Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Holy Spirit Shows Us That Grace Is True!

A couple of years ago I had the amazing experience of being filled or baptized with the Holy Spirit (I simply asked God to do this in me - and He did!), and since then I have been so encouraged to get to know the Holy Spirit who indwells us and to experience more of His interaction in my life!

He has shown me so many things, but I think one of the most beautiful and most special is that Grace is TRUE!  I had learned a lot about the grace of God in past years and had been blown away in learning that God truly accepts us because of Christ, and that He is not looking on our performance but on Christ's performance - so we are totally, unconditionally, eternally accepted by God because it stands on that perfect and finished work of Christ, not our own merit or efforts!  Also, the idea that I don't have to live this Christian life, that Christ is my Life and will live through me, so that I can just rest - this whole idea was riveting to me as well, and made me feel so relieved that nothing was required of me or demanded of me - I could just rest in Christ and He would live.  Well, when I had the experience of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, it was like I was really getting to know and experience God in a more personal and deep way - I felt that the Spirit brought me face to face with Christ in such a powerful and intimate way, and I was a little nervous..what if it turned out that grace wasn't true when I really experienced Christ so deeply?   What if He really was more demanding or works oriented?  What would He be like?  Deep down in my heart I think I knew He was love and grace, but here I was experiencing this very real presence of Christ, Christ Himself making Himself known to me through His Spirit, so what would He be like toward me??

Well, it is awesome that I have found Him to be nothing but grace and love!  Every experience with Him through the last couple of years just confirms over and over that Grace is really true!  Wow, what a gospel and wow, what a Savior and Lord! The Holy Spirit is God's Spirit in us, and the way He is to us shows the nature and character of God Himself toward us.  In every way the Spirit has shown me grace and love!

He is there to show us Christ, and He has truly shown me that Christ's finished work is more than sufficient and has brought me into a perfect and unchanging and intimate union relationship with God, and that Christ has completely done away with my sin and isn't relating to me based on my sin or works but on the work of Christ alone!  So I have a God who is constantly smiling at me because of Christ's finished work on my behalf!  I have experienced this in such a real way, really driving home those truths and making them come alive for me!  When I have felt His presence or filling, it is always with so much joy, peace, love and power!  He is always delighting in me and smiling at me!  I have experienced Him delighting in me even in the midst of sin.  After I've sinned and feel awful, there He is, loving me JUST THE SAME, delighting in me JUST THE SAME, ready to go on with me as if nothing happened, because that sin is already gone and put onto the cross, and sin never separates us from God's presence anymore as believers!  We are just right with God all the time, no matter what we do, because our rightness is Christ's rightness given to us, and that rightness is a perfect rightness or righteousness, not based on works we have done but on the blood of Christ the spotless lamb!  We have been perfected forever by His one perfect offering!  And the Holy Spirit has made that truth just come alive in real experience by the way He treats me with love, acceptance and joy even in the midst of sin struggles!  He just doesn't see our sin..He sees us with joy and is always love!  I have felt Him fighting against sin's attacks/temptations in me, fighting against lies, rising up in my with love when I have been tempted to get irritated, for example, fighting on my behalf..yet never condemning me when I fail but instead being there loving me and ready to fill me with love and power to defeat any temptations!  That is how He has been with me when I am tempted or when I've failed.  It is amazing to me that even when I choose wrong, He's always there ready to fellowship and always there loving me anyway!  What a Friend, who truly shows me grace and loves me unconditionally.

That is the second way I have seen Him demonstrate that grace is true - by His unconditional love and friendship.  Grace is acceptance of us as we are, and I have experienced this in my relationship with the dear Holy Spirit.  He is the Best Friend I have always wanted. He is always there for me.  He is always ready to listen and understand.  He loves to hang out with me!  He loves to listen to me ramble.  He is delighted with me, even with my quirks and eccentricities.  He enjoys my company and would still choose to have me as His Friend, even knowing how weird I truly am!  He is there to counsel, console, comfort, and encourage.  He always lifts me up.  He never says a harsh word.  He never makes me feel worse - I always, always feel better from time spent with Him! He will never reject or abandon me - He is with me forever, always there, faithful, constant, loyal, true.  He demonstrates the acceptance in the Beloved and pours out on me the unconditional love of God!  He is all love, all the time!  He is safe and can be completely trusted. He is so loyal and won't leave - He just won't leave me! He will be with me forever, for He promised never to leave me or forsake me!  That means I am safe and secure in God's friendship forever!  He will always be my Friend!  No matter what..safe and secure and sure..He truly demonstrates grace to me!  He is everything we have always wanted in someone to love us without condition..

