THE STAFF AND SWORD MINISTRY
March 14, 2005
MANIFESTING CHRIST YOUR APPROACH TO GOD
PROM LAW OR GRACE by Nancy-TONI Youngbrandt In my last `Manifesting Christ' article entitled "Consider the Lilies", I had the leading to take a look at the deeper issue in one's walk with Jesus of just what is your foundational approach to or with God â€” are you coming to Him from a position of Law or from one of Grace? Since Chuck-JOHNEL and I have received some further insight into this same subject, I have the leading to pursue this difference a bit more in this article.
OLD COVENANT VERSUS NEW COVENANT We are all familiar with the Old and New Testaments in the Bible to one degree or another and yet it wasn't until I read a book by Andrew Murray that I learned that the word "Testament" means "Covenant," He then went on to elaborate that the Old Testament represents the Old Covenant that God made with mankind where God said (basically), `Here are My laws and if you keep My laws, I will bless you and My favor will be upon you.' However, God also knew full well the fallen nature of mankind and knew that mankind could not fulfill the law perfectly but made or allowed this Covenant to show mankind our sin and our need for God. The reason I say that God `allowed' this Old Covenant is that I do not believe this is what God's initial and Perfect Will for His people was. I say this because in Moses' time, Moses would go before God and be so filled with His Spirit and Presence that His face literally shined with the Light and Presence of God. It was in this state that Moses would come to the people urging them to come to God as well. So did the people see this and find themselves drawn to God that they too may experience God and His Presence? --- NO, they did not! Instead, they told Moses to cover his face and preferred that Moses would tell them what God said and that they promised they would do what He commanded and thus the Old Covenant
MANIFESTING CHRIST — YOU R APPROACH TO GOD March 13 , 2005
OLD COVENANT VERSUS NEW COVENANT continued was born. Unfortunately, the people still didn't do what God commanded and the Bible is full of the back and forth relationship of Israel with God. For a time they would be in God's favor and blessing by walking in His Laws and Ways and then they would fall away from God and suffer the consequences. Finally, fortunately for us, the Good News came — Jesus Christ. In doing this God made a New Covenant with mankind by sending His only Begotten Son to take on all of our sin and die for it, thus fulfilling the law once and for all — for all of mankind. Jesus did it — He paid the price — and now with our sin under His shed Blood, we can enter into Righteousness and a relationship with God that He desired all along. In this New Covenant, God essentially took fallen mankind out of the picture and sent His Son to fulfill the law so now we have no excuse for failing to keep God's Law and Covenant relationship as He intended. As long as we are in Christ Jesus, then we have life and can walk in God's righteousness through Christ and His Grace.
THE LAW The interesting thing is that the Law itself is not really the problem here because we need the law to know what sin is — to what is right and wrong in God's eyes. As the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 7:7 — "... Is the law sin? God forbid Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had
not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. " Rather it is the sin — that is the problem. As Paul goes on to explain — "But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence (lust). For without the law sin was dead. For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to li,,fe, I found to be unto death.
For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me." (Romans 7:8-11) Paul then again makes it clear that, "... the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just and good,..." (Romans 7:12) but also that the "law is spiritual " (vs 14). And since the law is spiritual, then the real problem is that he is carnal and sold under sin (vsl4). It is our fallen nature, our fallen flesh, and our carnality that will prevent us from ever fulfilling
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MANIFESTING CHRIST â€” YOUR APPROACH TO GOD March 14, 2005
THE LAW continued the law perfectly on our own .-. even with the "best of intentions." It is just as Paul wrote as he continued on in Romans 7:18-2I --
"For I know that in me (that is, in nxy f esh) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good Ifind not.
Or in other words, he wants to do good but he is unable to find within himself the means to actually do 'good'.]
"For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin dwelleth in me.
Ifind then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me."
In other words, the more we know of the law, especially the `letter of the law', the more we are aware of the sin within us but then the more we try to deal with that sin through the law, the more we actually end up sinning. Our self-efforts actually end up strengthening the sin instead of providing victory over the sin. As Paul wrote in I Corinthians 15:57, g "The sting of death is sin; and the stren th of sin is the law."
In the end, the only answer to mankind's quest for righteousness before God is Jesus Christ.
"For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful esh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the (Romans 8:3-4} flesh, but after the Spirit. "
It is vitally important for Christians to realize that they cannot be righteous through their own self-effort in observing even a portion of the old legal system of law. Take, for example, circumcision, a law of the old temple system which followers of Christ were observing in the time of the Apostle Paul, who responded by writing --
"Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondageBehold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit yi nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. y the law' Christ is become of no effect untovon, whosoever ifyou are justified b ye are fallen from gracc.
