I have just finished a tremendously productive week in Portugal. We completed two more courses with video in Portuguese. Two more books are also ready for printing in Portuguese. At the present we have six books translated in Portuguese as well as several training manuals. Two courses are completed in video and two more are recorded and now face the task of editing. I will be in Portugal again in October and then several times in 2018. More video recording is planned for January of 2018. I will be in Angola in November presenting Understanding Authority to many pastors and leaders. Thank you for those of you who have contributed financially to House of Bread Ministry to help in this tremendous task. I appreciate your prayers and support. Yesterday I had a great time of ministry with Impact Community church in the Manchester, England area. Pastor Elijah Boswell, the team, and the congregations of Impact are doing a great job!
Jesus was God in the flesh sent to tell us all who we are to our heavenly Father. He came to justify all of humanity to live. We don’t have to believe in Him to be justified to live. Jesus dying for each of us justifies every one of us to live, but we must come to Him to receive that mercy to find the empowerment to live. We are justified to live by the shedding of His blood upon our cross, but we are saved by His life. Being saved is not just going to heaven when we die. It is reigning in life, overcoming every wicked one. That is grace. Grace empowers us to reign in life. Mercy ends the past and grace empowers the future. We need His mercy to end our past, but we need His grace to empower our future in Him. Grace is more powerful than law. Law can only control us or restrain us in some way. Grace transforms us and liberates us in every way. Law only demands excuses for our failures, but grace transforms our failed lives to become significant ones of life. Grace is essential. Grace is not just a matter of being able to come to Him. Mercy is God’s gift to enable us to come to Him. We don’t have to change for God to love us. Mercy allows us to come to Jesus; our sins are forgiven, He loves us. We don’t have to change for Him to love us. That is mercy. If we are living on God’s mercy our world won’t change. God will love us, but we won’t be able to overcome the wicked one. Mercy is free, grace will cost us our ability live dependent upon law. Jesus is our Savior, but He is also our Lord, our desire, our motivator and our transformer. He doesn’t just want to get us to heaven. He wants to get heaven in us. He wants us to be different generationally.
I believe that Jesus was free in my life. I didn’t pay anything for Him to love me. But to experience grace, I had to receive mercy, let go of some things I am holding on to, and find grace that transforms who I am. I pay a price for that. The price I pay ends up being an inheritance that my children will receive. It is not free, it will cost me everything, but it is so powerful it will change my world. His yoke is easy and His burden is light, but the task is horrendous. It is awesome, it is hard, except for the grace of God. The change is impossible, except for the grace of God. The grace of God makes impossible things possible, but it doesn’t look like it is going to work. It requires faith. It requires hearing Him and responding to what He says. The fullness of God’s grace is a matter of being intimate with Him. It requires being hungry for Him. There is a price to pay.
When Jesus defeated the devil, He paid a price. He went to the devil’s house and He did’ t eat food for 40 days. He didn’t eat natural food, but He indulged in the presence of God His Father. He believed that living in God was more important than living on food. He didn’t do it to find freedom for Himself. He was already free. He did it to free us! We don’t receive God’s grace to be free. Mercy makes us free. We receive God’s grace to free others! Grace empowers us to become something for the sake of others, for the sake of changing the world. Grace is more powerful than law. Law is not a covenant that can change us, but it becomes a contract that restrains us. A contract has conditions. If you do this, I get this. Obey the law and you will be blessed. It is a contract. It restrains us. Grace is a life-giving covenant. God says, I am going to give you everything. We come to find everything. He gives and we become a person of grace. We choose to give everything we are for the sake of others. We don’t give to get.
When I discover grace in my marriage, I don’t love my wife so she will love me. I don’t give my life to my wife so she will give 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 and all the members live to give life not expecting anything in return, we experience the supernatural testimony of a culture of grace. Wives and husbands, husbands and wives, not expecting anything in return. Do you know what kind of a supernatural world that creates? That is a free world. It is not based upon law. I am going to love you no matter what, not I will love you if you love me. When both partners say this, a world beyond the wildest dreams is created.
What happens when the community of God is filled with members who each know, I am a child of God, my sins are forgiven, I have a Father who loves me? In that same community, they embrace grace and overcome the wicked one. They start being transformed and they take on the characteristics of fathers at many levels. The 14 year olds become fathers to 12 year olds. The 20 year olds become givers of life to those in their teens, maybe not in numbers of years, but in the essence of spirit. When this happens, we become a community of grace where we 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 give life and to empower the life of Christ to others? It doesn’t exist yet on earth, but it is in the heart of God. It starts from today’s glory and it will grow from glory to glory in a culture of grace.
We can’t have both law and grace. Grace is a covenant that changes lives and only fully works in absolute freedom. A culture of grace only exists in an environment of absolute faith. Where there is law there is a requirement of mercy, but where grace reigns there is no law. I say that statement and two things happen. The law man in us gets upset. The freedom man inside of us twists it and says, Wow, I can do anything now! I can get drunk! I can smoke cigarettes, us pot, indulge in drugs or anything I desire. I can have a bad attitude. I can do anything because I am saved by grace. That isn’t freedom. True freedom lives to give life to others. This is the power of grace! A culture of grace is life-giving, whereas a culture of law is human controlling. We must seek to embrace a culture of grace.
Ted J. Hanson
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