I have just finished a great weekend in Deming, New Mexico at CitiLife Church. Great job guys! I was received by hungry, willing, and teachable people. Friday night prayer meeting, Saturday night men’s gathering, and Sunday morning celebration were all blessed with the presence of God and His people together. Blessings to you all.
When Jesus was baptized by John in the river Jordan, He identified with all of mankind. He had come to restore the mandate to humanity. His baptism was not into Himself, His baptism was into the identity of man. He was submerged into the identity of common man, but then the Father submerged Him into the anointing of the New. The mantle of Christ came upon Jesus as He stood in the Jordan. The testimony and anointing of life rested upon Him in full measure, a testimony of the promise to all mankind. The New was baptized into the Old so that He could lead all in the Old Covenant into that which is fully alive and New!
The first measure of the journey of Jesus in the anointing of Christ was to take a walk into the wilderness. He entered the wilderness for the wilderness places of all of humanity. He went there as a man so that all of mankind could have triumph over the dry places of their lives. It was there that Jesus demonstrated the authority of a man over the devil.
When Jesus defeated the devil, He paid a price. He went to the devil’s house and didn’t eat food for 40 days, but He indulged in the presence of His Father in the midst of the entire journey. He didn’t do it to get free Himself. He was already free! He did it to free others! He did it to free us! This is a testimony to us as those who are clothed in Christ. We don’t receive God’s grace to be free. Mercy makes us free! We can do anything. We receive grace to free others. The mantle of Christ in our lives empowers us to become something for the sake of others. We carry the mantle of Christ for the sake of changing the world.
Grace is more powerful than law. Law is not a covenant that can change us. Law can only serve as a contract that restrains us. A contract has conditions. If you do this, you get that. Obey the law and you will be blessed. It is a contract. It restrains us, but it can never transform our hearts and minds to become transformed with a spirit of liberty. Grace is a life-giving covenant. God says, I am going to give you everything. We simply come to find everything that He gives. Then we become people of grace. We choose to give everything that we are for the sake of others. We don’t give to get. When we discover grace and it enters into our marriages, we don’t love our spouse so they will love us.
I don’t give my life to my wife so she will give her life to me. When I discover grace, I give my life even though she may never give life to me. When the kingdom becomes a culture of grace every member of the community will exhibit the power of God’s grace by doing the same. A husband gives his life to his wife, not expecting anything in return and a wife gives her life to her husband, not expecting anything in return. Do you have any idea of the supernatural world that creates? That is a free world, because it is not based upon law. I am going to love you honey as long as you love me, is a statement of law. I am going to love you and give my life no matter what, is a testimony of grace. When joining partners in a relationship say the same towards one another, now we have a world beyond our wildest dreams. What happens when the community of God is filled with members who all know they are children of God, their sins are forgiven, and they have a Father who loves them? That community can embrace grace and overcome the wicked one. When this happens members of the community become transformed and take on the characteristic of fathers and mothers at many levels. This is where 14-year-olds live to give life to the 12-year-olds. The 20-year-olds live to give life to the 16-year-olds. The 30-year-olds live to give life to the 20-year-olds. Maybe not in numbers of years, but in character of spirit. We become a community of grace when we begin to give our lives to give life to one another without an expectation that they are going to give life back to us. What happens when every member does that? What happens when every member lives to facilitate and empower someone else in the testimony of life? This is a supernatural community. It does not exist yet on planet earth, but it is in the heart of God and it starts from glory to glory.
But we can’t have both law and grace. Grace is a covenant that changes lives and only fully works in absolute freedom. Where there can be absolute faith. Where there is law there is a requirement of mercy, but where grace reigns there is not law. When I say that statement the law man in us gets upset. The freedom man inside of us twists that and says wow! I can do anything now! I can get drunk smoke pot! I can have a bad attitude! I can be unfaithful! I can make mistakes! I can do anything, because I am saved by grace. That is not freedom. That is simply license and it ignores the need to live to give life to others. Neither law nor promiscuity is the answer to life. Only life is! God’s grace empowers us to live life and to be life for the sake of the world!
Ted J. Hanson