Thursday, March 13, 2008

And All This Can Be Yours IF the Price is Right!

It's funny how such small words like 'if' or 'but' can be so important. I was just thinking this morning about a book I just read that was very good in many ways but had a few problems. You see, whether news is truly good or not depends very much on what information follows that little word 'if'.

Every good promise in the Old Covenant is followed by an 'if' or a 'but' or a 'but if', a 'therefore' or an 'only'. And what comes after? If you follow, if you obey, if you humble yourself, if you turn from your sin(2 Chronicles 7), therefore watch yourselves very carefully (Deut. 4:15, you shall therefore, and if you will indeed obey my commandments (Deut. 11).

"See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse, the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you today, and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside from the way that I am commanding you today, to go after other gods you have not known." (Deut. 11-26-28)

Many many of us are putting the wrong conditions on the church to see revival come, using this Old Covenant model. Many sincerely long to see God move and nations changed but I have to wonder if we will IF we don't come into the New Covenant mindset fully. In the New Covenant there is only ever ONE condition to obtain any and all of the promises of God. These promises are NEVER contingent upon our obedience or self-righteousness or level of sanctification, or anything else we might do or say! The promises are now YES! And not by our efforts at holiness, but by our faith in Jesus...ALONE.

"But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not "Yes" and "No." For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by me and Silas and Timothy, was not "Yes" and "No," but in him it has always been "Yes."For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ. And so through him the "Amen" is spoken by us to the glory of God. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come." (2 Corinthians 1:18-22)

The answer to us in Jesus is always 'YES'. Whatever we ask in his name, the answer if 'YES', and every single promise of God is available to us in Jesus. So isn't there an 'if'? Of course! IF we will stop trying to earn or deserve any blessing from God and ONLY BELIEVE IN THE ONE HE SENT.

" Then they asked him, "What must we do to do the works God requires?"

Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent."
(John 6:18-19)

And there you have it, the greatest stumbling block there is, Jesus himself as the all in all and only, I mean one and only, way to the Father. Jesus plus nothing. As soon as you add any tiny amount of your 'righteousness' you've nullified the sacrifice of Christ and fallen from grace(Galatians 2:21, 5:4).

And just like during Jesus' days on earth, the people who are stumbling most are the 'religious', not the 'sinners'. Every time we speak about the grace of God in Jesus that is available for the asking to anyone who believes, we see people stumble over the place! They cannot stand to hear you talk about God's goodness and mercy without adding in conditions, 'ifs ands and buts'. And that's one way you can know if you're preaching the true Gospel, are some people stumbling?

"What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the "stumbling stone." As it is written:
"See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall,
and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame." (Romans 9:30-33)

Are you stumbling just reading this?

Revival will come (and is already coming!) to those who place ALL their hope and trust in Jesus' once for all time sacrifice without putting any other conditions on the men and women of God. The conditions of the law have been perfectly met in Jesus, the right price has been paid and every blessing is now free for the taking!


Steve & Katie LaBs said...

AMEN Julie! You truly have a gift in preaching clearly the truth of God's amazing grace!

Matthew said...

AWESOME post! You quoted one of my favorite passages at the end of Romans 9. "The Gentiles who DID NOT PURSUE righteousness have OBTAINED it."

Doesn't get any clearer than that! The work is to believe!

SLW said...

I really appreciate the tenor of this post. Many feel, perhaps in a Finnian way, that revival is the result of doing the "right" things, but I find myself wondering if revival's spark is lost in the sovereignty of God, and arises in the ripeness of time. So, even though I'm not prepared to say understanding grace is the key to revival, I suppose it doesn't hurt to hope.

Dan Bowen said...

Amen I would definately agree with Katie - that you have an incredible teaching gift there!! Although I love the aroma of Rufus coming out from this post, it is absolutely clear that you have taken what you have heard and re-taught it but absolutely originally with your own gifting and your own anointing on it!! It blessed me and encouraged me so much and was a fitting reminder that we truly must never lose sight of this gospel because it is the POWER of God not just to get us to heaven but for wholeness, protection and for life generally!!

Awesome!! Keep it up and keep teaching!!

Don said...

the secret hiding in plain sight! thank you for making it plain!

silent wings said...

hmmmm I never thought about this.
Are there any IF's in the New Testement that are related to our works, our efforts,or our behaviour...or are they ALL related to IF we will believe on Jesus and trust in Him...? I am excitedly going to go check this out....!!