​Faith (6): Faith for service

3  For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

 4  For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:

 5  So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

 6  Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;

 7  Or ministry, let us wait on ourministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;

 8  Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness. 

(Romans 12:3-8) (KJV)

We are to use our grace-gift in proportion to our faith. Both therefore has proportion that must correspond.

Grace differs, therefore gift differs.

Grace is what God gives and can increase and the gifting is the expression of it in the natural world.

We have gifts according to the measure of God’s grace. And we should expression the gift in proportion to our faith. Our responsibility is to use our gifts recognising that it takes faith to do so.

Grace comes from God (calling) gifts is what is released to man in the glory of God.

Faith is the level of confidence you have and grace is capacity, gift is the expression.

That does not sound like the concept of faith in which you are supposed to become a millionaire.

But since the concept of faith (as it deals with service) is in the Bible, we do ourselves a lot of harm if we don’t pay attention to it.

We have a measure of faith that needs to be applied in service, operation of spiritual gifts, becoming functional members of the body of Christ.

But I have never heard a sermon on faith for service it has mostly been faith for things.

That is why we have things but most church folks are not functioning in any service role. If at all, it is well below what is possible because of the lopsided emphasis of what faith is.

Why is this the case? I absolutely don’t know. But it is really *unfortunate.*

And another falsehood I have learnt is that everyone has “The” measure of faith, so that means it is the same for everybody and they will always tell us that means we can all believe for things.

Again falsehood seems to be piled on falsehood in the bid to see nothing from the scriptures except what we can get and not what we can give. And there is nothing wrong with getting, for how can we give if we don’t get?

The man gets on the TV screen and it is about how to get your miracles, how to get your breakthrough. This whole self-involved faith as exclusive view of faith for the practicing Christian is sickening.

This meism has become the new Christianity. But it appeals and the preachers keep supplying it.

The word “the” in KJV is for the translators convenience and not in the original Greek. And measure means an original portion.

And in that passage, Paul was explaining that we should not think of ourselves more highly than we ought to.

If the measure means we have the same measure then Paul should just have said, everyone is the same, but everyone is not the same, because of the difference in measures of faith, innate confidence that comes for the expression of our gifts in which some stand out more than the other.

Paul said that so that we stop jostling for positions, becoming boastful, competitive, feeling inferior or superior. We should think soberly, he said, with a sense of proper measurement.

We should recognize our measure of faith from God, hence the level of confidence with which we express what we express. If we think more, we will burn out, if we think less, we will fall below expectation.

But there is a prevalent self-directed concept of faith that has made us all so self-involved.

Nobody teaches that service needed to be by faith and faith is based on the yet unseen reality of the word of God (the call of God in your life, what is written in heaven about you).

But there is a lack of emphasis on faith for service because of the preoccupation with the felt needs of the people, not their truth need.

We have fallen into the trap warned against by Paul about people -pleasing messages, what will please the people, with immediate relevance to them to keep them coming for more.

So Jesus asked: when I come, will I find faith on the earth. That question extends beyond the immediate premise of prayer but all expressions of faith.

Definitely if Jesus comes now,  he will find faith for things on the earth, faith for external transformation, faith that maintains and enhances people’s social standing. But where is faith for service

How many of us Christians move with the sense of call for spiritual service as it is clearly expressed in the Bible? We have been taught that we just need to congregate to hear the big man of God speak and that is enough. Consumerism all over again.

Everything is summarised in: hear the big man/woman speak, give him some money and you will be fine. That is the limit of the faith we have been taught. We are so unwise.

But in spiritual service comes our distinction, and there is the proportion of faith in which we should serve God and that kind of faith needs to be emphasised.

Paul wrote that: if I have ALL faith and can remove mountains…

He might be talking hypothetically using hyperboles, but it shows faith can be in proportions and that is specifically what he taught when referring to the need for us to use our gifts in proportion to our faith.

Jesus with limitless measure of the Spirit obviously had all faith. And the fruit of the Spirit is faith. Later, I will touch more on that.

The master, in a parable of Jesus, gave talents to the servants according to their several ability.

What is given is grace. It comes from the hand of the master as grace, it touches their hands as gift. And they should use it, based on their confidence level, in an **Independent** sense, fully under their direction,  bringing increase to the kingdom.

When the master came back he told the man who did not use his talent because he said he lacked the confidence to do so,  that he could as well have given it to the bankers and he will receive it with interest when he comes back.

Who are the bankers? It is when we use our gifts under another man’s direction, maybe in a church.

That also is a proportion of faith, but it seems to be the lowest proportion to give the talent to the banker, so that the banker risks the money for you, while you are almost a passive onlooker.

But the least level of faith expression in service is what is being mostly hailed as the ultimate today.

From that parable, giving the money to the banker was a concession the master was willing to make, not the ideal he wants to celebrate. Taking the money to the banker is low risk and therefore low faith, if faith is defined by Peter walking on water. It will therefore please God the least. But not doing anything is really bad.

