Coaching Session #4: God’s Grace, Faith, Peace, Joy and Power
Living In God’s Gospel Blessings:
The Gospel Gives Us the Abundant Life
of Christ and the Faith of Jesus
Most of us have heard this truth: “Mercy is not getting what you deserve; grace is getting what you don’t deserve.”
Experiencing God’s Mercy in Our Lives
Never ask God to give you want you deserve. If you play Monopoly, what you will hear is “Go to jail, go directly to jail. Do not pass ‘Go.’ Do not collect $200.” We all deserve hell. We were born into sin, because of Adam’s sin. We are translated into God’s heaven due to Christ’s obedience and righteousness. Romans 5 explains this.
God, in his grace, transmits his mercy to us and doesn’t hold us accountable for our sin (Coaching Session #6). Do we still sin? Yes! It’s because we are human beings, and sin is part of our nature. But God doesn’t keep record of our sin, and hold it against us, because of the cross of Jesus.
This is God’s mercy at work in us.
Experiencing God’s Grace in Our Lives
God told Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you” (II Cor 12:9). We sometimes see this as a statement of just coping, and adapting to all things that happen, and it does have this element about it too. But actually, this is really a warfare term, a term of power. God says, “My grace is divinely productive and supernatural for any situation you face. I bring all of my Kingdom to bear on your life.”
We are told that God comforts us in our earthly problems and tribulation, so we can help comfort others in the same situations that we have faced (II Cor 1:4). But this is only one side of the coin. This is the side of our coping with problems and dealing with unwanted reality.
God’s grace is meant to help us get through anything we face in life in the best possible way. NOTE: God didn’t take away Paul’s thorn in the flesh, but he empowered him in many other ways. I view grace as being like the rod of Moses — it did powerful things in his hand.
Grace Is Like A Road We Walk On In Life
Many of us view grace as like a destination we reach once we live long enough, or know enough, or are mature enough so that God can trust us with his grace. Wrong!
Grace is more like the road we walk on throughout our entire lives, at least from the time we come to know Christ.
Grace is not a destination as much as it is the journey. We walk in grace with every step we take, and every trial or situation we face.
The Gospel Road vs. the Dirt Road
I draw the distinction of walking The Gospel Road when we truly live in the various truths of the gospel. Again, to date I have discovered 10, but there may be more. I believe the gospel is so vast we could never understand or grasp it all in only one lifetime that James says is like a vapor.
Not having gospel revelation, we walk the Dirt Road.
The Gospel Road is easy, according to Jesus (Matt 11:30). And it is simplicity if we are yoked with Jesus (II Cor 11:3). The Dirt Road is complicated! There’s lots of theologies, and opinions (I call it The Second Tower of Babel), and also lots of pot holes, and detours, and dead ends.
Jesus says he’s the truth. He’s the way. He’s abundant life for us. When we live in him, which our faith produces (Coaching session #4 that we just saw), then we live in his power and process all the days of our lives. The alternative is to choose to live life in SELF, not in the SON.
The Gospel of Grace and the Gospel of Peace
These are the two ways Paul defines the gospel, in Acts 20:24 and Romans 10:15 respectively. Grace is like God’s unmerited favor, and he showers us with his grace every day we walk The Gospel Road. If grace is the gospel, what else should we expect? And it is God’s grace that gives us our justification, that gives peace with him (Rom 5:1).
Grace and peace tell us: “God is not angry with us!” This is true even when we do wrong and sin. We may think in our minds that God is angry with us because of bad things we do, but Paul says it’s only in our minds (Col 1:21). It’s not truth and reality.
Justification produces our righteousness (they’re like Siamese twins), which then produce God’s grace for us. Then grace produces a greater revelation of justification and righteousness. It’s a never-ending synergism.
Too often we try to work, and behave right to get God’s grace. Romans 11:6 says, “If it is by grace, then it is no more of works, otherwise grace is no more grace. If it’s by works, then it is not grace.” I Peter 4:10 talks about the manifold grace of God, which means many-types of grace, not just one type only.
The way we should respond to God’s grace is by worship and thanksgiving. Paul says, “In everything give thanks.” He doesn’t say to give thanks FOR everything in life, because some things are not good. But to give thanks IN everything.
