Saturday, December 28, 2013

It's Not Really About Me and My Faith, It's All About God and His Grace!

In the past I have worried that I didn't have enough faith, or that my faith wasn't complete, or that I would lose faith..and all this focus on my faith made me unsure of my standing before God, unsure of where I was with Him on a day to day basis and also unsure of my eternal destiny.  If it was so important and all about my faith, what if I lost faith or didn't have enough at any one time?  Would that meant that I would lose blessings, help, His favor, or..worst of all, my salvation and place in heaven?  It scared me so much.  I used to cling to verses like Phil. 1:6 because they gave me some hope that somehow God would get me through to heaven, since I felt my faith wasn't so hot!  I instinctively knew that if it was 'all up to me and my faith' to get to heaven, be blessed, have healing or get God's favor and work in my life, then I was in trouble because I was not capable on my own of having perfect faith!  I couldn't handle the responsibility, and it made me feel insecure and troubled and afraid.

Then God began to open my eyes to something wonderful, something I had never really been taught before...He opened my eyes to grace!  He showed me that it wasn't all about me and my faith to make things happen, it was all about HIM and HIS GRACE and He had already made things happen and would bring them all about!  Since it was all about Him and His responsibility to come through for me, my favor and acceptance with God, His work in my life, and my eternal destiny were thus absolutely certain and secure - for HE never fails, HE never wavers, HIS plan is always carried out, HIS work is always finished!  I was able to stop worrying and start resting.  I was able to start enjoying my life with God and looking forward to an eternal heavenly future that was for sure!  The Holy Spirit testified deep within me that this was so.  Oh what joy filled me up!

Now God is showing me something even more beautiful, helping me understand it all even better - He is showing me that in the eternal realm, salvation is already DONE!  That means I am not waiting to get to heaven, I am ALREADY there!  I've died with Christ, been raised with Christ, ascended with Christ, and have been seated with Christ at the right hand of God the Father in heaven - already!  This happened 2000 years ago in our time, but really in God's time it happened before creation!  For God said that the Lamb Jesus was slain before the foundation of the world - and I was there in Him, it happened to me, too, way back then!  Before we even had a problem, God solved it.  Before I even initiated anything, He initiated redemption and made everything okay for me.  Before I even sinned, He took away my sin at the cross.  Before I was lost, I was found by Him!  Before I took one step out of line, He put me back together!  Before I withdrew from relationship with Him, He connected me with Him eternally!  Before I lost faith, HE had faith on my behalf.  Before I even needed rescue, He saved me!  Wow!  My salvation has been secure since before time began - now THAT'S eternal security!

But what about faith?  I know it is great to have faith, and faith is a natural response when we hear this good news that God has saved us.  Yet I realize now I was putting so much emphasis in the past on "my faith" that I wasn't realizing that I was making faith into a work.  Faith isn't a 'thing I do' to make something happen, like blessing or salvation.  Faith isn't something I must do to 'get' God to be favorable toward me or do something for me.  Faith is trust.  It is what happens when you discover someone is trustworthy.  You discover someone is trustworthy by seeing what they've already done for you to prove their love and loyalty to you.  When you see that someone has made a big sacrifice for you to help you, you see they really love you and you're able to trust them to take care of you.  And when you see that someone loves you even when they know the worst about you, even when you reject and mistreat them, then you are able to open up and trust them to accept and not reject you.  And that's just what Jesus did at the cross - He proved His love for us by giving up His own life to free us from sin's hold.  And He loved and did this for us when we were at our worst - in fact, we humans killed Him, and He asked His Father to forgive us and even came out of the grave with His arms stretched out in love and forgiveness for all, taking no revenge, just going on as if we hadn't killed Him at all, loving us and being open and friendly towards us just the same!!  THAT is a God we can trust!

Faith doesn't make something happen.  Faith is what naturally occurs when we see what has already happened to us through God's love and Jesus' finished work.  So faith doesn't bring salvation.  Faith sees that salvation already happened!  Faith is simply seeing reality!  All these years we may have thought God was angry or distant, thought we had to earn our way with Him, thought salvation was all up to us, thought we were being graded by our performance...and now we discover that wasn't reality, that was all a lie!  We discover the truth, we see reality - that God is pure love and ONLY love, that He always loved and accepted and embraced us, no matter what wrong things we did, that we never had to earn our place with Him, that salvation was all up to Him and He already succeeded in doing it - for Jesus freed us from sins through bringing us with Him through death and brought us into life and fellowship in the Trinity by bringing us with Him out of the grave and up into heaven and plopping us right into Papa's lap! - that we are SAFE and SECURE and LOVED and ACCEPTED forever no matter what, we are HIS children, always were, always will be!  God awakens us out of the nightmare of Satan's lies, and we SEE reality, His reality, the eternal and only REAL reality!  That is all faith is to me now, not making something happen but seeing what already happened, what already IS!

