Grace: The Power of the Gospel   Leave a comment

Grace: The Power of the Gospel – Book by Andrew Wommack

CHAPTER 4: Faith Accesses Grace

Romans 3:31; Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.

Someone may ask, “Well then, why did God give all of these commandments if salvation is just by grace?” Again, this betrays a misunderstanding of the purpose of the law. They’re still thinking that God gave the law so we could keep it and thereby earn relationship with Him. That’s not the purpose at all. In Romans 4, Paul went on to use examples from Scripture to answer this question, beginning with Abraham.

Romans 4:1; What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?

Some people believe that Abraham was justified by God through his holy life. However, anyone who thinks this hasn’t carefully read the Scripture. Abraham had some serious problems in his life!

Romans 4:2-5; If Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? [Then Paul quoted Gen. 15:6.] Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

God promised Abraham that seed would come out of his own bowels that would become as numerous as the stars in the sky and the dust of the earth, and in him all the nations of the earth would be blessed. (Gen. 12:2-3; 13:16; 15:4-5.) Abraham then believed God and the Lord counted him—at that moment—righteous. (Gen. 15:6; Rom. 4:3.) This was thirteen years before Abraham received the sign of circumcision, which is the dominant tradition these legalistic Jewish believers were trying to impose upon the Gentile Christians. Paul was showing how these things were proven even in the Old Testament. They were there for those who would read it.

God Wants Your Heart: Then He shifted His attention to David:

Romans 4:6-8; Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, [then Psalm 32:1-2 is quoted] saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. 

David knew that the real thing God was after was his heart. David was prophesying and describing the day that you and I live in—when the Gospel is preached. It had been revealed unto David that a Savior was coming. Of course, he gave many prophecies concerning this and saw by the Spirit a wonderful day coming when we would be justified without the deeds of the law. Notice verse 8, how the Word says, “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” It’s not just “did not” or “does not,” but “will not.” God’s Word plainly reveals that our past, present, and even future tense sin has been dealt with through the Lord Jesus Christ!

For additional study on this truth, I recommend my teachings entitled “Who You Are in the Spirit,” “God’s Attitude Toward Sin,” “Identity in Christ” (which is the third message from Harnessing Your Emotions), and The War Is Over. They all dig into this aspect of Jesus dealing with our past, present, and even future tense sin in His atonement.

Paul was quoting David to show once again that the Old Testament had the Gospel preached in it. While repenting over his sin with Bathsheba (2 Sam. 11), David said:

Psalm 51:16,17; Thou [God] desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

What a radical statement for David’s day. The law prescribed that certain sacrifices had to be offered for the sin that he had committed. However, according to the record of Scripture, he didn’t offer those sacrifices. David simply repented before God with the knowledge that this was what the Lord was truly after. He had a revelation that all the Old Testament law was types and shadows of the Savior to come. David knew that the real thing God was after was his heart.

Written for Us:  

God loves us independent of our performance. Right standing with Him comes through faith. In the next three verses of Romans 4, Paul returned to Abraham, saying:

Romans 4:9-11; Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised.

Abraham was declared righteous thirteen years before he received the sign of this righteousness—circumcision. He was already righteous prior to being circumcised. This shows that it’s not any of the things—even sacraments—that we do that make us righteous. It’s not water baptism, the Lord’s Supper, or our own personal holiness. Those things are by-products of our relationship with God. They’re the fruit of right standing with Him, not the root of it.

In the latter part of Romans 4, Paul referred to Abraham once again as an example of believing God and his faith being counted unto him for righteousness. He concluded by saying that these things weren’t just for Abraham alone, “But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification” (Rom. 4:24-25).

In other words, Abraham’s story was written for our sake. He did all these things that weren’t right, but God still counted him righteous because of his faith. By this example, we can see that God loves us independent of our performance. Right standing with Him comes through faith.

Type and Shadow:  

The only way to have peace with God is to be justified—made righteous—by faith, not by works or performance. However, Abraham’s sin (less than righteous performance) cost him. Lying two times to kings about his wife caused him hardship. (Gen. 12:11–18; 20:1–2.) Going into Hagar (Sarah’s maid) and getting her pregnant caused him some grief. (Gen. 16:3–4.) Although his sins cost him, God didn’t relate to Abraham based on his holiness (performance). If He had, Abraham would’ve been in serious trouble!

Abraham had married his half-sister. (Gen. 20:12.) According to the law, this was an abomination in God’s sight, punishable by death. (Lev. 18:29.) If God had been dealing with Abraham according to his performance and giving him what he deserved, Abraham would have been killed. He wasn’t perfect. But God wasn’t dealing with him according to the law. Through Abraham’s example, Paul showed how the Gospel was being preached in type and shadow even in the Old Testament.

