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Grace 101: Week 8, “The New Covenant of Blessing and Rest”

Week 8, The New Covenant of Blessing and Rest Galatians 3:6-18 Galatians 3 began with a severe chastisement from Paul to the Galatians for turning back to the law. He asked them, “Who has bewitched you?!” They willingly walked right back into the trap of the control and manipulation of men who would use the law to put them back in bondage. Paul was furious. In verses 5 and 6 he said to them, “Answer this question: Does the God who lavishly provides you with His own presence, His Holy Spirit, working things in your lives you could never do for yourselves, does He do these things because of your strenuous moral striving or because you trust Him to do them in you?Don’t these things happen among you just as they happened with Abraham?” (The Message) That begs the question for us: how did God lavishly provide for Abraham in ways that Abraham could never have done for himself? What was Abraham’s secret?

3:6-9 Galatians 3:6 - ...just as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Abraham’s secret: to believe God. God’s response: to count him as righteous. What is righteousness? When you have righteousness, your sins are forgiven and nothing stands between you and God. You are perfect in His sight through the blood of Jesus. As we will see, Abraham believed the same Gospel that we do. He looked forward to the cross and believed. We look backwards to the cross and believe. We saw in our study of Romans 4 that the context of this statement, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness” is in Genesis where God brought him outside one night and showed him the stars and told him to number them. Genesis 15:5-6 - He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness. If you recall, the word for “number” there is the Hebrew word “caphar” which means to declare, to recount, to tell a story. Abraham looked at the stars and the constellations and saw the Gospel story displayed in the sky, and he believed the same Gospel that you and I believe. And it was accounted it to him for righteousness. Abraham was called a friend of God. He lived 400 years before the law, and he was close to God. The law cannot bring us close to God. It only shuts us out of His presence. Grace has brought us into His presence and closed the gap of our separation. We see the same statement about Abraham and righteousness in James: James 2:23 - “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. It was the goodness of God that caused Abraham to walk close with him, not Abraham’s goodness. You won’t find one time where God rebuked Abraham even though he did not behave perfectly. Abraham lived under the covenant of grace, not the covenant of “do good, get good” and “do bad, get bad.” The law is basic, and every religion understands it. But grace makes no sense logically. It takes revelation from the Holy Spirit to understand it. You get the good you don’t deserve because Jesus took all of the

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Grace 101: Week 8, “The New Covenant of Blessing and Rest”

bad you did deserve. The Holy Spirit won’t teach us the law. He has come to teach us grace and glorify one Person: Jesus. Titus 2:11-12, NASB - For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age... Grace is our instructor to teach us to deny ungodliness! The role of the Holy Spirit is to convict us of our righteousness in Christ and to keep our focus on our Lord and Savior, not on our flesh. When you sin is where the rubber meets the road, isn’t it? That’s when you need the assurance of grace. That’s when you need to be assured that God is still with you and for you. That’s the time to say, “I am the righteousness of God apart from my performance because Jesus performed perfectly for me.” When you do that, joy explodes and you rise above the sin effortlessly! Your righteousness is the righteousness of Abraham: the righteousness of faith. You cannot lose your righteousness because the blood of Jesus gives you eternal forgiveness. Ephesians 1:7 - In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace. We are forgiven according to the riches of His grace, not according to anything we can muster. The day you can measure the riches of His grace, that’s when you’ll know how much you’ve been forgiven. And we HAVE forgiveness - we’re not working towards getting it. It was purchased at a great cost: the redemption through Jesus’ blood. Galatians 3:7 - Therefore know that only those who are OF FAITH are sons of Abraham. What faith is this? Is it faith for healing? Or prosperity? NO! It’s faith to believe you are righteous by the blood of Jesus! Here’s where we see the truth that God gave the Gospel of Jesus Christ to Abraham: Galatians 3:8 - And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles BY FAITH, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” The Gospel is the Good News that we are blessed!! As Paul said in Romans 4:8, “Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.” When our sins are never counted against us, we are truly blessed in every way! Now there is nothing to stop every other blessing of God! Galatians 3:9 - So then those who are OF FAITH are blessed with believing Abraham. Keep in mind that the subject matter is righteousness BY FAITH... We are blessed by being people “of faith” to believe you are in perfect standing with God. It’s not by behaving right! It’s by believing you are perfect in the eyes of God!! When you blow it, that’s the time to say, “Right now I qualify for his grace.” Do you know what happens when you live this way? It gives birth to falling in love with Jesus even more because He is the One who made it possible for you to receive God’s grace. This sets the course for a life of true holiness where you stop trying to mimic Jesus, suffering through a life of defeat, but instead you’re transformed into His image by simply beholding Him! Verse 9 says that Abraham was blessed. Have you seen HOW Abraham was blessed? The Bible says he was very rich.

