Faith Introduces Us To His Grace

Is faith some sort of magical power that we can wield in order to change our circumstances for the better? Does faith allow us to overcome all of our problems? Of course not.

Is the Christian life one where we use our great faith to ‘stand’ on the Scriptures, or we exercise our faith to ‘claim’ some sort of victory?  No. That is babyish.

Faith is not a mystical force that allows us to live a victorious life of health, wealth and prosperity. Beware of preachers who tell you so, who teach that your faith can bring you great material and physical success. In his first letter to Timothy, the apostle Paul calls such false teachers, “men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain.”

Don’t believe the liars who claim that faith should be used as a way OUT of tribulations. Listen to the apostle Paul, who tells us to rejoice IN THE MIDST of our tribulations!

What is faith? Faith is responding to God with a heart of trust. Faith becomes trust, or belief, when we respond to what the Lord Jesus reveals to us. In other words, the abstract noun ‘faith’ becomes the active verb ‘to believe’.

My relationship today with the Lord God is more real and fulfilling than any other relationship I have on this earth. That is only possible through faith. Every day I trust Him; every day I respond with faith to His presence in my life.

If you are drifting away from God, you can reverse that path by having more faith, which means deciding to trust Him more.

For example, if you think God is ashamed of you, you must exercise faith that God is NOT ashamed of you. (The fact that we still think and do things that ‘are’ shameful is not part of the equation.) We must believe what He has said in Hebrews 2:11.  He is not ashamed to call us His brothers and sisters.

If you think He needs your money, your works, or your service, then you must exercise faith by believing that we have nothing to offer Him.  The apostle Paul speaks the truth when he says this about God:  “He is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything. Rather, He himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else” (Acts 17:25).

If you think that He still holds your sins against you, then you must exercise faith in the truths He gave us in 1 John 4:8 & 16 and 1 Corinthians 13:5:  God is love, and love keeps no records of wrongs.

When God tries to teach you something new, when He reveals a new truth to you, you will have faith in Him if you believe Him.  Cast out the lie, and accept the truth. If you do, you will have demonstrated “faith that pleases God” (Hebrews 11:6).

It seems that the trials and tribulations of life provide God with the greatest opportunity to teach us and to guide us.

Church attendance had always been very important to me, so when God told me to quit, it was a potentially terrifying dilemma for me, the final blow to my dream of raising my kids in a Christian home.  But I was prepared, because He had been teaching me that He is looking for real faith that comes from the heart, as opposed to outward acts of religion that come from the flesh.(1 Samuel 16:7, John 7:24, Romans 2:28, 2 Corinthians 5:12, 2 Corinthians 10:7, 2 Timothy 3:5)

Choosing to obey the Lord’s guidance by quitting church was the beginning of a new way of life for me: a life of faith.

God revealed a new truth to me — that church attendance is not important — and I responded by believing Him.  It’s that simple. God shows us truth and we respond by trusting Him.  That is faith.

Faith can not be observed; it can not be faked. God looks at a person’s heart, not at what can be seen or observed.  Church attendance can be both seen and observed. It doesn’t take any faith to go to church; it doesn’t take any faith to sing worship songs, or pay tithes.

Walking by faith means that you live according to the Tree of Life. You cannot live a life of faith if you are living according to the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

We are saved through faith by grace, and from then on our continual faith in Jesus leads us to a deeper knowledge of grace.  Every day, faith leads to more grace.

So faith introduces us to His grace.

“Through our Lord Jesus Christ…we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:2).

The obedience of faith is the missing puzzle piece that many Christians are looking for; they need to add faith to their daily lives, which leads to an understanding of the grace of God.  Our faith in Him leads us to a deeper knowledge of Him who is gracious, and kind. Grace belongs to Him; HE is gracious.

Being a Christian is all about growing in grace and in our knowledge of the Lord Jesus. We are not told to grow in faith, we are told to grow in grace (2 Peter).

Allow faith to be your introduction into the grace in which we stand.

June 18, 2016

Outside of Churchianity

daylight dirt road ecology environment

What is the law of the Spirit of life? And how is it different from the law of sin and death? Paul mentions these two opposing laws in his letter to the Romans.

“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:2)

The path to freedom is going to be different for each individual born-again believer, so all I can do is share my story. For me, after spending 15 years wandering in the wilderness of Churchianity, the Lord God Himself set me free to enter the Promised Land of Rest.

He made me free by slowly and gently leading me away from a life focused on “works.” He made me free by stripping me of my belief system that was based on rules and regulations.

Imagine one of those really irritating Christians who is all about, “you have to do this, and you shouldn’t do that!” Yeah. That was me.

But then my husband quit church.

I had spent years waiting for him to repent and obey, so when he gave up altogether, I had to completely let go of my hope of one day having the perfect Christian family.

It seemed so devastating to me at the time — church attendance was the “First Commandment” in my denomination (which was a non-denominational church) — but it was actually one of the best things that ever happened to me.  His quitting church led me to quit church, and it was only then that I could see that I had made church attendance an idol.  And that idol worship kept me separated from God in my mind.

I quit church in 2004, and by 2006 most of the ‘law of sin and death’ had been removed.  By teaching me the truth, the Lord was able to get rid of the falsehoods that were keeping me in the wilderness.  But there was one ‘law’ that I was still holding on to tenaciously!  I still believed that we “have to ask forgiveness for our sins.” . . . Thanks to AM Radio and an excellent grace teacher (Bob George!), in 2007 the Lord was finally able to gently remove that one last requirement.

From that point on, I no longer had a Christian To-Do List. I realized that there was simply nothing left for me to do. I then began to live my life in a totally different way.

How was my Christian life different?  I began living day by day simply trusting Him to lead me and guide me.  The unrealistic expectations that I put on our three kids slipped away, and I began to relax and allow them to be themselves.  I also began to give my husband grace, and stopped trying to change him into a repentant and obedient ‘godly man.’  I stopped believing that I could “serve God” (as if He needed anything from me!  Acts 17:25), and I began resting in the the work He has already done for me.

In essence, I began living by the law of the Spirit of life. And I stopped living by the law of sin and death.

Here in the Promised Land of Rest, outside of Churchianity, I am able to live every day with Jesus — who is Life — worshiping Him in spirit and in truth.

It’s a wonderful life.

February 24, 2016