness to take root & defile your family. Heb.12:15. Be quick to love & forgive- that’s grace!
>>A profound& hidden truth is that our level of understanding & receiving Gods grace determines our true identity- Without it we are blinded.
>>The good news is also that we no longer have to justify ourselves to others all the time. We are justified by Jesus & allow him to defend us.
>>Jesus died for our sins & was raised to justify us. (Ro.4:25). We don’t have to justify ourselves to God – that’s grace.
>>Many look to the past & yet can’t enjoy today. The reality is, today is the good times you will one day look back on – So enjoy the now!
>>Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed …. being fully convinced God had power to do what he had promised. Yep, just like life today.
>>Gods freely given love & grace, found in Jesus alone, sets us free from the useless religion of law keeping & fear that justified no one.
Be blessed and encourage those around you. We are loved!

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Righteous dddd

PART 5: RIGHTEOUSNESS IS A GIFT OF GRACE

PART 5: RIGHTEOUSNESS IS A GIFT OF GRACE

(We highly recommend that you request the PDF copy of this teaching as it comes with pictures and charts and in a better format. Email study@gracelovetruth.com. These teachings may be freely used and distributed. There is no cost).

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INDEX
INTRODUCTION AND TESTIMONY

PART 5. LESSON 1. WHAT IS RIGHTEOUSNESS?
1. GETTING RIGHT WITH GOD
1.2 TWO PATHS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
2. THE SCRIPTURES ARE ABOUT GRACE AND RIGHTEOUSNESS THROUGH CHRIST
2.1 THE FLOW OF RIGHTEOUSNESS RIGHT THROUGHOUT THE SCRIPTURES
2.1.1 WHAT DID THE RISEN JESUS REVEAL TO PAUL?
2.1.2 WHAT DID JESUS SAY WHILE HERE ON EARTH?
2.1.3 WHAT DOES THE HOLY SPIRIT SAY IN THE OLD TESTAMENT?
2.2 THE LETTERS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT
2.3 THE KEY ISSUE IN THE GOSPELS
3. RIGHTEOUSNESS IS THE KEY TO THE GOSPEL OF GRACE
3.1 SPIRITUAL MATURITY
3.2 WHAT IS TRUE, GOD DEPENDANT, RIGHTEOUSNESS?
3.3 JUSTIFICATION
3.4 WE CAN REST IN THE WORK OF THE CROSS
4. SELF RIGHTEOUSNESS
4.1 WHEN GOOD WORKS GO BAD
4.2 SELF RIGHTEOUSNESS BREEDS ANGER AND JUDGMENTALISM!
4.3 JESUS EXPOSED THE SIN OF SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS
4.4 SCRIPTURAL EXERCISE.
4.5 REPENT OF THE SIN OF SELF RIGHTEOUSNESS
5. THE BOOK OF ROMANS: THE LETTER OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
5.1 A SCRIPTURAL EXCERCISE
6. THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND RIGHTEOUSNESS
6.1 GOD’S RIGHTEOUSNESS AND RESURRECTION POWER
6.2 GOD’S KINGDOM
6.3 THE KINGDOM AND RIGHTEOUSNESS – THE MISSING KEY
6.4 JESUS AND THE VICTORY OF THE CROSS
6.5 SATANS SCHEME IS TO UNDERMINE OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS
6.6 RIGHTEOUSNESS IS OUR WEAPON

PART 5. LESSON 2. THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF ABRAHAM
7. WE ARE CHILDREN OF ABRAHAM
7.1 ABRAHAM WAS RIGHTEOUS BECAUSE HE BELIEVED GOD
7.2 ABRAHAM IS OUR SPIRITUAL FATHER
7.3 ABRAHAM WAS RIGHT WITH GOD
7.4 ABRAHAM MET THE KING OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, JESUS
7.5 ABRAHAM’S ENCOUNTER WAS WITH JESUS
7.6 ABRAHAM HAD INTIMATE COMMUNION WITH HIS SAVIOUR
7.7 WE ARE RIGHTEOUS LIKE ABRAHAM
7.8 ISRAELS ERROR OF SELF RIGHTEOUSNESS
8. JOB AND THE SUFFERING OF THE SELF RIGHTEOUS
9. GROUP EXERSISE
10. EMAIL AND SOCIAL MEDIA LEARNERS
___________________________________________________________________________

INTRODUCTION AND TESTIMONY
Grace is like the highway the prophet Isaiah describes ( Isa.35:8-10)(Isa.40:3-4) where the road has been made straight, the valleys have been raised up and the mountains made low by the hand of the Lord. Living in the grace of Jesus is a blessed higher-way of God’s favour. For many years I had heard about grace, I had even taught on grace but I was not living in God’s grace. I wanted to but I just couldn’t seem to get there, I could not accept the promises of grace for myself, I couldn’t believe I was worthy enough or had done enough for God to deserve to live in grace, which for m seemed to be a cop out. If I was honest my Christian walk felt I was pushing an old car along an badly maintained secondary road while in the distance I could see a highway with others zooming along. I wanted to get onto that highway of grace but didn’t know how to. One day after crying out to the Lord in prayer over a period of time I heard the Holy Spirit clearly say to me “The entry ramp onto the highway of grace is righteousness. Garry you are self righteous and you don’t understand the righteousness of the Lord.” Well that was quite a shock to me. Through prayer and Bible reading I started to seek a revelation from the Holy Spirit as to what righteousness actually was. I soon found the need to repent of my old understanding. I came to see that righteousness what not something I did or earned but that it was a gift from my loving Abba Father imputed to me by Jesus, my Lord and Saviour. Suddenly I found myself on the highway of grace and understanding that my righteousness in Christ is the key to receiving grace and living in Jesus’ grace and blessings. Without the righteousness of Christ there is no grace! The two are in a sense an expression of each other and one of the same thing.
As Eugene Peterson, author of The Message, said: “Discipleship is a process of paying more and more attention to God’s righteousness and less and less attention to our own.”

PART 6. LESSON 1. WHAT IS RIGHTEOUSNESS?

1. GETTING RIGHT WITH GOD
Since mankind’s expulsion from the garden of Eden, the key issue is how do we get into and remain in a right relationship with God? So many of people can’t receive God’s love and blessings because they don’t feel, or believe they are worthy. They feel “unright” with God and unqualified to have a intimate relationship with their Abba Father. Understanding our righteousness in Christ is a key to appropriating and living in the blessings and love that Abba has given us through Jesus. The issue of righteousness is crucial to every single person. It determines our today and our future! Without being right with God (righteous), on God’s terms, we cannot receive immortality, nor God’s grace, blessing and enabling. The purpose of this part of the course is to firmly establish us in an understanding of true, God dependent, righteousness, which comes by the grace of Jesus Christ alone.

1.2 TWO PATHS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
Isa 64:6 All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags (actual meaning is menstrual cloths).
There are basically two paths open to anyone seeking righteousness. One of them is true and one of them is false! One of them God loves and one of them God hates.
1) God dependent righteousness: Righteousness through grace and faith in Jesus, given as a free gift from a loving and forgiving God.
2) Self righteousness: Righteousness through self-effort, good works and the keeping of religious laws. (This is what Isaiah was referring to in the above scripture).
Christianity is founded on the first form of righteousness while all other religions rely on the second. Therefore we will be looking at both of these in more detail so that we can repent of the second and receive a deeper revelation of the first.

2. THE SCRIPTURES ARE ABOUT GRACE AND RIGHTEOUSNESS THROUGH CHRIST
2Ti 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.
Heb 5:13 (KJV) For every one that uses milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe.
As stated in previous parts, it is important that we have a Biblical foundation and Holy Spirit revelation for what we believe. To do this we must use the Scriptures in a correct way. The Scriptures should always bring life and blessing to a believer that leads to a deeper understanding of what it means to be truly righteousness through Christ. The Bible warns us that when scriptures are used incorrectly they can manipulate, control, condemn, bring fear and death. (2Co.3:6-9). The Scriptures are powerful, Jesus used scripture to counter the attacks of Satan and the Pharisees. The word of God recorded in the scriptures is a mighty spiritual weapon, one which we should all be skilful in using. Satan recognized this truth and used the scriptures in his attack against Jesus (Mat.4:1-10). Both Satan and Jesus’ enemies, the Pharisees, use scripture for their own purposes and agendas, and they still do today! Therefore it is essential that we understand how to correctly use the scriptures and recognize when they are being misused by false teachers and prophets. The purpose of scriptural teaching should always be to bring us to maturity in Christ (Eph.4:11-14). The Scriptures teach that Christian maturity is about understanding and righteousness (Heb.5:13). The Scriptures reinforce true, God dependent, righteousness. As New Covenant believers we should reject any use of scriptures that undermines our identity as righteous and beloved children of God. When used correctly, scripture will always point to Jesus and God’s gift of grace or alternately, expose self righteousness. Grace and true righteousness can come only through faith in Jesus Christ and therefore the centrality of Christ throughout the scriptures has to be recognized and sought out at all times. Grace and righteousness are all about Jesus. He is our ultimate goal!

2.1 THE FLOW OF RIGHTEOUSNESS RIGHT THROUGHOUT THE SCRIPTURES
From the time of mankind’s fall, recounted in Genesis 3, God’s starts to reveal His plan to restore mankind’s right standing with Him (righteousness). God’s call to true righteousness, through His Saviour/ Messiah, is the key theme of all Scripture. Before we look at righteousness in more detail here is a brief thread showing the Scriptural emphasis on righteousness:-

2.1.1 WHAT DID THE RISEN JESUS REVEAL TO PAUL?
Rom 1:17 In the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last.
Rom 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking (rules and regulations), but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Rom 3:20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in His sight by observing the law (of Moses); rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. But now righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ.
Rom 10:3 Israel did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness (by religious law keeping). Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

2.1.2 WHAT DID JESUS SAY WHILE HERE ON EARTH?
Mat 5:6 blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Mat 5:20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
Mat 6:33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

2.1.3 WHAT DOES THE HOLY SPIRIT SAY IN THE OLD TESTAMENT?
Gen 15:6 Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
Psa 7:17 I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness.
Isa.51:1 “Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the LORD: Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn look to Abraham, your father, and to Sarah, who gave you birth.
Isa 61:3 They will be called Oaks of Righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendour.
Isa 61:10 God has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness.
Jer. 23:6 Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, “The Lord our Righteousness”.

2.2 THE LETTERS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT
Many erroneously believe that the Christian life must be first and foremost be founded on the four gospels. The reasoning being that these were the actual teachings of Jesus himself – thus red letter Bibles. This reasoning denies the validity of the Word later revealed by the same Spirit of Christ to the Apostles. This over emphasis on the gospels at the expense of the epistles (letters) can lead to confusion and an under valuing of the later letters written by the Apostles under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. In fact these New Testament letters are a continuation of the gospels. They add to the progressive revelation of the full gospel of Jesus Christ, his kingdom, his righteousness and his grace. They are the very means by which the gospel teachings should be interpreted and clarified. The Apostle Paul makes it clear that he received his teachings by direct revelation (Gal.1:12) from the risen, glorified, Jesus. Teachings found in letters such as Romans and Galatians, clarify and reveal foundational Christian truths some of which are only hinted at in the gospels e.g. the righteousness of Christ, justification by faith, grace, sonship, Christ in us, Abba, etc. It would be extremely difficult to derive these key foundational Christian doctrines from the gospels. In fact if one was only to study the gospels one could well end up concluding that salvation may primarily be by good works and law keeping! An over emphasis on the four gospels can lead to legalism. It is the epistles that clarify the gospels and bring the full revelation of grace and freedom that is ours in Christ. It is therefore important that we distinquish between the purpose of the gospels and the purpose of the epistles and read the gospels in the context of Jesus later teaching given through the letters of the Apostles (the Epistles).

2.3 THE KEY ISSUE IN THE GOSPELS
There are obviously many truths and themes in the gospels. E.g. Jesus, the way, truth and life, the revelation of God as a Father, the need to be born again, the coming of the Holy Spirit. etc.
However, there are two key and primary interrelated themes have often been understated and sidelined by gospel teachers. They are;
1) What is true righteousness.
2) The (spiritual) Kingdom of God.
When reading the gospels these important two intertwined themes need to be emphasized if we are to correctly interpret and apply the gospel’s teachings today. Throughout the gospels Jesus sought to rectify Israel’s (Mt.15:24) misconceptions concerning these key spiritual truths and started pointing to a new way and new understanding of righteousness and the kingdom which he could only be fully revealed at a later time. It is the issue of “What is true and Godly righteousness?” that this part of the course will address.

3. RIGHTEOUSNESS IS THE KEY TO THE GOSPEL OF GRACE
3.1 SPIRITUAL MATURITY
Heb 5:12-13 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.
In the Scriptures God defines spiritual immaturity as not understanding righteousness. That’s a big surprise to most people. Surprisingly many Bible teachers battle to actually give a sound New Covenant definition of righteousness, by far the majority of teachers define righteousness as the right things we do rather than the right standing we have been given by being “in Christ” (Ro.3:21-22). This is because so many of us have mixed law and grace and still have an works mentality and an Old Testament based theology. The concept of being spiritually mature is important for the kingdom of God and for discipleship as only adults can reproduce i.e. make disciples for the kingdom. Thus we have even more reason to look at this subject carefully. We all want to be mature in Christ.

3.2 WHAT IS TRUE, GOD DEPENDANT, RIGHTEOUSNESS?

This is the work and purpose of the cross, to impute righteousness to the children of God. Without true, God dependant, righteousness there is no salvation, there can be no relationship with Abba, Father. True righteousness is :
i. Jesus’ righteousness.
ii. Dependant on God.
iii. A gift from God.
iv. Imputed to us by Jesus.
v. Our right standing with God that comes by grace.
vi. A right and loving relationship with God through Christ.
vii. The condition of man that is acceptable to God.
viii. A state approved by God.
ix. An inner spiritual state of holiness.
x. Justification through the cross – sinless in God’s eyes.
xi. A state where our sins are no longer recorded or remembered.
xii. Freedom from God’s condemnation and judgement.
Many think that righteousness is based on what we do, but actually the New Testament Scriptures reveal that true righteousness is dependent on God and based on faith in his goodness expressed in Jesus Christ. It is this faith and true righteousness that then leads to right doing and living. It is not right doing, or works, that produces righteousness. Righteousness is a root not a fruit. Righteousness practiced by Jews and all other religions is an external self righteousness based on good works and the keeping of religious laws. This form of righteousness never made Israel or anyone else right with God (Ro.3:10). It always falls short of true Godly righteousness (Mt.5:20). Religious self righteousness is in fact totally foreign and opposed to true, God dependant, righteousness. The gospels reveal that Israel and her leaders had become proud, boastful and self-righteous; dependent on self-effort and a legalistic religious system for their righteousness, instead of depending on God. Jesus came to change all that and show the way back to true righteousness which Abraham had foresaw and received by faith (Gen.15:6) but which the Jews had rejected.
Martin Luther has this to say, “At last meditating day and night, by the mercy of God, I began to understand that the righteousness of God is that through which the righteous live by a gift of God, namely by faith. Here I felt as if I were entirely born again and had entered paradise itself through the gates that had been flung open.”
Watchman Nee said, “The Bible does not say that we have put on the righteous garment of Christ. It only says that we have put on Christ.” Galatians 3:27 says that we have put on Christ. Today we have not put on the righteousness of Christ, but Christ Himself. The righteousness of Christ is something that is in Christ Himself, and it is history. Today Christians come to God through putting on Christ. Christ Himself has become our righteousness, and we can come to God at any time because Christ lives forever.”

