by Jimmy Swaggart May, 2011
“God has always been a God of Grace. One could say He is Grace, because He is Goodness. This means that God had just as much Grace under the Old Covenant as He does under the New.”
“For by Grace (the Goodness of God) are you Saved through Faith (Faith in Christ, with the Cross ever as its Object); and that not of yourselves (none of this is of us, but all is of Him): it is the Gift of God (anytime the word ‘Gift’ is used, God is speaking of His Son and His Substitutionary Work on the Cross, which makes all of this possible):
“Not of works (man cannot merit Salvation, irrespective what he does), lest any man should boast (boast in his own ability and strength; we are allowed to boast only in the Cross [Gal. 6:14]).
“For we are His Workmanship (if we are God’s Workmanship, our Salvation cannot be of ourselves), created in Christ Jesus unto good works (speaks of the results of Salvation, and never the cause), which God has before ordained that we should walk in them. (The ‘good works’ the Apostle speaks of has to do with Faith in Christ and the Cross, which enables the Believer to live a Holy life)” (Eph. 2:8-10 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible
WHAT IS GRACE?
Some have defined Grace as “unmerited favor.” That is a proper definition; however, to give it a broader perspective, one could also say that “Grace is the Goodness of God extended to undeserving Believers.” While the Grace of God is most definitely available to all unredeemed, with some few exceptions, it stops at the word available.
God is Good!
Everything about Him is Good, and the beautiful thing about this is He desires to give to us all of His good Things, whatever they might be.
It troubles me to hear Christians use terms such as “greasy grace,” or “slippery grace,” etc. The use of such terminology shows a complete misunderstanding of the Grace of God.
Grace is never a license to sin. It is, in fact, the means by which we can have Victory over sin and the only means.
THE CROSS OF CHRIST MAKES GRACE POSSIBLE!
God has always been a God of Grace. One could say He is Grace, because He is Goodness. This means that God had just as much Grace under the Old Covenant as He does under the New. It is the Cross of Christ which atoned for all sin that makes Grace much more available presently than it was under the old Law. It was not that God changed, for He cannot change, it was rather that conditions changed, which was brought about by the Cross of Christ.
Before the Cross God was greatly limited as to what He could do, and simply because animal blood was insufficient to take away the sin debt. When Jesus paid the price on Calvary’s Cross, thereby shedding His Life’s Blood, which was accepted by God as the Perfect Sacrifice for sin, this opened the door for the Lord to do many wonderful and great things. It is the Cross of Christ which makes Grace possible.
But, at the same time, everything that God has ever done for man, and in any capacity, even from the first page of human history, has been altogether because of His Grace, i.e., “His Goodness.” That’s the only way that He can function with man, simply because man does not merit anything that’s good and, in fact, cannot merit anything that is good.
THE DISPENSATION OF GRACE
“If one is to notice the writings of the Apostle Paul, even though he was living at the beginning of the Dispensation of Grace, still, he spoke of Law constantly.”
The Dispensation of Grace began when Jesus on the Cross said, “It is finished”(Jn. 19:30). At that moment the Law of God was completely satisfied.
“Blotting out the handwriting of Ordinances that was against us (pertains to the Law of Moses, which was God’s Standard of Righteousness that man could not reach), which was contrary to us (Law is against us, simply because we are unable to keep its precepts, no matter how hard we try), and took it out of the way (refers to the penalty of the Law being removed), nailing it to His Cross (the Law with its decrees was abolished in Christ’s Death, as if Crucified with Him)” (Col. 2:14 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible
Under the Old Covenant, God dealt with mankind, at least Israel, by the means of Law. The Law has now been satisfied by Christ, in the giving of Himself on the Cross, making it possible for God to now deal with mankind on the premise of Grace.
However, irrespective that this is the “Dispensation of Grace,” that doesn’t mean that everyone is automatically under Grace. The potential is there, but sadly and regrettably most Believers, and we are speaking of Believers, are only enjoying a modicum of Grace because they are trying to live their Christian experience mostly by Law. So, irrespective that this is the Dispensation of Grace, it is not an automatic thing.
If one is to notice the writings of the Apostle Paul, even though he was living at the beginning of the Dispensation of Grace, still, he spoke of Law constantly.
