What is Grace? What is the divine influence upon the heart?

#1 Grace: Jesus came to save man from sin
“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21 (King James Version)

God’s focus of love offers true grace and is designed to “save his people from their sins.” The Law reveals the sin, and Christ came to save us from rebellion to His law. True freedom or liberty is offered to all narrow road followers of Jesus.

Some have mistakenly twisted this promise to believe Christ came to free men from God’s standard of right and wrong, with the freedom to chase after sin without consequence. This is madness and living in slavery to sin.

If you were saved from drowning, you would not keep living in the state of drowning, and have the lifeguard swim next to you and pull you up every few hours. No, he would drag you out of the water to safety. Do you think the Almighty God defines “save his people from their sins” as only freeing them from the consequences of eternal hell, but leaving everyone in the misery of perpetual sin?

Not even a lifeguard will do that to a drowning swimmer. Why would anyone think God will torment people in this way?

If the plan of God is to “save his people from their sins” what would that mean? It does not say “save his people from hell” the consequences of their sin, but “from their sins.”

Sin is the destroyer of mankind. Sin is the water that drowns people for all eternity. Sin is what God hates. Sin is what God wants to save all people from, not leave them drowning under it.

False grace is the idea that God does not save us from sin, but saves us from His moral law. False grace is so destructive to mankind that God warned us in the Bible that this error would plague us until He comes back in judgment.

“Dear friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people. I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” [Jude 1:3-4 (New Living Translation)]

Instead, grace is the opposite of this lie! Grace propels us to live righteous lives. The Greek word is  <G5463> (chairo); graciousness (as gratifying), of manner or act (abstract or concrete; literal, figurative or spiritual; especially the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life; including gratitude) :- acceptable, benefit, favour, gift, grace (-ious), joy, liberality, pleasure, thank (-s, -worthy). Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary.

We only know what is moral from God’s Word. His Law has not changed today. What was immoral in the Old Testament, was immoral in the New Testament times, and is still immoral today. NO CHANGE!

Is it time for you to leave false grace behind, along with your disobedience to God’s moral law, and find God’s freedom from sin? Jesus died to save you from your sin.

#2 Grace: living by the power of the Holy Spirit

“…the Book of the Lamb who has been offered in sacrifice ever since the creation of the world.” Revelation 13:8 (WEY)

God had a long-standing, carefully crafted plan from the very beginning to save man from his sin. God sticks with His plans. God’s love drives Him to fulfill His promises. But His plan included thousands of years to prepare the way for His son to be presented as the sacrifice for sin. This was God’s mercy to Israel until His son would be offered up for sin.

The religion He established through Moses was an elaborate set of sacrificial rituals to make known the horrors of sin. Israel lived under this ritual law to pound into their minds the evil of sin and the desperate need of forgiveness.

From the day Adam and Eve sinned, the curse of sin and death plagued mankind. People drown under their sin. Even today, without Christ, we all were drowning under this terrible living death.

But Jesus came to earth 2000 years ago to be the final sacrifice and replace all rituals. “With his own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever.” Hebrews 9:12 (NLT)

Israel was offered salvation from two things:
1. Slavery of sin and,  2. Slavery of Old Testament rituals for sin

But another problem was many Jews decided the sacrifices were not sufficient and turned to legalism, the belief that salvation is gained by good works. The Pharisees were great legalistic hypocrites constantly trying to gain favor with God by a balancing act of doing certain things that they thought were good that earned them heaven and God’s favor, in spite of breaking God’s Law. The temple sacrifices were the only thing God gave them for sin, but they added legalism to try and gain their way to heaven.

The only way the Pharisees could do this was to ignore certain laws that they were breaking and emphasize the ones they liked and followed. That is why they were hypocrites.

The laws they broke were seen by Jesus and their good deeds did not erase their sin. Jesus did not condemn them for obeying all God’s laws, but for breaking His laws. They should have remembered, only a sacrifice of blood could erase their sin. They did not have faith, the law could not save them, nor did their good works help.

Today many try to define legalism as faithful obedience to God’s Word. This is false! If that was true Jesus would be legalistic! This is not legalism, this is exactly what God does and will continue to do in every Christian until all is finalized on Judgment Day.

His prophetic promise is very clear. And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.  And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.Ezekiel 36:26-27 (NLT)

The sad thing is, legalism is practiced by some churches today by using rituals to try and bring forgiveness instead of faith in the cross of Jesus. There is no ritual that can do anything for you today!