3.3 JUSTIFICATION
Act 13:38 “Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses.
God has declared us totally righteous, all sin debt totally was paid by Jesus death. The amazing thing is that Scripture teaches that Jesus was raised from the dead because of our justification (Ro.4:25) by God. It is emphasising that if any sin debt was outstanding then Jesus could not have been raised as justice would not have been complete – it is finished, justification for all sin is complete, we are not guilty nor condemned any longer.
A righteous person is one that is justified. i.e. just as if they had, and never will have, sinned. Justice has be served upon us and we have been found not guilty. The words righteousness and justification are often interchanged as they are very similar in meaning. The connection is that through Jesus’ grace we have been redeemed and justified and this makes us righteous. We are now in right standing with God because it is just as if we never sinned. Jesus paid the price for our sin, he redeemed us from the sentence of death and died in our place. Justice has been served and we are justified.
The Greek work justify is dikaioō which Thayer defines as to render righteous or such he ought to be, to show, exhibit, evince, one to be righteous, such as he is and wishes himself to be considered; to declare, pronounce, one to be just, righteous, or such as he ought to be. Strong defines justified as to render (that is, show or regard as) just or innocent, free, be righteous.
Here are some other scriptures on justification.
Isa 53:11 After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.
Rom 4:5 However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.
Rom 4:25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.
Rom 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
1Co 6:11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

3.4 WE CAN REST IN THE WORK OF THE CROSS
(Rom 4:5) However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.
Godly living and good works come out of the inner condition of the heart (Mt.15:18). This right heart condition is founded on a revelation of grace (Rom.4:16) and that we are the righteousness of Christ (2Co.2:21). It’s not because of what we do but because of who we are; a part of Christ. Jesus is in us, we are dead, he is alive (Gal 2:20). Our sins are no longer taken into account (Rom 4:8). Our righteousness is Jesus’ righteousness. Our life is now Jesus life. We have glorious freedom from condemnation (Rom 8:1-16). The cross has done all we need to make us right with God. It is from this position that agape love, Godly good works and right living is manifest in our lives. The cross has imputed the righteousness of Christ to us and we can now rest from our own “good” works and striving to make ourselves right with God.
This is how the great Evangelical preacher David Martyn Lloyd -Jones put it “The man who has faith is the man who is no longer looking at himself and no longer looking to himself. He no longer looks at anything he once was. He does not look at what he is now. He does not even look at what he hopes to be as the result of his own efforts. He looks entirely to the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished work, and rests on that alone. He has ceased to say, “Ah yes, I used to commit terrible sins but I have done this and that.” He stops saying that. If he goes on saying that, he has not got faith. Faith speaks in an entirely different manner and makes a man say, “Yes I have sinned grievously, I have lived a life of sin, yet I know that I am a child of God because I am not resting on any righteousness of my own; my righteousness is in Jesus Christ and God has put that to my account.”
(Gal. 2:20)(MSG) Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

4. SELF RIGHTEOUSNESS
Rom 10:3 Since the Jews did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.
Some times reading the gospels without reference to the grace teaching of the epistles (letters of the Apostles) we can be led to think that righteousness is by works. Therefore it is important that we correctly understand the gospels, the context of Jesus’ gospel teachings and what his purpose was. Jesus preached to Jews. All His disciples and the large majority of His listeners were Jews. They were living under the religious laws of Moses. They were waiting for the Messiah to re-establish Israel’s kingdom. (Mt.15:24) Jesus boldly proclaimed “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel!” His first concern was dealing with God’s chosen people who had been chosen to take the good news of God to the world. However the Jews had totally missed God’s message and Spirit. (Gen 15:6). Through Abraham Israel had been given the message of a good and loving God. Abraham was the father of the Jewish nation and all those who live by faith. Abraham also had a revelation of true Righteousness that came through faith. But Israel rejected Righteousness by faith and instead sought a religious self-righteousness based on their goodness and self-effort. Thus the law was given to expose their sinful self-righteousness. (Jer. 23:11) (Rom. 11:26) They in fact had become Godless. Israel became proud and boastful. They did not want an intimate relationship with a loving God. They chose by their actions and hardness of heart to seek righteousness through law keeping. They rejected the faith of Abraham. God gave Israel the law and His conditional blessing based on them keeping every single one of the 613 laws. Read Deut 28 and you will see the impossibility and horror of this. They honestly thought they were good enough to do it! It was into this context that Jesus came. This very issue He addressed through the gospels. He came to reveal to Israel that the righteousness they thought they had attained through the law. They actually fell completely short of God’s holy standard…..what a shock this was to them! The Jews knew that the gentiles were Godless and unrighteous but never suspected they were!
(Rom.3:9) Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin. As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”

4.1 WHEN GOOD WORKS GO BAD
Mat 19:17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”
The issue for most religious people is that they think they can do enough good works to qualify themselves for eternal life and blessing. They honestly think they can keep all God’s commandments all the time, as the Law demands (Deut.28:15). Most religious people simply don’t realise that their good works are just as sinful as their bad works. Wow, now there’s a shocker for you! Let me explain… Firstly, just to clarify from the start; God loves it when we do the good works He prepared for us to bless others (Eph2:10). But God hates good works when we use them to try to get right with him or to get something from him (Eph2:9). Why? Because it denies that his grace is sufficient for you. Those who do good works to get right with God are self righteousness and are just as sinful as those who do evil. Doing good and avoiding bad to be righteous with God, is sin. Both things are rooted in pride, self effort, unbelief and a denial that we need to be saved. Both reject God’s gift of grace and true righteousness through Jesus. Our good works rooted in self-righteousness need to be repented of. The Pharisees were a perfect example of those who were trying to use good works to be righteous. Pharisee were the only people Jesus ever condemned. Jesus called the Pharisees “sons of the devil” (Joh8:44), because they followed Satan’s lie of righteousness through good works. Job was a man who also trusted in his good works (Job32:) and look where that got him. Sadly and painfully Job learnt the hard way. Abraham on the other hand was a man who simply believe God (Gen15:6) and received God’s free gift of Righteousness. Abraham took the easy path and was blessed in everything he did. We will be looking at the contrasting lives of Abraham and Job in the coming teachings.

4.2 SELF RIGHTEOUSNESS BREEDS ANGER AND JUDGMENTALISM!
Act 7:53 you who have received the law that was put into effect through angels but have not obeyed it.” When they heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him.
Watch out, when peoples self righteousness is expose, they can get really angry and judgmental. They can even become murderous like Cain (who is a type of self righteous person). The self righteous Pharisees wanted to kill, Jesus, Paul and anyone else preaching the righteousness of Christ apart from the Law of Moses. The anger comes because they find that all their self effort of Law keeping has been in vain and their pride in self, is exposed. Angry people are often legalistic and judgmental. Moses, who represents the Law ended up angry and bitter because Israel couldn’t make the grade and couldn’t obey God. Ironically within the first few minutes of meeting God Moses did the same thing he judged Israel for, he totally doubted everything God said or commanded him to do (Ex.3&4). The Law produces angry, judgmental and self righteous people who oppose grace. The other fruits of self righteousness are; control, in ability to delegate, anxiety, perfectionism, lack of trust etc.

4.3 JESUS EXPOSED THE SIN OF SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS
Mt.5:28 I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart….If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.
Jesus taught and acted with the specific purpose of challenging the legalistic unbelieving hearts of the Jews, including his own Jewish disciples. Many disciples followed Jesus as a Rabbi and some as Israel’s Messiah. They claimed to believe His message but in fact many disciples totally misunderstood. Many eventually turn away from Him. (John 6:66) From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. Including Peter in Matt. 26:34. Jesus confronted head on the issue of the Jewish Kingdom and the legalistic, self righteousness taught by the Jewish religious leaders. He condemned this system and its leaders outright. We find Jesus condemning the religious Pharisees in the strongest possible terms (Mat.23:1-33). But he showed mercy and grace to those struggling with moral sin (Jn.8:11). He did not go about exposing the hypocrisy of legalism as we would expect. He in fact used law to destroy the law for those in Christ. To those practicing and preaching law and righteousness through works Jesus preached a form of hyper-law (Mat 5:28) – pluck your eye out, cut your arm off if it causes you to sin, even being angry with someone is murder. Yes, this may seem like simple hyperbole but to the Pharisees who regularly stoned people to death for their sins this was something very real. Jesus did this to expose the shortcomings of their law keeping and the righteousness they thought it had earned them.
In his earthly ministry Jesus often preached law and conditional salvation. There are numerous examples of in the gospels of Jesus laying down conditions for the Jews to receive salvation (Matt.5:20, 6:14, 7:21, 10:33, 18:35, 19:21, 25:46. etc.) this was Jesus attempt to drive the Jews and their Law preaching teachers to a place where they would eventually understand that they just could not do it by themselves – they needed God’s grace. Jesus was revealing that it was the Jew’s pride and self righteousness that was a problem and this sin was the key issue for God. For example Jesus preached (Mat 5:48) ” Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect”. See what I mean, who can do such a thing? Likewise in the story of the Rich Ruler (Mark 10:17-27) the self righteous rich man missed the point while the disciples understood to a degree – but not fully. When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

4.4 SCRIPTURAL EXERCISE.
Read the story of the Rich Ruler and reflect on what it is teaching about self righteousness and grace.
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4.5 REPENT OF THE SIN OF SELF RIGHTEOUSNESS
(Mt.4:17) Repent for the Kingdom of heaven is near.
Repentance and Righteousness are two keys to the Kingdom! Jesus’ gospel teachings were primarily a call to the Jews and his own Jewish disciples, and then ultimately to all mankind to repent. The teachings of the gospels are not just a call to Sinners, it’s a call to the Jews and by extension to all religious people to repent from a self-centred, self righteousness, legalism, and a worldly kingdom view. It is a call to turn back to a complete dependence on, and belief in God. The repentance Jesus was looking for was not repentance from moral sin as he knew that the foundational sin of unbelief in God’s goodness and grace was the root of all moral sin. God hates all sin but there is a primary, foundational sin in which all moral sin is rooted. This root sin of pride is the sin of mankind’s independent, self righteousness and unbelief in a good and loving God. At its core all moral sin is a manifestation of man’s unbelief and pride! Unbelief and self-righteousness is the sin that the Holy Spirit has come to expose. (John 16:8) When the Holy Spirit comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me.
The Pharisees and the average Jew of Jesus’ time generally lead morally up right lives because of the strict imposition in society of the laws of Moses. But this was exactly the problem, they had become self righteous, moralistic and judgmental of others. They trusted in their own goodness and in their own efforts of law keeping instead of in God. This is a position that is most offensive to God. This is the great sin of mankind, superbly manifest in the Jewish religious society of Jesus’ day, the Pharisees. Today Islam probably most typifies this attitude, thus the importance of us understanding these issues if we are to penetrate Islam and reap the harvest among Muslims and other legalistic, religious, peoples. Jesus understood and proclaimed that it was the inner heart condition that God was concerned with. His focus was not the apparent external keeping of the law or morality.

5. THE BOOK OF ROMANS: THE LETTER OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
Paul’s letter addressed to the early believers living in Rome is probably the most important book in the Bible. It sums up the very essence of the whole Bible message, the good news, which is God’s love and acceptance of us as His children in Christ. We are beloved children of grace who are forgiven, blessed, righteous and victorious. It is good to meditate on the key scriptures that reveal Jesus’ righteousness, the finished work of the cross and what it means for all who would believe. Here are some of the key scriptures on righteousness from the letter to church in Romans.
Rom 1:16-17 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
Rom 2:4 Do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?
Rom 3:20-24 No one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
Rom 4:6-8 David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.”
Rom 5:1-2 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
Rom 5:15 But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!
Rom 5:17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.
Rom 6:1-2 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?
Rom 6:14-15 For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!
Rom 7:7 What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “Do not covet.”
Rom 8:1-2 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
Rom 8:14-17 because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ…
Rom 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Rom 8:37-39 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Rom 9:30-32 What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works.
Rom 10:3-4 Since Israel did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.
Rom 13:8-10 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” Love does no harm to its neighbour. Therefore love is the fulfilment of the law.
Rom 14:17-18 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.

5.1 A SCRIPTURAL EXCERCISE
Reading through the above scriptures summarize some of the key points in your own words.
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6. THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND RIGHTEOUSNESS
Rom. 5:17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.
The reign and rule of the kingdom of Jesus Christ comes about by grace founded on Christ’s gift of righteousness. We are called to reign with Christ. To reign, is to have authority and control over ones events and circumstances. Kings reign over their kingdoms. All things are submitted to them. Jesus is our king and we are His representatives here on earth. When we understand that we are perfectly righteous with God it gives us confidence and authority. When we are firmly established in righteousness we cannot be overcome by the enemy. We are called to reign over our lives through the righteousness of Christ.

6.1 GOD’S RIGHTEOUSNESS AND RESURRECTION POWER
Php 3:9-10 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ–the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ–yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death…
There is a link between our revelation, understanding and acceptance of the righteousness of Christ and moving in resurrection power. We are called to move in the power of the gospel (1Cor 2:4) and the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8) that comes by the grace of Jesus Christ. Legalism and self righteousness leads to intellectualism and a quenching of the Holy Spirit. Accepting the complete, full work of the cross and the righteousness that comes there from is the grace leads to freedom and power of the Spirit.

6.2 GOD’S KINGDOM
(Act 1:6) “Lord are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
Jesus teaching and preaching was (Mt.4:23) the good news about the kingdom. The Jews and even Jesus’ own disciples, thought that the Messiah/ Christ had come to establish a physical kingdom. They wanted to see Israel glorified among the nations of the earth. (Jn.12:13) The Jews thought the new “King of Israel” had come. They turned on Jesus very quickly when they discovered that this was not his plan! Even after Jesus’ resurrection, the disciple still did not understand Jesus’ teachings on His kingdom. (Acts 1:8) It’s significant that Jesus’ reply was to point them to the coming Holy Spirit, for the Kingdom is Spirit! They did not understand that the Kingdom of God is a spiritual (Lk.17:21) inner kingdom based on true righteousness. The Jews and even Jesus’ own disciples mistakenly sought a kingdom and a righteousness that was physical and external (Rom.9:31-10:5) rather than internal. Jesus proclaimed a direct link between the Kingdom of God (Mt.6:33, righteousness from God and blessings.

6.3 THE KINGDOM AND RIGHTEOUSNESS – THE MISSING KEY

Rom 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
The link between The Kingdom and righteousness from God can be seen in these scriptures. The majority of present day teachings on the Kingdom of God say very little about righteousness. The Kingdom of God and righteousness are inextricably intertwined. Without a solid grounding in God’s righteousness we cannot fully take hold of the truths of the Kingdom nor will we see the kingdom reign and rule of Jesus manifesting in an ongoing way in our lives. Therefore we need to look carefully at the issue of our righteousness and understand the difference between our own self generated righteousness and Christ dependant righteousness that pleases God and qualifies us to move in the power of the kingdom.

6.4 JESUS AND THE VICTORY OF THE CROSS
Col. 2:13-15 He forgave us all our sins having cancelled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
Rom. 10:4 Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.
These are key scriptures in spiritual warfare. In the past the Law gave Satan legal spiritual rights to attack God’s people. This was because the Law was based on self righteousness. Self righteousness is by our self effort, own works or legalistic, a fear based, sacrificial system. We see the weakness and the terrible result of self righteousness and self justification in the life of Job. ( Job 40:8). At that time, Job, which by the way means “hated” was the most righteous man on earth, but it was self righteousness based on his own efforts and doings. Job was motivated by fear and his righteousness was not based on faith. (we will look more at Job and Abraham in the end section). Satan will always test self righteousness, because it is always insufficient as it does not depend on God’s goodness but on self effort. God allows Satan to test any righteousness that is not based on faith in His saviour (Job1:8). In contrast to Job, Abraham had a righteousness from God that was by faith and consequently he was always protected and blessed. The good news is that the Righteousness from God through faith in Christ cannot be overcome by Satan. Through the cross we are perfectly and permanently righteous through God’s gift – Satan no longer has any right to attack us! On the cross Jesus cancelled the Law that gave Satan rights to afflict Believers. If we see these truths and believe them, then Satan and his allies fear, sickness and death, becomes totally powerless in our lives.

6.5 SATANS SCHEME IS TO UNDERMINE OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS
1Co. 1:30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.
We are to take our stand against Satan’s schemes (Eph6:11),. His scheme from the beginning has always been to sow doubt about God’s promises and our relationship with God (Gen. 3:1). He does this by speaking lies that sound true. Satan’s scheme is to try to convince us that he has rights into our lives because our lives are not right in some way. He undermines our righteousness and tries to get us to believe that it is based on our actions instead of faith. He will always try to undermine our identity as God’s Children who are blessed and right with God. He tries to convince us that we are sinners who are unworthy and deserve punishment.

6.6 RIGHTEOUSNESS IS OUR WEAPON
2Co. 6:7 In truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left.
Our righteousness in Christ is our weapon against Satan. Our response to Satan when he attacks or accuses us is simply to point to Jesus Christ and that we are righteous through him alone. This totally disarms Satan. Satan can only afflict your life if you allow him to convince you that you are not righteous and therefore deserve to be punished or attacked. When under attack always point to your worthiness and righteousness in Christ – speak it out loud, use this truth as a weapon and see victory.

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PART 5. LESSON 2. THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF ABRAHAM

7. WE ARE CHILDREN OF ABRAHAM
7.1 ABRAHAM WAS RIGHTEOUS BECAUSE HE BELIEVED GOD
Gal 3:6-8 So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.
The history and life of Abraham is of great significance to all believers. He was truly righteous and dependant on God. If we grasp the truths taught by Abraham’s life we will be blessed by coming into a deeper understanding of what God considers to be true righteousness and how this state comes about.

7.2 ABRAHAM IS OUR SPIRITUAL FATHER
Gen 22:17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”
Abraham is a shadow and type representing the New Covenant believer. Abraham was the founding father of a great a spiritual nation i.e. all believers who are righteous and saved through faith (Gal.3:7). This includes both Jews and Gentiles who choose salvation by grace through faith.
The New Covenant is clear that all those who are “Born Again” are spiritual children of Abraham.
The key to his life is that Abraham’s great blessings, promises and righteousness were received only through trust in God (Rom.4:1-3). He was the first example of the man of faith who was properly righteous in God’s eyes. It is vitally important for us as believers to look carefully at Abraham; what he believed, what he did , how God responded to him and how he was blessed? This will help us to understand the way God relates, saves and blesses those who are righteous by faith.

7.3 ABRAHAM WAS RIGHT WITH GOD
Rom.4:3-9 What does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” …. the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.
The Righteousness that is acceptable to God and has nothing to do with our good or bad works, our sinlessness or sinfulness. It is based solely on our trust and belief in God’s goodness and plan of salvation (which is Jesus). Abraham understood this truth, he was tight with God and he was blessed in every way. Abraham trusted God and God revealed himself to Abraham. Abraham was given the revelation that salvation is through the gift of Righteousness that comes only through Grace by the faith of Jesus. Abraham did not trust in his own righteousness, good works or sinlessness as he understood they could never make him perfect enough for God. Abraham trusted solely in God’s goodness and God’s free gift of the Saviour’s Righteousness that was imputed to him purely by faith.
So how did this revelation come about? What was it that caused Abraham to be so radically different. There was a foundational event in Abraham’s life that lead him into truth, completely changed him and through him, changed history.