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Grace 101: Week 8, “The New Covenant of Blessing and Rest”

Genesis 13:1-2 - Then Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife and all that he had, and Lot with him, to the South. Abram was VERY rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold. This was after Abraham had lied to the king and failed to protect his wife! He certainly didn’t deserve the wealth, but because he believed, he was blessed. Through Abraham we also are blessed Deuteronomy 8:17-18 - You say in your heart, “My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.” And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers [Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob - not the Mosaic covenant of works]. It’s only when you are under the Abrahamic covenant of grace that the power to be blessed is released. It’s not through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. How can we NOT reign in this life when we receive the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness?! One more thing about the blessing of Abraham - grace renewed Abraham and Sarah’s physical bodies. In their old age they were able to conceive and bear children. Sarah was so beautiful that she was desired by Pharaoh when she was 65 (Genesis 12) and by King Abimelech when she was 90 (Genesis 20) to be in their harems! This is truly miraculous! 1 Peter 3:6 - ...Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are... As sons and daughters of Abraham and Sarah, grace renews you - inside and out!

3:10-12 Galatians 3:10-12 - For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” 11 But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.” 12 Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.” Here Paul proves that rule-keeping and faith (law and grace) are in direct opposition to each other. They are mutually exclusive. It is impossible to truly live a mixture. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. If you choose the rule route, you have to do it 100%. Verse 10 says those who are of faith are blessed. Those who are OF THE WORKS of the law are under the curse. Today it’s NOT “those who BREAK the law are under the curse.” The covenant of Law has been fulfilled in Christ and does not apply to us whatsoever. If you are a believer, it’s about what you believe. What it’s saying is the minute you take your ground for blessing under the merit system and believe in that system (regardless of whether it is in operation today), you come under the curse. Do good, get good...do bad, GET BAD. It’s all about what you believe! Are you “of faith”? Or are you “of the works of the law”? This is why so many believers still experience symptoms of the curse in their lives today. To understand more about how the curse came in, we’ll need to look at God’s covenant system because the curse of the law came in through the covenant of law that God made with Israel. God actually made seven covenants that are described throughout the Bible, but the two that are the main covenants written about in the New Testament are the old covenant of law (the Mosaic covenant) and the new covenant of grace (the covenant made in Jesus’ blood on our behalf). The types and