Peace with God:

Romans 5:1; Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul was saying that the only way to have peace with God is to be justified—made righteous—by faith, not by works or performance.

I’ve dealt with literally thousands of people who have argued with me, saying, “You’ve got to be holy and do all these things to have God accept you.” Without exception, those who believe and preach that do not have real peace in their lives. The only way that I have personally encountered real peace in my heart is through understanding these things. All of the people I’ve known who have experienced God’s peace were those who had a revelation of justification by faith. That’s the only way to ever have peace with God.

Otherwise, the burden of salvation is on your back. You have to constantly do this, do that, and hope that it’s enough. There’s never a time to just rest because you always have to perform. This is contrary to what Jesus Himself taught:  

God’s grace is consistent toward everyone, but not everyone reaps its benefits. Matthew 11:28,29; Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

Jesus was saying, “Come unto Me. You can’t save yourself. You’re trying to do something that’s beyond your ability. Come and let Me forgive you. Let Me heal you. Let Me deliver and prosper you based on grace and mercy—not your performance.” Praise God—what a tremendous truth! The only way we can have peace with God is through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Trust God—Let Go:

Romans 5:1,2; We have peace with God…. By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

God’s grace is consistent toward everyone, but not everyone reaps its benefits. Why? Because faith is how you gain access to God’s grace. Access means “admission.”1 If you go to the movies, you pay a price for admission. What’s the price of admission to God’s grace? Religion will tell you it’s certain actions such as holiness—being good, attending church, paying your tithes. If you do this and that, then maybe God will give you access—admission.

This verse says that faith is what grants you admission, but faith in what? Not faith in yourself or your own performance, but faith in a Savior. Faith in God’s grace—the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s the only thing you have to pay admission. That’s the only thing that can grant you access into the grace of God. Faith is believing that the Gospel is true.

It’s like the person dangling on a ledge five stories high. At this height, they could easily fall and be killed. However, the fire department has come to rescue them. Although they’re a short distance away, they’re ready to catch the dangling person. In order to be saved, the endangered individual needs to trust, let go, and fall into the arms of those waiting to rescue them below. Before they can be saved, they must let go. Before we can receive salvation, we must quit trusting in ourselves. We must let go of our own goodness, which we’ve been maintaining, and put our trust in the Savior. It’s a step of faith!

What We Deserve:

This can be really scary because the entire world system reinforces our performance. To get along well with your parents as a child, you perform. You sing your ABCs, and they say, “Boy, you’re wonderful because you do this.” When you do well, you get a pat on the back. When you do a bad job, you get a pat on the rear. Your good performance is rewarded and your bad performance is punished.   This knowledge of God’s love in our hearts gives us boldness and confidence that we will not be put to shame.  In relationships—even in marriage— most people give us what we deserve. Your employer doesn’t hire you by grace. They give you what you deserve. If you don’t perform, you’re fired. We’ve been trained that everything we get is what we deserve. Therefore, letting go of our own performance and coming to God by faith can be pretty scary. Accepting salvation as a free gift—apart from any goodness on our own—is contrary to everything we’ve known. We just don’t know how to relate—there’s no role model for such grace. To enter in takes a real step of faith. It takes a genuine confidence in the Gospel so that we truly let go of our goodness and performance. This is also the very reason why religious people fiercely oppose the Gospel. After working so hard to be holy and good, they hear someone like me saying that God accepts us based on faith, not based on our performance. This, in a sense, means that all of their good works and effort is wasted. That’s not entirely true. Even though it doesn’t gain us anything with God, it does benefit us personally in our relationships with people and by limiting Satan’s access to us. But as far as earning us right standing with God, it’s worthless. It doesn’t provide us with enough goodness to be able to relate to Him. The only way we can relate to God is by grace and by putting faith in that grace. That’s how we gain access.

What Love!:

Romans 5:2-5; We have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

Some people have used this scripture to teach things that aren’t really what this passage is saying: “You need to embrace tribulation because your problems have been sent by God to help you.” No, that’s not what this is saying. We’re rejoicing in hope of the glory of God—not only in good times, but also in bad. How can we have such confidence? How can we rejoice when things are going bad? If God loved us enough that while we were still sinners He commended His love toward us, then how much more does He love us now that we’re saints? This knowledge of God’s love in our hearts gives us boldness and confidence that we will not be put to shame.

Romans 5:6; When we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

He died for the ungodly. Someone who isn’t willing to admit they’re ungodly cannot be saved. If they try to hold on to their goodness and performance, believing God owes it to them—maybe not 100 percent, but at least the 90 percent they “earned”—they cannot be saved.

Romans 5:7,8; Scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Can you imagine somebody dying for someone else? We can’t even relate to that. Very seldom do you ever hear of someone dying for another. Somebody might die for a really good person, but Christ died for the ungodly. He valued us and died for us while we were yet sinners. What love!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: