2017 Grace Life Conference (Session 1)

Jul. 10, 2017 | By Creflo Dollar

SUMMARY

Currently, one of the greatest issues in the church is spiritual blindness. If we are blind to what Jesus has already accomplished, then we will continue to live according to religious precepts. One of the meanings for the word “religion” is a return to bondage, which is certainly not where we want to go. Religion uses fear and guilt to motivate people, but these emotions are part of a covenant which is now expired. As Christians, we can attend church regularly and love God, yet still be blind. We work hard to earn blessings from God, but when our spiritual eyes are opened, we can receive what Jesus has already made available. When we realize the benefits of a life lived under grace instead of under the Law of Moses, we will be truly free.

  1. A relationship with Jesus will free us and deliver us from the Law of Moses.
    1. And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me (Acts 26:14-18).
      1. For God to use us to deliver people, we must first be delivered from them. We will need to be strong enough not to crumble when others oppose us.
      2. We are grace people; therefore we need to be gracious. We also need the patience not to condemn others.
      3. Sanctified means set aside. The Greek word for sanctification is the same word used for holiness.
      4. “To open their eyes” indicates that, on some level, the people are blind to something. Our eyes are opened when we realize that God is not angry and does not want to punish us. When we are in Jesus, we are holy because of Him.
      5. When we believe we are righteous, our actions will reflect that belief. We will bear the fruit of holiness.
      6. The devil will do all he can to make us question our identity in Christ. He will try to convince us that our identity is based on what we do. We must not allow him to do this.
      7. By faith, we receive what grace has made available to us. Grace makes; faith takes.
    2. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24).
      1. We can hear the word “gospel” in religious churches, but the gospel Paul referred to is not the preaching of the entire Bible. There is some bad news in the Bible, but this gospel is the good news about God’s unmerited favor.
      2. The gospel is God’s grace. It is Jesus, who is full of grace and truth (John 1:14). It is the truth that will make men free (John 8:32).
    3. Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come (Ephesians 1:16-21).
      1. Paul was on a mission to open the people’s eyes to God’s grace.
      2. He was praying that they would get a revelation of all that Jesus is, all that He has made available, and who they were in Him.
  2. Ignorance of what Jesus did for us will keep us spiritually blind.
    1. My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6).
      1. What we do not know can be very expensive. It is very costly to maintain ignorance. We must not be ignorant of everything Jesus has made available to us by faith.
      2. What we do not know can not only hurt us, but kill us. If we do not understand what Christ did, we are giving consent to what the devil is trying to do in our lives.
    2. But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them (2 Corinthians 4:3, 4).
      1. Satan is doing all he can to prevent people from understanding the Gospel.
      2. We cannot see God’s grace when we are blinded by the Law of Moses.
    3. Dispensation is defined as a divinely appointed order for a particular time period or age. Spiritually blind people are not rightly dividing the dispensations; they apply the order of a particular age where it does not belong.
      1. The Bible is divided into the dispensation of Adam and Eve, the dispensation of the Law of Moses, and the dispensation of grace.
      2. The agreement God had with Adam and Eve specified that if they did not eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, they would be blessed, but if they did eat from it, they would be cursed. They could not keep this covenant.
      3. The agreement under the Law of Moses stated that if the people did good they would get good, and if they did bad they would get bad. God’s faithfulness depended on their faithfulness.
      4. The dispensation of grace is all about what Jesus already did and whether or not we believe it. Our faithfulness is not the key to us getting blessed; Jesus’ faithfulness is the key (2 Timothy 2:13). What He did, first, enables us to do what we cannot do through our own abilities.
  3. Mankind could not keep the law, so God gave them a new covenant.
    1. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace (Romans 6:14).
      1. Sin dominates us when we live according to the law, which focuses on self-effort and shame when we make a mistake.
      2. Mosaic Law was written expressly for Jews. Gentiles were exempt from it, yet we still try to live according to the Ten Commandments. The current dispensation of grace includes everyone, although many people are still unaware of it.
    2. But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah (Hebrews 8:6-8).
      1. The age of grace we are now under is better than the previous covenant of the law.
      2. Some people think that grace and the law were in opposition to each other, but they are not.
      3. The law was perfect, but imperfect man could not keep all of it.
    3. It will not be like the covenant that I made with their forefathers on the day when I grasped them by the hand to help and relieve them and to lead them out from the land of Egypt, for they did not abide in My agreement with them, and so I withdrew My favor and disregarded them, says the Lord…When God speaks of a new [covenant or agreement], He makes the first one obsolete (out of use). And what is obsolete (out of use and annulled because of age) is ripe for disappearance and to be dispensed with altogether (Hebrews 8:9, 13, AMPC).
      1. God was saying He would not make a covenant in which mankind determined what He could or could not do.
      2. The old covenant was annulled because the age for which it was intended is no more. It does not fit in this dispensation of grace.
    4. So a previous physical regulation and command is cancelled because of its weakness and ineffectiveness and uselessness—For the Law never made anything perfect—but instead a better hope is introduced through which we [now] come close to God (Hebrews 7:18, 19, AMPC).
      1. The Law is like a mirror; it will show us what is wrong with us, but it will not do anything to fix it.
      2. The “better hope” referred to is the new covenant.
  4. The glorious Law of Moses is outshone by the glorious Law of Grace.
    1. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth (2 Corinthians 3:5-10).
      1. We must be careful not to think we are the source of our own prosperity.
      2. Unlike the law, the Holy Spirit gives us knowledge and then tells us what to do to fix the problem.
      3. “The ministration of death, written and engraven in stones” were the Ten Commandments. They were intended to bring the people to the end of their self-efforts and make them realize they needed God. The people initially thought they could fulfill the commandments without Him (Exodus 19:8).
    2. For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious. Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech: And not as Moses, which put a veil over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (2 Corinthians 3:11-17).
      1. Paul called the Ten Commandments “the ministration of condemnation” because people faced condemnation each time they broke the law.
      2. Condemnation keeps sin as a cycle in our lives. Jesus refused to condemn the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11). Instead, He empowered her to stop sinning. There is therefore now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).
    3. Many who read the Old Testament today make the mistake of thinking it is as glorious now as it was back in its age.
      1. In Christ, there is no veil of blindness, inequality, or bondage. Instead, there is freedom, justice, righteousness, healing, and redemption. The veil has been removed.
    4. Ten “thou shalt nots” have been replaced by one “thou shalt.”
      1. We love God because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). We spend too much time trying to love God through our own efforts and not enough time receiving the love He has for us.
      2. We must be obedient to the faith, not obedient to the law. Obedience to the faith results in right-believing. If we try to justify ourselves by the law, Christ has no effect in our lives (Galatians 5:4).

SCRIPTURE REFERENCES

Acts 26:14-18 Hebrews 8:6-8
Acts 20:24 Hebrews 8:9, 13, AMPC
John 1:14 Hebrews 7:18, 19, AMPC
John 8:1-11, 32 Ephesians 1:16-21
Hosea 4:6 2 Corinthians 4:3, 4
2 Timothy 2:13 Romans 6:14
2 Corinthians 3:5-17 Exodus 19:8
Romans 8:1 1 John 4:19
Galatians 5:4

Undeserved Favor

By Creflo Dollar

Read more

Balance of Faith and Grace Part 7-2

Balance of Faith and Grace Part 7-2

Read more