God’s Grace & Our Faith (Part 3): Faith Works By Love (Part 2)

by Rick

Today we will continue our series entitled “God’s Grace & Our Faith.”  Yesterday we looked at John 1:14&17 and Galatians 5:6.  I shared a message about how faith works by love.  Let’s continue.

(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.  

Yesterday we looked at Galatians 5:6.  Here the Apostle 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, and he tells us that our faith works by love.  There is so much I can say about this.  I have meditated on this verse, off and on, over the years, quite a bit.  I shared a few things yesterday.  Today I will continue to share some of the thoughts God has spoken to me about it.

So what does this mean for you today?  Let’s seek to glean a few golden nuggets:

1.  I have taught on this topic before, and I will continue to do so because I believe it is so critical.  Since we are called and commanded to walk, live, pray, fight, and overcome the world by faith, then we must have a functional understanding of how faith works.  Of the key aspects of faith, Paul says, is the fact that faith works by love.  Our faith must be rooted and grounded in the fact that God loves us with unconditional love.

2.  For years, I thought this verse (Gal 5:6) meant that my faith would only work when I was operating in love towards God and others.  Meaning that if I were not operating in perfect love, then my faith would fail.  I thought this way for a long time, and honestly, it put pressure on me to perform, do things right, and do my best to love God and man because I feared that my faith would not work if I did not.  However, the entire letter from Paul to the church in Galatia is about comparing human effort (the Law) with God’s effort (Grace).  So, in context, Paul is not putting a requirement on you (to make sure your upward love towards God and outward love towards man is perfect) before your faith will work.  That would be inconsistent/incongruent with the intent of the overall letter.  Paul’s emphasis is on God and not us.  Therefore, Paul must mean that faith works when we are convinced that God loves us!  The spotlight is NOT on our performance.  The spotlight is on God and His love and grace towards us.

3. I remember thinking, “If I don’t love others the right way, it is going to stop my faith. Because Paul said that faith works by love.” When I thought this way, the pressure was on me to perform. The pressure was on me to do everything right and treat everyone right. Now, I am not saying that we can treat others badly. That’s not what I am saying at all. My point is that Paul was not putting pressure on us to love in order to enable our faith. Paul was telling us that our faith will be strong when we know God loves us, not the other way around!  

4. Religious people, who have a performance-based mindset, love putting the emphasis on their works becuase it makes them feel good. They love judging themselves as good and others as bad. But the truth is, none of us would be anything without God. But since these people like to focus on their performance, they don’t have a problem putting a spotlight on their supposed goodness and their attempt to operate in love God’s way. They say, “I love God with all my heart, all my soul, all my might, and all my strength.” But the truth is, we could not even love God one iota if He did not first love us (1 John 4:19). So we could not even love God without God’s grace. God’s grace is so amazing that He even gives us the grace to love Him and walk in His love towards others. Without God’s grace, we could not operate in His love. So don’t try to act like you want to be judged by your performance. If God only gave us what we deserved, we would ALL be men and women most miserable. Thank God for His unconditional love and unearned grace.

5.  When you are convinced that God loves you, it puts you in a position to receive from Him freely.  Said another way, it is your understanding of God’s love towards you that enables you to receive His grace by faith.

6.  When you are convinced God loves you, it is easier for you to believe.  Because at that point, you are believing God and what He wants to do in your life because He loves you, not because you are perfect.  

7.  When you are convinced God loves you and that He wants to bless you by grace (because of His everlasting love towards you), you will believe God without any hindrance becuase your confidence in Him and not you.  This way, you know you don’t have to be perfect to receive God’s promises.  You just have to believe what God believes about you, and He will tell you that He wants to bless you, not because you are so good, but because He is!  That’s grace!

8.  When you are convinced God loves you, your faith is in full throttle becuase it is not based on you.  Your faith finds its strength in knowing that God loves you.  When your faith is rooted in God’s love towards you, it will be powerful because it will not be contingent upon you.  It will be contingent upon God and His tireless dedication to you and the plans He made for you before the foundation of the world.

9.  Faith is not what happens when you convince God to bless you because of your goodness.  Faith is what happens when God convinces you that He wants to bless you because He is so good!  

10.  What is faith, and how does it work?  Faith is something you SAY, something you DO, or a financial seed you SOW, based on what you believe God revealed to you.  His revelation means: it’s already done.  It was planned by grace.  You now have to receive it by faith.  Not becuase you are good, but because God is!    

As I continue to give you point after point in this line of teaching, I pray you are being delivered from the pressure to perform so you are free to open your heart to God’s amazing grace.

Declaration of Faith

Father, I thank You for teaching me about Your love and grace.  The more I learn about Your love, the more I fall in love with You all over again.  You loved me while I was yet a sinner.  You made plans for me before the foundations of the world.  You planned to bless me, even though You already knew all the mistakes I was going to make.  You looked at my life in advance (faults, failures, flaws, and all), and You destined me for Your purpose despite my performance.  

You and I both know I am not perfect.  But I am forgiven.  You have saved me and washed me from sin by the Blood of Your Son Jesus.  You filled me with Your Spirit and called me according to Your plans and purpose for my life.  You did this because You love me.  You bless me by grace, not because I deserve it.  Therefore, from this day forward, I declare that my faith will be rooted and grounded in Your love for me.  The more convinced I am that You love me and that You want to bless me by grace, the more strength my faith will have because my faith will no longer be rooted or grounded in me.  My faith is rooted and grounded in You and Your love for me.  This is how 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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