Give Gratitude to God, Even In Bad Times
The way we do this is just by realizing God’s presence in us throughout the day. A lot has been said in recent years about ‘practicing the presence of God.’
We should never forget that God’s desire is to BLESS us, and to BENEFIT us in all ways. He wants us to be successful in life, prosperous and healthy: a step up from needing healing.
Living by grace is really the part we play in the New Covenant of God’s Kingdom. Grace is the message of the New Covenant, and it is a principle key in living the abundant life of Christ (John 10:10).
Grace is not a license to sin. I don’t know why some call it this. I’ve never had a license to sin, and I’ve done just fine all by myself without one. But seriously, the gospel of grace is God’s power in us to keep us from sin. Paul says it teaches us not to sin.
Not living in grace robs us of everything we can have in Jesus. It’s a dangerous ‘dirt road’ to walk if you are serious about Kingdom living, growing and maturing. Grace is what actually causes us to love Jesus more. Grace is what causes us not to live in sin-consciousness, but in our righteousness (session #7).
“Confession of Sin” Robs Us of God’s Grace
So often the church robs us of grace by their damnable doctrine of ‘the confession of sin.’ It would take pages to discuss this, but I John 1:9, the passage on confession of sin, was written to unbelievers, not to believers. Yes, we must confess our sin— of not believing in Jesus (John 16:9). But once we’ve done it, thoughts must be on our righteousness, not our sin. “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” The more we think about sin, and the LAW that defines it, the more we sin. “The law is the strength of sin” (I Cor 15:56).
Do you realize the Apostle Paul, who wrote over half the New Testament under inspiration from God, NEVER even mentions confession of sin ONE time. He’s called ‘the great theologian of the New Testament,’ which I take exception to. Paul taught gospel doctrine, not theology: man’s ideas about God. Did he miss something? Did he lead the first century church astray? I don’t think so. He knew Jesus came to take sin away, become sin for us, giving us diplomatic immunity from sin (which is coming up in the next session).
Most of the church is so stuck in the religious rut of the confession of sin, they can’t spell the word ‘righteousness.’ It is by grace that we do acknowledge and even confess our sin to God when we blow it. This is just humility. But gospel doctrine demands that we first and foremost thank God for both forgiving and forgetting our sins due to Christ’s cross. Living in our righteousness causes us to sin less.
It is by grace we RECEIVE all God’s good things!
Paul says, “Awake to your righteousness, and not to sin, for some do not have the knowledge of God.” The knowledge of God is only in the gospel, and the gospel is ‘the ministry of righteousness’ (II Cor 3:9). “In Christ there is not condemnation” (Rom 8:1). The problem with the modern church is that it is so sin-conscious, they totally blot out the righteousness of Christ that is ours and that is imparted to us by Father himself (II Cor 5:21). Their doctrine of the constant confession of sin makes it so we can’t see our righteousness with a huge magnifying glass.
Compare I John 1:9 with I John 3:9 (at least in the KJV for accuracy) and ask yourself how the same person could say these two different things in the same letter. I don’t have space to go into it here, but chapter one was written to both believers and non-believers while the remainder of the letter was only written to believers. Yes, we must admit and confess our sin before we can step into the arms of Jesus who paid for our sin. But once we have done that, we should ‘awake to our righteousness, and not to sin. Then, living in the identity of our righteousness causes us to live right much more of the time. Can I say it yet again? . . .
Good behavior will never produce correct belief,
but correct belief will eventually produce good behavior.
We Receive, We Respond, and Then We Release
We’ve seen that we are meant to be receivers and not initiators. God initiates. Jesus is the Author and the Finisher, not us. This is how we then respond to him. We allow the gospel he sows into us to saturate us. We allow it to consume us, and transform our hearts and minds. This is the basic message of the Parable of the Sower, the parable Jesus says we MUST understand, or we won’t understand much else (Mark 4:13).
Then we release what God has planted into us, and that we have allowed to transform us. The modern saying says we “Pay It Forward.” Jesus says, “As you have freely received, so freely give.” Again, Paul asks, “What do you have that you have not received?” Everything comes from God and his huge storehouse that is all given to us freely.