7.4 ABRAHAM MET THE KING OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, JESUS
Gen. 14:17-23 Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram, saying, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth.
Abraham did not just hear about God but encountered him face to face. Abraham met with a King called Melchizedek…. well so what, you may ask! Although not a lot is said about this encounter it is one of the most significant events in the Old Testament. Many seemingly small and insignificant events recorded in scriptures prove to be amazingly significant spiritually. This brief but amazing encounter was the foundation of Abraham’s faith and righteousness. In Genesis there is no historical explanation of who this King Melchizedek was, where he came from or where he actually ruled. However we know that the Old Testament always has shadows or types of Christ (Joh.5:39). The Old Testament is actually all about Jesus (Luk.24:27) and God’s plan of salvation through him – if we are prepared to look carefully with spiritual eyes we can see this. As the saying goes, “The Old Testament is Christ concealed, the New Testament is Christ revealed”. We can see these truths about Jesus in Abraham’s encounter with a King who was unknown and only mentioned once in the Old Testament. Through this encounter the gospel of salvation by Grace, was revealed to Abraham.
The book of Hebrews sheds light on this most important encounter.

7.5 ABRAHAM’S ENCOUNTER WAS WITH JESUS
Heb.7:1-3 This Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him, and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, his name means “king of righteousness”; then also, “king of Salem” means “king of peace.” Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God he remains a priest forever. Just think how great he was: Even the patriarch Abraham gave him a tenth of the plunder!
This Melchizedek was not just a type of Jesus but he was Jesus himself. This may be hard for us to get our heads around, but this Priest/ Messiah King was Jesus in everything but name. This event is the clearest and boldest revelation of the physical Christ found anywhere in the Old Testament. This physical King, Melchizedek, had no beginning or end (Heb.7:3) – only Jesus exists in this way, no other. Only Jesus can be called “The King of Righteousness” and “The King of Peace”, no other can take this role or title. This Melchizedek was a Priest of the most High God, he was not an earthly priest, he was the heavenly priest, Jesus, described in the Book of Hebrews. This was an pre-incarnation appearance of Jesus, the High Priest of the heavenly Jerusalem (Heb.12:22). Jesus, who is not constrained by time, miraculously appeared to Abraham and shared the gospel with him. For Abraham, his personal encounter with his saviour was a “today, now event”. Abraham had a personal salvation encounter with Christ, even though Christ never revealed His name. Abraham’s faith was in God’s goodness and love that was still to be fully revealed in a future event; The cross of Jesus. Similarly, our faith is in God’s goodness and love that has been revealed in a past event, The same cross of Jesus! We look backwards to the cross of Jesus and have faith. Abraham looked forward to the cross and had faith.

7.6 ABRAHAM HAD INTIMATE COMMUNION WITH HIS SAVIOUR
Gen.14:17-23 Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine.
Or in plain language: The King of Righteousness and Peace shared bread and wine with Abraham. So how did Jesus reveal the plan of salvation to Abraham? It was through communion! (Luk.22:17-20). Although Jesus did not reveal His name to Abraham, He did reveal God’s plan of salvation. The gospel was announced to Abraham before the cross Gal.3:8. Communion is an extremely important and spiritually significant act, an act which most of us under estimate (1Co.11:23-29). Jesus as Melchizedek, revealed God’s salvation plan to Abraham by having communion with Abraham right there on the road. He took bread and wine and shared it with Abraham – “This is My Body and this is My Blood. The New Covenant will come. Have faith Abraham!” Abraham was given spiritual revelation of salvation as he ate the bread and wine…. his spiritual eyes were opened. Jesus also showed Abraham the fruit of pure Grace by blessing him. Because of the grace shown and the gospel revealed to him, Abraham freely submitted to this King (Jesus). In those days a king would demand a tenth from his subjects as a sign of their submission. Jesus demanded nothing from Abraham but Abraham willingly and submitted to the King. That’s why Abraham was saved, because he had saw God face to face, heard the good news and this resulted in believing faith. By the way, the Emmaus Road experience of some of the disciples was similar to Abraham’s, Jesus revealed Himself to them in the breaking of the bread.
(Luk.24:30). When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.

7.7 WE ARE RIGHTEOUS LIKE ABRAHAM
Gal 4:22-31 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. His son by the slave woman was born according to the flesh, but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a divine promise. These things are being taken figuratively: The women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem tat is above is free, and she is our mother. For it is written: “Be glad, barren woman, you who never bore a child; shout for joy and cry aloud, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband.” Now you, brothers and sisters, like Isaac, are children of promise. At that time the son born according to the flesh persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. But what does Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.
We are righteous! The importance of Abraham’s life to us who believe, is that we are righteous the same way he was. The righteousness of a believer is by faith in Jesus’ finished work on the cross. Interestingly Abraham was married to Sarah who Gal 4:24 say represents freedom and the New Covenant of grace. Their son came through a promise of God and he was called Isaac which means laughter. Very symbolic, freedom, righteousness, grace and laughter all go together in God’s family – represented by Abraham’s family.

7.8 ISRAELS ERROR OF SELF RIGHTEOUSNESS
Rom. 9:31-33 Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works.
Even though Abraham was the physical father of all Jews the Jews forgot the faith covenant between Abraham and God and chose firstly to turn to the god’s of Egypt and then to self righteousness through the Law. One of the errors revealed throughout the Old Testament is that many of God’s people thought that being good and avoiding sin would make them right with God. They believed that right standing with God could come about through their own righteousness and works. This self righteousness was based on the fallen notion that God accepts people based on our good and bad deeds – called dead works (KJV.Heb 6:1). But God hates self righteousness because the spirit behind it is one of pride and independence from God. Israel fell into this trap and suffered (and still suffers) the terrible consequences of living by their own righteousness and the Law. Israel is a lesson for us to turn away from self righteousness, dead works and law keeping.

8. JOB AND THE SUFFERING OF THE SELF RIGHTEOUS
Job. 32:2 These three men stopped answering Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. But Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, became very angry with Job for justifying himself rather than God.
In contrast to Abraham who was righteous by faith, the Scriptures tell of another good man who lived in the time before the Law of Moses had been given, probably in the land of Arabia (today’s seat of Islam). However unlike Abraham this man relied on his own righteousness. This man was called Job. His name means hated! Ever wonder why? We all know Job was a upright and perfect man (Job.1:1) who suffered greatly because God invited Satan to test him (Job.1:8). Why would God do that? It’s scary and not good news when interpreted in the traditional way! Most people secretly fear something like Job happening to them at some time. However if we start to look at Job in a correct way and ask what he represents we will see that that the story of Job is actually good news for those who trust in God for their righteousness. The revelation from the book of Job is not that God afflicts, or that God gives and takes away, willy nilly, but that God hates self righteousness and, as in Job’s case, always allows it to be tested by Satan, the Accuser. Job was the most righteous man on the earth in his day but his righteousness was not based on faith but works. Job, in a sense, is the exact opposite of Abraham. Unlike Abraham, Job had heard about God but never saw Him (Job 42:5), Job’s relationship with God was distant, fear based (Job1:9)(3:25) and works driven (Job7:1). Job was highly sin conscious and had even set up his own religious sacrificial system to appease God (Job 1:5) who he believed was out to punish him for his sins (Job 10:13). He lived in the fear of God while Abraham live by faith in God. Sadly, a close study of Job reveals that he suffered because ultimately he trusted in his own righteousness, he could not see his lack of true righteousness and the need for a saviour. Like so many people, he muddled up goodness with righteousness (Job.12:12:4). Job had a defence against God’s afflictions (13:18-23) based on his good works and goodness (29:7-17) which he thought had produced righteousness that was acceptable to God (27:6). He boasted of his good works and listed them out in his defence (31:1-33). This show his complete lack of revelation of how to be saved, and yet this is exactly what so many people do, even today. Although Job had a vision that he could be saved (19:25) he , unlike Abraham, had not met God, nor Jesus, and did not understand that salvation is by faith. Eventually it was a young man Elihu who spoke by the Spirit (33:4) and pointed out to Job that the issue was that he was justifying himself instead of relying on God (32:2-2). The Lord himself rebukes Job for this sin of self justification, self righteousness (40:8) and pride in his own goodness. In the end, thank God, Job concedes that he was deceived and misguided (42:3) and he repented. When Job repented and put his trust in God, he was restored and blessed. The blessed later part of Job life represents that of a New Covenant believer, the early part represents that of a unsaved, self righteous men who trust in their own religion of good works instead of in God.
The threefold lesson of Job is firstly, that as New Covenant believers under grace we are righteous in Christ and therefore God will never test and afflict us like Job. Secondly, trusting in one’s own righteousness and good works is deadly to both us and those around us. Thirdly, we are sons of Abraham not sons of Job. Despite most Christians identifying with Job more that Abraham, the simple truth is that we are not Job nor are we like him, so we don’t need to live in the fear that what happened to Job will happen to us – unless of course you are self righteous and unrepentant. That’s the whole purpose of God gift of righteousness – to free us and bless us.
1Co 1:30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God–that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.
Now that we have established that we are the righteousness of Christ and therefore in grace we can always point to Jesus both our holiness and righteousness. We can live in the confidence that we are worthy to be blessed and to receive all the empowering of the Holy Spirit to minister in Jesus name. We are Abba’s beloved children. We will look at this in the next part.

9. GROUP EXERSISE
Discuss the difference between self righteousness and true righteousness. List some of the characteristics of each.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Group exercise and questions
1. What is God dependant righteousness?
2. What is self righteousness?
3. What is justification?
4. List five characteristics of self righteousness.
5. Discuss the link between grace and righteousness.
6. What is spiritual maturity?
7. Discuss good works in the context of righteousness.
8. What are the issues within us that true righteousness overcomes?
9. How did Job defend himself?
10. How did Abraham become righteous?
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

10. EMAIL AND SOCIAL MEDIA LEARNERS
If you are doing this course by Email it should ideally be done in a networked group setting with a minimum of five people so that an active discussion can take place and different viewpoints explored. Those doing the course at a distance by Face Book or Email should discuss the questions below in a study group either on line or at an actual group meeting. Individual should then answer the questions and email a copy to us at study@gracelovetruth.com for evaluation as this will help us to see the effectiveness of the teachings and how to improve them. We will endeavour to answer any questions that are unresolved by the end of the course. This course is free but we do ask that you help promote its use by telling your friends and other churches about it. Also please send us the names and emails of all participants so we can keep in contact with further course updates. All Email information will be kept private and confidential. Please answer the following questions.

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A Murray

The Old and New Covenant: Andrew Murray (1828-1917)

Some interesting insights on the New Covenant and the Spirit from a man of God of long who saw the Holy Spirit moving in power with signs and wonders.

Andrew Murray (1828-1917) Famous South African teacher and preacher

Some insights on Ex 24: Old and New Covenant

“And Moses took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the Lord hath said will we do and be obedient. And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord hath made with you concerning all these wards.”-Exo 24:7, 8; comp. Heb 9:18-20.

HERE is a new aspect in which to regard God’s blessed Book. Before Moses sprinkled the blood, he read the Book of the Covenant, and obtained the people’s acceptance of it. And when he had sprinkled it, he said, “Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord hath made concerning all these words.” The Book contained all the conditions of the Covenant; only through the Book could they know all that God asked of them, and all that they might ask of Him. Let us consider what new light may be thrown both upon the Covenant and upon the Book, by the one thought, that the Bible is the Book of the Covenant.

The very first thought suggested will be this, that in nothing will the spirit of our life and experience, as it lives either in the Old or the New Covenant, be more manifest than in our dealings with the Book. The Old had a book as well as the New. Our Bible contains both. The New was enfolded in the Old; the Old is unfolded in the New. It is possible to read the Old in the spirit of the New; it is possible to read the New as well as the Old in the spirit of the Old.

What this spirit of the Old is, we cannot see so clearly anywhere as just in Israel when the Covenant was made. They were at once ready to promise: “All that the Lord hath said will we do and be obedient.” There was so little sense of their own sinfulness, or of the holiness and glory of God, that with perfect self-confidence they considered themselves able to undertake to keep the Covenant. They understood little of the meaning of that blood with which they were sprinkled, or of that death and redemption of which it was the symbol.

In their own strength, in the power of the flesh, they were ready to engage to serve God. It is just the spirit in which many Christians regard the Bible; as a system of laws, a course of instruction to direct us in the way God would have us go. All He asks of us is, that we should do our utmost in seeking to fulfil them; more we cannot do; this we are sincerely ready to do. They know little or nothing of what the death means through which the Covenant is established, or what the life from the dead is through which alone a man can walk in covenant with the God of heaven.

This self-confident spirit in Israel is explained by what had happened just previously. When God had come down on Mount Sinai in thunderings and lightnings to give the law, they were greatly afraid. They said to Moses, “Let not God speak with us, lest we die; speak thou with us, and we will hear.” They thought it was simply a matter of hearing and knowing; they could for certain obey. They knew not that it is only the presence, and the fear, and the nearness, and the power of God humbling us and making us afraid, that can conquer the power of sin and give the power to obey. It is so much easier to receive the instruction from man, and live, than to wait and hear the voice of God and die to all our own strength and goodness. It is no otherwise that many Christians seek to serve God without ever seeking to live in daily contact with Him, and without the faith that it is only His presence can keep from sin. Their religion is a matter of outward instruction from man: the waiting to hear God’s voice that they may obey Him, the death to the flesh and the world that comes with a close walk with God, are unknown. They may be faithful and diligent in the study of their Bible, in reading or hearing Bible teaching; to have as much as possible of that intercourse with the Covenant God Himself which makes the Christian life possible-this they do not seek.

If you would be delivered from all this, learn ever to read the Book of the New Covenant in the New Covenant Spirit. One of the very first articles of the New Covenant has reference to this matter. When God says, I will put My law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts, He engages that the words of His Holy Book shall no longer be mere outward teaching, but that what they command shall be our very disposition and delight, wrought in us as a birth and a life by the Holy Spirit. Every word of the New Covenant then becomes a Divine assurance of what may be obtained by the Holy Spirit’s working. The soul learns to see that the letter killeth, that the flesh profiteth nothing. The study, and knowledge of, the delight in, Bible words and thoughts, cannot profit, except as the Holy Spirit is waited on to make them life. The acceptance of Holy Scripture in the letter, the reception of it in the human understanding, is seen to be as fruitless as was Israel’s at Sinai. But as the Word of God, spoken by the Living God through the Spirit into the heart that waits on Him, it is found to be quick and powerful. It then is a word that worketh effectually in them that believe, giving within the heart the actual possession of the very grace of which the Word has spoken.

The New Covenant is a ministration of the Spirit . All its teaching is meant to be teaching by the Holy Spirit. The two most remarkable chapters in the Bible on the preaching of the gospel are those in which Paul expounds the secret of this teaching (1 Cor. 2:1-162 Cor. 3:1-18). Every minister ought to see whether he can pass his examination in them. They tell us that in the New Covenant the Holy Spirit is everything. It is the Holy Spirit entering the heart, writing, revealing, impressing upon it God’s law and truth, that alone works true obedience. No excellency of speech or human wisdom can in the least profit God must reveal by His Holy Spirit to preacher and hearer the things He hath prepared for us. What is true of the preacher is equally true of the hearer. One of the great reasons that so many Christians never come out of the Old Covenant, never even know that they are in it, and have to come out of it, is that there is so much head knowledge, without the power of the Spirit in the heart being waited for. It is only when preachers and hearers and readers believe that the Book of the New Covenant needs the Spirit of the New Covenent, to explain and apply it, that the Word of God can do its work.

Learn the double lesson. What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder. The Bible is the Book of the New Covenant. And the Holy Spirit is the only minister of what belongs to the Covenant. Expect not to understand or profit by thy Bible knowledge without seeking continually the teaching of the Holy Spirit. Beware lest thy earnest Bible study, thy excellent books, or thy beloved teachers take the place of the Holy Spirit! Pray daily, and perseveringly, and believingly for His teaching. He will write the Word in thy heart.

The Bible is the Book of the New Covenant. Ask the Holy Spirit specially to reveal to thee the New Covenant in it. It is inconceivable what loss the Church of our day is suffering because so few believers truly live as its heirs, in the true knowledge and enjoyment of its promises. Ask God, in humble faith, to give thee in all thy Bible reading, the spirit of wisdom and revelation, enlightened eyes of thine heart, to know what the promises are which the Covenant reveals; and what the Divine security in Jesus, the Surety of the Covenant, that every promise will be fulfilled in thee in Divine power; and what the intimate fellowship to which it admits thee with the God of the Covenant. The ministration of the Spirit, humbly waited for and listened to, will make the Book of the Covenant shine with new light, even the light of God’s countenance and a full salvation.

All this applies specially to the knowledge of what actually the New Covenant is meant to work. Amid all we hear, and read, and understand of the different promises of the New Covenant, it is quite possible that we never yet have had that heavenly vision of it as a whole, that with its overmastering power compels acceptance. Just hear once again what it really is. True obedience and fellowship with God, for which man was created, which sin broke off, which the law demanded, but could not work, which God’s own Son came from heaven to restore in our lives, is now brought within our reach and offered us. Our Father tells us in the Book of the New Covenant that He now expects us to live in full and unbroken obedience and communion with Him. He tells us that by the mighty power of His Son and Spirit He Himself will work this in us: everything has been arranged for it. He tells us that such a life of unbroken obedience is possible because Christ, as the Mediator, will live in us and enable us each moment to live in Him. He tells us that all He wants is simply the surrender of faith, the yielding ourselves to Him to do His work. Oh! let us look, and see this holy life, with all its powers and blessings, coming down from God in heaven, in the Son and His Spirit. Let us believe that the Holy Spirit can give us a vision of it, as a prepared Gift, to be bestowed in living power, and take possession of us. Let us look upward and look inward, in the faith of the Son and the Spirit, and God will show us that every word written in the Book of the Covenant is not only true, but that it can be made spirit and truth within us, and in our daily life, This can indeed be.

