Yesterday I started a new series entitled “God’s Grace & Our Faith.” Yesterday we looked at John 1:14&17 and a portion of Galatians 5. I shared a message about falling from grace. I trust yesterday’s message cleared some things up for you. Today’s message will flow in the same vein. In addition to John 1, we will look at Galatians 5:6.
(John 1:14 NIV)
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:17 NIV)
For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
(Galatians 5:6 KJV)
For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
After teaching four chapters about The Law (which came through Moses) and Grace (which came through Jesus), and about circumcision, where many Gentile believers were being asked to have their penis’ cut in order to be right with God, Paul gives a statement that seems to clarify all his teaching.
Paul tells us that once we are IN Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything. In other words, ceremonial Laws are no longer our focus. As New Testament, Born-Again, Spirit-filled believers, the Apostle Paul teaches us that our focus should be on living a life of faith. In order to do so successfully, Paul tells us that faith works by love.
So what does this mean for you today? Let’s seek to glean a few golden nuggets:
1. Understanding faith and how it works is critical to our walk with Christ becuase just about everything we do towards God must be done in faith. When we came to God, and we were Born-Again, Ephesians 2:8,9 teaches us that we were saved by God’s unearned grace, but we accessed God’s grace for salvation with our faith. In 2 Corinthians 5:7, the Bible teaches us that we are called to walk by faith and not by faith. In Habakkuk 2:4, Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, and Hebrews 10:38, the Bible tells us that the just shall live by faith. In James 5:15, the Bible tells us that we can pray the prayer of faith and see the sick healed. In 1 Timothy 6:12, the Bible tells us that we are called to fight the good fight of faith; and a good fight is one where WE WIN! In 1 John 5:4, the Bible tells us that every person who is born of God has overcome the world, and we actually overcome the world with our faith. So, if you are a believer, the Bible teaches you that after you were saved by faith, you are supposed to walk by faith, live by faith, pray by faith, fight by faith and overcome the world by faith. It’s hard to walk with God effectively if you don’t have a functional understanding of faith. Today I will drive home the point that faith works by love.
2. As New Testament, Born-Again, Spirit-filled believers, external ceremonial Laws or rules should no longer be our focus. We are not made right with God by performance-based religion. We are only made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ. If you don’t believe or understand this, then your walk with God may wind up being performance-based and not faith-based or grace-based.
3. The focus of the Born-Again believer is to be led by the Holy Spirit, to pursue whatever He leads us to do by faith, knowing that it has been ordained for us by grace (free and unearned), and to maintain our love walk with God and man.
4. Faith is not about you telling God what to do because, believe me, you can’t. Faith is not about you grabbing a scripture and declaring it over and over (like I used to do), commanding God to perform it in your life as if God is your servant and He is at your beck and call. No, faith is about agreeing with and submitting to God’s will. Faith begins where the will of God is known, which is why God gave us His Word and His Spirit. To live by faith, we must get God’s Word down in our hearts, and we must be led by the Holy Spirit in all things. Living this way, we are not focused on external rules. The life of faith is focused on the internal leading of God’s Spirit to do whatever He leads you to do; however, He leads you to do it.
5. Living by faith is about dying to self daily, submitting your will to God’s will, accepting what He wants to do in/with/through you by His grace, knowing God ordained it from the foundations of the world, and then seeking to pursue it by faith.
6. If you don’t acknowledge and embrace the Love of God towards you, your faith will not work because you will inevitably make a mistake. You are human and flawed. You are not perfect. So if your walk with God is performance-based, it will be shaky becuase your performance will never be perfect. When you make a mistake, satan will tell you that you have disqualified yourself from what God promised. If you believe satan, you will cross over into condemnation and no longer believe God for the manifestation of His best. However, if you are convinced that God loves you and that He knew you would make the mistake before He gave you the promise, and He promised it to you ANYWAY, you will press forward by faith. Because at that point, your faith is fueled by God’s love and grace, not your performance.
7. Your faith will be strong when you are convinced that God loves you and that He wants to use you by His grace, not because you are so good. If you bring over a performance-based-religion mindset to the life of faith, it is not going to work, because every time your performance does not measure up, you will mentally disqualify yourself and disengage your faith. If you understand what Paul is teaching in Galatians, you will realize that you are no longer under The Law, that your performance does not dictate God’s goodness towards you, and that your faith will only be strong when you are convinced that God loves you. God wants to bless you, not because you are good, but because He is!
8. If you attempt to live by faith without embracing God’s love and grace in your heart, you will be trying to live by faith with your head. This is more mental assent than true faith. People who live this way spend lots of time praying for things, making confessions, declaring this-and-that, but to no avail because faith does not work from your head. Faith works from your heart. Faith works when you are led by the Holy Spirit and when you believe God, despite your performance.
That’s enough for today. I have a lot more to say about this, so we will continue with this verse tomorrow.
Declaration of Faith:
Father, I thank You for teaching me about Your love, Your grace, and my requirement to live by faith. I am a New Testament, Born-Again, Spirit-filled believer. I don’t live my life focused on ceremonial Laws that could never bring about internal change. The focus of my life now is to be led by Your Holy Spirit daily. Your Spirit leads me. He speaks to me. He reveals Your will to me. As I hear, I say. As I see, I do. As You lead, I go. And I do all of this because I am convinced that You love me. You love me. You love me. You love me, and I know it. I believe the love You have for me. You love me with an everlasting love. You love me because love is not something You have or something You do; love is who You are! I enter this day with fearless confidence, knowing that You love me, that You want to use me for Your glory, and that You want to bless me by grace, not because of my performance. I am the just, I walk and live by faith, and my faith is based on your grace and fueled by Your love for me! Therefore, GREATER IS COMING FOR ME! I declare this by faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
This is Today’s Word. Apply it and prosper!