The last way I have seen the Spirit demonstrate that grace is true is in the living of the Christian life.  To me, one meaning of grace is that I don't have to live this life - Christ will live it in me, and I just get to rest in faith.  I don't think I ever really even started to understand that until I was baptized/filled with the Spirit.  When I have been tempted to have bitter feelings toward someone and have gone to Him, He has just filled me powerfully with Himself and driven away the bad feelings, and a peace and love have just settled over me!  Other times, when I knew Satan was attacking me with worry or fear, He has risen up within me to fight against that attack.  Whenever I turn to Him needing Him, He is there to just take over and rise up with the strength and power and love and joy and peace I need.  He doesn't just give those things, He IS those things and He brings out those things in such a personal way by just rising up in His very presence inside me!  So Christianity isn't just asking for "things" like joy or victory but having a relationship with a Person and experiencing Him as joy or victory! It's being able to just open up with  Him and tell Him all your needs, and then seeing Him actually work on your behalf in those areas and be all you couldn't be in those areas.  I just ask Him to fill me and He then rises up and is all within me!  With Him filling me, I am so strong and so willing to love people, and everything makes sense - and that is all HIM inside as the Spirit of power, love and a sound mind!  Wow!  Christ really LIVES in and through us by His Spirit!  We don't have to live this life, solve our problems, have perfect love or forgiveness, overcome the enemy's attacks of fear or worry, or even have faith on our own!  He will do it!  He is ALL to us!  He will supply ALL our need out of His riches in glory in Christ!  HE will live this life in and through us, and it will be His works of power and love that come forth, His faith, His strength, His Spirit actually moving, motivating, willing and working in us!  That must have been somewhat of Paul's meaning when he said he labored, yet not him, but the grace of God that was with him.  The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Grace loving us and moving in us!

The Spirit is the embodiment of God's grace to me!  Thank You, dear Holy Spirit, for showing me without a doubt that grace is true, that God really does love us unconditionally, that we really are accepted and right with God in the Beloved, that we are perfect to and in perfect relationship with Him, that His blood really did take away our sins and they are remembered no more, that we really are secure in Your presence forever, that we are one with You in perfect spirit-Spirit union, that nothing can separate us from Your presence and love and favor, that nothing is required of us and we can let You rise up and live through us, that we can rest and just let You do it all, that You will be everything we need, that we are already more than conquerors, that we are home free, that You will never leave us, that You are for us and delight in us, that You are in love with us, that You will fight for us, that You will keep us and finish the work You began in us!  Thank You for Your grace and for the gift of Your Spirit, who has really made You, Father, and Your Son, Jesus, and Your grace and love so real!

4 comments:

  1. Wow! Very good stuff from beginning to the end. You said:

    He is always delighting in me and smiling at me! I have experienced Him delighting in me even in the midst of sin. After I've sinned and feel awful, there He is, loving me JUST THE SAME, delighting in me JUST THE SAME, ready to go on with me as if nothing happened, because that sin is already gone and put onto the cross, and sin never separates us from God's presence anymore as believers! We are just right with God all the time, no matter what we do, because our rightness is Christ's rightness given to us, and that rightness is a perfect rightness or righteousness, not based on works we have done but on the blood of Christ the spotless lamb! We have been perfected forever by His one perfect offering!

    That was awesome. I can recall when contemplating the grace of God one morning where it seemed as though the whole host of heaven made their abode in my heart. The peace was so intense that I literally thought I would die if I received anymore. It was such an expression of God's love and grace that morning that the thought went through my mind, "If it can be this powerful in this fallen body then what will it be like when the veil is finally removed, and I have my new redeemed body?" Wow! What are we to expect when we are face to face with the God who loved us so dearly that He would send His one and only Son for us?

    God is love, but our belief in condemnation is what keeps us away from enjoying His love. The one that believes not is condemned already in John 3, but the context was not God's condemnation. Condemnation is loving darkness (the lie) rather than the blessed truth (light) of the gospel, that God SOOO loved us and not so-so loved us.

    God has sooo embraced us in His love, but our flesh still wants to hide in the garden and sow on fig leaves. God lavishes us with His love, as we are simply recipients of love. We are to enjoy and receive His love the same as we enjoy and receive sunshine. We simply bathe in it.

    It is never about our love for Him, but it is always His love for us. It is His love for us that breeds love back because there is no condemnation and no rules to enjoy His love and grace already provided and given to us in Christ.

    Great post!! Lord bless you,

    Dave

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  2. Dave, I love what you shared here, especially the experience of His peace that you had one morning when contemplating His grace! That is awesome! It reminds me of a quote by the late Bill Gillham, "The more we set our minds on His love for us, the stronger we become." Just thinking about Him and His goodness just fills us with His great joy and love and peace! In His presence is truly "fullness of joy" - thank you for sharing that!