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licence 4

PART 4 of 8: GRACE OVERCAME SIN

PART 4 of 8: GRACE OVERCAME SIN

INDEX
LESSON 1. PART 4. OUR SIN NATURE HAS BEEN CRUCIFIED
INTRODUCTION
1. JESUS DEALT WITH SIN ON THE CROSS
1.1 GRACE FROM “ABBA”
1.2 IT’S ALL ABOUT JESUS
1.3 OUR SINS ARE FORIVEN AND FOGOTTEN
1.4 SIN WAS THE BIG PROBLEM
2. MAN’S SINFUL NATURE
2.1 MANKINDS SIN NATURE; THE FLESH, THE LEGALISTIC NATURE
2.2 JESUS DIED FOR ALL TYPES OF OUR SIN
2.3 THE HOLY SPIRIT CONVICTS US OF THE SIN OF UNBELIEF
2.4 OUR SINFUL FLESH NATURE WAS CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST
3. SAINTS NOT SINNERS
3.1 GOD NOW SEES US AS SINLESS
3.2 WE ARE NOW SAINTS NOT SINNERS
3.3 WE WERE SANCTIFIED (PAST TENSE)
3.4 GRACE IS NOT A LICENCE TO SIN
3.5 SIN IS NO LONGER OUR MASTER
4. THE POWER TO SAY NO TO SIN
4.1 THE LAW PROVOKES SIN
4.2 GRACE EMPOWERS US TO STOP SINNING
4.3 JESUS NOW DEFENDS US

LESSON 2. PART 4. LIVING HOLY LIVES
5. LIVING IN FORGIVENESS
5.1 REPENTANCE
5.2 RENEWED THINKING
5.3 NO CONDEMNATION
6. A SCRITURAL EXERCISE
7. A GOOD CONSCIENCE
7.1 CONFESSION
7.2 HEALTH BY GRACE
8. CAN WE LOOSE OUR SALVATION IF WE SIN AS SOME CLAIM?
8.1 THE HEBREW CONTROVERSY
8.2 MISUNDERSTANDING THE ISSUE
8.3 THE CONTEXT OF HEBREWS
8.4 JEWS WITH CHRISTIAN LEANINGS
8.5 JEWISH MIXED BELIEFS ABOUT JESUS
8.6 THE FLOW OF THE BOOK OF HEBREWS
8.7 BACKSLIDE AND LOSE YOUR SALVATION – REALLY?
8.8 SIN AND YOU LOOSE YOUR SALVATION – I DON’T THINK SO?
8.9 GOD NEVER LETS US GO ONCE WE ARE HIS
8.10 ARE WE RESCUED BUT THEN THROWN TO THE SHARKS?
8.11 THE UNFORGIVABLE SIN
9. GROUP TIME
9.1 EMAIL AND SOCIAL MEDIA LEARNERS

LESSON 1. PART 4. OUR SIN NATURE HAS BEEN CRUCIFIED

INTRODUCTION
An important part of understanding the grace that is ours through the living Word, Jesus Christ, is that we have a firm Biblical foundation on which this grace is established. This is so that the intimacy, hope and blessings that come with Jesus’ grace cannot be undermined. As you go through this study course we ask you to spend time looking up all the scripture references quoted in brackets and allow the Holy Spirit to establish the Word in your heart and mind.

1. JESUS DEALT WITH SIN ON THE CROSS
1.1 GRACE FROM “ABBA”
Eph. 1:6-8 “To the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him Jesus we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding”.
Under the New Covenant of grace we are called children of God. As such we should have a personal and intimate relationship with God as “Abba” (Ro.8:15: Abba is Hebrew for daddy). Sadly many believers still allow sin or unworthiness caused by an over consciousness of sin to separate them from “Abba”. The issue of sin and our sinlessness in Christ is probably one of the most important and yet for some, the most controversial issues of grace. The Scriptures are clear that because of “Abba’s” love for us, through the cross and by grace, Jesus has destroyed the dominion of sin, the power of sin and dealt with all our sins, one and for all so that we can now live in an intimate, loving and confident relationship with “Abba” – and live by His Spirit within us.
As the great British Preacher, Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892) said: “The saints shall persevere in holiness, because God perseveres in grace”.

1.2 IT’S ALL ABOUT JESUS
John 1:29 “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
Mat 26:28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
2Co 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
The good news of grace: Jesus has taken away the sin of the world. He has set us free of sin. We are forgiven. We have become part of him. When we see him we see a reflection of who we are in him (Col.3:3). Sin is no longer the issue or the focus. Those who are in Christ are righteous in God’s eyes and that righteousness will work its way out in their lives. God no longer relates to us based on our sin or sinlessness but on the basis of our union with Christ and his righteousness. Our sin identity and the law of sin and death is effectively done away with for those in Christ Jesus.

1.3 OUR SINS ARE FORIVEN AND FOGOTTEN
Heb.8:12 (Amp) For I will be merciful and gracious toward their sins and I will remember their deeds of unrighteousness no more. [Jer. 31:31-34.]
Heb 10:16-19 “This is the (new) covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin. Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus”.
Rom 4:6 “David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works ”Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered”.
Col 2:13 “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins”.
Isa 43:25 “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more”.
This is the good news of grace and the New Covenant. All believer’s sins are forgiven and forgotten by God. When God’s Word say all he means all, not just confessed sins, not just past sins, not just known sins but all our sin were dealt with at the cross. The slate is wiped clean. On the final judgment day when the account books are opened (Rev.20:12) no sin will be found against our names. The only thing accounted (2Co.5:19) to us is our righteousness in Christ. Not only does it say all our sin are forgiven but it says God’s remembers them no more. We may choose to remember them and dwell on them but God doesn’t – and we need to adopt the same attitude. We can now come to God with confidence and boldness (Heb.4:16) as his beloved, children knowing that he sees us as sinless because we are in Christ (1Jn.4:17). It sounds too good to be true – that is the offence of grace and that is why some people just can’t receive grace, they just can believe God is that good and that graceful.

1.4 SIN WAS THE BIG PROBLEM
Let’s be clear sin is evil, harmful, ungodly and destructive. Sin is a big problem and in no way do we promote, encourage or underestimate the terrible effects of sin. There is no such thing as “cheap grace” as sin is so bad that the Son of God himself, Jesus Christ, was humiliated and put to death to destroy sin’s power and domination, that is the cost of God’s grace to us. The cross declares that the solution to sin is Jesus – not our self effort, self righteousness, law keeping, or adherence to the Ten Commandments. God’s solution to sin was the cross and the grace of Jesus Christ. Unbelievable as it may seem to many Christians, Scripture is clear; law living produces sin, grace destroys sin. Jesus came to set us free from both sin and the Law that gives sin its power (1Co.15:56). The cross of Christ and the grace that came through Jesus is the only truly effective antidote to sin. There is no other effective solution, there is no other sacrifice. This is the gospel of the grace of Jesus Christ. Without Christ and his grace we are all lost and dead in our sins.

2. MAN’S SINFUL NATURE

2.1 MANKINDS SIN NATURE; THE FLESH, THE LEGALISTIC NATURE
Rom 5:12 “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man (Adam), and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned…..”
Sin is powerful and deadly. Many ask “Why does God allow terrible things to happen?” The truth is that it’s not God but the fallen nature of creation that manifests in the evil and catastrophes we see all around us. All of creation is fallen and has been corrupted by sin. All of creation is longing to be redeemed from the affects of sin and be made anew (Ro.8:20-12) (Rev.21:5). Likewise mankind is fallen and has a sinful nature it’s evident in mankind’s actions of war, murder, abuse, greed, pollution, crime, etc. etc. and we all live and suffered the consequences, sadly, even those of us who are saved. Scripture teaches that through Adam all became sinners (Rom.5:12). We have all inherited both Adam’s natural genes and his diseased spiritual condition called sin. Adam’s choice to trust himself, his ability and his intellect totally polluted both him and his offspring. Mankind became spiritually dead to the things of God and our noble character totally warped. Sin killed us off spiritually and physically and still does today. The Law of sin and death has been at work in all mankind since Adam (Rom.8:1): You sin you die. We inherited a sin nature (The Greek word is sarx) from Adam. This sinful nature (Rom.7:18) is also referred to as “the flesh”, the fallen nature, the carnal nature or the law nature. The flesh is highly self centred, independent and legalistic. It lives by the accumulation of knowledge of good and bad (Gen.2:17) and its application through avoiding bad that harm and embracing good that blesses. This is done through rules, regulations and techniques; systems of control which are manipulated for self gain and independence – producing the ultimate “self made man”. God’s input is not wanted nor required.

2.2 JESUS DIED FOR ALL TYPES OF OUR SIN
Rom 4:25 ” Jesus was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification”.
Isa 53:4 -5 Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions , he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. (A prophetic picture of Jesus on the Cross).
There are a number of different types of sin. We normally refer to them all under the generic term “Sin”. Jesus died for all our sins and all types of sin, once and for all.
1. Sin. Greek: αμαρτία hamartia. Thayer defines sin as, to be without a share in, to miss the mark, to err, be mistaken, to miss or wander from the path of uprightness and honour, to do or go wrong, to wander from the law of God, violate God’s law, sin, that which is done wrong, sin, an offence, a violation of the divine law in thought or in act. Collectively, the complex or aggregate of sins committed either by a single person or by many. Sin is used 174 times as a noun and 42 times as a verb in the New Testament. The Greek Septuagint uses this word in Isa.53.
2. Trespasses or transgressions. Greek: παράπτωμα paraptoma. Thayer defines this as to fall beside or near something, a lapse or deviation from truth and uprightness, a sin, misdeed. Its’ used 9 times in the New Testament.
3. Iniquities. Greek: ανομία anomia. Thayer defines this as the condition of without law, because ignorance of it, because of violating it, contempt and violation of law, iniquity, wickedness. Strong defines this word as; illegality, that is, violation of law or generally wickedness. Iniquity, transgression of the law, unrighteousness. It’s used 25 times in the New Testament. The Greek Septuagint uses this word in Isa.53.

2.3 THE HOLY SPIRIT CONVICTS US OF THE SIN OF UNBELIEF
John 16:8-9 (Amp) “When the Holy Spirit comes, He will convict and convince the world and bring demonstration to it about sin and about righteousness and about judgment: About sin, because they do not believe in Me [trust in, rely on, and adhere to Me]…”
Unlike the teachers of the Law, the Pharisees, Jesus did not point to peoples moral sin but to the sin of unbelief in the goodness and love of God. The New Testament scriptures make it clear that the real sin issue between man and God is the sin of unbelief. It is a lack of trust and faith in a loving and kind God that leads to rebellion and moral sin. Many teach that the Holy Spirit convicts believers of sin. It’s almost as if the Holy Spirit has come to replace Satan as the accuser and condemner. They conclude this from quoting John 16:8 out of context. John 16:9 explains that the sin the Holy Spirit now convicts us of is unbelief not moral sin. We need to urgently repent of this wrong teaching and thinking as it brings condemnation and guilt. The issue that the Holy Spirit wants to help us all to deal with is “Where are we living in unbelief” for unbelief is sin. The affects of unbelief is apparent throughout Israel’s history. They chose to disbelieve God (Heb.3:19) (Ps.78:32) (Ps.106:24) and his goodness and trust in themselves or other god’s. The result was that they fell into moral sin, great evil and were robbed of their blessings. Likewise with Adam and Eve, their sin of unbelief in God’s goodness and promises was the root of all other sins and the loss of their blessings. Our sinful, fallen nature is intrinsically one of unbelief but when we are in faith and believe, all the promises of God are ours through Christ and his grace (Jn.1:16).

2.4 OUR SINFUL FLESH NATURE WAS CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST
Gal 5:24 “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires”.
The flesh sin nature embraces sin and opposes the will and the Spirit of God (Rom.8:3-8).
The only way to be freed from the sin nature is to die to self, and to be “born again” (Jn.3:5-6). The good news is that the sin nature of those who have turned to Christ has been nailed on the cross with Christ (Gal.2:20). We have been baptised into Christ’s death (Ro.6:3). The sin nature of believers is dead. It’s memories and habits may still plagues us but our sin nature is dead in Christ. However we do need to allow our minds to be renewed and our actions sanctified by the Word and the Spirit, and this takes time.
Col 2:11 “In Christ you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ”
Rom 2:29 No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.
The Scriptures also describe freedom from our sin nature in another way, circumcision. Just as Jewish men had their useless flesh physically cut away so we who are in Christ have been spiritually circumcised. The fleshy fallen part of our inner person has been cut way and cat off. Our hearts have been circumcised of their sin nature.
Gal.2:17-21 (The Message) “Have some of you noticed that we are not yet perfect? No great surprise, right? And are you ready to make the accusation that since people like me, who go through Christ in order to get things right with God, aren’t perfectly virtuous, Christ must therefore be an accessory to sin? The accusation is frivolous. If I was “trying to be good,” I would be rebuilding the same old barn that I tore down. I would be acting as a charlatan. What actually took place is t his: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that. Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily”.

3. SAINTS NOT SINNERS

3.1 GOD NOW SEES US AS SINLESS
Grace is all about our identity in Christ and about us choosing in faith to see ourselves as God see us. If you are “Born Again” by the Spirit of God, you are the righteousness of God (2Co.5:21) and as such you are qualified for blessing upon blessing and the power of the Holy Spirit to reign and rule from a place of rest and peace. This issue of taking our eyes off sin and putting them on Jesus righteousness given to us by grace, is core to living in the abundant life of Christ. Lots of people in the Old Testament tried to be sinless and they always failed (Rom.9:30). But amazingly both David & Abraham (Gen.15:16) knew that true righteousness and sinlessness depended on them believing and trusting in a good God. David understood and received Gods grace and after God’s forgiveness of David’s adultery & murder David saw himself as righteous – just as if his sin never existed (2Sam22:12). That’s the offence of the cross and Jesus grace. Even though he was under the Covenant of the Law (Gal.2:21) David prophetically foresaw God’s grace for the forgiveness of his sins, as did Abraham, and took hold of it. God considered David (Acts 13:22) to be a man after his own heart! Likewise today (Rom. 3:21) Jesus has made us righteous and sinless in Gods eyes. I guess that’s why grace makes a lot of religious people really angry, as it’s seen as being unfair or unjust. God considers you to be a man /woman after Hid own heart. This is the good news of the gospel and it will bear mighty good fruit as you allow the truth to renew your thinking. 1Jn. 4:17 “In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him” i.e. holy and sinless.

3.2 WE ARE NOW SAINTS NOT SINNERS
Nowhere in the New Testament does it address believers as sinners, except in the past tense. Believers are referred to as the saints (Ro.16:15) or as brother and sisters in Christ. So let’s look more at our identity. We need know who we are and describe ourselves accordingly. For those who are saved and born again, all our sins are forgiven, past, present and future, without conditions, we don’t have to do anything further. Understanding the difference between a sinner and a saint is important as if we refer to ourselves as sinners we will act as sinners. A sinner is someone that is unsaved, un-righteous and enslaved by sin. On the other hand sinners who have given their lives to Christ are now righteous and are “saints” or “holy ones”. Believers identities are no longer dependent on their actions, either good or bad but on who they are in Christ, Therefore we now humbly talk about ourselves saints (Heb.10:10) not sinners – that’s what we used to be. We do however recognize that without God’s grace and our union with Christ we would be sinners, it’s only in grace that we are identified as saints, it’s nothing of ourselves. We may be saints that sometimes sin but that’s a big difference from being a sinner who cannot help but sin. Sadly many liturgies still put our focus on our sin and on our old identity as sinners, this leads to a constant sense of unworthiness and condemnation. We are not sinless because we never sin, we are sinless because through Jesus and his grace God has chosen to do away with the system of keeping records of believer’s sins. Under the New Covenant God does not relate to us anymore on the basis of our sin or lack thereof, God now relates to us as sinless children who are right with him through Jesus. God remember our sins no more so why should you? Under the New Covenant God’s only issue with believers sinful actions is that they hurt and rob his children and others of his blessings and well being. (More about our new identity in part 6).

3.3 WE WERE SANCTIFIED (PAST TENSE)
1Co. 6:9-12 “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God”.
(MSG) “A number of you know from experience what I’m talking about, for not so long ago you were on that sinners list. Since then, you’ve been cleaned up and given a fresh start by Jesus, our Master, our Messiah, and by our God present in us, the Spirit”.
The Greek word sanctified is hagiazō which Thayer defines as to render or acknowledge, or to be venerable or hallow, to separate from profane things and dedicate to God , consecrated things to God, dedicated people to God, to purify, to cleanse externally, to purify by expiation: free from the guilt of sin, to purify internally by renewing of the soul.
The above scripture says we were sanctified. It’s past tense. We were sinners but we were washed clean when we came to Christ, that’s now our position in Christ. Sanctification is a position in Christ that then works its way out through a process of the renewal of our minds and the changing of our actions (2Co.7:1) as we live by God’s Spirit within us. Some have misunderstood our holiness and based it on our actions instead of on who we are in Christ. Jesus is now our sanctification and holiness (1Co.1:30) not our actions or Law keeping.

