Weekly Grace: Walking After The Spirit Frees Us From Condemnation

Much of the Christian life is about believing right. Unfortunately religion in many cases has made it all about getting our behavior straightened out. Yet the radial truth of grace is that the very moment we start to believe right as far as our identity in Christ is concerned, our behavior will take care of itself.

Romans 8:1 tells us, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Friend, have you ever realized the destructive cycle that comes out of living in guilt and condemnation? A person who is constantly living in guilt over something that may have happened in their past, or someone who carries an ongoing sense of condemnation—and on top of that believes that God is condemning them—has more or less cut themselves off from being able to receive the fullness of what the precious blood of Jesus has made available. Nothing keeps us bound to sin more than living in sin consciousness.

Yet there is “no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus!” When Jesus came into this earth and died on the cross for our sins, He made it possible for all of our guilt and condemnation to be removed once and for all—if we would simply accept this precious gift of His love!

In order to fully receive what Jesus has made available, we must understand and receive by faith who He has made us to be in Him. Realize that the very moment you gave your life to Jesus, He has completely changed who you are at the core of your being. He has changed the deepest part of you, which is your spirit. Remember that we are spirit beings, we possess a soul—our mind, will and emotions—and we live in physical bodies.

The part of you that got born again when you gave your life to Christ is your spirit. 1 Corinthians 6:17 tells us, “But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.” To be joined unto the Lord means that Jesus is the Lord of your life; one spirit with the Lord means that your born again, recreated spirit has taken on a nature that is spiritually identical to Jesus. In other words, it is the spirit part of you that has been made perfectly righteous in Him. It is for this reason that God, who cannot lie, can look at you and call you righteous. God being a Spirit (John 4:24), first and foremost deals with us in our spirits. And those of us who have been born again have been made perfect in our spirits, which is why the Bible talks about “the spirits of just men made perfect.” (see Hebrews 12:23)

And so there is no condemnation to those who walk “not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” And what ultimately determines whether we are walking after the flesh or after the Spirit is our identity. Are we identifying with who we used to be in the flesh, or have we shifted our identity towards who we have been made to be in Christ? To walk according to the Spirit is to walk according to who we are in Christ. It is to understand that the old sin nature which had been working in our spirits to produce sin and death which yields in guilt and condemnation, has been completely destroyed the moment we got in Christ, and in Him we have received a new born again nature—the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. (see 2 Corinthians 5:21)

And so to experience freedom from guilt and condemnation, our task becomes to shift our identity towards who we are in Christ. This shifting of our identity is the work of believing right. The more that we believe right, the more will we live right. This is what the renewing of the mind is all about. As we replace our thoughts with God’s thoughts about us, as we get our words to align with His Word, and as we keep our eyes on Jesus, the Holy Spirit will work in us to give us a revelation of the depths of His love for us, and the glory of His finished works which He has wrought for us on the cross. This is what enables Romans 8:16 to come into effect, “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,”—and that’s when all guilt and condemnation must flee.

Father, I thank You for the precious gift of Your love. Thank You, Jesus, for everything Your finished works have made available. I receive Your great love for me that You demonstrated on the cross when You took all of my sin, all of my guilt, and all of my condemnation so that I would no longer need to carry it. I receive now by faith that I am the righteousness of God in You, Lord, and that I am equipped and empowered to live a victorious, godly and overcoming life. In Jesus’ name, amen.

SCRIPTURES

Romans 8:1; Romans 8:16; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Corinthians 6:17; John 4:24; Hebrews 12:22-24; Romans 6:6; Romans 12:1-2

Empowered To Prosper (Romans 5:17)

For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)

Romans 5:17 (KJV)

In Christ we are called to reign in life. This means we are to be victorious in every arena of life as a result of the victory Jesus has already won for us. We are empowered to prosper as we receive God’s gift of righteousness in Christ Jesus, which then results in an abundance of grace—God’s unmerited, unearned and undeserved favor—shining boundless upon our lives.

Podcast: The Power Of Right Believing

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Maintaining Our Confidence (Hebrews 10:35-36)

Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:

Hebrews 10:35-36 (NKJV)

As we maintain our confidence in the finished works of Jesus, we will receive the reward which is to see the promises of God come to pass in our lives. Endurance enables us to remain faithful to God’s will, which puts us in a position of receiving everything He has already made available to us in Christ.

Labor To Rest (Hebrews 4:11)

Let us labour therfore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

Hebrews 4:11 (KJV)

Laboring to rest is to get to where our our mind, our will and our emotions rest confidently in the finished works of Jesus. We do not labor get victory, we labor to get to the place of truly believing that Jesus has already won us the victory. We fill our minds and hearts with the Word of God until God’s promises become so real to us that all unbelief is cast out, and we rest in confident assurance of seeing God’s goodness in our lives.

Weekly Grace: Particepating In God’s Will For Our Lives

All of us are called to participate in God’s will for our lives. This is so important to realize, because God’s will for us does not come to pass automatically. Depending on what our religious upbringing may have been, this may sound unusual to some. Yet the truth is this—God has created each of us as a free moral agent, and so we get to have a say in whether or not His good, acceptable and perfect plans for our life will come to pass.

With this in mind, let us never fall into the trap of becoming passive. To be passive as a Christian is to take this attitude that says, “Well, if God wants to heal me, He will heal me.” Or, “If God wants me to be prosperous, He will prosper me.” This kind of passivity not only keeps us from experiencing God’s best, it opens the door for the enemy. If we believe that everything that happens is automatically God’s will, this invariably gives the enemy permission to keep us in bondage through prolonged sickness, lack, depression, or any other kind of adversity, when otherwise we could have resisted steadfast in the faith and received healing and deliverance. (see 1 Peter 5:8-9)

The book of Hebrews tells us that we must lay hold of the hope that is set before us. The moment we gave our lives to the Lord, hope was set before us. This hope pertains to the things that accompany salvation. (see Hebrews 6:9 & Hebrews 6:18) Now let us be very clear that the things that accompany salvation include physical and emotional healing, deliverance, protection, provision, peace, and all things that pertain to life and godliness. Yet again, we must lay hold of this hope that has been set before us. And how do we lay hold of it? By faith.

We participate in God’s will coming to pass in our lives as we place our faith in Him through His Word. Jesus said, “According to your faith let it be to you.” (Matthew 9:29) Do you realize the enormity of God’s love here? God loves us so much, He will never force anything upon us. He is letting us be the ones who make the choice. He is letting us choose to either stay in bondage, or to boldly lay hold of everything His grace has provided through the precious blood of Jesus.

In Matthew 9:28 Jesus said to the blind men that came to Him for healing, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said, “Yes, Lord.” “According to your faith let it be to you.”

And so how much of the benefits of salvation we will see come to pass in our lives is according to our faith. This is very liberating, for we may rest assured that God is not withholding anything from us. In fact, Romans 8:32 says, “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”

The finished works of Jesus Christ have made it possible for us to receive all things. And all things means anything that is necessary in order for us to live the victorious and overcoming lives we have been called to live. Whatever your need today may be, God is not only well able to meet this need, He is also more than willing.

Friend, let us participate in God’s will for our life through living by faith. And let us do so boldly. After all, He has assured us in Romans 10:11 that, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” How precious His love for us is!

Father, I thank You for the free gift of salvation and everything that comes with it. Today I choose to live by faith, knowing that in Your great love for me You will always allow me to have the freedom of choice. Thank You that You have given me access to all things that pertain to my life and godliness. And so I will not meditate on circumstances and conditions, I will not consider natural limitations, I will only look to Your Word. Thank You, Father, that You hasten to perform Your Word. Thank You that You have desired for me to walk in the fullness of everything Your grace has already provided. Thank You that I am more than a conqueror through Your great love for me. In Jesus’ name, amen.

SCRIPTURES:

Jeremiah 1:12; Romans 8:32; Romans 8:37; Romans 10:11; Romans 12:2; 1 Peter 5:8-9; Hebrews 6:9; Hebrews 6:18; 2 Peter 1:3; Matthew 9:27-30

The Spiritual Principle Of Salvation

Many people have never been taught that there is a spiritual principle that underlies salvation. Yet God being a Spirit (see John 4:24), accordingly deals with us first and foremost in our spirits.

Coming to understand that salvation is inherently spiritual is crucial, for this helps us to realize and have confidence that our right standing with God has absolutely nothing to do with the actions of our body, nor is it dependent upon the mental and emotional condition of our soul. Right standing with God is purely rooted in our spirit. And while our body and our emotions can be in all sorts of states, our spirit can only be in one of two conditions—we are either spiritually alive through having made Jesus Christ the Lord of our lives, or we are what is considered to be spiritually dead.

come unto me

To be spiritually dead means to be spiritually separated from God and from the things of God. Now please realize that this does not necessarily denote the absence of spirituality. This is important to understand. It is actually very much possible for a person to be quite spiritual, and yet still to be spiritually dead to the things of God.

To be spiritually dead means to be unable to fellowship with God the Father, to be unable to relate to God; unable to discern His reality, His presence, and the truth of His Word.

When a spiritually dead individual opens themselves up to the spiritual realm, they will invariably fall into deception. They will open themselves to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons. (see 1 Timothy 4:1) And so the question is never how spiritual we are, the question is have we made Jesus the Lord of our life? Have we received God’s provision for salvation? If so, we are made spiritually alive through union with Christ Jesus. And so right here then we have what I have been calling the spiritual principle of our salvation. Brothers and sisters, this spiritual principle of salvation is union with Christ.