Another word for grace for service is anointing. It is grace we serve others (we are meant to, according to the Bible, be “good stewards of the manifold grace of God”) using the conduit of our gift and in proportion  (size of the pipe) to our faith. The contact the anointing on our lives.

It is all about using your gifts for increase. People need their faith, confidence, boosted in the service of God and preaching needs to be directed to that direction to unleash the gifting in the people of God.

Faith and grace worked together in our salvation experience and we need them in an ongoing sense for spiritual service.

Paul wrote that we have been given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift. So we find the measure used for gift and proportion and measure used for faith. The measure is the deposit, the proportion is the activity. In a particular context we may have more proportion than in others as Jesus was not able to do many miracles in his home town, even though he did much elsewhere.

The operational words are Recognition and Use.

The call of God comes for us to recognise what we have been given in grace-gift. Recognition is first.

Because of the almost nonexistence teaching of this in the body of Christ, those who have discovered their calling and are walking in it seems to be the odd one out. Many people are content to blend with the crowd, focus on the rat race of an earth-defined and confined existence.

Have faith first that truly you have a gift as part of the body of Christ, because that is what the word of God says.

How would you feel if some parts of your body refuse to work because they are not aware they are even supposed to work?  You won’t like it. Physiotherapists will have something to say to that. We need divine physiotherapists released for the body of Christ.

Picture the look on Jesus now, when a large swath of His Body,  the church are ignorant of their calling.

What calling have you? It takes faith, not a big revelation to recognise it.

We have been inundated in the church with big revelation ministers so much that we believe that if seven thunders did not sound calling your name from heaven, you won’t believe you are called.

What a shame, as everyone is called. 

Paul however said that we have a measure of faith. We already have it. The word is near us, the word of faith, we don’t need to climb a mountain or swim the ocean. It starts with faith-recognition that what God said is true, that we have all received a measure of faith. We are worth something to God, to his kingdom.

This faith connects us to the plans and purposes of God for us from the foundation of the earth. The devil hates that as he is no longer willingly and actively involved in the plan of God. He is jealous to no end. And would want nothing more than for you to be preoccupied with meism.

Oh that our eyes are opened to see this! We are not required to do something extraordinary, just believe we are gifted, that we are called to walk in a particular direction of service.

Paul said that according to the grace has has received, he wrote to the church in Rome. He was not boastful about it, but grateful about it.

Faith is the disposition to embrace and express the grace poured out on us for service. The combination of the grace (what you are given by God different from someone else’s) and the faith (what you do about the grace)  makes the gift functional.

I know why the devil and some church leaders are so scared of having that emphasised and affirmed. For the devil, he does not want that army unleashed on him, for the church leaders, it means their position of supremacy might be threatened.

Grace is divine ability/enablement (and we can grow in grace), faith is man’s capacity.

So grace for teaching comes but the capacity differs from one to another, and faithfulness delivers more capacity.

The one who was faithful and returned 10 for the five talents received, doubled his capacity.

But when the master gave him one talent more that is grace. So he grew in grace and his proportion of faith increased (capacity), in what he can do. The master giving them talents according to their several ability is the measure of faith.

The grace is inclusive of the platform that God gives (Paul’s writing was a power platform), but the faith is what you do in diligence. But faith*fulness (consistency) leads to more grace, as it leads to more faith (confidence).

Both grace and faith has a link to prayer. We approach the throne of grace in prayer to find GRACE to help in time of need and James said we should build up ourselves on our most holy FAITH, PRAYING in the Holy Ghost.

So the one who emphasises prayer emphasises increase grace and faith for service. But this won’t happen if faith and by extension prayer is all about meism. We need a shift.

Paul said we should not be slothful in business but be fervent in spirit serving the Lord. He said that a few verses after his gift-grace-faith discussion.

The measure of faith may differ, the grace calling may differ in the special ability you have to perform a certain function, we may differ in longevity of service, available resources and platforms, but we all need to be passionate, fervent, red hot, devoted, lavish in serving God.

(Faith is also reflected in the size of the projects embarked on, the authority in the voice of the speaker, e.g. in prophesying.)

Red hot devotion was displayed by the woman who poured oil on Jesus before his burial, an alabaster box of precious ointment.

Others wanted to analyse it, but Jesus rewarded her with fame. She was faithful (expressed devotion) in little and God gave her much. That is grace for grace. For releasing her grace-gift she was given a greater platform. And hundreds of years later, she inspires a song by Cece Winans. And her story has impacted many.

Via: cecewinans.com
 

[YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uq8VP9osGrg%5D

The fruit of the Holy Spirit is faith (consistent confidence in the word of God and acting on it).

Faith delivers consistency wherefore Peter sunk while walking on water because his confidence level in the word dropped.

We need to have an unshakable confidence (faith) in our calling (what God has said we should do on earth) (and it is written somewhere in the scripture) and start acting it with confidence (faith).