It was because Believers were placing themselves under Law, whether they realized such or not, thereby forfeiting Grace. So, if it was a problem then, to be sure it is a problem now.
HOW DOES THE BELIEVER GUARANTEE A CONSTANT FLOW OF THE GRACE OF GOD IN HIS LIFE?
“Under the old Law, God could be approached only in a particular way.”
As we have stated, it is the Cross of Christ that ushered in this great Dispensation of Grace, making it possible for Believers to enjoy the Grace of God in an abundant way. Inasmuch as it is the Cross that has made the Grace of God possible even in an overflowing manner, because Jesus atoned for all sin there, thereby, lifting the sin debt, to guarantee this uninterrupted flow the Believer must ever make the Cross of Christ the Object of his Faith.
“Of how much sorer punishment, suppose you, shall he be thought worthy, who has trodden under foot the Son of God (proclaims the reason for the ‘sorer punishment’), and has counted the Blood of the Covenant, wherewith he was Sanctified, an unholy thing (refers to a person who has been Saved, but is now expressing unbelief toward that which originally Saved him), and has done despite unto the Spirit of Grace? (When the Cross is rejected, the Holy Spirit is insulted)” (Heb. 10:29 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible
John the Beloved wrote:
“For the Law was given by Moses, but Grace and Truth came by Jesus Christ (proclaims Him as the Representative Law-Keeper for all humanity, i.e., to all who will believe; the Law manifested man [full of wickedness]; the Son manifested God [full of goodness])” (Jn. 1:17 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible
THE THRONE OF GRACE
The Holy Spirit through Paul said:
“Seeing then that we have a Great High Priest (Christ acts on our behalf to God), Who is passed into the Heavens (has to do with a legal process), Jesus the Son of God (presents the fact that Jesus is not only man, but is God as well), let us hold fast our profession. (Let us hold fast to Christ and the Cross, which was necessary for our Lord to be our High Priest.)
“For we have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities (being Very Man as well as Very God, He can do such); but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin (His temptation, and ours as well, was to leave the Prescribed Will of God, which is the Word of God; but He never did, not even one time.)
“Let us therefore come boldly unto the Throne of Grace (presents the Seat of Divine Power, and yet the Source of boundless Grace), that we may obtain Mercy (presents that which we want first), and find Grace to help in time of need (refers to the Goodness of God extended to all who come, and during any ‘time of need’; all made possible by the Cross)” (Heb. 4:14-16 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible
The “Throne of Grace,” could be called “The Throne of the Goodness of God.” At any rate, we are speaking here of the Throne of God.
Under the old Law, God could be approached only in a particular way. As it regarded the Holy of Holies, where the Ark of the Covenant was, where God dwelt between the Mercy Seat and the Cherubim, it served as a Symbol of the Throne of God on Earth. No Israelite could enter the Holy of Holies.
In fact, no Israelite could come into the Tabernacle at all. Only the Priests could come into the Tabernacle, but only the Great High Priest could come into the Holy of Holies, and that only once a year, the Great Day of Atonement, and not without blood.
Due to the fact that the blood of bulls and goats could not take away sins, meaning that the sin debt remained despite the sacrifices, the Lord was inaccessible, except in a very limited way.
“Once again, it is the Cross of Christ that has made the very Throne of God possible for any and all who will come.”
When Jesus died on the Cross, shedding His Life’s Blood, which paid the price for all sin — past, present, and future — which God recognized and accepted, at the moment when He said, “It is finished,” the great Veil that hung between the Holy of Holies and the Holy Place in the Temple, ripped from top to bottom, in essence, saying, the way is now open.
Josephus, the Jewish historian, said that this Veil was some thirty feet high, some four inches thick, weighed over two thousand pounds, and four yoke of oxen could not pull it apart. But yet, it ripped from the top to the bottom, and was done so by God, because the price was forever paid.
Now it can be said:
“And the Spirit and the Bride say, Come. (This presents the cry of the Holy Spirit to a hurting, lost, and dying world. What the Holy Spirit says should also be said by all Believers.) And let him who hears say, Come. (It means if one can ‘hear,’ then one can ‘come.’) And let him who is athirst come (speaks of Spiritual Thirst, the cry for God in the soul of man). And whosoever will, let him take the Water of Life freely (opens the door to every single individual in the world; Jesus died for all and, therefore, all can be Saved, if they will only come)” (Rev. 22:17 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible
Once again, it is the Cross of Christ that has made the very Throne of God possible for any and all who will come. But all who come can only be admitted on the basis of the Grace of God, which is extended to all who place their Faith exclusively in Christ and what He did at the Cross. Otherwise, entrance will be barred.
“But now in Christ Jesus (proclaims the basis of all Salvation) you who sometimes (times past) were far off (far from Salvation) are made nigh (near) by the Blood of Christ. (The Sacrificial Atoning Death of Jesus Christ transformed the relations of God with mankind. In Christ, God reconciled not a nation, but ‘a world’ to Himself [II Cor. 5:19].)
“For He (Christ) is our peace (through Christ and what He did at the Cross, we have peace with God), Who has made both one (Jews and Gentiles), and has broken down the middle wall of partition between us (between Jews and Gentiles);
“Having abolished in His Flesh (speaking of His Death on the Cross, by which He Redeemed humanity, which also means He didn’t die spiritually, as some claim) the enmity (the hatred between God and man, caused by sin), even the Law of Commandments contained in Ordinances (pertains to the Law of Moses, and more particularly the Ten Commandments); for to make in Himself of twain (of Jews and Gentiles) one new man, so making peace (which again was accomplished by the Cross);
“And that He (Christ) might reconcile both (Jews and Gentiles) unto God in one body (the Church) by the Cross (it is by the Atonement only that men ever become reconciled to God), having slain the enmity thereby (removed the barrier between God and sinful man):
“And came and preached peace to you which were afar off (proclaims the Gospel going to the Gentiles), and to them who were nigh. (This refers to the Jews. It is the same Message for both.)
“For through Him (through Christ) we both (Jews and Gentiles) have access by One Spirit unto the Father. (If the sinner comes by the Cross, the Holy Spirit opens the door, otherwise it is barred [Jn. 10:1])” (Eph. 2:13-18 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible
If we come in the Name of Jesus, understanding that He made all of this possible by the Cross, then we do not have to approach the Throne of Grace timidly, but can do so boldly.
The word “boldly” in the Greek is “parrhesia,” and means several things; however, its basic meaning here is “confidence, freely, openly.”
The Blood of Jesus Christ has opened up the way; therefore, we can approach the Throne of God with confidence, knowing that it will be accessible to us, and no matter how many times we come.
THRONE OF GRACE
“As long as we come in the Name of Jesus, with the Cross of Christ as the Object of our Faith, Mercy will always be granted to us, and without exception.”
We are speaking here of the very Throne of God. The idea that anyone can come to this Throne, and at any time, is overwhelming in its concept. But again we emphasize, it is all made possible by Christ and what He did for us at the Cross. We must never forget that.
As well, this is a “Throne of Grace,” i.e., “the Goodness of God,” which means, that it’s not a Throne of Judgement.
My sins were judged at Calvary and can never be judged again. In legal parlance, it is referred to as “double jeopardy.” It means a person cannot be tried twice for the same crime. Jesus Christ was judged for my sins, and the price was paid by the giving of Himself in Sacrifice.
As a result, the Law has no more claim on me, meaning, that I can approach with boldness, with confidence, the very Throne of God — but all because of Christ!
As long as we come in the Name of Jesus, with the Cross of Christ as the Object of our Faith, Mercy will always be granted to us, and without exception. But we must ever understand, that none of this is because of any merit on our part, it is all because of Christ, and His Sacrificial, Atoning Death, on the Cross of Calvary.
That’s why the great Apostle said:
“But God forbid that I should glory (boast), save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ (what the opponents of Paul sought to escape at the price of insincerity is the Apostle’s only basis of exultation), by Whom the world is Crucified unto me, and I unto the world. (The only way we can overcome the world, and I mean the only way, is by placing our Faith exclusively in the Cross of Christ and keeping it there)” (Gal. 6:14 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible
TIME OF NEED
The “need” addressed here, could be forgiveness for sin, financial help, strength for the journey, Diving Healing, overcoming Grace, etc. In other words, this “need” has no limitations.
