A few years ago, I read the book “What’s so amazing about Grace?” by Philip Yancey and it completely changed my life and my ministry. All this happened even in the first half of the book before sowing it to another pastor. A few months ago I bought myself another copy and will read it from the start with a fresh perspective and understanding.
During our Tent Crusade in September, one of our Partners ministered on the subject of Grace and once again it stirred something in my spirit and soul. As children of God we know that two of the most important words in the New Testament are Faith and Grace, and you can only receive the latter through the former. When the knowledge and understanding of these two aspects in our local church were tested, the results (somewhat shocking) showed that almost everybody don’t have a clue of even the basic meaning of these two words according to the Word.
Through regular postings on this website, I intend to reveal the depths and true meaning of these two words according to the Word and what the Spirit of God will open up to us. It is completely not my intention to say that I know everything about the subject, but just the other day I heard a proverb that goes more or less like this: “The teacher teaches while learning himself”
First of all, you will never receive (nor understand) Grace without Faith! Faith grows from the Word of God in the same manner as a plant grows from its seed in the ground! And Faith without Grace is impossible. These two goes hand in hand – like Sodium & Chlorite. Each one separately is very dangerous and toxic for human beings, but it is the most basic necessary ingredient in our diets when combined as Sodium chlorite – which is ordinary salt.
We need to look at these two words from the perspective of the whole Word of God because God reveals Himself and His final plan of redemption throughout the entire Word. The God of the Old Testament is still the same God of the New Testament. He did not change His mind concerning mankind. He had the same plan even before He created the earth and Adam. So, when we think about it this way, why in the world did He reveal Himself as the ferocious God of fire and thunder and with all His strict laws to His beloved people? There is a reason behind this all.
We clearly see the history of Israel unfold when God delivers His people from Egypt through miracles and wonders. He then sets them up in the wilderness and gives them His Laws – a complete set of principles (approximately 2700 of them) with specific standards for spiritual, moral, hygienic and social behavior. The intention of the law of God for His people was to protect them from themselves and to set them apart from any other nation. It also provided a form of grace and forgiveness (temporary) through the blood offerings according to the law. From this history, we also see how strict the application of the law was, in the sense that even innocent family members were stoned to death due to the misconduct of the father of the household.
- Heb 10:28 Anyone who violates the law of Moses dies without mercy “on the testimony of two or three witnesses.” (ISV)
The accent is being placed on the words “without mercy” for those who ignored or concealed their own sins and misconduct. If they did acknowledge their misconduct before someone testified about it, according to the law they still had the option of bringing the specified offering to the priests in the Tabernacle or Temple for the remission of their immediate sins. Furthermore we also see the High Priest offering a blood sacrifice once a year for his own sins as well as for all the sins of the people that was done in ignorance.
- Heb 9:7 But only the high priest went into the second part, and then only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins committed by the people in ignorance.
This means, although the law was strictly applied, God was still gracious in the provision of mercy to His people on all levels of their conduct, whether the sin was done purposefully or in ignorance. Through this we can now acknowledge that the final blood offer of Jesus Christ also completely covers and redeem us from our own sin (both purposefully and in ignorance).
The Word says in 1 Corinthians 10:6; Now these things became examples for us so that we won’t set our hearts on evil as they did. And Verse 11 says: These things happened to them to serve as an example, and they were written down as a warning for us in whom the climax of the ages has been realized.
All these things happened to serve as an example for us – to show us exactly what we have missed under the law and what we have gained / received under the Grace of God. The Word stipulates in Jas 2:10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point is guilty of breaking all of it. The history of Israel shows us that it is a case of impossibility to keep all the laws (2700 of them) and if you fail in one, you fail in all of them. I am sorry to tell you straight that it is not in man to keep even one simple law (like the Sabbath) for all of his life. If we really chose to live under the law (see Gal 5:4), then the church would become desolate very quickly due to the weekly stone throwing ceremonies on people who violated the Sabbath the previous week.
- Gal 5:4 Those of you who are trying to be justified by the law have been cut off from Christ. You have fallen away from grace.
And please, don’t fool yourself in trying to combine the keeping of the law (such as the Sabbath) with the fullness of the Grace of God. The Law and the Grace stands for two completely different dispensations and covenants and the latter fulfilled the requirements of the Law – which is the punishment for sin.
Paul writes in Rom 3:20 Therefore, no human being will be justified in God’s sight by means of the works prescribed by the law, for through the law comes the full knowledge of sin.
It is therefore impossible to impress God by your own performance (by keeping the law) or self induced sacrifices / pain offerings/ specific rituals, etc and He is not interested in anything wherein you can boast about your successes or achievements. This is exactly the key to the whole plan of grace from God.
- Eph 2:8-9 For by such grace you have been saved through faith. This does not come from you; it is the gift of God and not the result of works, lest anyone boast.
Grace and the subsequent forgiveness of all your sins is a gift of God. He is the initiator and the provider of this awesome gift of grace – unmerited favor! Through His unconditional love for all people, He has already given this grace to the whole world and the only thing that remains is for you and me to accept and enjoy it completely.
Stay tuned in for the next portion on this subject which will follow in due course. Follow me as we search the revelation knowledge from the Word concerning these two topics and you will find a new dimension in your faith towards God and also see the futility of current Church laws and bylaws. You can do nothing to impress God, otherwise than to follow His perfect will for you. Church denominations have brought in all sorts of laws (dress codes and hair designs, etc) and a specific form of praise and worship – but it is all in vain.
Eric Heath is the Senior Pastor of End Time Pentecostal Ministries in Danville, South Africa and also the President of Galilee International Ministries (SA) and he is available to minister on this subject as well as other major subjects concerning our life in Christ. He can be contacted through this website by completing the box as provided below.