After Jesus rescued Peter when he sunk, he asked him: why did you doubt? It means why did you neglect your faith?

Faith is both a gift and a fruit, that is how important it is that it has to come in two flavours.

You may have much grace but little faith meaning little faithfulness, as you are double-minded vacillating between confidence and lack of confidence, being sure you are called and not being so sure.

The Bible says let not that person think he will receive anything from God. One thing we receive is grace.

It may be released but we may have not received it, just as the grace of salvation which we read has been released to men, has not been received by all.

And we are all supposed to strive to receive the words: well done good and faithful servants. Those are the words that the Master used to those who traded/used their talents.

“Faithful” means not looking back so you are fit for the kingdom of God. It means consistency, being undistracted.

Faith is also a gift that comes in the grace package. And the fruit of the Spirit is faith.

Both are gifts in a sense, emanating from God. But we may need to walk in the Spirit for the latter, while for the former, is received from God.

The former has a positional quality while the latter has an ongoing quality. They are like two sides of the same coin.

So we all received faith (noun) in a measure but we need to start showing it in being faithful (consistent) (adjective) in service, labouring in the service of God. Paul said I laboured more than the other apostles (similar grace-gift-faith deposit, but different level of active faith).

It is not enough to just do whatever your hands finds to do. That takes little or no faith.

It means that you pick on what is available and you labour away or you see someone you admire and want to be like him or you seek attention, or you see a need and try to meet it. These underutilise faith. In all of them the place of recognition is missing.

After recognition, we need to use the gift. And what is needed is the right motivation, orientation of what we have so that we so not despise it as the man given the one talent dealt with his own, burying it because he did not think much of it.

Faith takes an healthy view of the gift we have received. And Paul wrote that we should not think more highly of ourselves than we ought to but to allow faith to define our perspective.

We should appreciate ourselves because God appreciates us enough to deal us a measure of faith to operate our gift. We are to think soberly, in moderation is our appraisal of ourselves, is what Paul said we should do as we have been given a measure of faith.

But we should think of ourselves according to our function as part of the body of Christ. Let that form the core of our self concept, not in comparison to others which is what we will do, if we reduce faith to just getting things in a vicious cycle. 

Let’s not fight in envy, jealousy, recognising  that the other person has grace that you don’t have; proportion of faith that you are yet to have, because that person is called to be a blessing to you.

Paul said “I magnify my calling, I make much of it, make the most of it”. See the impact everywhere now.

He did that by faith, we should too.

Focus on increasing in grace, increasing in faith, and having a close relationship with the Spirit being the source of fire, passion in our hearts for God. Humility (being willing to play at a “lower” level) qualifies you for more grace.

After recognition, as mentioned before, what we need to do is use the gifts and we will increase in what we use as the parable of the talent taught us.

It takes faith to connect with the divine plans specific for you. Many of us just go with the flow. We are either not just bothered at all about living accurately or we are burnt already from trying the wrong shoe. You don’t decide what your grace-gift is, you discover and recognise it.

But faith that connects with your service calling comes by hearing words affirming that. Christ told Paul he has a job for him, an that created faith in him. 

But most churches are not bringing forth such a word. The church has become the centre for emotional therapy, rather than centre for equipping/readying  the people of God for ministry/service. With that they confirm that they are building people for themselves and not for Christ.

Faith for salvation comes when we preach about the need for salvation, In a similar vein, faith for service comes when we preach it. Faith, we read from the Bible, comes from hearing the word of God in a particular area.

If we look at the words of Paul where he listed the fivefold ministry and if we rescue that passage from the old traditions that have compromised its meaning, the primary role of the Apostle-teacher spectrum is shown to be to equip the saints for the work of ministry, functional service, in the Kingdom of God.

So equipping for service is basic to the calling of the leadership of the church. But since they have refused to even preach about it,  then the potentials of the church remain locked up.

Faith comes by hearing the word, but we have really neglected the word of service to build faith in us for service so that we can do great things for His kingdom. We are therefore deprived of heaven’s reward, asked to go about chasing shadows.

Paul said he preached the whole counsel of God. Will you? Will you preach faith in all its facets, or the narrow purview of the so called faith movement?

Paul told some people, I have not neglected to preach to you all the counsel of God but the counsel of God concerning faith for service has been neglected overall in the church.

One of the problems is the narrow definition of service to God. It’s either solely in one extreme of going abroad as a missionary or the other extreme of only seeking to have members make millions so that they can contribute to the church.

In the latter, which is more prevalent, we have focused on Mark 11:22-24 type faith (faith in God) neglecting the Romans 12:3-6 type faith (faith for God).

“Teach my people faith” does not mean Mark 11:22-24 only and there is nothing wrong with but that is not all of it.

Therefore, we have a lopsided/skewed Christianity.

Let the people develop great faith for God. Let my people go that they may serve me was the cry before Pharaoh, it is the cry tofay.

