Blessings to you again from Bellingham. I enjoyed a weekend here and had an opportunity to speak at Everyone’s Church yesterday in Mt. Vernon, Washington. We had a great time. It was confirmed last week that my foot is broken, so less moving activity is in the agenda during of my upcoming schedule. I am getting used of a walking boot and looking to master a set of sticks today. I am off to the Netherlands for next weekend on Thursday and then on the road for a few weeks.
The Old Covenant was a covenant of condemnation. It took people by the hand and led them. The New Covenant is a covenant of glory. It brings the true change of life within our hearts and minds. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
The liberty of the New Covenant is not just a testimony of the freedom of the Spirit. It is a testimony of experiencing a life-giving Lord. He gives us desires that change the way we think and the way we act in all things. Grace includes the Lord. Mercy involves a Savior, but grace empowers correct boundaries that produce life for others. Grace is like a river. Without the boundaries of a river bank, flowing water is a flood. A flood almost always brings destruction and creates a mess that must be repaired. Grace is not a flood, it is a river.
Law promotes obligations, grace propagates and produces true commitments. Law makes us obligated to pray, but grace impassions us to pray. Law commands us to love, but grace transforms us to be loving. Grace is not just license to do what we want or to refuse to do what God wants. It is a matter of connection with God. When we don’t desire what it is true to the character of God to desire, we seek to find the grace to do it. Grace is both an empowerment and an internal transformation that includes internal changes in our desires. Grace is not something that just happens. Grace is something we must find. We must come to God boldly to receive mercy and we must come boldly to God to find Grace. One we receive because of what Jesus did by His death, the other we find because we find Christ alive in our hearts and grants us the power of change.
Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
To find grace, we must present our bodies to look for it. We need grace for all things and we must know that mere obligation in all things is not enough. I need an intervention that exceeds my obligations in life. This includes my role as a husband. I have been married 40 years. I don’t wake up every morning thinking I am so excited for my obligation as a husband. I do wake up every morning accepting every obligation I have as a husband, so I choose to seek for the grace to fulfill my obligations as a husband. I never question who I am as Bonnie’s husband. I would never ask the question, God, do you want me to be my Bonnie’s husband? That is an illegitimate question that can only result is something less than finding the grace of God to be who I am. Illegitimate questions receive illegitimate answers! God, do you want me to be a good husband? I am – now I need the grace to be who I am! I am not just a husband. I am Bonnie’s husband. I am not just a good husband. I am Bonnie’s good husband and I am going to find the grace of God to be who I am. In the law, there would be an obligation to be that. I do not live under the law of obligation as a husband. I live above the obligation. When I find the graced to be a good husband the law is a witness of who I am. I cast a shadow that looks like I am obligated to love my wife. If I choose to live under the obligation, it would be law. When I choose to live in the revelation of who I am, I seek to find the grace of God to be who I am. My life then casts a shadow that is a testimony of who I am, not a mere act of what I do. Should I pray? The law says pray. If I live under the obligation to pray it is going to be difficult, so I am going to live above the obligation to pray. This means I am going to pray, but I am going to find the grace to pray. I am going to find the empowerment of God’s grace to pray. Then I will cast a shadow that looks like the obligation to pray.
The writer of Hebrews writes to not forsake the assembling of one another as a family. I am a part of the church, but since the word church means members joined together it is impossible to be the church by myself. The law says come together as members of the church. I could do that on Sunday or any other day according to the law of assembly and it would restrain me and put me in prison and not be fun. Or I can get a revelation of who I am. I am a member of the church. I heard there are members coming together today! There is a member and there is another member – we are the church! He lives here! I choose to find the grace of coming together and I cast a shadow that looks like the law of coming together as the church, but I don’t live under the obligation. Nor do I say that grace says I don’t have to go to church to be the church. That isn’t grace, that is mercy. Mercy says you don’t have to come together as the church for God to love you. Grace requires you to, because grace empowers you to love. Mercy says you don’t have to. Your sins are forgiven and you are a child of God. God loves you. Revelation says, Yes! Here I am! I present my body a living sacrifice. He lives here in us!
Ted J. Hanson
I want to give a special thank you to those who have responded to my call for support. If any of you can partner with me to enable me to fulfill my calling in Christ as an equipping and resource it will be greatly appreciated.
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