We can rest, because salvation in the end is all about God and His grace, not all about us and our faith!  What a relief to know that we are in the arms of the God of grace and that He will never let us go!

11 comments:

  1. The Holy Spirit is teaching my husband and me the same wonderful truth about grace!!! It just gets better and better, doesn't it! Some of the churches in my area preach Law and some preach Law and Grace (which can be deadly!), but there is not one that preaches pure Grace! I am curious where you live. Email me if you are led. This Grace Truth is too good to keep to ourselves... we want everyone to know what our Father is really like and who we are in Him......and that desire is from the Holy Spirit.

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    1. Dorothy, what you wrote really resonated with me, yes, the Grace Truth is so good! I agree about the mixture of Law and Grace being deadly...I feel I can tell when all Law is preached, but the mixture of grace and law is so subtle and sometimes I fear I fall for it...God is showing me lately how much I just need to feed on pure grace, it is so refreshing, isn't it! God bless you dear Dorothy, if you want to, please write me via my email on the upper right of the blog and we can chat more..my hubby doesn't like me to put personal info about myself here on the big and wide internet..hope that makes sense!

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  2. Thank you.
    I remember reading a story once were the character looked down into the desrt which she had to cross and would have been overwhelmed had she not also seen the many footprints of the thousands who had travelled that way already. Thank you for your encouragement. :-)

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    1. Woolly, I love your story about the character in the story being encouraged by the many footprints! Sometimes I feel so alone in what I believe about grace and all, and then I come here and read the comments and I know that there are many of us, and our numbers are growing as more and more see this beautiful grace and are just drawn to the unconditional love of Papa! Blessings to you my brother!

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  3. I think there is a celebration in heaven, when people come to this realization. thanks sparrowgirl, for letting others hear about God's grace like this. Blessed are the feet of messengers!

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    1. Anon, I am with you, I think the angels do a happy dance when people find out about grace and how all is well! Isn't it great that it isn't up to us or even our faith..He has taken care of it all, this work is truly finished, wow! Blessings to you, my friend!

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  4. Hello Sparrow,

    It is the reality that brings us rest but religious conditions to be fulfilled never brought anyone rest but only uncertainty. Faith is the response to the reality but religious faith is what one offers to gain a reality.

    You might be accused of hyper-grace by what you shared but such an accusation is to be accepted as a compliment. Just as the word "Christian" was originally a negative word by pagans to describe followers of Jesus but believers accepted that title with joy. I rather be part of the hyper-grace crowd than the hypo-grace crowd any day.

    What a wonderful blog! Can I have your permission to post this at my blog for all to read?

    Blessings,

    Dave

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    1. Dave, I love that, yes, I am hyper about grace!! I saw that there is a book coming out warning about the dangers of the 'hyper-grace movement' and as I was previewing it on Amazon, I was feeling a little miffed and all at what was said, and then it was like a little voice inside me said, "What does God think of this author?" and I just suddenly saw how much God LOVES him, how proud He is of him as His dear and precious child, that He sees his heart, that he is just telling things the way he sees them now, and that his heart is pure and he really does want to do what's right and help people...and I just couldn't be mad at him, because I saw he is my brother in Christ, someone God just loves and adores and is so happy with, right now, just as he is, even in the midst of all his present beliefs! I realize that a few years ago, I would have said the same things that this man says. I guess we are all rebels or Pharisees at one time or another, and God just loves and accepts us all! It was such a neat experience to see that author through God's loving eyes of grace. I hope that over time the man who wrote the book will be able to be more hyper about grace himself and just know that it doesn't lead people astray but instead helps people and heals their hearts so much! Anyway, sorry for going on and on, just wanted to share that neat experience I had and how it opened my eyes to how God sees even our detractors as His beloved ones, included in Christ's finished work! And yes, it is fine to post on your blog anything you find here, no need to ever ask..thank you again Dave for your blog and all the ways it has encouraged me...you were the one that helped introduce me to the writings of Francois du Toit and the idea of inclusion, and over this past year I have learned and grown in understanding so much because of that, so thank you and blessings to you, my brother!

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    2. Hello Sparrow,

      I think I know the author you are talking about. Also, sorry for the 2 part reply but I wanted to share with you as brief as I can about the whole hyper grace talk going on.