Paul wrote: “How shall they believe, have faith, without a preacher,” without an emphasis on the matter, without someone preaching on it?

Who will preach about faith for service?

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​Faith (5): Faith changes you

Which one is true:

James said, show me your faith apart from your works and I will show you my faith by my works.

Paul said by grace we are saved through faith and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God.

So which one is true? Both are true, both are true in different senses.

Martin Luther had issues with the writing of James. He was a “by grace by grace” kind of person.

But we need to give James some credit for drawing our attention to the power of faith being beyond a positional reality.

If we reduce faith to mere positional reality then we would not have faith in what having faith can do. We would not extend the limits of our potential in the faith deposit. We would not make demand on it as we should.

We have all received a measure of faith. But the faith is not stagnant, it is impressive and expressive, it is should therefore be active.

You cannot express what is not impressed and you would express it if it impressed but the expression might be limited by the understanding or misunderstanding, training, instructions in its expression or lack of it.

Paul, hinting at that said that there is a way to walk and please God. And without faith it is impossible to please God and “the just shall live by faith.” All these show that there is a faith expression.

So I say faith changes you because it connects you with the grace of God.

By grace you are saved through faith. The faith connects us with the grace and that is what changes us. It is what takes us beyond the limits in which our native ability, sense, upbringing, experience can take us.

When we approach things from the angle of faith, it means we approach it from the angle of what the word of God has said, believing that what He said is true.

What you believe will always be backed by action, as Jesus said that out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. 

You don’t truly believe until you act on what you believe. 

When Eve stopped believing that the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil will lead to death, she ate the fruit and it led to death. You don’t truly believe until it changes how you behave.

Faith is important because it determines action. Abraham had faith and James said it was reflected in his obedience to God. So faith changing you is reflected in your change of action as it connects you with grace, the divine change factor. 

But not only does faith change you because it connects you with the grace of God, it also connects you with the righteousness of God.

It becomes the channel for divinity to connect with you and you become a extension of divinity.

It is through faith that we become partakers of the divine nature, that we share in the divine essence and that comes with certain differentials that we would not otherwise have experienced. 

That is why righteousness is beyond morality, it is alignment with God so he can flow through us.

Back to the event that happened in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve went out of alignment with God. They sinned and lost out of righteousness. They became unaligned with God, being the meaning of unrighteousness.

So faith leads to righteousness. The bible says that: and Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Believing God brought Abraham into the plans and purposes of God, brought him into alignment.

Righteousness in its pure sense is alignment with God.

It is in that context that we can understand when it is said that Christ became sin for us who knew no sin so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

He was made “misaligned from God” as it is written, cursed (consequences of being misaligned) is everyman who hangs on the tree, that the blessing of Abraham (the result of alignment with God) can come upon the gentiles through faith.

Abraham gained alignment by faith and so do we.

Alignment with God takes us to a whole new level altogether.

The kind of alignment we have come into in God changes the dynamics of our lives. It’s one which brings to bear the lordship of Jesus in our life. There is no alignment with God that does not bring you to the Lordship of Jesus, the most aligned one. 
The resurrection of Jesus defines the parameters of our alignment. Paul said if Jesus did not rise, then we Christians are of all men most miserable.

So the faith that brings you into a position and does not lead to new functionalities is empty, it is none faith.

That is the point James was trying to make, saying that faith without works is dead. 
A dead Jesus does nothing good to anybody. The Bible says that the first Adam was made a living soul, the last Adam was made a life-giving spirit, he was declared to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead.

Just being associated with the death of Jesus, is like mere taking something bad away, but the resurrection brings in something new.

If we just take something bad away, things can later on become bad again and you will need another death and it won’t be different from what we have in the Old Testament. But God is wiser than that. 
Jesus offered himself to God as the Lamb and had to rise from the death to apply the same blood in the heavenly temple, which corresponds to our hearts the core of who we are.

Hence Christ (divine alignment [truth], grace [life] and right action [way]) could dwell in our hearts through faith. In the resurrection, the reality becomes internal (in current reality) and not just external in a past event, as Christ manifests as a life giving spirit.

Faith” in his death alone does not bring change (any human being can die). We need to believe, as Paul said, that God raised him from the dead. His resurrection confronts us with the faith potential for change in a totally radical sense.

Jesus said that if we love him we would obey him. And that obedience is by faith since we don’t see him but we believe. 

A​n​d it works both ways that who I am affects what I do and what I do affects who I am. That I am changed affects what I do and what I do also changes me. 

So faith changes you by grace, by righteousness and by the very actions you take based on faith.

Hence we can situate what the Bible refers to that righteousness is from faith to faith. The action of faith changes you to be able to do even more in an ongoing incremental sense.

What I am saying is that the very act of obedience changes you.

Paul said that if we confess (action) with our mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in our heart that God raised him from the dead (being the basis of his being call Lord)  we shall be saved. And whoever CALLS (action) upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (without discrimination).
So before I made that confession, I was unsaved. It does not matter how strongly I wished to be saved, how much I hoped for being saved, or plan to be saved, I could not be saved.

