Yesterday was a great day at Everyone’s Church in Mt. Vernon, Washington. Thank you to all of you there for your love for God and your commitment to His will. It was good to worship Him with you and to sense His presence among you. Surely the kingdom of God is within you. This is the life of children of God!
Jesus came into my life so I would know who I am. Christ in me is the power to know who Jesus is and who God my Father is. In knowing God, I am empowered and inspired to live for the sake of the world. Christ in me empowers me to live to help others become who they are. The testimony of Christ in me empowers me to live to see my children and my children’s children become who they are and fulfill the greatness of their destiny in this earth. This is true for my natural children and for all who are shaped by me in this life as spiritual offspring of God. God’s children are stronger than every enemy! As God’s children, we live to see the world blessed. Becoming fathers and mothers in the faith is the goal of our life in Christ, but in the process of becoming is the testimony of overcoming every wicked one. This is the testimony of young men and young women. Part of me in 44 years in Christ is a little child, part of me has become a father, but part of me is still overcoming as a young man. These are not merely natural aspects of my life, but they are spiritual dimensions to who I am.
We should always be little children in our expectations, our innocence, and our understanding of God’s love. We must also embrace the process of maturing in Him, which is the testimony of overcoming. This was the exhortation of John to the church of his day. I write to you men because you have overcome the wicked one. You are strong, the word of God abides in you, you have overcome the wicked one. To overcome the wicked one we must be strong in God, strong in His presence, and strong in His word. I know many people who can quote Scripture, but they are not very strong in His word. Many have used Scripture to hate people. I have even used Scripture to hate people at times. I didn’t purposely use it to hate them. I thought I was standing on His word, but Jesus is the living Word. Everything that He is and everything in the word is about relationship. It is about love. To be strong in the word is to be strong in the substance and the testimony of who God is. If you offend me does it cause me to become offended? You are probably not trying to offend me on purpose. Let’s say you are a close friend of mine and I have expectations of you and expectations of your friendship with me. Then one day you are not the kind of friend I thought I needed you to be. You were not there when I needed you. You said something that seemed to agree with what an enemy of mine said. Where is the real problem? Is it in you not being there for me or saying something that agrees with what my enemy says? Or is it in me in taking an offense when you offended me? You see the kingdoms of the world say do not offend me, but the kingdom of God is different. Just look at the kingdoms of the world. That is why politics is so vicious today. People in the world have an expectation that everything will go good in the world toward them. Those in the world think about themselves. I need everything in my world to be good for me to be who I really am. If you offend me I allow it to become an offense of unforgiveness in my life. If I am strong in the word, your offense cannot cause me to be unforgiving. It is important that you understand I am not talking about written Scripture. I am talking about being the substance of our family. I am talking about being strong in the word – being a word of forgiveness. Being the character of forgiveness as a human being with the nature and way of forgiveness will overcome the wicked ones known as offense or unforgiveness. Being a person who manifests the power and authority of forgiveness is the overcoming testimony of Christ. This is what overcoming unforgiveness looks like. To overcome unforgiveness I must be the character of forgiveness. To overcome the offense of hate, I must be strong in the spirit and character of love. The nature the way of love must be the substance of who I am. The power and authority of love must be the substance of my being. To overcome rejection, I must be strong in the character nature way of acceptance, and embracing. I must become the substance of the family of God to be the testimony of Christ’s character. Do you know what causes this to happen? Grace! Grace transforms us to become the character, nature, way, power and authority of being a victorious young man or woman in Christ.
To understand grace, we must first understand the need for grace. We must understand the purpose of grace. We must understand the testimony of grace. If I am someone who says, my sins are forgiven! I have a Father who loves me! This alone is not an understanding of grace. It is simply an understanding of mercy. It is really good, but it is not the testimony of overcoming. God loves me and He forgives me! This is a foundation for grace to be revealed in my life. God wants us to become people of grace but we must first be people who understand mercy. Mercy ends law. What does law look like? If you treat me wrong law demands justice. This is true according to the knowledge of good and evil. All the kingdoms of the world all the nations, all the religions, all the families of the world live based upon that justice system. It is a vicious cycle because someone is always wrong.
There is no way out of this system and remain alive. Your punishment is death unless a judgment of mercy gives you a way out. Mercy will give you a new beginning. It will give you an entrance into a kingdom of grace. I cannot expect the kingdoms of the world to understand the justice system of the kingdom of God, but God is calling the people of God to manifest the justice system of the kingdom of God. He is calling us to grow up in the knowledge of His kingdom. God invites us to experience mercy and to find grace. He wants us to grow up and become a testimony of those who are merciful and gracious. Good parents are people who understand mercy and grace. They are merciful and gracious. Parents who are merciful and gracious make great dads and moms. We must grow in our understanding of God’s mercy and grace to be good spiritual parents in the community of Christ.
Ted J. Hanson