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shadows of the other covenants all find their fulfillment and substance in the final covenant: the everlasting covenant that is in Christ Jesus. The 7 Covenants in the Bible: 1. Edenic Covenant - This is the covenant that God made with Adam in the Garden of Eden. He gave man dominion over the earth and everything in it, with one stipulation: don’t eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. This covenant was broken when Adam and Eve ate from that tree. This covenant was fulfilled when Jesus became our righteousness through the cross. (Genesis 1:26-30, 2:16-17) 2. Adamic Covenant - Because Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, these things would result: the ground would be cursed so that Adam would have to toil to get food, there would be enmity between satan and all of their descendants, there would be marital strife, thorns and thistles were introduced, the woman would be cursed in childbirth, and physical and spiritual death entered. However, the wonderful promise of a Savior was introduced in Genesis 3:15: “He [Jesus] shall bruise your head [satan’s], and you shall bruise His heel.” God promises that One born of the woman would be wounded in the process of destroying satan, but He would crush satan’s head. This curse was broken and this covenant was fulfilled when Christ became the curse for us. (Genesis 3:14-19) 3. Land Covenant with Israel, “The Promised Land” - God made a covenant with Abraham concerning the promise of land for the people of Israel live in. This is a promise to Abraham’s natural descendants. This is a covenant that still stands today. (Genesis 12:1-2, 13:14-17, 15:18-21, 17:8) 4. Abrahamic Covenant - This is the unconditional covenant of grace for all of Abraham’s spiritual children, and that includes us as believers in Jesus Christ. This covenant promised that all of Abraham’s descendants would be blessed on this earth, and benefactors of this covenant receive the Promised Land of heaven through the righteousness which comes by faith. This is the everlasting covenant of grace and is still in effect!(Genesis 12:3, 15:5-6, 17:1-6) 5. Mosaic Covenant - This covenant was made with Israel and consisted of the Ten Commandments, social judgments, and religious ordinances. It is also called “The Law.” It was the covenant of works and the ministry of death and condemnation because of its impossible requirements. This covenant was fulfilled in Christ. (Exodus 20:1-31:18, 2 Corinthians 3:7-9) 6. Davidic Covenant — The unconditional kingdom covenant of the everlasting rule of David’s future generations. From the line of David came Jesus Christ who would reign forever. This covenant was confirmed by divine oath in Psalm 89, renewed to Mary, and fulfilled in Christ as the Savior and Israel’s coming King. (Psalm 89:34-37, Luke 1:31-33, Revelation 19:16) 7. New Covenant - This covenant of unconditional blessing based upon the finished work of the cross of Jesus Christ. It flows from the Abrahamic covenant which was never annulled. This covenant promises eternal righteousness through the blood of Jesus for all who believe. It is unconditional and irreversible, and it is for all who are saved by faith in Jesus from Adam onward. (Jeremiah 31:31-33, Matthew 26:28, Hebrews 8:8-12, Romans 3:25) When you understand covenants, you understand how God deals with people. A covenant is stronger than an agreement or a contract. The only way out of a covenant is by death. The reason that Jesus died was to bring all people out of the covenant of law (the Mosaic covenant) where every blessing depended on man’s obedience and into a new covenant of grace where everything depends on Christ’s obedience. So the two main covenants can be simply stated as law and grace. When the people of Israel came out of Egypt, they loved the God that delivered them, but they still complained. Complaining is a sin, but every time they were faced with a need, God met it. When they 100


Grace 101: Week 8, “The New Covenant of Blessing and Rest”

got to the Red Sea, He opened it up for them even though they complained. (Exodus 14:11-12) One the other side of the Red Sea three days later, they complained of the bitter waters of Marah, but God sweetened the waters. Then they were happy for a while, but then they complained again because they had no food. So God rained bread from heaven every single morning. (Exodus 15:23-25, 16:3-15) Every fresh sin brought forth fresh demonstrations of God’s grace. It shows that the covenant that they were under before Sinai - the Abrahamic covenant - was a covenant of grace that depended on God’s goodness and not their own. After they were delivered from the bondage of Egypt and before they arrived at Mount Sinai where the law was given, there is no record of the Israelites building an idol and worshipping it. God spoke the Ten Commandments from the mountain with fire and brimstone (Exodus 20), and then Moses went up the mountain to receive the two tablets of stone engraved with the Ten Commandments by the finger of God with the Ten Commandments, and he also received the rest of the law (Exodus 24-31). Before Moses had even come back down the mountain with the two tablets, the Israelites were already breaking the first commandment: they were worshipping a golden calf that they had built with the gold they had brought out of Egypt. Exodus 20:3-4 - You shall have no other gods before Me. 4 You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 5   you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. On that day 3000 of them had to die in judgment at the hands of the Levites (Exodus 32). What’s the correlation between the law being introduced and the sin of worshipping the idol? 1 Corinthians 15:56 - the strength of sin is the law. As we saw in our study of Romans 7, sin takes opportunity by the law: Romans 7:8-9 - But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. 9 I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. Who uses the law today? Satan, the accuser of the brethren uses the “ministry of condemnation” to condemn us (2 Corinthians 3:9). Without the law, sin would have no strength, and without the law, satan would have nothing to accuse us of! When God gave the law, they proudly said, Exodus 24:3 - “All that the LORD has spoken we will do.” Bankrupt man presumed on his own strength. They didn’t even know what they weren’t capable of. They were essentially telling God, “Bless us because we will be faithful.” Then God said in essence, “This the deal. If you want Me to bless you based on your goodness, then you must keep all the Ten Commandments. And if you do, then My blessings will come on you. But if you break even one, then you’re guilty of all, and you will come under the curse.” The problem with the law is that it can’t make you holy. In fact, you break one little rule, and you’re GUILTY and deserving of punishment and the curse of the whole law. James 2:10 - For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.

