On Sunday morning (16 Jan 2011) while attending a local congregation, the Lord spoke to me concerning the Church.  This refers to you and me who declare that we are the children of God and therefore claim that we are also the Bride of Christ.  

The local pastor was speaking about the fact that a number of people from this congregation requested/required marital counseling – but they rarely attended a church service.  In my personal life and experience, I can truly testify that if it was not for the love of our Lord Jesus Christ and the fact that both myself and my wife attended church on a regular basis, we would not have made it through the stormy waters of our marriage at that stage.  We would have ended up as another divorce statistic.   Praise the Lord for His mercy and protection and wisdom and that He guided us when most needed and He still does it every day – even if we don’t notice it.  

What the Lord laid upon my heart was the scripture where the people of Israel were accused of terrible sin:   It is about the story of Elijah after he had killed the 450 prophets of Baal at Carmel.  The statement that Elijah made to God is in fact an impeachment towards the people of Israel, which will resound many years later when the Lord Jesus spoke to them again – and to us today through His Word: 

1Ki 19:10 He (Elijah) said, “I have been very jealous for the LORD, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” 

What came to mind was the fact that nothing much has changed since then.  Quite a number of people who declare themselves as children of the Lord of Hosts, being born-again and full of faith are nothing better off than the people of Israel in those days who killed the prophets send by God:  Here are the facts:   

  • They ignore the most important Covenant that God has given us through the blood of Jesus Christ or manipulate (falsify) it to serve their own purposes; 
  • They don’t understand that through this New Covenant we receive the righteousness of Jesus Christ  (being blameless and innocent) through the Grace of God and the new birth (both water and spirit) and through faith in Christ and NOT THROUGH OUR PATHETIC ATTEMPTS TO KEEP THE LAW:
    • Rom 3:24  By his grace they are justified freely through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
    • Eph 1:7  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our offenses, according to the riches of God’s grace
    • 1 Pet 1:3-5 According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ ………….. 
  • That He has terminated the curse of the Law and redeemed us from sin through His grace. 
    • Eph 2:8  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
  • That they still want to stay under the Law (or other personal laws) and keep all of its commandments, as if the keeping of the Law will save them and therefore nullify the redemptive work of Christ in their lives; 
    • Gal 5:4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
  • They delibarately chose to ignore the teachings of the Apostles such as Paul who wrote to the Galatians: 
    • O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? (Gal 3:1 – 3
 You can either be under the Law or under Grace.  That is your choice but you cannot be under two covenants at the same time.
 Let me explain from a personal point of view and experience the vast difference between the Law and Grace:

  • It is like signing a contract for a loan or to purchase something that you really need or want;
  •  This contract is governed by Law and will contain specific elements of the agreement;
  •  These elements will spell out in detail what is expected of you and how you are supposed to fulfill each and every stipulation of this contract;
  •  These stipulations could be fierce and does not leave you any room for error or speculation or assumptions;
  •  This contract also includes the stipulations when your performance (or lack of it) against this contract will be seen as being in breach of one or more stipulations;
  •  If you are in breach of one stipulation, you are in breach of the whole contract;   

Therefore, the next paragraph which includes all the penalties will kick into play and you will receive very shortly a summons to appear in court.   

 Under this scenario, there is no grace; 

  •  
    • Let me rephrase this once more:  THERE IS NO GRACE!!!!  DON’T ASK FOR GRACE
    • You either pay up or you lose out;
    • The courts and lawyers and business people of this world DO NOT understand the terminology of “Grace”. 
    • Therefore, even if you admit guilt in the process you will not receive /find any mercy and the courts will give judgment for the plaintiff to repossess your property or whatever in order to receive the amount that is due by you;
    • Scripture says:  For example, when you go with your opponent in front of a ruler, do your best to settle with him on the way there. Otherwise, you will be dragged in front of the judge, and the judge will hand you over to an officer, and the officer will throw you into prison. I tell you, you will never get out of there until you pay back the last penny!” (Luk 12:58-59)
  •  

 The thing is: We were already guilty against this contract (Law) even before we were born, because Paul wrote to the Romans: 
  • For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (Rom 3:23) 

 On the other hand; Grace works completely the other way round:

  •  
    • First of all, the contract towards life eternal without condemnation that we as human beings so deeply desire and need, was already signed by the Lord Jesus Christ in His Name and with His blood;  (That is the New Covenant that was signed on our behalf);
    • Second of all: You cannot ask for Grace – it was already given to all people the day when Jesus died.  You have to accept it and confess your sins before God and you will receive His grace as a gift. 
    • He took full ownership and accountability for this contract;
    • Indeed, Jesus Christ fulfilled each and every stipulation of the Law that requires the death/blood of the one who sins, by being crucified in our place and by the atonement of His blood on the mercy seat;
      • For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Rom 6:23) 
      • But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter (Rom 7:6)
      • There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. (Rom 8:1-2)
    • The Lord Jesus will still provide His Grace and mercy abundantly and without condemnation.  He restores His love completely as if you have never sinned. 
    • If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1Jn 1:9) 
    • Grace does not give us carte blanche to commit sin and then quickly ask for forgiveness.  As Paul wrote; No God forbid.
    • Without a doubt, Grace motivates and encourages you to live a life of righteousness and to be holy, because God said: You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Pet 1:16)
  • You see – even if I make a mistake(s):  

    As discussed previously:  You cannot utilize the terminology/ stipulations according to Grace (New Covenant) if you still choose to be bound under a contract (Law – Old Covenant).  You cannot form part of both covenants – rather chose the New Covenant of Grace and the righteousness through Jesus Christ as He has already paid the full price for you!  End of Part 1.   Part 2 will continue with the actual message that the Lord has laid upon my heart for the Church of today.    

 
Jump to part 2
 

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