MANIFESTING CHRIST â€” YOUR APPROACH TO GOD March 14, 2005
THE LAW continued For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which ( Galatians 5:1-6) worketh by love. " In other words, when you are in Christ, observing the law doesn't make you more righteous or even less righteous â€” it doesn't help (avail) you either way. Only the acts borne of faith working by love will bear righteousness.
THE STRENGTH OF SIN To further illustrate the effect of operating from a position of law, I carne across an interesting analogy by John Bunyan in his book, The Pilgrim 's Progress. In his narrative, John Bunyan likened the Christian's soul to that of a very large parlor that was full of dust because it had never been swept. After looking the situation over a man is then called in to sweep the dust but when the man began to sweep, the dust just flew up into the air so thick that the Christian was almost choked to death. So instead, a lady was called for who would then bring water and sprinkle the room first, after which she set about sweeping and cleaning the room with pleasure. The interpretation of this parable is as follows: This parlor is the heart of man that was never sanctified by the sweet grace of the Gospel. The dust is his original sin, and inward corruptions, that have defiled the whole man. He that began to sweep first, is the law; but she that brought water, and did sprinkle it, is the Gospel (Grace). Now whereas thou sawest, that so soon as the first began to sweep, the dust did so fly about the room by him could not be cleansed, but that thou wast almost choked therewith; this is to show thee, that the law, instead of cleansing the heart (by its working) from sin, doth revive (Romans 7:9), put strength into (1 Cor 15:56), and increase it in the soul (Romans 5:20), even as it
doth discover and forbid it; for it doth not give power to subdue.
Again, as thou sawest the damsel sprinkle the room with water, upon which it was cleansed with pleasure, this is to show thee, that when the Gospel comes in the sweet and precious influences thereof to the heart, then, I say, even as thou sawest
the damsel [settle] the dust by sprinkling the floor with water, so is sin vanquished and subdued, and the soul made clean, through the faith of it, and consequently fit for the King of glory to inhabit (John 15:3, Eph 5:26, Acts 15:9)." I like John Bunyan's example here because it shows how spiritually stifling and unclean the
law can be for an individual. It shows that the more one operates by law, the more sin is
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MANIFESTING CHRIST - YOUR APPROACH TO GOD March 14, 2005
THE STRENGTH OF SIN continued stirred up and prevails whereas by Grace, sin is subdued and removed calmly and thoroughly. It's like what Paul wrote in Romans 5:20 -
"Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. "
THE PARABLE OF THE TEN VIRGINS Now we come to the recent insights Chuck-JOHNEL and I received into a parable in
Scripture which everyone is familiar with in one way or the other — the parable of the ten virgins. To refresh your memory, the passages are found in Matthew 25:1-13 and go like this: 'hen shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them. But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then
all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord.
Lord, open unto us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
For Chuck-JOHNEL, the first question he raised was— what is the oil? The standard response is that the oil is the Holy Spirit and yet given that the wise virgins tell the foolish ones to "go to them that sell, and buy" for themselves, this didn't add up. Why? Because the Holy Spirit is a gift and cannot be attained through "buying and selling". As Peter said in Acts 2:38 "... Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gjfiof the Holy Ghost." The oil also can't be representative of salvation or eternal life for the same reason — it is a gift from God, clear and simple (Romans 6:23, Eph 2:8).
MANIFESTING CHRIST â€” YOUR APPROACH TO GOD March 14, 2005
THE PARABLE OF THE TEN VIRGINS continued Then the insight came that the oil is RIGHTEOUSNESS.
This insight was quickened to both of us as being from the Holy Spirit. We could see that there is a form righteousness which one can attain out of our own self-effort and a righteousness that comes from God. The first one will eventually run out but the second, as one abides in Christ, is renewed constantly by the Spirit of God. This can also be seen in the Book of Isaiah. In Isaiah 64:6 we see "our righteousness" spoken of "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as flit/n' rags:..." However, in Isaiah 54:17 we see a contrast as he writes,
"No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lorca " Once we had gotten this far, we then prayed to know what it meant to go "buy" righteousness and why then after the foolish ones returned, they were still not allowed in and the Bridegroom tells them, "I know you not " Something seemed to be missing until the Holy Spirit had me back up from my point of view to take a look at the foundational approach of the virgins and to see that one group was coming from a position of law and the other from a position of Grace. The foolish were those approaching God from the law while the wise ones were approaching God through Grace by faith and abiding in Christ, who provided and sustains the oil in their lamps while the law provides only a limited amount of oil which is quickly used up and is not easily renewed. The difference is one that the Apostle Paul expounds upon in depth to the Romans and the Galatians. For example, in Galatians 3:21-26 he explains, "._. for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. But the Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. ... Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might he justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Jesus Christ. "
MANWEST[NG CHRIST — YOUR APPROACH TO GOD March 14, 2005
THE PARABLE OF THE TEN VIRGINS continued But even more importantly, in Galatians 2:21 Paul tells us --
"I do not frustrate the grace of God: Christ is dead in vain."