3.4 GRACE IS NOT A LICENCE TO SIN
Rom 3:8 “Why not say–as some slanderously claim that we say–“Let us do evil that good may result”? Their condemnation is just!”
Rom 6:1 “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?”
As in Pauls day, those who oppose grace claim that preaching grace is a license to sin or do evil. This is because Jesus’ grace is offensive to the religious spirit that relies on carnal, soulish, thinking (1Co.1:12-16), laws, self will and self effort. Grace and can only be accepted in one’s spirit by the revelation of the Holy Spirit. God’s grace always offends and confuses all who ultimately exalt carnal knowledge and logic above Spirit revealed, scriptural, truth. There is no worldly logic in God’s grace. No logic in the fact that God himself died for sin and then freely pardons all our sins. God’s heavenly wisdom, thinking and ways are simply not man’s ways (Isa.55:8). God’s way of grace offends the flesh and fleshy thinking but exalts the Spirit within that reveals the deep truths found in Christ alone and confirmed by the scriptures. Having said that, it is clear that some people misuse grace, just as many under Law based Christianity continue to sin in secret and cover it up. We are warned that there will be false teachers who preach grace and promote licentiousness (Jude 1:4). However because some people misuse grace it does not nullify grace. The scriptures are clear that grace is the power to say no to sin (Titus 2:12)(Rom.6:14), grace is not a licence to sin. Those who are truly in Christ and his grace will find that sin becomes less and less of an issue as grace has is affect.

3.5 SIN IS NO LONGER OUR MASTER
Rom 6:6″ For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin”.
Before we were saved Sin was our master whom we were compelled to obey. The unsaved cannot help but sin, it is their nature. Mankind does not sin through choice but because it our Adamic fallen nature. Those in Christ have a new nature and a new master, Jesus and we are no longer slaves to sin. Christ has redeemed us from slavery. A Christian who says that they cannot stop sinning and are enslaved by sin need to be founded in grace and their identity in Christ.

4. THE POWER TO SAY NO TO SIN

4.1 THE LAW PROVOKES SIN
Rom 7:7-8 What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of coveting. For apart from the law, sin was dead.
Rom 5:20 “The law was brought in so that sin might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more”.
Just as grace is the power to overcome sin, the Law provokes sin. In grace we uphold the Law as the Law is good and powerful when used for its correct purpose. As stated in part 4 , the Laws purpose is not to make us holy but to emphasis and expose sin, especially the sin of unbelief and self righteousness. When the Law is preached it actually stirs up and provokes moral sin. Tell someone not to touch something and sees what happens. The mixing of Law and grace effectively nullifies the power of grace to overcome sin, because the Law stirs up sinful desires. The solution to this problem is simple, get rid of the Law from your belief system and life, replace it with Jesus centred grace and sin’s addiction will be broken.

4.2 GRACE EMPOWERS US TO STOP SINNING
Rom 6:18 “You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness”.
Tit 2:12 “Grace teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age”.
Freedom from the Law and abiding in grace breaks the power of sin addiction and slavery. It is grace that empowers us to say no to sin and temptation not the law. In the New Covenant the Holy Spirit leads believers from within. He shows us the way to live righteously without sin. No longer do we rely on external laws and rules. Instead the Spirit lays Gods ways on our hearts and governs our thinking (Ro.8:5-9). We know within ourselves what is right and what is wrong and how to live this out. We are now slaves to righteousness and have to obey our masters promptings and commands within us. When we were unsaved we could not help but sin, as were salves to sin, now that we are slaves to righteousness and grace we cannot help but do what is right. Righteousness is now our new nature in Christ. As we believe so we do, believe you are in grace and righteous and you will find you live righteously, believe you are a sinner and you will sin. When we are fully established in grace and our identity as God’s children we find that we have the power to put off our old sins of immorality, lying, stealing, hate, anger, etc. – we can put off the sin that was of our old self because it now no longer has a foundation within us to feed on and support it. This is the process of working out our salvation and sanctification in practical and real terms from the truth that in Christ we are sanctified, righteous and holy.

The great British Victorian Preacher, Charles Spurgeon, nailed it when he said, “When I thought God was hard, I found it easy to sin; but when I found God so kind, so good, so overflowing with compassion, I beat my breast to think I could ever have rebelled against One who loved me so and sought my good”.

4.3 JESUS NOW DEFENDS US
1Jn 2:1 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defence—Jesus Christ, the righteous One.
Heb 7:24-25 Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
Rom 8:33-35 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
We all sin at some time, even though we don’t want to. The good news is that if and when we sin Jesus defends us against any accuser, he declares us as not guilty. Jesus interceded on our behalf. He is not only our high priest but also our advocate who is constantly declaring us innocent and the our sins paid for by his own blood. Jesus is the heavenly administrator and dispenser of God’s grace. No longer can Satan or anyone else bring a charge against us because of our sin. We are not like Job God allowed to be accused and afflicted by Satan, Satan no longer has any rights to accuse or afflict us. Job longed for someone to defend him (Job 9:33) – in grace, we have Jesus to do just that.

LESSON 2. PART 4. LIVING HOLY LIVES

5. LIVING IN FORGIVENESS

5.1 REPENTANCE
Mat 4:17 “Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
Most people think that to repent means to confess one’s sins. This is incorrect. Repentance may lead to this but this is not what repentance actually is. When Jesus called people to repent, he was calling them to change their thinking: What is good and what is evil? What is righteous and what is unrighteous? What is Godly and what is ungodly? To recognize what was sinful and what was holy. Under the Law repentance was focussed on moral sin. Under the New Covenant of grace repentance focuses on unbelief and a change of mind that leads faith in God and then a change of actions. The Greek word to repent is μετανοέω metanoeo. Strong defines repentance as to think differently, to reconsider, morally to feel compunction. Thayer defines it as to change one’s mind for the better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one’s past sins. Grace thinking is not sin focussed but Jesus focussed. In grace repentance is about dealing with unbelief that is the root of all moral sin and choosing to believe in God’s goodness expressed in and through Jesus Christ. One of the crucial things that we need to repent of is that we are still sinners under the dominion of sin and that God is angry with us and out to punish us. This is probably the biggest lie that is inhibiting believers today and disempowering the church.

5.2 RENEWED THINKING
Rom.7:23 “I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members”.
2Co. 10:3-5 “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ”.
Most spiritual warfare is in the mind and it’s all about believing or doubting God’s grace, goodness and the sufficiency of the finished work of the cross for you personally. The key is repentance – which means a change of mind about what is good and what is bad, what is Godly and what is evil. This then results in a change of actions. Renewal of t he mind from sinful patterns of thinking comes about when we accept we are in a state of grace which allows the truths and promises found in the scriptures to be appropriated in faith and to change our thinking (Rom.12: 2). We replace lies from Satan that have taken root deep within us with truths from the scriptures. We reject any thinking or teaching that says Satan, sin, death and sickness etc. have a right to afflict us or that God is out to punish us. Under grace all the enemies rights and any punishments have been cancelled at the cross (Col.2:14). We are no longer afflicted for sin and any thinking that says otherwise has to be rejected.

5.3 NO CONDEMNATION
Rom 8:1-4 “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
John 3:17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him”.
John 8:10 -11 “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
Freedom from condemnations is one of the most important aspects of Jesus grace. Jesus was condemned so we could be free from condemnation. Jesus made it clear in the above scriptures that his ministry is not one of condemnation but grace and salvation. On the other hand the Law is a ministry of condemnation (2Co.3:9) and those who mix law and grace will constantly feel condemned and guilty. Sadly, so many believers still separate themselves from the Lord and beat themselves up because they carry the guilt and shame of past and present sins and short comings. To focus on sin and short comings will drive us crazy and result in double mindedness about who we are as children of God. Declaring that we are unworthy sinners denies what Jesus has bought for us on the cross and denies God’s grace. This is a false and misplaced humility and robs us of joy and life in Christ. Condemnation and guilt are the biggest cause of sickness, depression, fear and passivity in Christians. Let it be known today that the Scripture clearly states that we are free from condemnation and we are no longer guilty. When we condemn ourselves we are allying ourselves with the work of Satan, who along with the Law (Jn.5:45) is the Accuser (Rev.12:10). Satan’s very name means one who accuses and condemns. We must stop condemning and disqualifying ourselves, stop our anguish over our failures, stop punishing ourselves, or expecting punishment for something that Jesus has already paid for, been punished for, and dealt with on the cross. To focus on our sin instead of focusing on our righteousness (Ro.3:22) is tantamount to denying the effectiveness of the cross. Our sins, past present and future are completely forgiven (Heb.10:17) and we need to learn to live in God’s wonderful state of grace by focusing on Jesus. Knowing Him, trusting Him and abiding in His grace empowers us to say “No” to sin and to overcome (Titus 2:12). We believe the Word of God; the solution to sin is grace (Rom.6:14). Some may say “Ah, but this only applies if you live by the Spirit”. Correct. When we are saved and in grace we are in the Spirit and no longer in the flesh, but “Christians” those who trust in the Law are still alive in the flesh and not in the Spirit and therefore the Law condemns them. Law condemns us as guilty, grace acquits and finds us guiltless. Those who still feel condemned and guilty are those who have a mixed gospel of grace and law or works. Get rid of the law, embrace the good news of grace and be free of condemnation.

6. A SCRITURAL EXERCISE
The Woman Caught in Adultery
John 8:3-11 (KJV), “And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us [Leviticus 20:10], that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those accusers? Hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.”
Discuss the above story in light of the gospel of grace and Leviticus 20:10. What does the above story tell us of hypocrisy, of God’s grace and no condemnation? Do you think this woman carried on sinning?
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7. A GOOD CONSCIENCE
1Tim. 1:1-20 Holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith.
Grace clears our consciences. When we are in grace, understanding that we are forgiven and not condemned, understanding that we are God’s beloved children and righteous in Christ, leads to a good conscience and peaceful mind. Faith isn’t any good unless we have a good conscience within ourselves (Heb.10:22). What are we aware of, our righteousness or our sin? We must always be conscious of our righteousness in Christ and not allow any false teachings or sin to undermine us and shipwreck our faith.

7.1 CONFESSION
1Jn 1:7-10 If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.
1 John 2:12. “I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name”.
It’s helpful, good and often needful to confess sin and the things we get wrong if and when the Holy Spirit guides us to do so. It can help us off load our burdens of guilt and condemnation, heal relationships (Jam.5:16) and talk with God about the issues we need help with. When we sin it can be a release to confess what we have done wrong but we need to be clear in our understanding of confession as New Covenant believers in grace. Confession is there to help us off load, it’s not there as a condition. Any conditions added to grace deny the effectiveness of the cross and put the onus back on our performance or “doing” instead of focussing on Jesus. For a Believer there are no conditions that can be added to grace. Once saved, confession is no longer a prerequisite for God’s forgiveness or eternal life. When we came to Christ we repented; we acknowledged that we were sinners that needed help, we confessed our sin (1Jn.1:7-9) and confessed our need to be saved. God responded by purifying us from all sin and unrighteousness through the blood of Jesus, forgiving us, wiping the slate clean and no longer remembering our sins (Heb.10:17). If God says he has forgiven and remembers our sin no more then he doesn’t want us focussing on our sin and reminding him of them, again and again and again. Now that we are in Christ all our sins are dealt with on the cross, past, present and future, whether we are aware of them or not, or whether we confess them or not. The salvation and blood of Jesus is totally and permanently effective; we are now forgiven, righteous and have eternal life, it’s as if we have never sinned. This is the offense of grace. There is a false teaching going around that unconfessed sin separates believers from God and salvation. Think about it, not only is this absurd but it totally denies the work of the cross. It would mean that our sinful actions are more powerful than Jesus’ atonement and shed blood. We know that Scripture teaches that nothing now can separate us in Christ from the love of God (Rom.8:39). The movie “Joan of Arc” is a good illustration of the bad fruit and mental instability which comes with the false doctrine that unconfessed sins separate us from God and condemn us to hell. Joan understood that we all sin all the time, in some way, none of us are or can be righteous in ourselves. However, because Joan had no revelation of grace, she became totally obsessed with confessing her every sin and thus could hardly leave the church confessional. Instead of relying on the finished work of the cross the church of the day (16th century Catholic) had added a law of confession to the cross and made salvation conditional. Likewise, the adjacent cartoon shows in real and practical terms the absurdity of this kind of wrong thinking that makes our salvation conditional on our ongoing confession of our sins. This teaching causes believers to feel unworthy, condemned, unqualified to be intimate with God, and unable to receive anything from God except his wrath for their sins. This kind of obsession with sin and confession actually leads to more condemnation, insecurity and strangely enough, more sin.
On the other hand, putting our focus on Jesus and our righteousness in him brings true life and change! Try confessing what Jesus has earned for you on the cross: “I am righteous, I am forgiven, I am loved, I am blessed, I am a child of God, I am Holy, I have eternal life, sin has no power over me”. This will build you up and this will glorify Jesus.

7.2 HEALTH BY GRACE
Luke 5:23-25 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins…” he said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God.
Under the Old Covenant of the Law God the Judge afflicted people with sickness because of sin – this was part of the curse of the Law. Grace changed all that. In the above story, when the man knew his sin were forgiven by Jesus healing came. Christians who are not in grace and who have a consciousness of their sinful state, subconsciously disqualify themselves from healing and blessing. They just don’t believe they deserve to be healed and they still believe God is judging them. Condemnation brings death which manifests in sickness. On the other hand consciousness of our forgiveness and a clear conscience from sin leads to healing. If you believe you are still being punished for your sin then sickness is a sure way of this wrong belief manifesting. However when we know our sins are forgiven and we are righteous it will manifest in our physical life.

8. CAN WE LOOSE OUR SALVATION IF WE SIN AS SOME CLAIM?
There are various false teaching concerning sin that need to be addressed if we are to live in freedom and confidence in the finished work of the cross and God’s grace.

8.1 THE HEBREW CONTROVERSY
Heb 1:3 “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven”.
The book of Hebrews is a wonderful letter written to the Jewish believers, probably living in Jerusalem, although it may have been a general letter addresses to a number of Jewish communities. It declares the glorious divinity of Jesus, His eternal heavenly priesthood on our behalf, the finished work of the Cross, the sufficiency and uniqueness of His blood and the grace of a new and better covenant. It is an important letter for us all, in that establishes the replacing of the Old Mosaic Law Covenant by the New Covenant of Jesus’ Grace along with the foundational truth that no other sacrifice except that of Jesus, is effective in dealing with sin. Jesus is the only priest that can sit down in the presence of God – because his work was finished on the cross.

8.2 MISUNDERSTANDING THE ISSUE
Due to a lack of contextual revelation of grace, some parts of the book of Hebrews have been badly misunderstood and misused by those who have added law to grace. Certain scriptures from Hebrews, quoted in isolation can lead to condemnation, a lack of confidence and a waning assurance in the enduring sufficiency of the Cross. These scriptures need clarification in light of our foundational New Covenant beliefs that we are saved only by grace through faith and not by works (Eph.2:8), that we proclaim the Gospel of Grace (Acts 20:24), the Spirit of Grace (Heb.10:29) and Jesus’ New Covenant (Heb:10:16-17). We must again reiterate that one of the major issues addressed by all the letters of the New Testament was the division in the Early Church between those who believed Jesus’ work on the cross to be a sufficient atonement for all sin and those that wanted to add Mosaic Law and religious rules to the Cross. Basically the fight was between these two opposing camps and this is the issue the letter to the Hebrews addresses.

8.3 THE CONTEXT OF HEBREWS
The first thing that maybe a revelation to many modern Christians is that the letter of Hebrews was written to Jews and not to Gentile – I’m stating the obvious, that’s why it’s called Hebrews. Unlike most of the letters (except James) it was not addressed to a specific church, to an individual believer or to the saints (meaning born again believers) but to Jews who had various beliefs with regard to Jesus and who were influencing the church in Jerusalem. This is a crucial point to understand as the book was written to a specific people, the Jews interested in, or committed to Jesus, for the specific purpose of bringing them freedom from the Law of Moses, their Jewish traditions and the Temple sacrifices. However as I said before, Hebrews is also an important book for everyone, especially in the African context where many false teachers are mixing Christianity with ancestor veneration and animal sacrifices, just like the Jews of Paul’s time.

8.4 JEWS WITH CHRISTIAN LEANINGS
The very early church consisted only of Jews and for decades Christianity was considered to be a Jewish sect, not a new stand alone religion. The tone of the book of Hebrews indicates that it is addressed to a mixed bunch of Jews who were either Christian, dappling in Christianity. or attracted to the New Christian sect of Judaism. Today there are many Jews who identify themselves as Christians, or with Jesus teachings and still maintain their Jewish cultural identity. These Jewish background believers known as Messianic Jews can be found throughout the world. Praise God! In Paul’s day as within the modern Messianic church there are many different beliefs with regard as to what it means to follow Jesus, who Jesus is, what he did on the cross and how this affects a Jews obligation to both Jewish cultural traditions and the Law of Moses. In Paul’s day there was a huge debate going on over these very issues. Even Peter, James and Barnabas, who like Paul all grew up as Jews, fell into error concerning the Law and sometimes even came out against Paul’s “grace only” teaching (Gal.2:14).

