Intentional Progress in 2022: Life Lessons From Jesus (Part 51) – The importance of the Cross!

by Rick

NOTE: Isabella and I had a great time in the Dominican Republic.  Here are a few pictures from the trip: 

This morning we continue our journey into this year, focusing on making “Intentional Progress.”  I shared six steps to intentional progress with you, and I will continue to walk through them over the next few months.  Here are the six steps.

Here are the steps again:

1.  Pray/Discern

2.  Plan/Prepare

3.  Wait/Discern God’s Timing

4.  Execute/Measure Progress

5.  Wait/Faith & Patience

6.  Receive When Harvest Time Comes

So what does this mean for you today? A few things:

1.  Jesus fulfilled The Law for us.

We have been in this series for a few months, and we are now just a couple of weeks away from Resurrection Sunday. So, as we are preparing for Good Friday, let’s discuss the importance of what Jesus did on the cross.

Jesus died on the cross to set us free from sin and death. In the process, Jesus also set us free from the demands of the Law of Moses. One of the most important things we can learn from the life of Jesus is the fact that He fulfilled the Law for us. I pray you get to the point where you can truly understand how important that is.

I teach the gospel of grace. I preach grace-filled messages. But in order to truly appreciate the grace of God, you must the bondage associated with The Law of Moses.  

We have a New Covenant because of Jesus.  Instead of being slaves or servants of God, like many saw themselves under the Old Covenant, because of Jesus’s death on the cross, we are now sons and daughters of God. Instead of living by an external set of rules written on tablets of stone, we can now be led by the Holy Spirit, from the inside, as the Holy Spirit writes God’s instructions on our hearts.  

Many Christians today don’t understand this, and they are still trying to fulfill the Law of Moses. But we cannot fulfill the Law. It’s not that The Law is wrong. The problem with The Law is that it is too right. It is so holy that no mere human could ever fulfill it. Thankfully Jesus fulfilled it for us. When we try to fulfill the Law Jesus set us free from, it is actually a dishonor to Him because we are failing to accept and embrace the finished work of Jesus.

2.  No one could ever be made right by attempting to keep the Law.  

Paul said, “What’s more, the Scriptures looked forward to this time when God would declare the Gentiles to be righteous because of their faith. God proclaimed this good news to Abraham long ago when he said, “All nations will be blessed through you.” So all who put their faith in Christ share the same blessing Abraham received because of his faith. But those who depend on the law to make them right with God are under his curse, for the Scriptures say, “Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the commands that are written in God’s Book of the Law.” So it is clear that no one can be made right with God by trying to keep the law. For the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” This way of faith is very different from the way of law, which says, “It is through obeying the law that a person has life.” (Galatians 3:8-12).  

The Bible is very clear here. No human can be made right by attempting to keep The Law. In other words, no human can be made right by their performance. We can only be made right by faith; by expressing our faith in Jesus’ finished work. Our faith accesses God’s grace. This is how we are saved from sin and death. It cannot be based on works (see Galatians 2:8,9).  

3.  The purpose of The Law was not to make you right but rather to show you how wrong you are.  

Paul said, “For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.” (Romans 3:20 NLT).  

Did you catch that? Please read it again. Process that for a moment, and then juxtapose Romans 3:20 against how you have been attempting to live a life that is pleasing before God.

— People who keep looking to The Law wind up being religious, and they live their lives under the pressure of performance-based religion.  

— The purpose of The Law was not to make you right. Rules cannot make you right. Rules can only show you when you are wrong. The purpose of the Law was to prove to you that you need a Savior. That Savior came, and His name is Jesus!

— Jesus came to usher us into a dispensation of grace. We no longer have to perform to be right. We should perform all we are called to do, BY THE GRACE OF GOD, becuase Jesus made us right. Not in an attempt to be right with God.

4.  When the Law was given, people became more conscious of sin

Paul explained it this way, “God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant.” (Romans 5:20).

— Without rules to break, people thought they were good in their own way.

— Without a standard to keep, people thought their standard was good.

— When The Law was given, it was holy and perfect because it came from God. However, it was so holy and perfect that no one could keep it. In this way, The Law revealed our flaws to us, proving the need for a Savior. That Savior came, He fulfilled The Law for us, and He has now ushered us into the grace of God!

5.  Jesus freed you from the bondage of the Law.  

The Bible says, “Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.” (Romans 6:14 NLT).  

God does not require you to live every second of your life attempting to comply with an external set of rules, which no human could ever fully comply with in the first place. No. God now, through the finished work of Jesus on the cross, enables and expects us to be led by His Spirit.  

— When we are led by the Holy Spirit, we get to tap into the power of God’s grace. This is the only way we will live “As Jesus is, in this world” (1 John 4:17), making Kingdom impact and experiencing heaven on earth.

— Before Jesus, the spotlight was on man and man’s performance towards God. Now that Jesus has come, the spotlight is no longer on us. The spotlight is now on God and what God has already done for us.  

— When you embrace Jesus’ finished work on the cross, you are free to live as the man/woman you were born to be. Becuase at that point, the grace of God will empower you to do what you are called to do, but what you could never do without God.

— If you want God to use you to change the world, you must embrace the grace of God. Becuase if you base God’s goodness on towards you on your performance towards Him, you will always fail, becuase your performance will never be flawless.  

— The only way to walk into every day with fearless confidence is to base your relationship with God on His goodness towards you and not on your goodness towards Him. In other words, not based on your performance, but based on Jesus’ finished work; based solely on the grace of God!  

6.  Why I hate religion.

I hate religion because religion kills faith!

— Religion bases your faith on your perceived level of goodness towards God.

— Religion is based on rites, rituals, and routines, all performed by humans in an attempt to be right with God.

— Religion puts the emphasis on you.

— Religion kills faith because your performance will NEVER MEASURE UP to the size of your assignment!

— You will never be good enough to DESERVE what God wants to do in your life!

— God wants to bless you because God wants to bless you!  God wants to bless you because God is good.  Not because you are!

— God wants to bless you and use you by HIS GRACE.  Until you get this, you will never have FAITH ON THE LEVEL of God’s GRACE!

As a closing note, while I have taught on this before, but many believers still fail to fully embrace the power of God’s grace.  I gave you many scripture references today.  Please go back and read those passages for yourself.

Declaration of Faith:  

Father, I thank You for Your overwhelming goodness, kindness, mercy, and grace towards me.  You gave the Israelites a perfect Law.  It is so perfect that You knew no human could ever fulfill it.  The only human who ever fulfilled the Law of Moses was the only perfect human to ever live.  His name is Jesus.  I could not fulfill the Law of Moses, so Jesus fulfilled it for me.  Jesus knew I could never be perfect, so He was perfect for me.  Jesus knew I could never be righteous, so He was righteous for me.

Jesus fulfilled the requirement of the Law, and His accomplishment, His fulfillment, His perfection, and His righteousness were all transferred to me when I PUT ON Christ by accepting Jesus as my Lord.  I accept and embrace Jesus.  And with Jesus, I also embrace the finished work He accomplished on Calvary’s cross.  I enter into this day free from the power of sin, delivered from the fear of death, filled with Your Holy Spirit, and ready to change the world!  Not because I am so good, but because You are!  Therefore, I know GREATER IS COMING FOR ME!  I declare this by faith.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper.

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