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Empowering Grace Teaching


"Taking your stand, part 2"



Look at this verse from Gal 5:1 — “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” In this verse, Paul gives us the reason God sent His son Jesus Christ into this earth in 4 words: 


IT WAS FOR FREEDOM! 


By design, God wants you and I to be as free as He and Jesus are (I know that makes religious flags go up. But it’s right here in this verse!) Not only does He want us free, which we are now in Christ, but He wants us not to be subject again to a yoke of slavery, and to keep standing firm in freedom! So in this lesson on taking your stand, I’ve been sharing some primary ways that will help us in doing so. Last time, I gave you 3 of them. Let’s continue.


4. Knowing who we are in Christ. 

Rom 4 — "He (Jesus) who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification." 


Jesus was delivered over because of our transgressions, and this produced our FORGIVENESS of sins. He was raised because of our justification, and this produced our NEW LIFE! 


Christians are not just “forgiven sinners”, but they are “forgiven saints”! 


They have been completely changed inside, at the core, and have God’s life-DNA coursing through their spiritual veins. When we see the many New Testament verses that contain the phrase, “in Christ”, or “in the Lord”, etc, we should take a mental note that we are united with Christ; you are 1 spirit with Him. For example, when we look at an astronaut walking on the moon, we understand that the real person is inside the space suit, kept safe from the outside elements. It is the same with us, our behavior is not the real us. Even though we make plenty of bad choices, the real “us” who is 1 spirit with the Lord, is inside. Our conduct is like the space suit of the astronaut — we are kept safe inside by God’s power, see 1 Peter 1:5, 1 John 5:18 and Jude 1:24. We are not our behavior. The real “us” has been completely changed and is heaven-ready! 


An erroneous teaching says that someone could lose their salvation by his poor performance. But a Christian, a believer in Jesus Christ, can never lose his identity; for he has been sealed by the Spirit for the day of Redemption, see Eph 1:13-14. Too many of God’s precious children are ignorant of their new life in Christ Jesus, and as a result, walk on spiritual eggshells in their relationship with the Lord. Then many, in trying to come up with reasons why we still give into sin, have come up with various “soul-theories” from their own understanding; cherry-picking verses from all over the Bible to back up their beliefs. Remaining ignorant of our new life in Christ keeps people from taking a firm stand in freedom.


5. Not giving credit to the enemy.

Heb 2:14-15 — “14 Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.”


People who seem to always credit the enemy for the life-problems they face, do so, out of fear as we can see from v.15. The enemy, the devil, has been rendered powerless against every Christian, and Jesus has freed them from any fear that would try to enslave them. So then, why do bad things happen? Simply, because we live in a fallen world, and not only that, but our outward man (our bodies) are getting older. We shouldn’t credit the devil for these things, but we should always credit God for victory in those things, see Eph 5:20, Col 3:17 and 1 Thess 5:18. What part does the enemy play in these things coming against us? He uses them in trying to take advantage of us in getting our eyes off of Jesus and His finished work. These things are his schemes.


Look at what we read in Eph 6:11 — “Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.” Even though he has been defeated by Jesus and rendered powerless against God’s children, his aim in every trying situation we come up against, is to make us think differently. But when we “PUT ON” the full armor of God (wear it in our daily lives), then we will be able to firmly stand against the devil’s schemes (Even in the midst of trying situations, we know that we have the victory in Christ). So many of God’s precious kids go around talking about the devil and what he’s doing. This is not the way to firmly stand against him or his schemes (Honestly, it weakens our stand against him). Also, the Christians have no business in trying to fight a defeated foe; for we stand against him by putting on the full armor of God (Wearing this armor is God’s grace working in our lives). So then, how do we put on (wear) God’s full armor? By faith in God’s grace. Wearing the full armor of God is the way that we take our stand in freedom!


6. Fixate on Jesus, not sin.

Heb 10:13-14 — “13 For if (under the Old Covenant) the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, 14 how much more (under the New Covenant) will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” 


Understanding the finished work of Christ is the way to have a Christ-consciousness, or a Christ-awareness, and not a sin-consciousness, or a sin-awareness. The writer of Hebrews is contrasting the Old Covenant and its sacrifices, to the New Covenant and its finished sacrifice. One of the main problems under the Old Covenant was one’s conscience was never cleansed by animal sacrifices (later, he said it was impossible for one to have a cleansed conscience, see Heb 10:1-4). But under the New Covenant and through the finished work of Christ, those who believe (Christians) have their conscience cleansed; so that they can serve the living God in spirit and in truth, see John 4:24. The word CLEANSE is not a present tense verb, as in CLEANSING, but it is a word that describes what took place inside every Christians when they came to Christ. This is because under the New Covenant, God has promised to never remember your sins, see Heb 10:12 (Elsewhere, He says that he doesn’t hold our sins against us, 2 Cor 5:19, and He’ll never deal with us according to our sins, nor reward us according to our iniquities, Psa 103:10). 


If this is true, that in Christ we have a cleansed conscience, why are so many fixated on their sins; seeking to always confess them to God and asking Him for His forgiveness? Even though their spiritual awareness (conscience) has been cleansed by the blood of Christ and been given a new heart, being ignorant of the finished work of Christ causes them to think and see sin, instead of thinking and seeing Jesus. You can understand then, why Christians who are fixated on sin rather than Jesus, have much difficulty in taking their stand in freedom.


7. Understand our innate quality of love. 

Phil 2:3-4 — “3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” 


We, every one of us in Christ, have been designed by God to function according to the blueprint of these verses; for this is what took place inside us when we came to Christ and became God’s children. Look at the previous verses — “Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, 2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.” Look at the 4 instructions of v.2, “being of the same mind... the same love… united in spirit… intent on one purpose”. This seems impossible, but once again, let me stress that we have all been designed to function this way; for God’s DNA, which is love, is coursing through our spiritual veins. If you notice, our differences come as we focus on other things besides Jesus and His finished work. I fully realize that God has made us to be free-thinkers, because no one has cornered the market when it comes to the endless grace of God and the riches of His love. Our free-thinking should be about Jesus and His finished work; for only by that knowledge will we grow up into Christ. In these verses, Paul is not addressing the differences that we have as humans, but he is addressing how we should function as the Body of Christ in bringing glory to God by loving and serving one another (Jesus also touched on this in His new commandment for the Church, see John 13:34-35). When people focus on our differences, opinions, biases, etc, it keeps us divided. 


Look at this verse in Eph 4:32 — “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Forgiveness is love expressing itself through us towards others; it’s a work of God’s grace, not something that we have to try to accomplish. People that say things like, “I’m not ready to forgive them.”, or “In time, I’ll forgive them.”, or the such, do not understand forgiveness, and more importantly, do not understand the innate quality of love that is inside them. Look at this last verse in 1 Cor 12:31 — “But earnestly desire the greater gifts. And I show you a still more excellent way.” This “more excellent way” is the way of love. It’s grace working in our lives. It’s the living Christ loving others through us. When this takes place, the “greater gifts” just happen — we don’t make them happen, He does.


You can understand then that people who are unaware of the innate quality of love inside them will have challenges in taking their stand in freedom.

 
 
 
 

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