Intention is not enough, action actually reflects the heart. So if I confess Jesus, I am saved. Out of the abundance of the heart,  the mouth speaks. And the mouth speaks to further fill the heart, as it is written: a man shall be filled with the fruit of his lips.

My action of faith therefore creates a long lasting change in me that I will not have otherwise and it is an action prescribed by the word of God, so it is an action of faith and not emotional. I do not feel that it is true but I believe it is true and did something about it, acted on it, and that changes me.

While Paul was speaking somewhere, a king listening to him said: you almost convinced me to be a Christian. But almost  does not cut it. Action is it. 

When Peter preached that first sermon, it was wonderful, but “wonderful” is not enough. The people asked: what shall he do to be saved? It always boils down to an action of faith to change us, starting from the salvation experience to everything else which is an expression and extension of our salvation.

James wrote: you say you believe God but the devil also believes and shudders. To shudder corresponds to an emotional reaction in humans and does not change anything.

So what is the difference? It is the action based on the fact that you believe.
When Philip preached to the Ethiopian eunuch, the latter said, “is this not water for me to be baptised?”

Phillip asked him: Do you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ?  He said I do and he baptised him.

And immediately there was a change in him and we went on rejoicing. He did not grow taller or shorter, but something happened to him as a result of the action of being baptised, which he was told he needed to do to express that he believed. If he did not do anything and things were left at the level of pondering, nothing substantial would have happened. But he was baptised, being an action of faith (obedience of faith) and he was changed beyond his own comprehension.

He experienced grace, alignment with divinity (righteousness) and inward transformation all in the same package. It is about believing backed with action. 

Jesus told Nicodemus: except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God. Down that passage, Jesus said that just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, He would also be lifted up. 
But being lifted up will not help anybody if nobody looked as they (Israelites bitten by deadly snakes) did to the bronze serpent made by Moses.

The looking is akin to act of faith which freed the Israelites from their near death experiences. So rather than hope for the best, we can look (act by faith in the direction of) Jesus, and be saved.

And the bible told us that we should look unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, so that we may successfully run the race set before us.

Along the race we are changed. It is not the same you that started it that will end it. 
Though the two bear the same name, they are vastly different because of the action of faith taken over time in the direction of the race set before you.

Righteousness (alignment with God), it is written, is from faith to faith. It means from last to first it is by faith. It means action of faith starts it, continues and ends it. There is no break from faith and along the way faith changes you (by grace, by righteousness and right action, with all the three intertwining).And the Bible says that by grace you are saved through faith. That sets in place a principle of the interaction between the two. One is the substance for change (grace) the other is the connector (the aligner with God.)

We are new creatures by faith in Jesus but it is from faith to faith, through which our new-creatureness becomes expressed in a life of obedience, as we in alignment, righteousness, connect to the Lordship of Jesus.

There is no running away from faith through which we have change.

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Of junk and fake grace (2)

Do you know you are not saved by faith but by grace through faith? Grace is a change agent that gets applied to you inwardly when to become a believer.

I know you are justified by faith, which goes from you to God, but you are saved by grace which comes from God to you.

Both happens at the same time. But if you mistakenly think you are saved by faith you are in error.

It means you don’t have to produce the fruit of a changed life since just believing in Jesus, which is a one-time event, is the only factor involved in your salvation.

If the grace comes, Jesus comes into your heart, the Spirit of Christ comes, life, light comes. Justification is only one side of the coin. It makes you right with God, grace is the other making you live like Christ. Grace does not make you right with God, it makes God right in you.

It is not called the grace of our Lord Jesus for fun. Note that it is not grace FROM our Lord Jesus (as if it is a one-time event), but grace OF. That grace carries his essence. It is not just a statement. People confuse justification with grace. It needs to stop. It presents grace as a past tense, but grace is present continuous.

Let this confusion stop, please.

Understanding the grace of God

girl-324688_640Colossians 1:6: which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth,

Power and purpose

The power and purpose of God is packed in his grace. It takes power to generate movement, or change, but it takes purpose to know the direction in which the change should be, or the movement.

When Paul said that we need to be transformed by the renewal of our minds (Romans 12:1-2), we need to put in mine that we cannot be transformed except that is our spiritual genetic possibility.

The caterpillar will transform into the butterfly, because that is his genetic coding. Our new spiritual genetic coding as new creature is based on the grace of God, which is what determines our transformation. That is a new way to start looking at the grace of God, as the divine encoding to make you run the way you should be, just as the law was the way God wanted the people to behave in the past. Grace was an internal encoding.

The bible says that by grace we are saved, through faith (Ephesians 2:8). With faith we open ourselves for the implantation of the word of God.