      I believe in unlimited grace but “hyper” has limits. If my opponents are going to accuse me of "hyper grace" then I accept it with joy as did people in the NT when they were labeled negatively as "Christians." Let’s be hyper about grace!

      Paul would have been accused of hyper grace today. Paul knew then that his teaching would raise questions as, "Shall we continue in sin that grace might abound?" Let's be honest, if grace cannot be abused then it is not grace at all.

      Our opponents limit grace to those who are "doing good" and "refraining from sin." However, being enemies did not stop Grace from coming into this world. If Grace was not limited when we were as enemies of God then Grace clearly is not hindered by future behavior. Behavior might be inconsistent to the grace received but behavior did not stop Grace from embracing humanity. God's love is greater than our hatred as He demonstrated it by dying for His enemies. Our refusal never hinders His love/grace.

      Our opponents say "hyper grace" would incite sin claiming that true grace teaches us to deny all manners of ungodliness. Yes, but they fail to mention that Paul was not ignorant of the fact that the SAME grace could lead one to say, "Shall we continue in sin that grace might abound?" Paul warned the Galatians, “Do not use freedom as an opportunity for the flesh.” Grace is never the problem. One might see, "deny all manners of ungodliness" and to another "Shall I continue in sin?" The problem is not with grace but the person getting his fleshly wires crossed.

      Let's pretend you hated me but one night I saved your whole family from a house fire but I died saving you all. You can choose to continue to hate me even after such kindness or you can let go of your hate and love me for what I had done for you. Continued hatred is inconsistent with my dying to save your family but it is your choice. Spitting on my grave is terrible disrespect for my act of kindness but it does not change the fact that I died to save you all. People can love the cross of Christ or spit on the cross of Christ but our actions cannot add or take away what Jesus accomplished and applied.

      Grace cannot be boxed. The moment grace is boxed is when people look outside that box to religious rules or even Law. We need to live our lives engulfed by pure grace because if grace is not pure then we will notice every little imperfection.

      end of part one

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    3. Part two of two:

      Those often attacking hyper grace will have conditions and rules surrounding grace. The problem I see is that some do not see the reality of who they are in Christ. They got the grace right but they are still having a spiritual identity crisis going on. Our focus is not to be our fleshly desires but we are to walk by faith. We live in the reality that "as He (Jesus) is, so are we."

      I learned that when I see myself as absolutely free is when sin loses its strength. I learned the moment I see myself as prohibited doing this or that is when sin gains it strength. Is there a risk that someone might abuse such a realization? Sure, and Paul even recognize that but he never said it was due to believing another type of grace. One only falls from grace when they "add" to it. Paul never said falling from grace was licentiousness as grace was beyond "hyper" but falling from grace was those who restricted it with Law.

      The problem I see is the same problem Paul had and that would be taking unlimited grace to the wrong conclusions. The answer for wrong conclusion is not to say grace is hyper because if grace becomes hyper then even hyper grace teachers are in error. If grace is not unlimited then grace can be defeated by our sins/behavior. Again, if my opponents want to call me hyper grace then I accept it with joy but hyper limits the true reality of grace.

      Would a nice boss be a problem if some saw that niceness as an opportunity to goof off at work even though others appreciating his niceness work hard? Some might see that as an opportunity to take advantage of his niceness and goof off at work. Religion would see that niceness as a problem and instead of dealing with the lazy workers is to instead attack the niceness (grace) of the boss which now makes the work environment miserable for all.

      Thank you very much for allowing me to post your wonderful blog.

      Happy New Year!

      Dave

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  5. Dave, I love how you describe grace as unlimited! That is even better than hyper, you are right..hyper still has limits, but grace has no limits!! Wow! Praise Him for His truly unlimited grace!

    I also love this statement you made: "I learned that when I see myself as absolutely free is when sin loses its strength. I learned the moment I see myself as prohibited doing this or that is when sin gains it strength. " Wow, what a statement! Being free from the law actually makes sin fall away! I love the freedom of grace, I want to just know it more, realize it more, understand it more, enjoy it more!

    I used to be one of those people who oppose grace. I used to be a Pharisee. I hope nothing I said about this author came across as thinking of him in a mean way, for he is my fellow family member in the family of God, and God has really been touching my heart with His love for all, even those who don't yet see grace as clearly..I know that there but for the grace of God, go I, as they say. I love those who right now don't understand about grace and I hope that soon they will! My hope and prayer is that all will see the truth and know and experience our Papa as He truly is, full of grace!!

    Thank you for all that you share about grace and freedom, blessings to you my brother!

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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