We are told here that the “Goodness of God,” is made available to us “to help in time of need.” When we consider that God can do anything, then we are beginning to realize the most special privilege that we have as a Believer, once again, all because of the Cross of Christ.
FRUSTRATING THE GRACE OF GOD
The Greek word for “frustrate” is “atheteo,” and means, “to set aside, to neutralize, to bring to nought.”
When the Believer places his faith in anything, and I mean anything, other than the Cross of Christ, considering that it is the Cross which makes possible the Grace of God, this frustrates the Grace of God, meaning that it stops its flow, or at least, greatly hinders it.
“I do not frustrate the Grace of God (if we make anything other than the Cross of Christ the Object of our Faith, we frustrate the Grace of God, which means we stop its action, and the Holy Spirit will no longer help us): for if Righteousness come by the Law (any type of Law), then Christ is dead in vain. (If I can successfully live for the Lord by any means other than Faith in Christ and the Cross, then the Death of Christ was a waste)” (Gal. 2:21 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible
Regrettably and sadly, the far greater majority of modern Christians, and I speak of those who are truly Born-Again, are constantly frustrating the Grace of God.
How do I know that?
I know it simply because their Faith is not in Christ and the Cross, but it is rather in a religious law of some nature, whether a law devised by them personally, or preachers, or religious denominations, etc.
That being the case, whether they realize it or not, and most don’t realize it, they are functioning by Law and, thereby, frustrating the Grace of God.
This means they are stopping all the good things that God wants to do for them, but cannot do because they have closed the door due to the incorrect object of faith.
I hear preachers over television telling their viewers to place their faith in the Lord’s Supper, or the “Purpose Driven Life” book, or whatever! If it’s not the Cross of Christ, then whatever it is, and no matter how useful it might be in its own right, the Believer will not see victory in this capacity.
“And you shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free (this is the secret of all abundant Life in Christ; the ‘Truth’ is ‘Jesus Christ and Him Crucified,’ which alone is the answer to the problems of Man)” (Jn. 8:32 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible
FALLING FROM GRACE
“Christ is become of no effect unto you (this is a chilling statement, and refers to anyone who makes anything other than Christ and the Cross the Object of his Faith), whosoever of you are justified by the Law (seek to be Justified by the Law); you are fallen from Grace (fallen from the position of Grace, which means the Believer is trusting in something other than the Cross; it actually means, ‘to apostatize’)” (Gal. 5:4 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible
“Every unredeemed person in the world, even though they are not aware of such, is still under this Law.”
There is a slight difference in “frustrating the Grace of God,” and “falling from Grace.”
The former has its flow greatly hindered, while in the latter Grace is stopped altogether.
Being “fallen from Grace,” means that the person has his Faith in something other than Christ and the Cross, meaning that he has willingly accepted a false way and, thereby, willingly rejecting or ignoring the Cross of Christ. Considering that the Cross of Christ is the means by which all Grace is given to us, such a person has just lost their way.
Concerning this, Paul also said:
“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened (refers to those who have accepted the Light of the Gospel, which means accepting Christ and His great Sacrifice), and have tasted of the Heavenly Gift (pertains to Christ and what He did at the Cross), and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit (which takes place when a person comes to Christ),
“And have tasted the good Word of God (is not language that is used of an impenitent sinner, as some claim; the unsaved have no relish whatsoever for the Truth of God, and see no beauty in it), and the powers of the world to come (refers to the Work of the Holy Spirit within hearts and lives, which the unsaved cannot have or know),
“If they shall fall away (should have been translated, ‘and having fallen away’), to renew them again unto Repentance (‘again’ states they had once repented, but have now turned their backs on Christ); seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh (means they no longer believe what Christ did at the Cross, actually concluding Him to be an imposter; the only way any person can truly repent is to place his Faith in Christ and the Cross; if that is denied, there is no Repentance), and put Him to an open shame (means to hold Christ up to public ridicule; Paul wrote this Epistle because some Christian Jews were going back into Judaism, or seriously contemplating doing so)” (Heb. 6:4-6 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible
GRACE OR LAW
“For sin shall not have dominion over you (the sin nature will not have dominion over us if we as Believers continue to exercise Faith in the Cross of Christ; otherwise, the sin nature most definitely will have dominion over the Believer): for you are not under the Law (means that if we try to live this life by any type of law, no matter how good that law might be in its own right, we will conclude by the sin nature having dominion over us), but under Grace (the Grace of God flows to the Believer on an unending basis only as long as the Believer exercises Faith in Christ and what He did at the Cross; Grace is merely the Goodness of God exercised by and through the Holy Spirit, and given to undeserving Saints)” (Rom. 6:14 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible
Every person in the world, and without exception, is either under Law (and we speak of the moral part of the Law of Moses, namely, the Ten Commandments), or under Grace. Every unredeemed person in the world, even though they are not aware of such, is still under this Law.