Paul, while describing the work of salvation he was involved in among the gentiles said that the door of faith has been opened to the gentiles (Acts 14:27). He also said that by faith we have access, an entrance, into the grace wherein we stand (Romans 5:2). The door of faith leads to the life of grace, being the template of our change.

Peter associated grace with life, calling it the grace of life (1Peter 3:7). There is no turning to a butterfly by the caterpillar, if the caterpillar loses its life. Though it has the potential, realising it will only be a mirage. But the grace in us, the grace of life, ensure that the life of God continues in us, on its own, and moves us inevitably into the maturity of Christ.

The bible says that there is hope for a tree if it is cut down that it will sprout again if it “experiences” water (Job 14:7-9). Water for the tree is life. The tree still has the genetic possibility of growth and bearing leaves and fruit, but without water it is going nowhere.

Remember the hair of Samson that was cut down (Judges 16:22-31)? With that his supernatural strength was removed, but his hair grew again, his ability was restored and he died “fulfilled.”

Paul, while leaving the church in Ephesians for the final time said that he committed them to the word of God’s grace which is able to build them up (Acts 20:32). That is growth, which is power to move in a specific direction of progress. He also added that when they are build up, they will be given an inheritance, which is the direction, the compass of that growth, the end point of the grace work.

When he also wrote in his letter to the same group, he continues in his theme of growth, saying that the ultimate purpose of the church is to be build up to the fullness of the measure of the statue of Christ, when each component of the church is supplying grace of life building the church on (Ephesians 4:11-16). Grace is both movement and destination, grace is everything. It is the grace of our Lord Jesus that should be with us.

Passion and principle

When Paul explained why he seems to have such an amazing result in his ministry, he said: “I am what I am because of the grace of God. I labour more than the other apostles but not I but the grace of God with me (1Corinthians 15:8-10).”

That means his drive, his passion is generated by the grace of God. He said that: I have died and the life I live I live by the grace of Jesus who gave his life for me (Galatians 2:20). The passion of grace is difference from empty zeal, zeal without knowledge, which Paul said was exhibited by the Jews (Romans 10:2). But our grace-zeal emanates from the true knowledge of Jesus. Our passion is not about a thing but a person, it is an expression of our love for Jesus as the church, his bride (Ephesians 5:22-33).

The love of God has been shed in our heart (Romans 5:5), and it spills over in our emotion. The Christianity in which you do not feel anything for God is false. If for nothing, we rejoice in hope of the coming glory of God (Romans 5:1-2), we rejoice in the Lord (Philippians 4:4), in the fact that our name is written in heaven, that we have eternal life (Luke 10:20), that we are the object of God’s love and that all things work together for our good, who are the called according to the purpose of God (Romans 8:28). We know that nothing can separate us from the love of God. We get this passion from the word of God, from the truth we glean from it.

Jeremiah said to God: your words were found and I ate them, and they are to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart (Jeremiah 15:16). Also Jeremiah said that the word of God is like fire shut up in his bones (Jeremiah 20:9), fire being a symbol of passion.

There is also the principle of grace, which helps us to walk free from sin. Paul wrote that we are not under the law but under grace (Romans 6).

That grace of the lord Jesus Christ (2Corinthians 13:14) is that which helps us to walk above sin just as he did. If we just have the law we would operate in the principle of sin and death, and would say like Paul: what I like to do I do not, but what I do not want to do that is what I do (Romans 7:1-8:2)

We will have a friction between intention and practice, but that is resolved with the grease supplied by the grace of Jesus, who walked smoothly in the will of God, without the principle the law of sin working in him, like it does in ordinary men. That is what the grace does in us.

However for such reality, we need to make a shift in our thinking, we need to start seeing ourselves having died with Christ, and raised up with him and now in him in the resurrection of Christ moving with his power we get to walk in newness of life, we get to live in that life, higher life, the new creature life (2Corinthians 5:17).

Grace, love, fellowship

dandelion-333093_6402Corinthians 13:14:  The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

Grace takes you from where and who you are to where and who you are supposed to be, i.e. like Jesus. Love brings God from where he is to where we are, and fellowship is a walk with the Holy Spirit.

Grace

Not only does the grace take us to where we should be while we are going on that journey we are treated by God as if we are already there. The grace is our covering paper, guaranteeing our steady safe arrival. We are covered by the grace of God.

There is no condemnation because of the grace of God (Romans 8:1). It was the grace of the Lord Jesus that made it possible for one of the thieves crucified with the right hand side of Jesus’ cross to meet him in paradise that day, even after his thoroughly rotten life (Luke 23:39-43).

The thief had all the wrong things going for him. His life had been a series of mistakes which landed him on the wrong side of the law, but he landed on the “right side” of Jesus (both figuratively and literally) because of faith. He confessed by faith and he was saved by grace.

Grace prepares a table before us in the presence of our enemy (Psalm 23), it points to the destination, and moves us in that direction. Paul said to the leaders of the church in Ephesians: I commit you to God and the word of his grace which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among those who are separated to that grace (Acts 20:32).