8.5 JEWISH MIXED BELIEFS ABOUT JESUS
Like today, the Jewish “Christians” of Paul’s time had a mixed bag of beliefs about Jesus. Many knew about Jesus, but did not know Jesus as Lord and Savoir – they were not “Born Again” (Jn.3:3) and not all were saved but simply had a strong interest in Jesus. Even some of Jesus closest disciples did not fully understand who Jesus was and eventually fell away. Here are some of the beliefs the Jews had about Jesus, some of which The Book of Hebrews was correcting: Like Moses, Jesus was a just ac powerful and good Jewish Rabbi (Jn.3:2). He was the Messiah /Savoir that would save Israel from Rome’s occupation. Jesus was about to establish the final Messianic Jewish Kingdom (Acts 1:6). He was the prophet Moses had spoken of – but not the Son of God (Jn.6:66). He was the Son of God to be worshipped (Mt.14:33). He was the Lamb of God that would take away the sin of the world (Jn.1:29). He was a God given sacrifice to unite Israel (Jn.11:4). A blasphemer and false prophet (Mt.26:63). Even today this same struggle goes on with Jews who come to know Jesus. To give you a taste of what some Messianic Jews believe, here is a link to a Messianic fellowship in Israel Shema- what is Messianic Judaism?.

8.6 THE FLOW OF THE BOOK OF HEBREWS
The Jews in Jerusalem were struggling and many had their feet in both camps of Christianity and legalistic Judaism, or a good mix of the two. The book of Hebrews was written to try to draw tries to draw Jews fully into Christ and the his finished all sufficient sacrifice on the cross. To understand the correct interpretation of the difficult passages in Hebrews it is helpful to have an understanding of the flow of the book of Hebrews.
Chapter 1: Jesus was divine and provided a finished atonement for sin (1:3).
Chapter 2: A call for the Jews to pay attention and receive Jesus’ salvation (2:3).
Chapter 3: Jesus is greater than Moses, but the Jews had hardened their heart to the gospel and were still in the sin of unbelief (3:12).
Chapter 4: Like their forefathers were still trying to obtain their righteousness by works (4:10) instead of accepting and resting in the finished work of the cross (Ro.9:31-10:4).
Chapter 5: They were spiritual infants, they did not understand that true righteousness is a gift received by faith (5:13).
Chapter 6: Many of these Jews had heard the gospel and knew the doctrines of Christ and they had seen the Holy Spirit’s miracles. Sadly they still chose Moses Law and the Temple’s animal sacrifices over Jesus’ sacrifice. Having known what Jesus had done on the Cross and then rejecting it for another sacrifice, they could not have their minds changed (6:4). To repentant actually means to change one’s mind and actions and this they refused to do, they would not give up their animal sacrifices. They may have followed Jesus as a Rabbi but they would not accept his sacrifice for their sins and therefore were lost – and in fact were never saved in the first place.
Chapter 7: They were still following the Levitical Priests in the Temple and seeking perfection through the Law instead of righteousness though Jesus, our Eternal High Priest in heaven.
Chapter 8: These Jews were being called to let go of the Old Mosaic Covenant and fully embrace Jesus’ New Covenant in which their sins are totally forgiven (8:12).
Chapter 9: These Jews were rejecting Jesus’ blood sacrifice and still attending the Temple sacrifices (9:12). They were basically claiming that the blood of Jesus was not good enough and they could not enter into Jesus’ salvation because they could not let go of the Laws animal sin sacrifices that were so much part of their traditional culture.
Chapter 10: Here the Law is declared as set aside by the New Covenant (10:9). Those Jews who kept sinning through unbelief, despite knowing the good news of Jesus’ gospel – cannot be saved (10:26). Anyone rejecting grace and Jesus’ blood as sufficient is eternally condemned (10:26-29).
Chapter 11: These Jews are reminded that the father of the Jewish people was Abraham who received righteousness by faith (11:6). Their father was not Moses who taught righteousness by Law – which always failed to produce righteousness.
Chapter 12: The Jews are reminded that the sin of unbelief had always hindered Israel and the Lord had often disciplined and punished them for it (12:5) and yet they still rejected Him (12:14). They were now called to leave the Law given on Mount Sinai and come into the New Covenant through Jesus blood (12:24).

8.7 BACKSLIDE AND LOSE YOUR SALVATION – REALLY?
Heb 6:4-6 “It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace”.
Traditionally many teachers claim that this scripture is about Christians who backslide and lose their salvation. This is incorrect, this letter is addressed to Hebrews not to “backsliders” to quote this scripture out of the context of the whole letter is to misuse it. We must remember that Hebrews was written when the temple sacrifices and the Levitical priesthood in Jerusalem was still in full swing and at full power. There was huge pressure for Jewish Christians to still participate in this system, shockingly even from the Apostle James (Acts 21:18-24). The whole context of Hebrews is about Jews rejecting Jesus as their great, heavenly, high priest that replaced the priests in the temple of Jerusalem. So what does these scriptures actually mean in their correct context and how do we correctly apply them today? The Jews, Israel – it’s Scribes, it’s teachers of the Law and the common people had been given God’s word in the scriptures, they had experienced miracle after miracle, they had seen the Holy Spirit touching people. They knew the power of God. They even witnessed firsthand Jesus ministering by the power of the Holy Spirit with amazing signs and wonders – all specifically for Israel (Mt.15:24). They saw Jesus die on the cross and witnessed his and others resurrection (Mt.27:52) from the dead. On Pentecost they witnessed the out pouring of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles (Acts 2:5). They had been enlightened to God’s plan of salvation by Jesus and the Apostles ministering in their very midst and YET they still chose to reject Jesus and cling to the Law of Moses for their righteousness. No matter how many miracles they saw, no matter how good God was to them they fell away from God’s gift of the Messiah sent to save them. A stubbornness set in, there to this day. Nothing could get them to change their minds, nothing would get them to recognize their sin of self righteousness and rejection of the Messiah. Sadly this blindness also affected some Jewish Christians believers who never fully rejected the Law and accepted Jesus as their righteousness. This scripture still applies to Jews today who still reject Jesus despite all the evidence that he is their Messiah.

8.8 SIN AND YOU LOOSE YOUR SALVATION – I DON’T THINK SO?
Heb 10:26-29 “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left…..how much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?”
This scripture has be used to teach that if we deliberately sin after being saved then we lose our salvation and can never regain it. Just thinking about this carefully will show that it is error. Quite simply, if we are honest, we have all deliberately sinned since we have been saved. We have all been tempted at some stage and we have all fallen. Thank God that is exactly why grace is available to us. In his love God has given us grace and remembers our sins no more. To use Hebrews 10 to teach that sin can cause us to lose our salvation is ultimately to deny the effectiveness of the cross and condemn ourselves to hell as we all have and will fall short of perfection and righteousness if it is based on our sinless performance. If we say we are without sin we are liars (1Jn.1:8). We are then in the dangerous position of denying grace and taking up an arrogant self righteous position. So you may ask what is the deliberate sin does this scripture refer to? It is deliberate unbelief in Jesus. As we have said earlier the sin the Holy Spirit is concerned with is unbelief in the Son of God, this is then sin he convicts people of (Jn.16:9), this is the unforgivable sin. The whole context of Hebrews is about the Jews accepting or rejecting Jesus as being greater than Moses, being their great high priest of grace, and being their atonement for sin. The sin that condemns all men is the sin of unbelief, the sin of deliberately rejecting Jesus after hearing the good news of his salvation and grace. This is the unforgivable sin. Reject Jesus and one’s sins can never be forgiven, one can never bring any other sacrifice that will save.

8.9 GOD NEVER LETS US GO ONCE WE ARE HIS
To conclude. Using these scriptures from Hebrews in an incorrect way shows a complete misunderstanding of God’s grace, righteousness, the work of the cross and how we are saved in the first place. Our salvation is not and never was, conditional on our performance or our self righteousness. Salvation has and will always be God unearned and undeserved gift of God’s love to all who would take hold of it in faith. If salvation is based on our performance then we are all lost (Ro.3:9) because at some point in our lives, if we are honest, we may either backslide or may intentionally sin – without grace, no one is righteous and we are all lost. Although we are no longer sinners we do know that without Jesus’ grace we are the worst of sinners and we are lost. This is the humility we walk in. When we see a sinner our attitude is not one of self righteousness and arrogance but one of compassion and mercy, knowing “There but for the grace of God goes me” (1Tim.1:15). The parable of the Prodigal son (Luke 15:22) clearly teaches that the Father never lets His sons go, once a son always a son, even if you reject being a son. We may be unfaithful to God but he will never be unfaithful to us. He will never let’s those who are truly saved walk away, it’s no longer our choice. We no longer live but Christ lives in us (Gal.2:20), we are now an inseparable part of Him. We are sealed eternally by the Holy Spirit (Eph.4:30).

8.10 ARE WE RESCUED BUT THEN THROWN TO THE SHARKS?
Teaching that sin can cause us to lose our salvation is like a Coast Guard who rescues his own son from drowning only later to throw him back in the sea because he behaves badly or is not grateful enough. Come on, God’s not like that. So brothers and sisters, be of good cheer and get rid of any doubt that you can lose your salvation, it’s a lie that denies the effectiveness of the Cross and God’s unconditional love. If you are a “back slider” or have deliberately sinned and allowed that to separate you from God, call out to the Father and receive His forgiveness and love once again. He will empower you in grace to hold the course and say no to sin.

8.11 THE UNFORGIVABLE SIN
Mat 12:31 “And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven”.
Many Christians live in fear that they may have or will committed the unforgivable sin that Jesus talked about in the above scripture. This condemnation and fear is a scheme of the devil and is a wrong belief that needs to be repented of. Firstly this scripture was not addressed to people generally but specifically to the teachers of Israel, the Pharisees who actually new that Jesus was the Messiah and full of the Holy Spirit but still chose to reject his offer of salvation and call the Spirit within him, demonic. Not only did they reject salvation but they slandered God himself, despite knowing the truth. The unforgivable sin is simply rejecting the Holy Spirits revelation of salvation through the grace of Jesus Christ. Anyone who know the truth and dies in their sins can never be forgiven.

Now we understand we are free from sin we need to focus on our righteousness and identity in Christ. In the next part we will look at our righteousness.

9. GROUP TIME
I the group discuss the issue of that ALL our sins are forgiven and our traditional over consciousness of sin. Is the message of grace too good to be true? How do you feel?
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Group exercise and questions. Please answer the following questions.
What sin has God forgiven?
Do believers have a sinful nature?
Name three types of sin.
What sin is the Holy Spirit concerned with?
What is sanctification?
How are we sanctified?
What is God solution for sin?
Who is our Advocate and what does he do?
What does the Greek word metanoeo mean? Explain.
What happens if we do not confess a sin?
Can we lose our salvation, if so how?

9.1 EMAIL AND SOCIAL MEDIA LEARNERS
If you are doing this course by Email it should ideally be done in a networked group setting with a minimum of five people so that an active discussion can take place and different viewpoints explored. Those doing the course at a distance by Face Book or Email should discuss the questions below in a study group either on line or at an actual group meeting. Individual should then answer the questions and email a copy to us at study @gracelovetruth.com for evaluation as this will help us to see the effectiveness of the teachings and how to improve them. We will endeavour to answer any questions that are unresolved by the end of the course. This course is free but we do ask that you help promote its use by telling your friends and other churches about it. Also please send us the names and emails of all participants so we can keep in contact with further course updates. All Email information will be kept private and confidential.

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Kenyon

E.W. Kenyon: Grace has both historical & Biblical roots

ESSEK W. KENYON

(1867-1948  New Covenant Baptist minister, Founder of Bethel Bible Institute)

“He has cleansed us with the blood of His own Son. We can stand in the Father’s presence now as though sin had never touched us.

Unfold the riches of the Grace of God in the Scriptures so that men and women are built up in their faith.

If one is free from the sense of guilt and condemnation, faith grows to miracle-working power.

As we walk in this New Covenant Word, we will walk in love, we will walk in fellowship with the Father, we will walk in God’s ability.

Faith is built up and made invincible by Righteousness Consciousness.

The Creator of the universe becomes our Righteousness. He gives us the ability to stand in His presence as though sin had never been.

Righteousness restores to man all that he lost in the Fall, plus a new relationship as a son with all its privileges

If one is free from the sense of guilt and condemnation, faith grows to miracle-working power.

Isaiah 32:17 is a prophetic statement in regard to Righteousness. “And the work of righteousness shall be peace”…

There is nothing narrow or stingy in the Father’s blessings. There is a wholesome fullness in His blessings.

We have preached condemnation and sin so long that we do not know how to preach righteousness and to tell the people what they are in Christ

You are the sons and daughters of God Almighty without condemnation. You will find mercy and grace to help in time of need

Think about what you are in Christ. Never think of your lack; think of the vast inheritance that is yours

Righteousness gives you a standing in the presence of the Father identical with the standing of Jesus

 

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Watchman

Watchman Nee: Grace has both Historical & Biblical roots

WATCHMAN NEE

(1902-1972  Famous Chinese evangelist and teacher)

The Bible is not about proving we are right. The Bible is designed to humble us and prove that God is right.

The Atonement is a propitiation whereby God through the death of Jesus makes an unholy man holy. For by one offering…that of Christ Jesus!

God can not use a man who has not died to his self-life. Such a person can not go far in the things of God.

We must die to our SELF-LIFE before His life can flow through us. The cross speaks of a way to lose our self-life.

His Grace is sufficient! He has provided everything for you. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ.

We go to Christ for forgiveness & often the law to fight our sins.” Foolish Galatians!…The righteous will live by faith.”

God has one sufficient answer—His Son Jesus Christ, and He is the answer to every human.

God has one sufficient answer—His Son Jesus Christ, and He is the answer to every human.

God has placed us in a most lofty position. Through our union with the Lord Jesus, all of the Lord’s accomplishments and victories are ours.

Since we are now joined to the resurrected Lord, through Him the Spirit can control our whole being.

Man cannot rely on his own merit before God; it would overthrow the Lord’s work, as though He had died in vain.

Originally the spirit was as if it were dead, now the Holy Spirit has put God’s uncreated life inside the spirit.

Many people see salvation only as deliverance from judgment; they have not seen that salvation is also deliverance from self.

The daily life of the Christian can be summed up in one word: receive. (Received from the Lord, that is.)

As for sin, we only need take the ground of the cross (Rom.6:6) and immediately we are freed from its power and our servitude to it.

Many people think we become holy by the eradication of something evil within. No, we become holy by being separated unto God.

The basic characteristic of the works of the soul is independence or self-dependence.

The more humble one is at God’s feet, the more useful he is at God’s hand.

From start to finish, he is the One who does it all.

Our rest lies in looking to the Lord, not to ourselves.

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jesus paid

THE NEW COVENANT. Part 2 of 8

 PART 2: THE NEW COVENANT OF GRACE

INTRODUCTION

Our loving Abba Father has poured out his blessings and gifts to us through the grace of Jesus Christ. He has guaranteed his promises to us in the form of an agreement called the New Covenant which is sealed and signed in the blood of Jesus by the Holy Spirit. This agreement reinforces our qualification and adoption as God’s beloved children worthy in every way to represent  him and to act in his name. This part of the course explains how this agreement works and will instil even more confidence in you as to your right standing with God.

As stated previously, an important part of understanding the grace that is  ours through the living Word, Jesus Christ, is that we have a firm Biblical foundation on which this grace is established. This is so that the intimacy, hope and blessings that come with Jesus’ grace cannot be undermined. As you go through this study course we ask you to spend time looking up all the scripture references quoted in brackets and allow the Holy Spirit to establish the Word in your heart and mind.

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, New International Version ®, NIV ® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

INDEX

LESSON 1:  GOD’S COVENANTS AND THE CROSS

1. GOD’S COVENANTS

1.1 WHAT ARE COVENANTS?

1.2 THE LAWS OF THE COVENANTS.

1.3 THE THREE MAIN COVENANTS PRIOR TO THE CROSS.

1.4 THE OLD TESTAMENT PROPHETS FORESAW A NEW COVENANT

1.5  A BETTER COVENANT IN CHRIST

2.  THE NEW COVENANT STARTS AT THE CROSS

2.1  THE CROSS REVERBERATED ACROSS TIME AND SPACE

2.2  WE PREACH CHRIST CRUCIFIED

2.3  JESUS FOCUSED ON THE ATONING WORK OF THE CROSS

2.4  THE CROSS DEALT WITH SIN ONCE AND FOR ALL

2.5  THE CROSS CHANGED JESUS’ FOCUS FROM ISRAEL TO ALL MANKIND

2.6  GRACE IS NOW THE ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF GOD’S KINGDOM

2.7  THE CROSS CHANGED OUR RELATIONSHIP TO GOD

2.8  THE CROSS CHANGED OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT

2.11  THE CROSS DISARMED SATAN

2.10 THE CROSS REVEALED THE FULL GOSPEL OF GRACE

2.9  THE CROSS RELEASED REVELATION

2.14  THE NEW COVENANT

2.13  THE OLD COVENANT

2.12  THE CROSS CHANGED THE COVENANT

LESSON 2:  THE NEW COVENANT

3.  MINISTERS OF A NEW COVENANT

3.1  MINISTERS OF TRUE SPIRITUAL LIFE

3.2  SCRIPTURES THROUGH THE EYES OF THE NEW COVENANT

3.3  MINISTERS OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD

3.4  IT IS GOD’S GOODNESS THAT LEADS TO REPENTANCE

3.5  WHAT ABOUT THE TEN COMMANDMENTS?

3.6  THE NEW COVENANT IS NOT A MIXTURE OF LAW AND GRACE

3.7  OUR PUNISHMENT AND AFFLICTIONS ARE ON JESUS

I)  THE OLD COVENANT

II) THE NEW COVENANT

4.  COMMUNION IS A CELEBRATION OF THE NEW COVENANT

4.1  COMMUNION CELEBRATES GOOD NEWS

4.2  IT IS A CELEBRATION OF GRACE

4.4  NO ONE IS WORTHY, EXCEPT BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH

4.5  WE CELEBRATE NEW COVENANT HOLINESS

4.3  IT IS A REMINDER OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, NOT OF OUR SINS

4.6  NEW COVENANT HEALTH FOR ALL WHO BELIEVE

4.6.1 LAW-BASED COMMUNION BRINGS DEATH

4.6.2 WHY ARE SO MANY SICK?

4.7  THE NEW COVENANT OF LOVE

4.8  GROUP WORK

5. GROUP EXERCISE AND QUESTIONS.

 

PART 2. LESSON 1:  GOD’S COVENANTS AND THE CROSS

 1.  GOD’S COVENANTS

 1.1  WHAT ARE COVENANTS?

A covenant is a solemn, legally binding, relational agreement between two parties which is normally activated and sealed by the shedding of blood. A covenant has terms and conditions that have to be fulfilled by each party. (The closest example that we have in this modern era is the marriage covenant which has to be physically consummated for it to be binding – did you know that in days gone by they would check the marriage bed for the small stain of blood that came from the breaking of the virgin brides hymen, if blood was not found then the marriage was null and void.)