fr if righteousness come by the raw, then
Wow, just think about that .... if you believe righteousness comes by the law, then Christ's death was for nothing! And to top it off, once you start doing just part of the law (as shared earlier), you are then obligated to observe the whole law perfectly, which you can never do, and which means that Christ has become of "no effect to you" and you are fallen from Grace (Galatians 5:3-4) Whew! The question could be raised as to how is it that the foolish were working by law? How can that be seen in their behavior? Well, it can be seen in the "fruit" of their actions since they didn't have any oil to renew their lamps with once the initial oil ran out. It can also be seen by the fact that they went to try by self-effort to "buy" some oil, to "buy" righteousness. True righteousness comes from God through Jesus Christ and cannot be bought or sold but another form of righteousness — self-righteousness -- can be attained through acts of self-effort. As for those that "sell" righteousness, these are those in the Church System of man that offer righteousness through works, through the observance of law and through acts of selfeffort on your part to attain righteousness. These are offering a form of righteousness which is ultimately carnal and as "filthy rags" and not the righteousness that is of and from God. By the way, I believe that it is an assumption that because the wise instruct the foolish to go this route it is in any way an endorsement of that path. Instead, I see that the wise virgins are simply speaking to the foolish ones from the position of knowing where the foolish ones are coming from — which is law, and they are telling those foolish ones to go to the place they've been going all along to obtain "righteousness." The wise can't give of their "oil" obtained through Grace and know that each must obtain it on their own from Jesus Christ.
ARE THE `FOOLISH' THEN NOT SAVED? At the end of the parable we see that even though the foolish virgins returned, they were still However, does this mean then not allowed in and the Bridegroom said, "I know you not" that these do not have salvation? Well, the answer is no — not necessarily. Again, salvation is a gift so if a person in law has accepted Jesus Christ as his or her Savior and repented of their sin, then the soul is saved. However, that person will not be able to enter directly into the Presence of God.
MANIFESTING CHRIST --- YOUR APPROACH TO GOD March 14, 2005
THE PARABLE OF THE TEN VIRGINS ARE THE FOOLISH' THEN NOT SAVED? continued
Sin has one main effect â€” it separates us from God. It isn't that God can't stand to be in the presence of sin but rather it is sin and those filled with sin that cannot bear to be in the Presence of God.
To understand Heaven, it helps to keep in mind the way the Lord laid out the old temple in Jerusalem. First you had the "Outer Court", where just about anyone could gather and assemble. Then there was the "Inner Court" which only priests and anointed ones could enter. Then even closer to God still, there was the Holy of Holies, where only a special few were allowed and able to enter to come in the direct Presence of God. In the parable of the ten virgins, we believe the virgins would have been waiting in an area not unlike the "Inner Court" as they had been prepared and purified as represented by the fact that they were called virgins. These had been made "clean" and chaste to come before God -- half by law and half by Grace. The Bridegroom would be coming for them from the Holy of Holies and they would be allowed to enter in if they had the Lord's righteousness in their lamps. Chuck-JOHN:-L and I have both been in Heaven and about a year ago, the Lord God was calling Chuck-JOHNEL up to His Throne to cast down the Wrath of God. In preparation for that time, we spent a special time in prayer and fasting and Chuck-JOHNEL was aware of Angels coming to him to prepare him for coming into the Presence of God. To do this, our sin was being replaced constantly with the Light of Christ and His Righteousness. Only those who were filled with Christ and His Pure Light could even pray with us in an area that was just outside of the Throne Room of God. I saw one person there who looked dirty who was quickly removed from the area we were in. Nothing unclean could remain in that "Inner Court". Likewise, our own outer and inner courts must be made clean by the Spirit of God. The law can help us to know what it is that must be cleaned but we must let Grace through Jesus Christ enter in to make us clean rather trying to clean ourselves up. The more we attempt it on our own, the more mess we are likely to make. Instead, we just need to abide in Christ and His Grace and receive of His Love unconditionally and He will do the work within us. Christ will clean us up and make us pure before God ... HIS GRACE TRULY IS SUFFICIENT FOR US!