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Grace 101: Week 8, “The New Covenant of Blessing and Rest”

So the way to get in trouble with God under the Old Covenant was to disobey the law. And what happened when they disobeyed? They had the curse hanging over their heads.

3:13-14 But hallelujah for our New Covenant promise! Galatians 3:13-14 - Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. So what are the curses of the law? What have we been redeemed from? You need to be sure of what the curses are so that you will not believe they are good or receive them in your life: 1. Sickness Deuteronomy 28:59-61 - Extraordinary plagues—great and prolonged plagues—and serious and prolonged sicknesses. 60 Moreover He will bring back on you all the diseases of Egypt, of which you were afraid, and they shall cling to you. 61 Also every sickness and every plague. If we think that sickness is from God, we won’t be claiming our deliverance from it. Jesus prayed, “Thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.” There is no sickness in heaven. God can’t give what God doesn’t have. By the way, when you see in the Bible, “The Lord will bring back diseases...” It’s the permissive tense, which means He didn’t send it, He allowed it to be sent. “Bring back” literally means “return, turn back” - return to what? The state of being cursed. Sickness is of the devil. And sickness is a curse that Jesus has redeemed us from! 2. Marriage curses Deuteronomy 28:30 - You shall betroth a wife, but another man shall lie with her. Adultery is not just a sin, it’s a curse. Adultery represents all of the breakdown of marriage - starting with the breakdown of communication. This is a curse that Jesus has redeemed us from! 3. Wayward children Deuteronomy 28:32, 41 - Your sons and your daughters shall be given to another people, and your eyes shall look and fail with longing for them all day long; and there shall be no strength in your hand...You shall beget sons and daughters, but they shall not be yours; for they shall go into captivity. Today parents see their own flesh and blood go into captivity to drugs and alcohol, to internet porn, to bad company, to eating disorders, to cutting. They are their children, but not really theirs. This is a curse that Jesus redeemed us from! 4. Poverty Deuteronomy 28:38-40 - You shall carry much seed out to the field but gather little in, for the locust shall consume it. You shall plant vineyards and tend them, but you shall neither drink of the wine nor gather the grapes; for the worms shall eat them. You shall have olive trees throughout all your territory, but you shall not anoint yourself with the oil; for your olives shall drop off. 102


Grace 101: Week 8, “The New Covenant of Blessing and Rest”

Often believers will put in overtime to make ends meet. They will work two and three jobs to keep their heads above water, not knowing that Christ has redeemed them from the curse of poverty. They might even be the very ones that jump on the “prosperity gospel” band-wagon and shout confessions that they are blessed from their head to their toes, but inside they have Old Covenant thinking: “If I obey every command, I will be blessed.” You will find a whole list of blessings in the first part of Deuteronomy 28. These are the blessings of the righteous, but there is none righteous! Not one! Except for the Lord Jesus Christ. We are now blessed because He obeyed every command for us. Through His blood, God Himself has pronounced us qualified to receive our inheritance! Poverty is a curse that Jesus has redeemed is from! Thank God for qualifying you if you feel you are carrying much seed out, but gathering little in, or if you are longing for your children, or if your marriage is a mess, or if you are sick. Just thank Him for the blood of Jesus and look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of faith. Colossians 1:12-13 - giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law! The word “redeemed” means that Christ has ransomed you out of the realm of the curse of the law. What is “the curse?” Curse is “katara” in the Greek which means to “speak down to.” You are redeemed from every negative word that has ever been spoken over you! Every time you have been spoken down to, God has spoken the opposite over you. You are redeemed from all of the accusations of the enemy that go against grace. You are redeemed from the law that only points out your faults and unworthiness before God. Redeem means it’s paid. He redeemed us from the curse so the blessing could come on us. What is “the blessing?” Righteousness. When you have righteousness, God will never ever impute sin to you. You are blessed and the devil cannot reverse it! The Greek word for blessed is “eulogeo”, and it means to “speak well.” Jesus’s death brought us blessing so we can speak well over ourselves in agreement with what He speaks over us! Hebrews 12:22 - But you have come to Mount Zion [mountain of grace] and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel. See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. His blood speaks well of you from heaven, believer, crying out, “Peace, acquittal, justification, forgiveness, redemption, cleansing, perfection!” Don’t refuse the voice of grace! In the Hebrews (Old Testament) the word for curse is “qelalah” and the word for blessing is “berakah”. The Hebrew language is very rich. Every letter represents a picture, and the word pictures for “qelalah” and “berakah” are very revealing. Hebrew is read from right to left. Berakah (blessing) is “beit reish kaf hei” (‫)ּבְָרכָה‬. beit reish - the first two letters combined mean “son” and is pronounced “bar” as in Simon bar Jonah (Simon son of Jonah)