The Lord Jesus proclaims to us, “Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved. So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.” Matthew 5:17-19 (NLT)

The narrow road follower of Jesus has God’s grace empowering them, and does not need or trust in any rituals, nor suffers under the slavery of sin. No church needs to practice rituals. Christ died once for all.

Now we walk in the Spirit of life. Christ’s sacrifice was more than enough to completely set us free!

#3 Grace: The law is fulfilled in each believer through the power of love

I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved.” Matthew 5:18 (NLT)

“‘Till heaven and earth pass.’ This expression denotes that the law never should be destroyed till it should be all fulfilled. It is the same as saying, everything else may change-the very earth and heaven may pass away-but the law of God shall not be destroyed, till its whole design shall be accomplished.” – Notes on the New Testament Explanatory and Practical.

Under the Old Testament Law, sin and forgiveness, blood sacrifice, and the horrible cost of sin was constantly pounded into the psyche of Israel. They were sinners, God was Holy. They could not come close to God because of their sin, which God hated. But He loved them and offered forgiveness through blood sacrifice.

Their lives were persistently reminded of sin. Sin and it’s burden were always on their minds. They were sick of sin, and killing animals over and over to cover their sin. The Old Testament rituals were a bloody circle of death and spiritual cleansing over and over and over and over. But the cross of Jesus changed everything. He was sacrificed for everyone so the ritual law was finished.

Now there is no purpose for rituals in the church. All the temple worship rituals are finished, and Christians must not copy any of them. “After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.” John 19:28 (KJV)

Christ accomplished every detail in the task of paying for all sin, for all men, forever. He completely fulfilled the Bible promises and prophecy that gave us salvation from sin. God offers a New Testament to replace the old temple and rituals. A new temple is given.

The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.” Romans 8:3-4 (NLT)

Even the smallest detail of ritual law is over. The ritual law was fulfilled in the temple, but was finished in Christ’s body at the cross. Today, God fulfills his moral law through God’s new temples, the bodies of every narrow road follower of Jesus. As real as the old rituals were used for God’s glory, the new temples are made holy for His Word to be fulfilled in us! “Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law.” Romans 13:8 (NLT)

Instead of rituals made by men, we live our lives in constant sacrifice, pouring out our lives by actually offering our own body, soul and spirit to serve God all day long. We pour out our lives instead of the blood of lambs and goats. No more blood is needed. This is real spiritual worship.

Have you become a true narrow road follower of Jesus? Romans was written for this very reason. I APPEAL to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship.” Romans 12:1 (Amplified Bible)

God’s law is fulfilled in us everyday! “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Galatians 5:14 (KJV)

By God’s mighty grace flooding our souls we do fulfill the law.

#4 Grace: the purpose of the Law and grace

What is the purpose of God’s law? Simple, to tell us what is right and what is wrong. To tell us how to love God and how to love people. God has that responsibility and authority to do this for His created world. The Law tells us what to do, and what not to do. What is good, and what is bad. “Why, then, was the law given? It was given alongside the promise to show people their sins…” Galatians 3:19 (NLT)

Christ did not erase the moral law, neither does grace.

“Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved. So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. But I warn you—unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven! Matthew 5:17-20 (NLT)

For example, in the Old Testament Law God commanded Israel, “No lies about your neighbor.” Exodus 20:16 (MSG) Grace did not erase the Law and give Christians permission to lie today.

We see an example in the book of Acts. “But Peter said, Ananias, ‘why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?’” Acts 5:3 (KJV)

There is no change in God’s moral law. “But cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshipers, and all liars—their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” Revelation 21:8 (NLT)

A lie is sin in the Old Testament, and a sin in the New Testament. The Law is not abolished, weakened, or changed by grace. A liar will still be judged. At Judgment Day liars will be condemned to eternal death in hell.

This is the same for the immoral, thieves, etc. Even if the United States of America declares sin is okay it does not change God’s mind. Nor does it matter if your uncle, mother or friend decides God is old fashioned and wrong. Sin is determined by the law of God and grace does not oppose or contradict the law.

“Obviously, the law applies to those to whom it was given, for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses, and to show that the entire world is guilty before God.” Romans 3:19 (NLT)

Any preacher, teacher, or Christian who teaches that grace allows us to “ignore the least commandment” contradicts the Lord Jesus. When you contradict Him, you deny Him. The very Greek word used means “ to contradict, i.e. disavow, reject, abnegate :- deny, refuse.” – Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary.