Every believer who has received Jesus as the Lord of their life has been spiritually united with Him. We have become one spirit with Christ.

Union With Christ

1 Corinthians 6:17 tells us, “But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.” To be joined unto the Lord means to be born again. And we are joined unto the Lord the very moment we surrender our life over to Him. We are joined unto the Lord by putting into practice the principles of Romans 10:9-10: “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

And so there are two things involved in order for us to be joined unto the Lord: the heart and the mouth. We believe in our hearts, and then we give life to what we believe by speaking it out. This is what unifies us in the spiritual realm with Christ.

christ-is-our-lifeNow consider this amzaing truth: the very moment you are joined unto the Lord, everything that is true about Jesus becomes true about you spiritually. In other words, the righteousness that is Jesus becomes your righteousness. The holiness of our Lord becomes your holiness. And yes, the power and authority of Jesus over all of the forces of darkness, is imputed to you through your union with Christ. This is why every believer is called to walk in their authority over Satan and his hosts of spiritual wickedness. (see Luke 10:19 & Mark 16:17-18)

Consider this passage in Romans 6:5-6 which also speaks of our union with Christ: “For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.”

The “old man” was the old, spiritually dead self which was unable to fellowship with God the Father. The “body of sin” refers to the sin root, or the sin nature. Friends, consider that the very moment you received Jesus as the Lord of your life, you underwent a total and complete spiritual makeover.

Your old spiritual self has vacated the premises, and what has moved in is a brand new self which is created in the perfect image and likeness of Jesus.

Total-Victory-In-Christ-608x405“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) This new creation that you are is the perfect image and likeness of Jesus, which is why Ephesians 1:4 says that we are holy and blameless before the Father in love. And 1 John 4:17 tells us, “as He (Jesus) is, so are we in this world.”

Laying Hold Of It By Faith

Now someone might say, “Alex, I appreciate that, but it sure does not feel that way to me. My circumstances contradict this, even my body and my emotions contradict this.” Friend, please realize that this is talking about what is true about us spiritually. In other words, it is not about how we feel, it is not an emotional thing. This is purely a spiritual truth, a spiritual reality. And the things of the Spirit cannot be perceived through the physical senses, nor can they be felt through our emotions. The things of the Spirit, 1 Corinthians 2:14 tells us, “must be spiritually discerned.”

faithTo spiritually discern something means to acknoweledge it and to accept it as true by faith. We begin to discern the truth of who we are in Christ and the victory we have in Him as we accept this by faith. Accepting God’s Word by faith enables the transfer to be made from the spiritual to the natural. In other words, the more you accept the truth of who you are in Him in the midst of circumstances, the more you are enabling His truth and His glory to manifest in your life. This is how you gain the victory over circumstances. The victory is won through faith.

Grace has already made victory available through the finished works of Jesus, yet faith is how we lay hold of what grace has made available.

victoryAnd so we see then that, while our actual salvation is not based on our actions or on the mental and emotional condition of our soul, our actions do matter, and so do our thoughts. Remember, we are saved purely by accepting what Jesus has done for us and making Him the Lord of our lives, yet in order for us to experience the fruits of salvation in our day to day life our role now becomes to bring our actions and our thoughts into agreement with who we already are in Christ. I like to call this part bridging the gap. This is the gap that exists between who we already are in Christ according to the Word of God, and what our day to day real life experience is. And simply put, we bridge this gap by renewing our mind in the Word (see Romans 12:2 & Ephesians 4:22-24). This means we must bring our thoughts and our words into alignment with the Word of God. The more that we meditate on who we are in Him, the more that we confess His Word over our lives, the more of His glory will we see made manifest in and through our lives!

Believe & Love (1 John 3:21-23)

Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.

1 John 3:21-23 (KJV)

Notice that doing the things that are pleasing in the sight of God is summed up in this commandment: that we should believe on the name of the Lord Jesus, and love one another. It is out of following this commandment of love and trusting in the finished works of Jesus that everything else will flow. The greater our confidence in what Jesus has done for us, the greater will be our heart’s assurance that we will see our prayers answered and God’s glory made manifest in our lives.

No Limits With Bold & Confident Faith (Mark 10:52)

And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.

Mark 10:52 (KJV)

Faith is what enables God’s glory to be made manifest in our lives. While the grace of God through the finished works of Jesus has already made available anything we need, let us realize that it is our faith that enables us to take possession of it. And so when we approach God, let us do so with boldness and confidence, knowing in our hearts that our Father is ready to freely provide all that is needed. There are no limits to those who will approach God with bold and confident faith.