    I really was encouraged by what you shared about "no condemnation" and "soo love" instead of "so-so love" - great! Coming out into the light - you know, I had always heard that in terms of bringing all our sins/dirty laundry out for all to see! But you are saying here that it means seeing the truth of the gospel - that God is loving us and not condemning us! What a relief, I love that..

    I need to be reminded of these truths constantly, for in the past I put myself under tons of condemnation and am still attacked by those feelings at times. Thank you for all you shared. It is wonderful to be able to build each other up in His grace, isn't it?

    In Christ,
    Sparrow

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  3. Hello Sparrow,

    I have some books by Bill Gillham. The quote you shared is an awesome quote!

    I personally never share my dirty laundry with people, as they permanently would view me as a stain, since many professing believers are judgmental. I simply do not have to wear a mask anymore before God, and I refuse to attend churches that require a mask. The moment I do not hear “Neither do I condemn you” is when I find myself consumed with me (feelings, works, sins, attitude, and so on). We are taught by religion to not listen to feelings, but I have to disagree, as feelings of condemnation alerts me instantly that my mind has wandered. This is where Bill Gillham quote proves quite powerful in our lives.

    Love hides a multitude of sins, restore one another in love, love thinks no evil, forgive as you were forgiven, and who is he that condemns is the life of the believer, as it clearly is the heart of God. Churches today zero-in on the person who smokes, drinks a glass of wine, wears jeans to church, has long hair, has a skirt not 2 inches below the knee, listens to music with a beat, or misses a church service. This is not grace but condemnation.

    The eyes of judgment surround us, but we need to look past that into the loving face of our Savior where there is NO CONDEMNATION. The world might condemn us for our failures, but God never does.

    Condemnation is our ignorance of the glorious truth concerning us that we are loved, reconciled, redeemed, accepted, adopted, and forgiven. Religion obscures that by making you think that you cannot accept you are such things until your behavior lines up, and we learn quickly that our behavior never seems to line up, as we forever try in the flesh.

    The world believes God is angry, unkind, unforgiving, unwilling, grudge-holder, disgusted, frustrated, agitated, and requires some fig leaves from us to cover our shame (abides in darkness/condemnation). I no longer panic when I see some area of failure in my life, as grace super exceeds all of my sins. For God to condemn me would imply that grace found its limit.

    We need to remember that to Him, we are always well-pleasing in His sight! He justifies us FREELY (without a cause), so people need to stop looking for some cause within them for Him to do what He does freely. God is glorified in the “freely” and never in our “efforts.”

    I know the frustration of a mind that keeps reverting to fleshly thinking, but Bill Gillham comment you posted holds a huge key. In the beginning, we walk much like the drunken man who staggers (at the promises) in James 1. We need to be "doers of the word" that simply means that we walk away REMEMBERING what manner of man/woman we truly are in the sight of God. 2nd Corinthians 3:18, looking at the glory of Christ will reflect that glory back upon us and it changes us into the same glory! The KJV obscures 2nd Timothy 2:15 in my opinion, as the NLV captures its meaning better:

    DO YOUR BEST TO KNOW THAT GOD IS PLEASED WITH YOU. Be as a workman who has nothing to be ashamed of. Teach the words of truth in the right way.

    Knowing there is NO (not some) condemnation is how our eyes "perceive the love of God." Condemnation obscures God's love (darkness). When we walk in the light that there is NO condemnation, as our walk is in the realization (light) that we are forgiven of all sins, and that we are well pleasing in the sight of God. Darkness is always the "not realizing" that blessed truth, as Paul sought to turn people from darkness (condemnation/religion) to light (gospel).

    I do love your blogs, as you share quick wonderful truths of His wondrous grace! We each bear fruit that we can share with one another. There might be fruit on my tree that helps and blesses you, and there are fruits on your tree that has blessed and helped me! The answer to your last paragraph is a big yes, it is wonderful that we are able to build each other up in His grace!

    Blessings!

    Dave

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  4. Wow, I love what you wrote here, what encouraging words! I want to just let the truth of NO condemnation wash over me!

    I love the idea of justifying FREELY meaning without a cause! He doesn't need a reason or cause to justify us! He just does that out of His own nature and love, nothing good has to originate with us to "make" Him act on our behalf - what a relief! And that He is glorified in the freely, that is beautiful..

    I also love the idea of doing my best to know that God is pleased with me! I haven't ever heard it put that way...whenever I used to hear "do your best" I would cringe, knowing full well I couldn't "do" whatever it was that was going to follow that phrase. But Jesus wants us to do our best to rest! To just rest in who He made me, to rest in His finished work that made me pleasing to God! Wow, I needed to hear that today!

    Thanks so much!

    In Christ,
    Sparrow

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May the amazing grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, and the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. 2 Co. 13:14