What is the purpose of grace? Grace has nothing to do with God changing His mind and making excuses for Christians to continue sinning, while condemning the world for doing the very same acts. That would make God unjust and a hypocrite.

But you see, the religious leaders of Israel in Jesus’ day, were the hypocrites. They did not obey God’s law. They made a big deal about themselves being righteous, when in fact, they disobeyed God constantly. Jesus was clear, “The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees are the official interpreters of the law of Moses. So practice and obey whatever they tell you, but don’t follow their example. For they don’t practice what they teach.” Matthew 23:2-3 (NLT)

False grace makes excuses for a sinful life, in the name of being a Christian.

#5 Grace: How to be great in God’s Kingdom

The purpose of real grace then has everything to do with changing the narrow road follower of Jesus so they can “practice and obey.” Our Lord is clear, “For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.Matthew 5:20 (NKJV)

Righteousness is doing what is right, not just believing in what is right. The Pharisees already tried that, and what did that get them?

Our Lord says our righteousness must EXCEED, and the Greek word used means SUPER EXCEED. This is like the difference between a penny and a billion dollars.

Grace is like a river of living water pouring through our lives pushing, shoving, and moving us to far exceed all other people by our righteous living. Remember the great promise that sets Christians apart from all of humanity is “I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.Ezekiel 36:27 (NLT)

This is why the apostle John dares to say, “Anyone who continues to live in him will not sin.” This is not possible in human effort or willpower, this is a miracle! But, all those who keep on sinning do not know God. They do not know His salvation. They do not know His forgiveness. We are not just saved from hell. We are saved from sin!

Let’s read this carefully together 1 John 3:7-10 (NLT)

7.  Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you about this: When people do what is right, it shows that they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous.

8.  But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil.

9.  Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, because God’s life is in them. So they can’t keep on sinning, because they are children of God.

10.  So now we can tell who are children of God and who are children of the devil. Anyone who does not live righteously and does not love other believers does not belong to God.

No matter how much tolerance is proclaimed inside and outside the church, DO NOT be deceived. No matter how much grace is preached that is supposed to ALLOW sin to dwell in people’s lives, DO NOT be deceived. “When people keep on sinning,” even if they confess and ask forgiveness over and over everyday, they are NOT saved!

For a short time as they wrestle with repentance, this may happen. But this is not a long extended lifestyle. If your religion is made up of this enslavement to sin, you are not going to heaven, and you DO NOT know God. Those who keep on sinning BELONG TO THE DEVIL.

Christ Jesus destroys, destroys, and destroys this work of the devil in all born again believers.

Paul asks, “Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus …” [Romans 6:1-3 (NLT)]

The proof, the evidence, that you have met Jesus, and are God’s own child is simple, you can’t keep on in your old sins. Your new heart stops you. This new grace of the Holy Spirit inside floods you with holy desires, and powerful strength to obey the living God.

The child of the devil is a sin machine, no matter what he believes about his eternal end. That was the problem with the Pharisaic rabbis of Jesus day and the reason they tried to gain salvation by balancing their righteous acts against their unrighteous sin.

This is the huge difference between a true Christian and everyone else, because we are not sin factories anymore. That is why John writes, “But if anyone should sin, we have an Advocate.” “If” is not the same as “since”! Since all the people of the world without Christ are “sin factories”, they constantly sin, rebel, and do acts of wickedness continually ignoring Christ and His commands.

But the born again are not “sin factories” and do not live in the perpetual life of sin and darkness. So “if” a Christian fails and commits a sin, but then asks for forgiveness, and repents… they are restored to life in the Spirit. But you must understand a true believer does not sin because they have to, if they sin it is a choice, an act of outright rebellion or deception and ignorance, NOT slavery.

Our righteousness is far more and greatly exceeds the “children of disobedience”. The child of God is a love machine because of the powerful work God does inside us and sticks with fellow Christians in the local church and fulfills God’s will together with His spiritual family.

Grace, marvelous “grace (God’s unmerited favor) has surpassed it and   increased the more and   superabounded…” Romans 5:20 (AMP) and [Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.” Philippians 2:13 (AMP)

But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life.Romans 6:22 (NLT)

Thank you Jesus for grace! It empowers every true believer to will and work for God’s delight. We are the light of the world.

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