An understanding of covenants is crucial for us as, God has always related to mankind through covenants. There are a number of covenants found in the Scriptures and it is important that we understand what covenant applies to us, as believers, and what covenants are obsolete and no longer applicable. Also as with any agreement we need to know what the terms and conditions of that agreement are so that we can stick to them.

1.2  THE LAWS OF THE COVENANTS

Romans 8:2-4 :  “Through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the Law [of Moses] was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”

God interacts differently with people depending on the covenant. Therefore it is important that we distinguish between the different covenants. God’s response to people is based on the covenant and law system which they have been placed under or choose to live under. The above Scripture is very definitive in this regard and clarifies the three main law systems found in the Scriptures.

1) The Law of sin and death that came through Adam: You sin, you die.

2) The Law of performance that came through Moses: Do good get good, do bad get bad.

3) The Law of the Spirit of Life that came through Jesus: He died, therefore you are in grace and blessed by the Holy Spirit.

1.3  THE THREE MAIN COVENANTS PRIOR TO THE CROSS

i) The Covenant of sin and death.  Agreed with Adam and his offspring (Genesis 3:15-21) and alluded to in Rom.8:1.

ii) The Covenant of faith and righteousness. Agreed  with Abraham and his offspring through Isaac (Genesis 12:2-3 & 18:18) and ultimately through Jesus.

iii) The Mosaic Covenant, also known as The Law. Agreed with Israel through Moses.  (Deuteronomy 29:1, Exodus 24:4-8, 34:27).

The significance of each of these covenants will be revealed during the course, so we will not go into detail at this stage. There were also a number of sub-covenants such as with Noah (Genesis 8:20-22, 9:12) and David (2 Chronicles 21:7). These are also important but space prevents them being dealt with in detail.

1.4  THE OLD TESTAMENT PROPHETS FORESAW A NEW COVENANT

Jeremiah 31:31:  “The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbour, or say to one another, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” 

These passages from Jeremiah prophesied the coming of a New Covenant.  Similar promises about a new and better covenant that was going to come one day soon were made in Ezek11:19 & 36:26 and elsewhere. Hebrews 8:7-13 & 10:16 declares that Jesus is the fulfilment of the promises of a new and better covenant.

Why was a new covenant so needed? Because of the hard and onerous terms and conditions of the Mosaic Law Covenant (Ezekiel 20:25), given on mount Sinai, Israel constantly failed to meet the terms of this covenant and came under the wrath and curse of the Law. This was the terms of this covenant; if you fail to obey you will be cursed. The prophets of Israel foresaw the coming of the a new and better covenant that would be fulfilled by God’s Messiah and Saviour, Jesus,  who would save God’s people from the curse of the Old Covenant. The Messiah would set Israel free from and captivity of the Law. The good news is that we are blessed to live under this new and better covenant and that the Old Covenant of the Mosaic Law does not apply to us who are in Christ.

 1.5  A BETTER COVENANT IN CHRIST

Hebrews 7:22-25: “Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant. Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.”

Jesus Christ is the fulfilment of the Covenant of the Law (Matthew 5:17) and of God’s covenant with David.  Jesus was able to become the originator and mediator of the new and better covenant that the Prophets had prophesied. He would be the fulfilment of all the terms and conditions of the New Covenant of Grace through His punishment, death, burial, resurrection and glorification. This New Covenant is now the dominant and overriding covenant of all preceding covenants for those who would agree to it by dying to self and becoming one with Christ (Galatians 2:20). This is the covenant that has released God’s grace and blessings to all who would believe and become children of God (John 1:12-17). This is the covenant that we will now look at in more detail.

2.  THE NEW COVENANT STARTS AT THE CROSS

 2.1  THE CROSS REVERBERATED ACROSS TIME AND SPACE     

Revelation 13:8, “The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world”.   

Zechariah 12:10, “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son”.

The prophet Zechariah foresaw the coming of the Holy Spirit and grace and how this was linked to the crucifixion of the firstborn Son, Jesus Christ.  The book of Revelation prophetically declares the eternal, timeless significance of the death of the Lamb of God on the cross. The cross is beyond doubt the most significant world changing event in history. There is nothing more significant either in the spiritual or physical realm than the cross. It is the most profound, earth- shattering event that reverberated both into the both past and future. The cross of Christ is the core and the under laying foundation of our Christian faith and belief system. All Scripture, both before and after the cross, points to the cross and its affects. Without the cross, Jesus would be no more significant than any other religious teacher or guru. It is the cross defines Christ and Christianity. It is the great divide of history.

2.2  WE PREACH CHRIST CRUCIFIED

1 Corinthians 1:23, “We preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.”

We do not just preach Jesus Christ, even Islam does that. Even Israel was prepared to accept Christ as the Prophet, a Rabbi and even a Messiah King. No! We preach Christ Crucified. This is the uniqueness of Christianity. We preach Christ – His life, death, resurrection, ascension and glorification at the right hand of God. The Cross was and still is, a huge stumbling block to many, as it is offensive to all those who are religious, self-righteous and feed on the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

2.3  JESUS FOCUSED ON THE ATONING WORK OF THE CROSS

Matthew 16:21-23,  “From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.  Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

Some of Jesus’ closest disciples failed to see the significance of the cross. Jesus’ whole earthly life had one ultimate purpose, the cross, and He would allow no one to distract Him from fulfilling this calling. Jesus knew the cross would change everything as the cross would deal with the divide between man and God. Peter acting in the flesh, opposed Jesus going to the cross, Jesus called him “Satan!” Peter got angry at Jesus’ arrest and tried to resist with the sword – Jesus again rebuked him.  Eventually Peter was so upset with the prospect of the cross that he ended up denying Jesus. Jesus’ atoning work on the cross was the start of the New Covenant and is the foundation of the New Covenant of the grace of Jesus Christ. From this incident we see through Peter that man’s fleshly nature and natural intellect cannot understand the cross and will always oppose the cross (1 Corinthians 2:14). The cross and its power ultimately has to be a spiritual revelation within the hearts of man, as to the natural man, it is just foolishness.

2.4  THE CROSS DEALT WITH SIN ONCE AND FOR ALL

Colossians 2:13, “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins”.

Before the cross there was no permanent atonement for sins. The Law of Moses was in force and bought death and a curse on all (this is expanded upon in part 3). No one was righteous in God’s eyes, no one could be saved. At the cross the power and dominion of sin was destroyed once and for all – for all those who would be saved. The cross opened the flood gate of God’s unearned and undeserved grace (John 1:17), the forgiveness of sins. The cross destroyed the power of sin and provided a way for man’s “Adamic sin nature” to be put to death on the cross with Christ (Galatians 2:20). Now for those in Christ, all sin – past, present, future – is atoned for  (more on the issue of sin in part 4). This is the cornerstone of the New Covenant and grace.

2.5  THE CROSS CHANGED JESUS’ FOCUS FROM ISRAEL TO ALL MANKIND

Matthew 15:22, “A Canaanite (Gentile) woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.” Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.”

Although Jesus is and always will be the Saviour of all mankind, Jesus’ earthly ministry was firstly and primarily to Israel (Matthew 15:24) and its leaders – those under the Old Covenant Law of Moses. Most of Jesus’ teaching at this time was directed at Israel’s teachers, the Pharisees, who had wrongly interpreted the Law, did not understand the spirit of the Law and misapplied the Law. They had wrongly assumed that righteousness and salvation could be obtained by works (Romans 9:30-10:4). Jesus taught against their hypocrisy and their self righteousness. To those who chose law Jesus preached law, to those “sinners” who were broken and contrite Jesus showed grace and forgiveness. During this time Jesus alluded to the fact that He was going to bring salvation also to the Gentiles (John 10:16) but His ministry to the Gentiles only really came into effect after the cross, primarily through the Apostle Paul (Acts 9:15).

2.6  GRACE IS NOW THE ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF GOD’S KINGDOM

Through the cross, the Law was fulfilled and done away with for believers (Romans 6:14). The reign and rule of Christ and His kingdom is now bought into affect by the Spirit through the system of grace – not religious rules, regulations and laws. The preaching of the kingdom now goes hand in hand with the preaching of the good news of God’s grace (Acts 20:24) – his unearned, undeserved, forgiveness, blessing, favour and empowering.

2.7  THE CROSS CHANGED OUR RELATIONSHIP TO GOD

Colossians 1:20  “Through Jesus He reconciled to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”

Under the Old Covenant we were slaves to sin and alienated from God. But now God is no longer angry with us or out to punish us for our sins. We are now at peace with God (Colossians 1:20). In the New Covenant, God no longer relates to us based on our performance or sin. In fact He remembers our sins no more (Hebrews 10:17). God now sees us as part of Jesus. We are the Body of Christ.  We are no longer God’s slaves or servants but beloved sons in Christ (Romans 8:15) and God now relates to us as a loving and kind Father (more on our new relationship with God in part 6).

2.8  THE CROSS CHANGED OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT

John 16:7  “But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counsellor [The Holy Spirit] will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you”.

Prior to the cross, under the Old Covenant, the Holy Spirit came upon certain godly people at certain times for a certain purpose. But His presence was not permanent. The Spirit was understood as the power of God that came and went as and when God determined. Due to man’s un-atoned sin, the Holy Spirit could not live within people but only “come upon” them in a temporary way. After the cross, under the New Covenant, the sin condition of man was dealt with and the Holy Spirit came through Jesus Christ to abide in His Body the church;  all those who believed and are regenerated. The Holy Spirit is now a permanent seal and guarantee within all those who are saved. The Holy Spirit is now understood to be the third person of the Trinity and not just a force or power. The power of the Holy Spirit is now released within and through believers for the ministry and work of God. It is life in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16) that fulfils the purposes of the New Covenant. Under the New Covenant it is ultimately the Holy Spirit that teaches us and leads us into the truth (Jn.14:26) about Jesus, his grace and his kingdom. The Holy Spirit now writes God’s laws and decrees on our hearts and minds. Born again believers are guided from within and no longer by others imposing laws and rules on them.

2.9  THE CROSS RELEASED REVELATION

John 12:16  “At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realise that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him.” 

2 Corinthians 3:14  “But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away.”

Before the cross there were certain aspects of God’s kingdom and Jesus’ teachings which could not be fully understood (Luke 9:44-45). Firstly because those under the Law of Moses were spiritually blind and had a spiritual veil over them which stopped them from understanding God’s grace and God’s true purposes. Secondly, because it is only the witnessing of the cross; Jesus, death, resurrection and ascension that clarifies and fulfils the Scriptures. Jesus warned his disciples that prior to the cross and the infilling of the Holy Spirit there were certain things that they simply could never understand (Matthew 15:16, 16:11) and other things that were still to be revealed, such as God’s grace and gift of righteousness (Romans 5:17) which could not come through ministry of the earthly Jesus but only through the ministry of the heavenly Jesus, our great Heavenly High Priest.

2.10 THE CROSS REVEALED THE FULL GOSPEL OF GRACE

Galatians 1:12, “I did not receive the gospel (of grace) from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.”

During His earthly ministry Jesus never fully revealed salvation by grace, he simply alluded to it and displayed it in practice (John 8:1-11 and Luke 15).  After the cross, the glorified Jesus (John 12:16) revealed even more aspects of the kingdom and grace to the Apostle Paul (Galatians 1:12). In a sense, this was the final revelation and clarification of the gospel of Jesus Christ and His kingdom. All other Scriptures need to be interpreted in the context of Jesus’ final revelations and scriptural teachings given to the Apostle Paul who was caught up into heaven and taught by the glorified Christ (2 Corinthians 12:2).

2.11  THE CROSS DISARMED SATAN

Colossians 2:15, “And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross”.

Under the law of sin and death (Romans 8:1) which was later reinforced by the Mosaic Law, God allowed Satan to accuse and afflict those who sinned. This satanic power of condemnation and affliction has been removed through the cross. Satan no longer has any legal rights to attack or afflict those who are in Christ. In Christ and through the cross, we now have victory over the enemy and we have a great High Priest and mediator in heaven, Jesus Christ, who intercedes for us and defends us.

2.12  THE CROSS CHANGED THE COVENANT

Hebrews 9:15, For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.   

Colossians 2:14, Having cancelled the written code (the Law), with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.

New Testament believers now fall under the New Covenant alone, not a mixture of the old and new. Believers now reading scriptures from the time of Mount Sinai onwards need to understand that any conditions are not applicable to them as believers as they are fulfilled in Christ. The blessings apply but the curses and punishments do not as they were taken by Jesus.

2.13  THE OLD COVENANT

Prior to the cross the Law of Moses was the only covenant effectively in force through which people could relate to God. Gentiles who wanted to know God had to convert to Judaism and come under the Law of Moses.  The terms of this covenant are harsh and deadly as it was based on an unattainable holiness and righteousness that no man could fulfil. There were blessing and curses (Deuteronomy 28) based on ones behaviour. However no one could be justified (just as if they never sinned) and saved through keeping the Law of Moses (Galatians 2:16) as they always failed. The sole purpose of the Law is to lead people to Jesus, God’s Saviour (Galatians 3:24) and remind Israel of the Abrahamic foundation that righteousness and justification  is actually by faith alone (Galatians 3:8).

2.14  THE NEW COVENANT

Hebrews 8:6-13  The ministry Jesus has received is as superior to the ministry of the Jewish High Priests as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the New Covenant is established on better promises.  For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant [of the Law], no place would have been sought for another. But God found fault with the people and said: “The days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord. This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their  God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbour, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will forgive their wickedness and I will remember their sins no more.” By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.

The Old Covenant is about us  and our performance “you must, if you, if you …”, thus doomed to fail (Read Deut 28). In contrast the New Covenant is focussed on God’s grace and his performance and therefore guaranteed to succeed.  In the above scripture God says “I will” six times. The shedding of the blood of Jesus as atonement for sin heralded in this New Covenant of grace in which sins are forgiven and forgotten. This New Covenant was no longer just for Israel but opened the door for all the Gentiles to be saved as well. The New Covenant fulfilled and replaced the Old Covenant for all those who believe in Christ. The good news is that the blood of Jesus, instead of our own blood, is the blood seal for the New Covenant. The terms and conditions of the covenant are fully and eternally fulfilled by Jesus and not by us. The New Covenant is unique in a sense that it is intrinsically between two persons who are one; God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. We as believers, have access into this covenant not as ourselves but only as part of the Body of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27) which we are included into when we believe in Jesus as Lord and Saviour. One of the easiest ways to understand the New Covenant is that it was prepared by the loving Father for His Son. It is a relational, marriage agreement between His Son, Jesus, the bridegroom and the His Bride, the church (John 3:29, Revelation 19:7). The good news of this covenant is that there are blessings upon blessing (John 1:16-17) and abundant overflowing grace.

In light of the above teaching spend some time reflecting on the finished work of the cross and write down what it means for you personally and what significance you believe it has today:__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

List any other Scriptures that link in with this theme of the finished work of the cross:

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PART 2. LESSON 2:  THE NEW COVENANT

3.  MINISTERS OF A NEW COVENANT

2 Corinthians 3:3-9.  You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone [The Ten Commandments] but on tablets of human hearts.   Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter [The Law of Moses] kills, but the Spirit gives life. Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone [The Ten Commandments were written on tablets of stone], came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was,  will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious?   If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness!

3.1  MINISTERS OF TRUE SPIRITUAL LIFE

The New Testament is strong on the fact that we are ministers of the New Covenant of the grace of Jesus Christ and not of the Old Covenant of the Law. We are called to preach the good news of Jesus Christ, the cross, forgiveness for sins, blessings and His grace. This is what brings about true spiritual life (zoe) that changes people and the world around us. When preaching in synagogues, Paul taught from the Law and the Prophets to reveal Jesus. However we have no record of him ever preaching the Law and the Ten Commandments to convict sinners or Gentile unbelievers. Paul teaches (Romans 2:15) that it is the conscience of Gentile sinners that has already convicted them of sin – not the Ten Commandments. The above Scriptures clearly state that the Ten Commandments are a ministry of death and condemnation and the opposite of the New Covenant Ministry of the Spirit which reveals our Righteousness in Christ.  This life and the terms of the New Covenant are unique to Christianity and they are the good news that we proclaim.

3.2  SCRIPTURES THROUGH THE EYES OF THE NEW COVENANT

John 5:38-39  Nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me.