And inheritance is what you get at the end. You are given grace to establish you in the purpose of God, in the mandate of God. It is to ensure that no matter what, you get there, and be able to say like Paul, I have fought the good faith, I have kept the faith. The grace fuels your journey and enables connect to the compass.

Jesus told Paul: my grace is sufficient for you (2Corinthians 12:9). His grace makes it possible for us to accomplish great things in his name, it powers us. With grace we on a path to doing what the will of God is, aligning with the very mind of God.

Grace is answer to lack. It bridges the gap between the haves and the have-nots. It was in operation in the wilderness for the children as they ate manna from heaven. Each family experienced satisfaction and sufficiency (Exodus 16:16-36) for forty years, just as Jesus said: my grace is sufficient for you.

His grace makes it possible for us to jump start our destiny. It is the key to our experience of transformation. You can legislate the right behaviour, only the grace of God can change us inside out as we expose ourselves to it. Peter wrote that we should grow in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ (2Peter 3:18), this is because knowing him and walking in his grace go hand in hand.

We cannot claim to know him without knowing his grace, i.e. experiencing his ability working in you. Since he is the perfect man while alive he is able by the operation of his grace in us, make us changed human beings, make us people that walk by the Spirit of grace, which makes everything possible.

In the Old Testament we read that Zerubbabel, accomplished the rebuilding of the temple and it was by the manifestation of God’s grace, which was not by power nor might but by the Holy Spirit (Zechariah 4:6-9).

Love

Grace brings to God, while love brings God to us. Love is the divine resource that he bring with him, what he communicates to us, different from the lies the devil wants us to believe about him.

The lies started in the Garden of Eden, when the devil came to Eve (Genesis 3), saying: God does not love you, does not have your best in mind, sees you as competition, wants to keep you ignorant, and in bondage.

He succeeded in giving Eve a twisted view of God, a not so faltering view, the opposite of who he is, being the God who is love (1John 4:8).

And Jesus came with a massive mandate to recreate the love between the God and man when he made man in the Garden of Eden.

He is God’s emissary of love, reconnecting us with the love of God, and the God of love, the God who is love, who is caring and not aloof, you are concerned and not callous, who wants the best for us, sustaining us contrary to what the devil wants us to believe.

Jesus said that he has “not come to judge the world (John 3:17),” he did not to play into the devil’s stereotype of God but he says he has come to seek and save the lost.

He saw the multitude of the people and the bible says that he had compassion on them (Mathew 15:32). He was destined as a portal of God’s love. He is the love letter of God the father to humanity, and in frustration God rebuked Philip when he asked for the father.

Philip said: show us the father and that will be okay for us, but Jesus said: do you not know that if you see me, you have seen the father (John 14:7-9)?

Fellowship

The need for Grace is what brings us to God, the love of God brings us to God, while fellowship activates our experience of the two. We can talk all day about grace and love till we are blue in the face, but until we taste we will not “see” that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8).

The fact that God is good can be an ideological exploration or an experience. Fellowship is what man does and God allows and vice versa, and both by the Holy Spirit. It is drawing near to God.

For man, knowing God is the ultimate pursuit. Driven by the need to comprehend God’s love and experience his grace, we are driven to fellowship, as we come to the throne of grace, to obtain mercy (God’s love in action) and find grace to help in times of need (Hebrews 4:16). Fellowship is an innate need of man, moving us to deeper into the experience of God. And the one who brings the reality to us is the Holy Spirit.

He comes to be in us, to break any hindrance to personal intimate relationship with and connection to God. When we pray, speaking in tongue with the language that the Holy Spirit supplies to our spirit, the bible says we speak mysteries to God in the Spirit, we speak in God’s language (1Corinthians 14:2, 4). And fellowship is all about having a shared language as the basis.

With the language of the Spirit, we are able to connect with God in his own realm. Though still in the flesh we take on the wings of the Spirit as we speak in tongues.

Through fellowship we embrace the grace of Jesus Christ and walk in the love, we are therefore promised to take full advantage of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not some far away person, he lived in us, and Paul said that we should not be drunk with wine but filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18), who is with us, ready to be in constant fellowship with us.

Activators of grace and peace

italy-78177_6401Corinthians 1:3: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Grace and peace are like twins. Grace fuels you forward, peace makes you grounded. The bible says: it is good that the heart be established with grace not with food which has not benefitted those who are given to it. So Paul was saying in the focus verse that it is better to “eat” grace than to eat food for energy. It is more sustaining.

When God wants to send help it comes in the shape of grace. The help which Jesus is the embodiment of, which was sent to the earth was said to be full of grace. Jesus is a grace-package (John 1:14). And when Paul wanted to write about Jesus he identified him with his grace, saying the grace of the lord Jesus be with you (2Corinthians 13:14).

Grace is about activity while peace is about rest. When it comes to the operation of spiritual gifts, it is about grace (Romans 12:1-8, 1Peter 4:10-11).