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kaf - open hand hei - grace What a beautiful picture. The Son opens His hand and gives grace to you! Qelalah (curse) is “qof lamed lamed hei” (‫)ְקלָלָ ה‬. qof - back of the head lamed lamed - next two letters means teaching or learning grace, double learning hei - grace “Qelalah” (curse in Hebrew) literally means “turning away persistently (more than one time) from learning grace.” What is the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Isaiah 30:15 - For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel. “In returning [shuwbah] and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” “Shuwbah” literally means return to grace. If you keep on keeping on turning your head away from grace, you will never rest. You will toil like Adam in the garden and sense the curse on your life. Return to grace and rest, and you will be saved - made whole, delivered, healed, prospered. Believe that the work is finished. In believing we are under a curse, even our cells will say, “fight against her, fight against him,” and the body and mind obey. Some even go so far as to torture themselves. If you don’t see that Jesus Christ took your curse, you will curse yourself somehow in your mind or your body. Many are sick, not because of sin, but because of guilt and condemnation. If you ask the average Christian how we can be cursed, he will say, “There must be sin in your life.” But the Bible says we HAVE forgiveness of sins according the the riches of His grace. So sin is no more the problem. If you believe you are deserving of bad, then you have an Old Covenant mindset of works. “As many as are of the works of the law are under the curse.” (Galatians 3:10) Galatians 3:13 doesn’t make sense if you say, “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law BECAUSE WE KEEP THE LAW.” It only makes sense for those who don’t have it all together. In fact, Galatians 3:13 only makes sense when you break the law. If you are a born again believer in Jesus Christ, when you sin, there is no curse hanging over you. You can breathe easy and enjoy your relationship with the Lord. In the belief that you are cursed, you will walk in condemnation and become introspective and even depressed. “Why is this happening to me?! I have prayed and it just doesn’t change! Why is God upset with me?” Me, me, me... You have taken your eyes off of Jesus, and instead of reigning in life, you will be overcome by your circumstances. Here is New Covenant reality: Jeremiah 31:31-34 - “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— 32   not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. 33   But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34   No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall

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know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” God’s divine wrath against all our disobedience fell upon Jesus Christ at the cross. For God to remember your sins is to actually say that what Jesus did is not enough. And when Jesus said, “It is finished,” God is no longer dealing with us based on sin. He remembers our sins no more. Today He’s dealing with us through Jesus. If He’s dealing with you based on Jesus, you’re sure to be blessed. Are you still trying to earn what has been given to you freely? Romans 4:14 - For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of no effect. As you recall from this verse in Romans 4, the more you trust in your obedience with the attitude that because you worked hard and did something right that God will bless you, your faith can’t operate. You don’t need faith when you earn something, and it can’t be given to you as a gift. If you are “of the works of the law”, you have voided both your faith and God’s promise. When we mix the law with grace, and we have one foot in the Old and one foot in the New, we fall from grace. We are saying, “I’m keeping both the commandments and Jesus.” But in God’s system, He won’t tolerate a mixture. Either it’s all law or it’s all Jesus. Jesus, the Son, will not share the house with Moses, the servant. (Hebrews 3:1-6) And as we will see in Galatians 4, Paul makes the strong statement that the bondwoman and her son (who represent the law) will not share the inheritance with the freewoman and her son (who represent grace). Paul says, “Cast out the bondwoman and her son!” (Galatians 4:30) John 8:35-36 - A slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. In John 8 Jesus was talking about the change of covenants! You can’t have half law and half grace. Alot of believers are believing in half man’s work, half God’s work - God does His part and I do mine; it’s a divine partnership. No. You can’t mix the two covenants. When we try to mix law and grace, Jesus becomes of no effect to us. Galatians 5:4, KJV - Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. The phrase “is become of no effect unto you” literally means a “separating that causes a thing to render idle, unemployed, inactivate, inoperative.” It causes a person “to have no further efficiency.” The same Greek word for “no effect” (as in Christ has become of no effect to you) is used in Romans 7 and means “to terminate all intercourse with.”: Romans 7:6, Amplified - But now we are discharged from the Law and have terminated all intercourse with it [it’s of no effect unto you], having died to what once restrained and held us captive. So now we serve not under [obedience to] the old code of written regulations, but [under obedience to the promptings] of the Spirit in newness [of life]. In Galatians Paul was writing to Christians who had mixed grace with the law! If you don’t terminate intercourse with Mr. Law, you will bear the fruit of death and the curse. The Galatians had fallen from grace and had become inoperative in the Spirit. God’s grace is greater than all our sin. James 2:13 - Mercy triumphs over judgment. Law is lower than grace. To go back to that system is to fall downward.

