I have just finished a great weekend in Ede, Netherlands with House Of Praise Ede (H.O.P.E.) and a few more. It was a good weekend. The sun was shining and it felt like August weather for a great time with friends and people hungry for the presence of God. Thank you, Pastors Bruce and Angelique for a great time and great connections. There are New Covenant, grace empowered people in the Netherlands who are seeing the power of Christ’s kingdom affect the lives of many.
When we teach on grace we are not really teaching something in the hope that it can happen. We are simply teaching on something the Holy Spirit is already doing in the hearts and minds of those who believe. We are positioning ourselves to come in agreement with the internal work of Christ within our hearts. We are positioning ourselves to yield to and respond to the Holy Spirit in our hearts. We are opening our hearts to God and the internal kingdom of God instead of seeking an external government of promiscuity or legalism that cannot result in true change for the glory of God.
God gives us the power to live life. God’s mercy justifies us to live, but God’s grace empowers our lives for greater things. If there is no transformation in our lives, there is no grace. Even in our initial connection with God of being born again there is a definite and noticeable change. That change is grace! However, it is not enough to just experience the grace of God in our lives, we must be people who embrace a culture of grace. We must willingly and willfully walk with the Holy Spirit to be changed. It is a relationship.
Romans 5:17 For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
When Adam chose the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he opened the door for all of humanity to be bound to live by a government of a knowledge of good and evil. It was an external rule, an external administration in our lives. It was a rule of information. It established a way of thinking in the family line of humanity. Outside of Christ, this is how people live today. Sometimes as believers we become confused and still try to live that same way. We sometimes view Christianity as a new way to live by being informed rather than an external manifestation of an internal revolution of our hearts and minds in Christ. For some people this is true, but this is not Christ. It is merely religion. Mere external disciplines don’t really change us. They only restrains us and controls us. In Christ, we receive the power of the Holy Spirit at work within our hearts. He gives us the ability to reign in life. He gives us a gift of righteousness. In other words; our character, nature and way become changed by Him. There is even an increasing testimony of power and authority in our lives. It is the power of God’s grace to reign in life. That grace includes an internal empowerment for life-giving decisions in life. It causes us to be transformed to become good men and good women. We become Christ-like men and women in every practicality of life. It includes our ability to be good workers; people who rise to the challenges of life. We become good husbands, wives, dads, moms, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, grandpas, grandmas, creators, business leaders, everyday workers, friends, neighbors and whatever else we are in life.
Romans 5:19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.
God’s mercy makes us righteous enough to go to heaven when we die. It is the free gift of Jesus. When we receive Him, we receive His gift of mercy. He gave us peace. There is no gap between us and God. No person ever needs to hide from Him because of His mercy. His mercy is enough to give us the righteousness of Christ that gets us to heaven. It is enough to cause each of us to become a child of God. Little children know the Father and they know their sins are forgiven. There is a righteousness for little children that will get us to heaven, but we are supposed to grow up and become sons and daughters and even fathers and mothers in Christ. The righteousness of God that gets us to heaven doesn’t require us to change much in our lives. We could be the thief on the cross and go to heaven when our hearts receive the gift of Jesus. The thief saying, Jesus, remember me was enough to get him to heaven. For sure that is transformational and awesome, but had the thief lived longer than that day on the cross he would have needed something more. He would have needed grace to reign in life. God’s love is enough to get us to heaven without doing anything but believing in Him. God’s love is also powerful enough to change who we are in this world. The thief was crucified on the cross because he was a thief. Had he live on this earth beyond that day, Christ in him would have had to transform his character to no longer be a thief. A lot of believers come to Jesus and then think that is enough. They are going to heaven when they die, but they fail to reign in life. Circumstances and things in life end up reigning over them. Some believers come to Jesus and do a mixture of information and transformation. They return to the law because it has seemingly safe boundaries. It is simple. It has instructions they can see. The problem is it controls them, but it doesn’t truly change them. They may follow rules, but in their hearts they are not changed. Grace is more powerful than law. Jesus said you have heard it written in the law you shall not commit murder, but I say if you hate your brother in your heart you have already committed murder. Jesus said it is written in the law you shall not commit adultery, but I say if you do it in your heart you have already done it.
Law can give us instructions that restrain our actions, but Jesus gives us the Holy Spirit so our character changes. Our hearts and our minds change. We are not restrained or controlled, but liberated by the internal power of God’s grace. Grace empowers us to not hate our brother in our hearts. Grace empowers us to no longer seek illegitimate fulfillments to the desires of our hearts. Grace includes a change that looks right, but it is deeper than actions. Doing right things doesn’t make us people who are righteous, but having a right relationship with God in our hearts will empower us to become people who do right things in life. It is the power of Christ in us and this is the hope of glory!
Ted J. Hanson
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