Today we will continue our series entitled “God’s Grace & Our Faith.” We have been looking at John 1:14&17, Galatians 5:6, and Ephesians 3:16-20 for a while now. Today we will also look at 2 Peter 1:5-9. I pray you are getting a revelation of God’s love.
(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.
(Jon 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.
(Ephesians 3:16-20 TPT)
16 And I pray that he would unveil within you the unlimited riches of his glory and favor until supernatural strength floods your innermost being with his divine might and explosive power.
17 Then, by constantly using your faith, the life of Christ will be released deep inside you, and the resting place of his love will become the very source and root of your life.
18–19 Then you will be empowered to discover what every holy one experiences—the great magnitude of the astonishing love of Christ in all its dimensions. How deeply intimate and far-reaching is his love! How enduring and inclusive it is! Endless love beyond measurement that transcends our understanding—this extravagant love pours into you until you are filled to overflowing with the fullness of God!
20 Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for his miraculous power constantly energizes you.
The Apostle Peter wrote, “So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus. Without these qualities you can’t see what’s right before you, oblivious that your old sinful life has been wiped off the books” (2 Peter 1:5-9 MSG). Today we will focus on the statement, “complementing your basic faith with… generous love.”
So what does this mean for you today? A few things.
1. To grow in God you must grow in love.
The Apostle Peter said, “So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus. Without these qualities you can’t see what’s right before you, oblivious that your old sinful life has been wiped off the books” (2 Peter 1:5-9 MSG).
For the past few weeks, we have been learning about God’s grace, our requirement to live by faith, and how faith works by love. As we go over scripture after scripture, you are growing in the knowledge of God concerning these areas. Well, guess what? The more you grow in your knowledge of God, the more you will know about the love of God because love is not something God has or does; love is quite literally who God is (see 1 John 4:8 & 16).
As you seek to grow in God, you must also seek to grow in love. Now, years ago, after making such a statement, I would follow it up with teaching on how YOU must do this or that in order to walk in the love of God. I would teach on the characteristics of God’s love and how YOU have a requirement to fulfill the love commandment. But remember, we are under the dispensation of grace. The spotlight is NOT on us and what we can do for God. The spotlight is on God and what He has already done for us!
That said, the best way to grow in God’s love is NOT by putting an emphasis on YOU and your performance. It is by putting an emphasis on God and what He has already done. Said another way, growing in God’s love is not a matter of you trying to love God and love others right. It is a matter of opening your heart to the reality of how much God loves you.
The only way you will truly add “good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love,” to your faith is by getting convinced that God loves you. It is by opening your heart to this reality becuase faith works by love.
If you want to grow in God, you must grow in your understanding of how much God loves you. Once you are convinced He loves you with an everlasting and unconditional love, you will develop a Godly character that personifies the love you are receiving. But if you do it the other way (focusing on you and your performance instead of God and His finished work), you will take on the pressure to perform, and you will be hit-and-miss at best. #TheGraceLife takes the pressure OFF of you and it fully embraces God’s grace to do what He has called us to do!
2. You can only love because of His grace towards you.
The Apostle John, who was also known as “the beloved disciple” or “the disciple of love,” said, “We love because he [God] first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
— When you think of the fact that you could not even love God unless He first loved you, you get an even greater appreciation for God’s grace.
— God loves you by grace; completely unmerited, unearned, and actually undeserved.
— God loved you before you did anything to acknowledge it, appreciate it, or reciprocate it.
— God loved you (past tense), and He loves you now (present tense) by His amazing grace. You could not even love God if He did not first love you! Therefore, you could not even love God without His grace.
— When you open your heart to the reality of God’s amazing, everlasting and unconditional love, it changes you on the inside, and it changes you forever.
— Before I started studying God’s grace and before I opened my heart to the reality of His love (2012), I thought I had been delivered from a religious mindset, but I was not. I was raised in a very religious setting, so while I was growing up, I performed the way I was instructed to perform in church and otherwise, but I did not know God. Once I was Born-Again (Aug 27, 1995), I was taught to walk and live by faith. However, the teaching I received on faith lacked an understanding of God’s grace. As a result, I put a lot of pressure on MYSELF to “release my faith” for this or that because I was taught that if I failed to do so, I would not receive from God. This meant that I was attempting to live by faith with a performance-based mindset, and I did not understand how “faith works by love” and not my performance.
— What I am able to share with you today comes as a result of 27 years of walking with God in earnest. I have studied the Bible for tens of thousands of hours. I will never claim to know anything but the few insights the Holy Spirit has taught me, but what I can say is that I am convinced that #TheGraceLife is the way we are supposed to live.
— Without God’s grace, we could not love God, and without an understanding of how much God loves us, we won’t’ have the fortitude or consistency to live by faith until our dying breath. Faith works by love!
3. Your faith will be strong when you are convinced God loves you.
Paul said, “Faith works by love” (Gal 5:6).
— I have shared this with you before, but it is worth repeating.
For years I thought this verse (Gal 5:6) meant that my faith would work when I love God and other people. Meaning that if I am not operating in love towards God or others, then my faith will fail. However, the entire letter to the church in Galatia is about human effort (the Law) vs. 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. No, Paul’s emphasis is on God and not us. Therefore, Paul must mean that faith works when we are convinced that God loves us!
— When you are convinced that God loves you and that there is nothing you can do about it, it puts you in a position to receive from Him. Your understanding of God’s love towards you helps you receive His grace by faith.
— When you are convinced that God loves you, it is easier for you to believe. Because at that point, you believe God and what He wants to do in your life because He loves you and not because you are perfect.
— I have been teaching you on this topic for weeks, and I may transition from this topic soon. I hope and pray that these messages have helped you understand a truth that changed my life. The revelation of God’s love and His grace towards me has freed me from the pressure to perform. I am not free to enter into God’s rest. Now the resting place of God’s love is the very source and root of my life. Now I am convinced that God will do what He planned to in/with/through my life, and it won’t be because I am good. It will be because God is good, and He is more dedicated to me than I ever will be to Him! This revelation has freed me to live #TheGraceLife, and I love it!
I am headed to North Augusta, SC, this morning. I am teaching a leadership conference tomorrow and preaching on Sunday. I got up this morning reflecting on all the things God had me to do this past week and what I will get to do this weekend. I am doing what I love. It is what I am called to do. And I am doing it by the grace of God. I am fully persuaded that this is the way we are supposed to live!
That’s enough for today. Have a blessed weekend!
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. 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 anyway. You made plans for me by Your amazing grace, and not because I would be perfect. You and I both know I am far from perfect. But I am forgiven.
You have saved me from sin, washed me in the Blood of Your Son Jesus, filled me with Your Spirit, and called me according to Your plans and purpose for my life. You have also empowered me, by Your grace, to do what I could never do without You! I am now free to live #TheGraceLife, and it is so liberating. My faith is strong because I am convinced that You love me! 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.