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Grace 101: Week 8, “The New Covenant of Blessing and Rest” Galatians 3:14, again - ... that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. Again, what is the “blessing of Abraham”? There are many blessings that Abraham received, but the greatest was the righteousness of faith. When we have Christ’s righteousness, all the other things are added. (Matthew 6:33) When we receive the righteousness of faith, we receive the promise of the Holy Spirit. Earlier in Galatians Paul asked a few questions: 1. Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 2. Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? 3. Have you suffered so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? 4. Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? And then he gave them the answer to the questions: “just as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”

3:15-18 Galatians 3:15 - Brethren, I speak in the manner of men: Though it is only a man’s covenant, yet if it is confirmed, no one annuls or adds to it. Here is verse 15 in the New Living Translation for clarity: Galatians 3:15, NLT - Dear brothers and sisters, here’s an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or amend an irrevocable agreement, so it is in this case. On to verse 16 Galatians 3:16 - Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ. Where it says, “and to your Seed,” the Good News is that we are descendants of this Seed: Galatians 3:29 - If you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. Again, what were the promises? • All the nations of the world would be blessed through Abraham (Genesis 12:3, 18;18, 22:18, 28:14) • Abraham’s descendants would be as many as the sand on the seashore [natural descendants] and the stars in the sky [spiritual descendants] (Genesis 15:15, 22:17, 26:4, 28:14; Hebrews 11:12) • The promise of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 3:14) • Heir to the world (Romans 4:13) Galatians 3:17-18 - And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was CONFIRMED BEFORE BY GOD IN CHRIST, that it should make the promise of no effect. 18 For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise. 106


Grace 101: Week 8, “The New Covenant of Blessing and Rest”

What this is saying is that the covenant that God made with Abraham was an everlasting covenant. The covenant God made with Abraham came 430 years before the law was given to Moses at Mount Sinai. In Romans 5:20 we saw that the law “entered” that sin might increase. That word “entered” is the Greek word “pareiserchomai” which means “to come in by stealth, to come in besides.” In other words, the law came in beside the Abrahamic covenant of grace, but this covenant of grace was never annulled! The law didn't set aside the covenant based on grace and faith, it came in by stealth, alongside! Israel was operating in a spirit of unbelief. Because of that transgression of unbelief, God finally said in effect, "You keep accusing Me of not being faithful, so let Me give you something that will expose the condition of your heart. I’ll give you the law.” They should have and could have said, "We repent right now. We want the covenant of our forefathers, the covenant You made with Abraham!” Instead, they said, "All that the Lord commands, we will do." (Exodus 24:3) But praise God that the Old Covenant became obsolete and was fulfilled in Jesus through His sinless life and through His acceptance on our behalf before the Father in heaven! It was canceled when the handwriting written against us was nailed to the cross! In Galatians 3:8 we saw that God preached the Gospel to Abraham in advance.The Abrahamic covenant was an everlasting covenant. In Galatians 3:17 Paul doesn’t say that it was FULFILLED in Christ; he says it was CONFIRMED by God in Christ. It confirms that God has always been a God of grace, and grace has always been His main agenda and His heart for us!