This means that unless they give their heart to Christ, Who suffered the penalty of the broken Law, and did it on our behalf, they will answer at the Great White Throne Judgement, and answer to this particular Law (Rev. 20:11-15).
But the tragedy is, most modern Christians, due to the fact of not understanding the Cross of Christ as it regards our Sanctification, i.e., “how we live for God,” are living, as well, under religious laws of some kind.
While the laws of which I speak, are not the Law of Moses, but rather laws that we devise out of our own minds, which we think will help us live for God, still, they are laws, and the upshot is, the Holy Spirit will not function in such capacity.
Christians are bad about taking things which are legitimate in their own right, such as the Lord’s Supper, or prayer, or the giving of money to the Work of the Lord, or witnessing to souls, etc., and turning them into laws. In other words, we think by doing these things, and thereby making it the object of our faith, which always happens, this will help us to live a cleaner life for the Lord. It won’t! In fact, it will have the opposite affect.
Let me explain!
Anything and everything done in our lives for the Lord, which helps us to draw closer to the Lord, and I speak of Holiness and Righteousness, along with the Fruit of the Spirit, all, and without exception, must be done by the Power of the Holy Spirit.
There is no way, even the best of us, whomever that might be, can bring about in our lives that which we need.
It cannot be done that way.
The Holy Spirit Alone can carry out this task.
“Paul said in the first four Verses of the Seventh Chapter of Romans that we are married to Christ.”
Beside that, such a Believer, in such a case, is actually living in a state of spiritual adultery, which means that we are not being faithful to the Lord. Paul said in the first four Verses of the Seventh Chapter of Romans that we are married to Christ.
As such, He is to meet our every need. He does that through the Cross, which demands our Faith. But when we ignore the Cross, thereby placing our faith in something else, even though the something else might be good in its own right, we are, in effect, committing spiritual adultery.
That being the case, the Holy Spirit becomes greatly limited as to what He can do on our behalf. He loves us, and He will not depart, thank God, but, nevertheless, He is grieved, wounded, and actually hindered. In other words, He can only do a fraction for us as to what He could do if our faith was correct.
The way that I know that most of the modern Church is living under Law, and I’m speaking of those who are truly Born-Again, is because the Cross is not being preached. One would have to admit that the Apostle Paul preached the Cross1)See Biblical References 1Cor 1:17-18, 21, 23; 1Cor 2:2.
In fact, Paul said to the Church at Corinth:
“For I determined not to know any thing among you (with purpose and design, Paul did not resort to the knowledge or philosophy of the world regarding the preaching of the Gospel), save Jesus Christ, and Him Crucified (that and that alone is the Message which will save the sinner, set the captive free, and give the Believer perpetual victory)” (1Cor. 2:2 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible
For the Believer to get out from under Law, which brings all type of problems, the Believer must, and without fail, place his Faith exclusively in the Cross of Christ, and then Law will be replaced with Grace. Living for the Lord then becomes the greatest life there could ever be.
Truly, even as Peter said, it becomes “Joy unspeakable and full of glory.” This is the “more abundant Life,” of which Jesus spoke(Jn. 10:10).
It then truly becomes what
John Newton wrote about so long ago . . .
“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
“That Saved a wretch like me.
“I once was lost, but now I’m found,
“I was blind but now I see.”
(This message was derived from the book by Jimmy Swaggart, “Brother Swaggart, How Can I Understand The Bible”.)
Scriptures from: (The Expositor’s Study Bible)[KJV/ESB]. iPad & iPhone & Hard Copy: by Jimmy Swaggart.
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||See Biblical References 1Cor 1:17-18, 21, 23; 1Cor 2:2|