The Scriptures take on a completely different meaning for those reading them under the Old Covenant of the Law and those reading them under the New Covenant of grace. It goes without saying that the way you read a contract or agreement depends on what party you are to that contract or agreement. The Law was made between Israel and God. When you place yourself under the Law, your purpose in reading Scripture will then become to understand the  laws, principle, statutes, rules and regulation that you need to fulfil to uphold your side of the agreement. The Bible then becomes a rule book. On the other hand, the New Covenant of grace was made between God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. For those who have been included in Christ by grace through faith, all the requirements of the New Covenant were fulfilled on the cross (Galatians 2:20). Our purpose in reading the Bible then becomes to see Jesus, His New Covenant and the good news of His grace. It is no longer a book of rules but instead a love story about relationship between God, His Son, His beloved children in Christ and the kingdom he has prepared for them. As New Covenant believers, when we read the Old Testament we must now read it on the basis that all the conditions have been fulfilled by Christ. Where people were punished for sin, we now see that punishment on Jesus, where people were cursed for disobedience, we now see the curse on Jesus, where people got sick because of sin, we see health through Jesus’ stripes, and where people were disqualified because of sin we see Jesus as our qualification. This is the good news of God’s grace – but, be warned it is offensive to those who want to do it by themselves. We now read the Old Testament with a new mindset, always pointing to Jesus as our fulfilment of the Old Testaments and its conditions. It is no longer about “We must”, but now it is about “Jesus has.”

3.3  MINISTERS OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD

The relationship or place of the New Covenant in regard to the kingdom is as follows:  Jesus is the King who reigns and rules. Born Again believers are the citizens and ambassadors of the kingdom. The constitution of the kingdom is the New Covenant. The system of governance is God’s grace. The Administrator of the Kingdom is the Holy Spirit. The Law is love. The manifesto of the kingdom is glory to God and salvation for mankind.

3.4  IT IS GOD’S GOODNESS THAT LEADS TO REPENTANCE

Romans 2:4  Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?

Under the New Covenant it is the goodness and love of God that leads to true repentance and changed lives, not the Law. The key issue is that we are now ministers of life that comes through preaching Jesus and His grace, not ministers of the Law that brings death and condemnation.

Can you find any incidents in the New Testament that would bear this out? List as many as you can find:

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3.5  WHAT ABOUT THE TEN COMMANDMENTS?

Paul is clear that the Law is dead to New Covenant believers and ministers (Ephesians 2:15) and the Ten Commandments are not part of our ministry. He states that a ministry that preaches the Ten Commandments brings death and condemnation, not life. Maybe this is why so many of us are sick and so many are dying? Admittedly, a ministry preaching Law and grace may have some glory, just like Moses had some glory – but it was fading. I have always been puzzled as to why over the years we have seen revivals, healings, anointing, moves of the Spirit and salvations just fading away after a while (2 Corinthians 3:11). This is because we mix Law and grace and where there is Law, the glory fades because it is based on our performance and self-effort which we just cannot keep up. Law gives glory to man, grace gives glory to God (more on the Law in part 3).

3.6  THE NEW COVENANT IS NOT A MIXTURE OF LAW AND GRACE

Most of us have grown up hearing a gospel that is a mixed message of Law and grace. Basically, we are saved by grace but have to live by Law, rules, regulations and methods instead of in grace, by the Spirit and the Word. Because of this mixed gospel many believers are experiencing the fruit of the Law , which is condemnation, death, spiritual dryness, a lack of joy, a sense of never being worthy, guilt, fear, ill health, very few miracles, minor signs, and little wonder, no passion (2 Corinthians 3:7). Mixing grace and Law is robbing the church of her true inheritance. Law-based Christianity is killing churches and believers all over the world and also driving people away from God – they can never make the grade, they always fall short, they burn out trying to do enough.

The good news is that we are righteous in Christ and blessed by Jesus’ grace (John 1:16-17), as grace is the way to overcome all the sin we see around us (Titus 2:11-12). We live in an amazing time when the Holy Spirit is bringing us into a full understanding of the power of the cross and that Jesus is our all in all. Not only are we saved by grace, but as God’s beloved children, we live in grace.

We are not ashamed of this gospel of the grace of Jesus Christ. This is the gospel that has power (Romans 1:16) to revitalize the church, change people and change the world.

3.7  OUR PUNISHMENT AND AFFLICTIONS ARE ON JESUS

Isaiah 30:20  Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. (this is from the Old Covenant),

Because of the cross, what was true under the Old Covenant of the Law is no longer true for those under the New Covenant of grace, especially with regard to God afflicting us and punishing us.

              a.  THE OLD COVENANT

Under this old agreement no one was born again, no one was called a child of God, no one was filled with the Spirit (the Spirit of God only came upon certain people at certain times). Prophets had to hear God for the people, priests had to present prayers on the people’s behalf. Righteousness was based on good works and perfect Law keeping. Under the Covenant of the Law God’s judgment and wrath against sin and self righteousness resulted in death, sickness, affliction by evil spirits, punishment and curses (Deuteronomy 28) coming upon those who sinned, backslid, rebelled and disobeyed until such time as they repented and to God. Adversity, affliction, sickness and hardship was used to train God’s people (Isaiah 30:20). It wasn’t good news, as Israel’s history proved, they never made the grade and suffered greatly for it (Romans 9:30-10:4).

              b. THE NEW COVENANT

Under this new agreement, believers are born again and are a new creation, we are children of God, the Holy Spirit permanently lives in us, we have a personal relationship with God, we hear Him and He hears us when we pray. Our righteousness is Jesus and is imputed to us by faith. our sins are forgiven and forgotten and we now have the power to say no to sin. We are not under the Law. We do good works because we are under grace and not to get right with God. Our punishment for sin and curses were taken by Jesus on the cross. God trains and teaches us through the Holy Spirit and by the Scriptures not through adversity, affliction and sickness.

So what is the bread of adversity and the water of affliction in a New Covenant sense? Simple, we point to Jesus. His body suffered adversity and affliction for our sake and it becomes for us the bread of adversity and affliction, and thus the bread of Life as it reminds us of His suffering and death for us so that we could have His life now – that is why we regularly celebrate communion. When Jesus was afflicted on the cross by the spear in His side water flowed out along with the blood, this becomes for us the water of affliction. To walk in victory it is critical for us to be clear which covenant we are under, otherwise we will wrongly believe that God is cursing us, God is making us sick or God is giving us poverty so as to teach us and train us. We then justify our afflictions by Scriptures taken from the Old Testament and a covenant that we are not under, instead of looking to Christ and the cross. We then call Satan’s works, God’s work and wrongly suffer instead of standing firm in Christ against Satan’s schemes (Ephesians 6:11). If you believe you are being afflicted, are sick, are poor and are depressed because your loving Heavenly Father is punishing you or training you, ask the Holy Spirit to show you if this is really true. Receive freedom and blessings in Christ by the grace of God (Romans 1:16).

4.  COMMUNION IS A CELEBRATION OF THE NEW COVENANT

Luke 22:17-20  After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.

We are called to celebrate the New Covenant that came through the shedding of the blood of Jesus and the punishment of his body. Jesus said we should remember his death and celebrate his death. Why? Because he died in our place, so it’s good news for us, it’s something to celebrate and be thankful for.

4.1  COMMUNION CELEBRATES GOOD NEWS

Under grace, the Lord’s Table (communion) becomes central to Christian life, as it is a focus on the finished and all sufficient work of the cross and Christ crucified (1 Corinthians 2.2). The Lord’s Table is a celebration of the good news of the New Covenant. It is a spiritual party and feast! It is a remembrance of the grace that came through the cross. It is a remembrance of Jesus’ death that has made us righteous, i.e. right standing and relationship to God. It is not a remembrance of the Old Covenant and Law. It is not a remembrance of our sins, it is not a remembrance of our unworthiness.

 4.2  IT IS A CELEBRATION OF GRACE

Communion is a physical sign of God’s gift of grace given through the New Covenant in the blood of Jesus. Having complete freedom to break bread and drink the cup of salvation together should be a central part of our fellowship. It is a celebration and reminder of the price Jesus paid to set us free from the Law and our slavery to sin. Communion is a wonderful reminder that God himself suffered and died for us (1 Corinthians 11:26) so we may have a full abundant, grace-filled, life. It is a reminder that we are to trust only in grace for our righteousness and not ourselves. The cross of Christ is the only thing that qualifies us in God’s eyes and that is good news, as it takes the pressure of performance off us, as grace is free and without condition to all who would believe.

4.3  IT IS A REMINDER OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, NOT OF OUR SINS

1 Corinthians 1:30  Christ Jesus has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.

Communion is a reminder of our righteousness in Christ and not of our past sinful condition or our present failings. When we come to the Lord’s communion table we have to examine and judge ourselves to ensure that we are in belief – belief as to the finished work of the cross. We are to be focussed on Christ’s righteousness imputed to us by faith, and not on our sins. God declares that He has already forgiven us and remembers our sins no more, we must not make Him out to be a liar by denying this by being sin conscious all the time (more on the forgiveness of all sin in part 4). We have to judge ourselves as to if we believe that His body broken and blood shed on the cross was sufficient, that he has purified us from all sin and made us righteous, once and for all time. Or perhaps we erroneously believe that the work of the cross has to be added to? We do this by thinking on or accounting as credit before God, our good works, confession of sins, devotion time, prayers, and Bible reading time, etc. (these are good but not when offered to God as credit). If we come to communion with this mindset of adding to the work of the cross we make a mockery of the sufficiency and finished work of Christ’s suffering and death. The sin of unbelief in the finished work of the cross is the sin we need to deal with when we are in grace – moral sin is the fruit of unbelief and the Law. It is the Holy Spirit who convicts us of this unbelief, we don’t have to do it (John 16:9).

4.4  NO ONE IS WORTHY, EXCEPT BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH

Isaiah 64:6, (KJV) But we are all as the unclean thing, and all our (self) righteousness’s are as a menstruation cloth.  

Only the righteousness and holiness that Christ gives us is good enough for God. Even as believers, any righteousness or holiness that we bring based on our good or bad actions is still like used menstrual cloth to God, Yuck! We can only take communion in a worthy way by relying on the imputed holiness of Jesus given to us by grace (more about righteousness in part 5).

4.5  WE CELEBRATE NEW COVENANT HOLINESS

Hebrews 4:16, “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence.”

Many feel they cannot partake of the Lord’s Table because they are not “holy” or worthy enough. What a lie and a deception! The simple truth is that no one is worthy to take communion if their focus is on their actions and sins instead of on Christ’s righteousness freely given and received by faith (1 Corinthians 1:30). Sadly many believers judge their holiness by comparing themselves with others. If we think we are holy because of the way we live and think, and the brother next to us is not because he has been sinning, then we have become self-righteous and are in danger of becoming Pharisees. If we judge ourselves by our actions and thoughts instead of who we are in Christ then we are still lost in sin. However if we rightly judge ourselves as righteous and holy in Christ we can approach God’s throne boldly, as for us it has become the throne of grace  and no longer the throne of judgement (Hebrews 4:16). We all know that as believers our daily actions may still fall short of God’s holiness – we all continue to miss the mark to some degree. But this is no longer the issue with our Abba Father. He no longer relate to us according to our sin or sinlessness, but purely through Christ. God sees all believers as righteous in Christ. The fruit of knowing Jesus is (His) holiness – however if we think we are better than others then we deceive ourselves. We cannot come to the Lord’s table with a superior attitude but only with humbleness, knowing that only grace is sufficient.

It’s exactly in this situation that the good and proper purpose of the Law comes into effect as the Law always show us we fall short and cannot rely on our holiness based on our actions but only true holiness given to us (imputed) by Jesus. Anyone coming to the Lord’s Table claiming to be holy on a comparison or works basis is coming in an unworthy that dishonours the work Jesus did on the cross and the Paul warns us that this is dangerous.

4.6  NEW COVENANT HEALTH FOR ALL WHO BELIEVE

1 Corinthians 11:25-27  In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”  For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. “Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.  A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.  But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.

Interestingly, this is the only place in New Testament where it explains one of the reasons why Christians are sick and dying. This is a teaching on health and sickness that revolves that around The Lord’s Table. It is critical that we consider this carefully and have a clear understanding of what it is saying, as this is one of the keys to health. Firstly, to state the obvious:  our Abba Father does not want to harm us because we have acted irreverently or in a wrong way during communion. The wine and bread do not become poison because we mistakenly partake in a wrong way. To imply either of the above is tantamount to blasphemy against the cross, the New Covenant and God’s grace. Sadly many have been taught exactly this. False teachers imply that very thing that represents and brings life actually brings sickness – that is ridiculous! We believers are children of a good and loving Heavenly Father who cares for us and calls us His beloved children. God never ever inflicts sickness on His beloved children.

              4.6.1 LAW-BASED COMMUNION BRINGS DEATH

The Old Covenant of the Law brought sickness if one did not perform (Deuteronomy 28) – it is bad news. Coming to the Lord’s Table with a law and works mindset and belief system is spiritually dangerous. Law and grace cannot be mixed. Grace plus law equals law and law produces death! The Scripture 2 Corinthians 3:6-17 is clear that the Law cause death and we all know that death normally comes through sickness. The context of 2 Corinthians, including the teachings on the Lord’s Table, is that law based Christianity denies the work of the cross, brings death, ill health and condemnation and we need to free ourselves from the law and the dead works it requires and trust only in grace! (more on the Law in part 3).

              4.6.2 WHY ARE SO MANY SICK?

There is huge controversy over the issue of sickness among believers and it is not the purpose of this course to address this issue in detail. However, the reality is that many believers are weak and sick and grace is the solution to this. As we look briefly at the relationship between health and grace we need to clarify that people are not sick because they have not confessed their sins or not dealt with some relational issue and thus been afflicted by God.  There are many causes of sickness, the main one being the fallen creation we live in and the over busyness and stresses of modern life. However the scriptures indicated that one of the possible reasons that some  believers are not gaining victory in their health is because they cannot accept the full sufficiency of the cross for them personally and are unable to enter into the rest of grace. Many take communion in an unworthy manner because they think Jesus’ bloody body, crushed, broken and spat upon was not enough for their full salvation, sanctification, justification, healing and righteousness. Sometimes we do not live in health because we find it hard to believe that Jesus did enough to earn it for us on the cross. Deep down we are in the “unbelief” as to our worthiness and this manifests in ill health. When we live under condemnation we sub consciously believe we deserve to be punished for our sins or lack of performance for God. Sickness can be a fruit of this wrong belief. Sadly my experience as a pastor has shown that many sick people often feel they need to do something to earn their healing and they desperately try to make bargains with God instead of simply resting in his love and grace.

Believers who come to the Lord’s Table in an unworthy manner means simply that they have not rested from their own dead works (Hebrews 4:9),  law keeping and sin and condemnation consciousness. Often guilt, stress, busyness , anger and negativity overwhelms their lives and depression and sickness is the fruit. Every loving father wants to see his children well and healthy,  how much more so with Abba! Trusting him, and abiding and resting  in grace and the finished work of the cross leads to good mental and physical health.

4.7  THE NEW COVENANT OF LOVE

Jesus, the exact image and representation of God, always healed and never ever wished sickness on anyone. No earthly father would do such terrible unloving thing to his children, how much less so would the God, who bore our sin and diseases in His own body on the cross. So let us treat any teaching or belief that God afflicts and disciplines us through sickness with the contempt it deserves understanding that it is not valid for those under the New Covenant. Regularly celebrating at the Lord’s Table will in fact bring us increased health as it will remind us of what was won for us on the cross and by the stripes of Jesus!

4.8  GROUP WORK

During the group time, discuss the following statement and Scriptures in light of the teachings of covenant and how we can apply them both in our own lives and when proclaiming the good news to the lost. Discuss any other pertinent points that these teachings have highlighted.

“The New Covenant is reconciliation between man and God and the time of grace.”

Colossians 1:20, “Through Jesus, God has reconciled to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behaviour. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.”

Ephesians 1:7, “In Jesus we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.”

5. GROUP EXERCISE  QUESTIONS:

5.1 What is a covenant and how is it ratified?

5.2 What covenant are Christians under?

5.3 Describe the basic terms of this covenant.

5.4 What covenant was Abraham under?

5.5 When did the covenant of the Law start?

5.6 What covenant was Israel under prior to the Law?

5.7 When did the New Covenant start?

5.8 who or what is the principle focus of the New Covenant?

5.9 What was God’s response to sin under the Old Covenant of the Law?

5.10 What is his response under the new covenant? Can you think of a scripture to back up your answer?

5.11 How does one enter into the New Covenant?

5.12 Are we all ministers, if so what do we minister?

5.13 What leads people to true repentance. Can you quote a scripture. How do you feel about this?

5.14 What are other names for “The Lord’s Table”?

5.15 Write a paragraph on what “The Lord’s Table” is about.

5.16 Write a paragraph on grace and the New Covenant and share it in your group.

Now that we have laid the foundation of the New Covenant, established that we are only under the terms and conditions of the New Covenant, which is grace,  and explained the difference between the Old and New Covenants, next we will look at the Law of the Old Covenant  and explain its purpose and application.

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6. ON LINE AND SOCIAL MEDIA FEEDBACK

This course can be done electronically. It should ideally be done in a networked group setting, with a minimum of five people so that an active discussion can take place and different viewpoints explored.  Those doing the course at a distance by Face Book or Email should answer these questions and discuss them in their  study group either on line or at a group meeting. Queries can then be emailed to us at study@gracelovetruth.com and we will endeavour to answer any questions that are unresolved by the end of the course.

This course if free but we do ask that you  send us the names and emails of all participants so we can get their feedback and input and keep in contact with further course updates. Email information will be kept private and confidential.

 

 

 

 

 

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