Rest The essence of New Covenant blessing is resting in the finished work of the cross. Psalm 91:1 - He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. The word “dwells” is the Hebrew word “yashab” which means to sit down. He who learns to sit down in God’s presence will abide under His protection. Colossians 3:1-3 - If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. This is the Old Testament shadow of the provision that flows from heaven: Deuteronomy 26:8-9 - So the LORD [Yahweh] brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm, with great terror and with signs and wonders. 9 He has brought us to this place and has given us this land, “a land flowing with milk and honey.” Deuteronomy 6:10-11 - when the LORD your God brings you into the land of which He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give you large and beautiful cities which you did not build, 11 houses full of all good things, which you did not fill, hewn-out wells which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant... All of this speaks of a finished work! The food of Egypt is garlic, leeks, cucumber, onions - ground food. They would have to bend down to get them and work with back-breaking labor. But all the fruit of the Promised Land - vines, figs, olives, pomegranates - were their height. No bending down to get them. It’s a life of rest. God wants you to 107


Grace 101: Week 8, “The New Covenant of Blessing and Rest”

enjoy your work and enjoy your family and enjoy your ministry and enjoy your walk with Him! Come into His rest! The one thing we are to fear: Hebrews 4:1 - Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. The only thing God tells us to fear in the New Testament is to fear that you are not restful. Fear that you are not at peace. But is seems that we are afraid to let go even of our fear. For many of us, fear is a crutch that we have leaned on. There is fear of not having enough and fear of the future. “If I don’t do it, who will!” Fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of sickness, fear of death. Fear and rest cannot co-exist. In the New Testament God changes the term “My land” to “My rest.” The promised land for the Christian today is the place of God’s rest - seated in the heavenilies. Your land flowing with milk and honey is God’s rest. Hebrews 4:2-3 - For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. 3 For we who have believed DO enter that rest. “So I swore in My wrath they shall not enter My rest,” although the works were finished from the FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD. Revelation 13:8 - ...the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Long before man sinned, God had the provision. Long before you have your healing while you are still in pain, God has your healing provided. If you are now in lack, God wants you to see the work is done for your provision. While Jesus walked the earth, He lived in the finished work. Look at the way He operated. Look at HIM because AS HE IS SO ARE YOU IN THIS WORLD! (1 John 4:17) Mark 11:24 - Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you. There’s nothing left for God to do. It’s all finished. While you are praying and begging and pleading, God sits on His throne and says, “It’s done.” But Christians worry and fear in the flesh because they don’t see the finished work. Even their praying is a work. Even their faith is not longer real faith, but a faith ginned up from self-effort. Hebrews 4:9 - There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. Our rest today is a perpetual sabbath rest [sabbatismos] to be enjoyed uninterruptedly. The only thing God tells us to work at is to work at being restful. Work at not working. The only fight is the fight to rest, and this fight is the fight of faith. When the devil says, “Come and fight me!” You tell him, “You are already defeated. Christ has defeated you.” Hebrews 4:10 - For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Resting in the Lord is not a passive, lazy life. No one was more active that our Lord Jesus Christ. But no one was more restful. He did everything in rest, yet He accomplished more than any human being in three years. When you look at Jesus, He was always poised. Always perfectly composed. Never hurried. Never pushed. He moved in the miraculous and in the unforced rhythms of grace. And He LIVES IN YOU!

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Grace 101: Week 8, “The New Covenant of Blessing and Rest”

Hebrews 4:11 (KJV), cont. - Let us labor therefore to enter the rest... We labor at not laboring! Hebrews 4:11, cont. (KJV) - ...lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. The opposite of rest is unbelief! If you are not in rest, there is something about God you are not believing. Here is the truth to rest in: Psalm 91:7, 10, 16 - A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you... No evil shall befall you.... With long life I will satisfy him and show him My salvation. Salvation is “Yeshua” in the Hebrew, the name or our Lord. When we sit down in the shelter of our almighty God, He will show us Jesus, and we will be delivered from all our troubles and all our fears!

Copyright © Patricia Gunn 2013

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Grace 101, week 8, the new covenant of blessing and rest  
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