You have a certain grace (which you get from Jesus) that you should release to the life of theirs which you do when you step into the various activities that you are called to do.

There was a parable that Jesus gave about how people use the talents that they are given. This has to do with the special abilities that God gives his servants. In that parable, the master said: occupy till I come. They were expected to use those abilities, graces well. Grace is what flows, while the gift is the firm in which it will happen.

Peter said that when we come to Christ we are expected to serve with the grace we have through him. We have different gifts, which are different forms in which the grace of Jesus gets communicated to others.

In the Garden of Eden, God called Adam to keep and tend the garden (Genesis 2:15), to enhance and protect it, and with that instruction comes the grace to do the work.

God does not give an assignment without the grace to succeed in it. If you are struggling in an assignment, always feeling incompetent, and rather than make progress you are drawn back, it is a sign that maybe you do not have the grace for the output that you want to release.

You may ask the question: which one does God give to the minister, and which one is released to the people? Are both graces? So where does the gift come from?

Answer: what comes from God is grace which turns to gift in the individual. I call it grace-gift. But for those who encounter the grace from others, they experience the gift in the life of the minster, which becomes grace in their lives.

Paul told Timothy to stir up the gift that is in him. He did not ask him to do anything else, other than put to use the gift in him. He recommended that the way to do that is to embrace the grace activators which are: love, sound mind and power (2Timothy 1:6-7).

Activators of grace

Sound mind

For sound mind, Paul wrote to the church in Rome that they should not think more highly of themselves, than they ought, but to “think” soberly as God has given them the measure of faith.

That means your self-perception will be defined by your contribution through the application of your grace-gift to others.
To think you will succeed in the ministry God has given you, to think you can do all things through Christ shows you have a sound mind (Philippians 4:13).

When God told to Moses to go and rescue the children of Israel (Exodus 3:1-4:18), he did not apply the principle of sound mind and allowed fear to mess up his thinking, and push him back from going to confront Pharaoh, from doing the will of God.  Hunted by his past he was afraid of his future. He rejected the grace on offer for him to do the great things God was offering him, because his mind was twisted by fear. Eventually he was given no choice but to go. But if the fear had been all he knew, he would not have stepped into the role God wanted for him, and release the grace for the rescue of the children of Israel from Egypt.

Love

Love is a grace activator. It causes you to draw near to God to receive grace from him, because love is about attraction.

Love activates grace to flow through you. Jesus when he ministered to people was moved by compassion. Being the embodiment of the love of God, power flowed through him on the wings of his love for the people. When we live in love we live in God who is the source of all grace. The bible says love believes all things (1Corinthians 13:7), which means that he (the one who loves) is opened to receive from others and to God moving through them, since God is love. As we receive and increase in grace, we can release more to others.

Power

Power also activates grace. When we receive the power of the Holy Spirit we experience his the spirit of grace. That means grace us generated in us and we have nothing to do with it. The bible says that there is a power at work in us, the same which raised Jesus from the dead (Ephesians 1:15-21).  We also read that we have the heavenly treasure in earthen vessels so that the glory for the manifestation of the power can be of God (2Corinthians 4:7), and not of us. So that the praise can go to God. And when power comes timidity goes out the window.

Activators of peace

The God of peace

When things are seen from God’s perspective then peace is the eventual result, because God is not rattled by anything. God sees the end from the beginning, the end which is glorious for his children (Isaiah 46:9-10). And God’s end is always joy. Jesus saw from God’s point of view as he moved to Golgotha to be crucified. The bible says: for the joy set before him he endured the cross, despising the shame (Hebrews 12:2). He did not see the difficulty of the cross as his end, so he walked in the value of the shadow of death fearing no evil. Paul calls God the God of peace (Romans 16:20).

The prince of peace

The prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6) is Jesus and he rules in our heart and makes his peace manifest there. As the Word, we get coded with his peace on the inside, which colours our earthly experience. We are baptised with his peace.

When Jesus was born the angels said: peace on the earth (Luke 2:14). The reign of Jesus in our heart is marked by peace. The bible says the expansion of his kingdom and of peace there shall be no limit, no end. He said he gives us his peace (John 13:27). He is our peace (Ephesians 2:14, Romans 5:1).

Jesus going in a boat across a sea, together with his disciples, rebuked the wind and the storm which rose up against them. He said: peace be still (Mark 4:39). God said be still and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10). When we call Jesus Lord, his lordship of light begins in our hearts.  What he offers is lasting peace, constantly being generated by the Holy Spirit within us (Galatians 5:22-23).

The gospel of peace

When we preach the gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15) we give others the opportunity to come into peace with God. When we understand our ministry of reconciliation, we would with earnestness tell people that God was in Christ reconciling to the world to himself, not willing that anyone perish but to come to salvation, telling them that the unrest in them is because of their being outside of God’s peace orbit. And that Peace orbit is Jesus Christ (Matthew 11:28-30).