Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

Grace Over Law



Act 15: 1- 29

This is one of the key scriptures in the New Testament. Why? All that Christ had done on the cross could have been defeated if the ‘men from Judea’ had their way! I believe it was the grace and the providence of God that raised men like Paul who stood for the truth of the Gospel, despite being a staunch Jew, before conversion.

Acts 15:1 says ‘Certain men which came down from Judea’ taught the bretheren….

These men and their group were called Judaizers by the early church. They added to the doctrine taught by the original disciples and Paul.

What was their doctrine?

Luke here says that they taught that Act 15:1 … Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved”

Now this was a broad deviation from the Gospel that Paul and Barnabas taught. The Judaizers taught that to be truly saved, you needed to be circumcised. What was the significance of circumcision (at that time)? Well circumcision was very symbolic to the Jews. It was a gateway into the Law of Moses. To be circumcised meant that they would be getting into a covenant that would cause them to keep the Law of Moses.

What was different about the Law of Moses?

Everything! Everything was different!

John the beloved wrote in his Gospel:

      John 1:16 – 17   And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.


The word ‘law’ is translated from the Greek word nomos.

Nomos means: law, regulation.

So that scripture can be re-written as: For the regulation was given by Moses …

Regulation was given by Moses, but acceptance came through Jesus Christ!!! That means, you would have to keep the whole law to be accepted under the law. But under Christ, you are accepted just because you believe in Christ (John 3:16).

Paul’s stand against Law

The scripture records that Paul and Barnabas had great disputation and dissention about the Law. It was so great that the church there at Antioch decided that they needed to go to Jerusalem and decide to determine if the Law was still necessary to be kept. And that they did!

Why was this revelation so dear to Paul?

Paul was a Pharisee. All his life, he had strived to ‘earn’ righteousness by following the law and the code of the Pharisees, even going to the extend of persecuting the followers of Christ. Now he had a personal encounter with this Jesus, and with that came the revelation that he couldn’t earn righteousness with God based on works. Which was contrary to what he had learned and practiced all his life. On the face of this revelation, why would he go back to his old ways!

It didn’t stop there! All his life he had struggled with sin. In Romans chapter 7 he records his struggle with sin. He had suffered condemnation and helplessness against sin. He says:


Rom 7:14  For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead….


Paul records here that he was not able to overcome the sin that dwelled in him. The Law had no power because it was spiritual and it did not empower him to live a righteous life.


Then came Jesus Christ !

Rom 8:1  There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 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 flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit


All of a sudden, Paul records, everything changed! He is no longer under condemnation! A new law, the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus set him (and all who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ) free from sin and its consequence ‘death’!

If you are in Jesus Christ, you are not condemned. Nobody dare condemn you! Yes, there is a law that condemns. Paul suffered under it all his life, till he became a follower of Christ. But the day that be believed in the Christ, he was set free from that condemnation! In Christ, just as Paul was set free from that condemnation, you are set free from the law of death.

You have been set free from that law of death to a new law, that puts life into you, the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus!


It just keeps getting better!

It does not end there! Christ even went forward and put the Spirit of Sonship in you! So that you can now call God almighty ”Abba Father” , and you are called ‘Sons of God’ , because you believe in Him and you are led by His Spirit!

Why would Paul or anyone want to go back into the law ? Why would Paul or anyone want to live like a slave again ?

Live in HIM, Live FREE!


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Act 9:4  And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?

One word from God can change your life!

One of the things that amazes me of this account of the visitation of Jesus with Saul is the revelation of the Grace of the Lord Jesus. In this account we see a persecutor of the church, who was responsible for the death of many saints, especially Stephen, one of the greatest early saints.  Yet, when the Lord visits Saul on the road to Damascus, all that He says is :

            “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?”

That one word, from the Lord, completely breaks this man.  Saul the Persecutor becomes Paul the apostle!

If you notice, there is no condemnation, no judgment, no anger, and no sting of revenge in his voice. Just a soft question that pierces a heart of stone!

This is a true revelation of the heart of God and  His son Jesus, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4). Religion has depicted God as an angry God ready to bring condemnation and judgment on the unrighteous, but the scripture shows a God who is passionate about people getting saved and walking right with HIM.

That is God’s heart for you, that you should come to the knowledge of saving grace of Jesus Christ. He is the answer to all your questions! He is the one that can change your life – even today. Your past does not matter. He can and He will change everything in your life, if you will just let Him into your heart today as Saul did on that road to Damascus two thousand years ago!

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Psalms 27:11 “Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of my enemies.”

One of the foundational truths about godliness and Christianity as seen in the early church and the patriarchs is their yieldedness to divine leadership. In my opinion it is the single factor that determines success (for a godly man) in the sight of God. Divine leadership unfortunately is placed lowest in priority sometimes way below ones emotional and social needs, etc.

Do you choose HIS leadership only in some areas or difficult decisions OR do you want to make it your lifestyle?

What does the bible teach us about divine leadership? Let’s learn!

The Leadership of the Spirit

1.       Jesus depended totally upon the Holy Spirit’s leading:

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.” Luke 4:1-2

Right after receiving the fullness of the Spirit, Jesus was led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit. And for forty days he was tempted by the devil. During this time he had to depend on the leadership of the Spirit to overcome every temptation.

2.      Baptism of the Holy Spirit:

So why is the baptism of the Holy Spirit given? So that we can yield to the leadership of the Spirit and with that yeildedness comes power. When you say, “I want to be filled with the Holy Spirit, you are essentially saying, “I want to establish the Spirit’s leading in my life”.

3.      Being led requires knowing His ways:


Teach me Your way, O LORD, And lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies.” Ps. 27:11

David was constantly asking the Lord for His leadership. Twelve years of running away from Saul and living in the wilderness, David learned the importance of God’s leading. He also learned to know and understand the Lord’s ways. Not only to be led but know His ways. To know HIS way is to know what the Spirit will require you to do in a particular situation. God wants us to be not only led but KNOW HIS WAYS so that we do it proactively.

4.      Sonship is given to only those who are led:

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” Rom 8:14

“But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” Gal. 5:18

Only those yield themselves to the leading of the Holy Spirit can be called as the sons of God. Those who obey the guidance of the Spirit are no more under the law or bondage.

5.      Learn the ways of the Spirit:

“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:8

Jesus was teaching that you can learn the ways of the Spirit and as a born-again person – you are supposed to!

6.      The Spirit should remain upon your life:

“I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.” John 1:33

This is another key to walking with God. There are many today who become anointed at some point in their life, but for whatever reason, that anointing does not remain upon them. They do not know how to ‘KEEP’ the anointing. The key to walking with God is , as the scripture points here is to have the Spirit descend and ‘remain’ on you. This calls for a daily, accountable intimate walk, in fact a lifestyle of walking in communion with God.


Keynotes on Divine Leadership:

  •  One of the first things He does – He sets up His leadership
  • Everything depends upon your yielding to that leadership
  • Where does the leadership take you? To be like Him in character and power.
  •  Two key aspects to His leadership are learning His ways (Ps. 27:11) and yielding to His guidance and direction (Lu. 4:1-2).
  • Know that you are not called a son till you are walking in His leadership
  • God’s plans for you can only be known if you walk in His leading.
  • Not only should you be baptized by the Spirit but also the Spirit should remain upon your life.

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“…and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I show the salvation of God” Ps. 50:23.

God is asking His people to “order” their conversation and to order it “ARIGHT”. The word order in the original Greek is “soom or seem” which means appoint, ordain, rehearse, work.

  1. These are the works of evil (what an evil man does with his mouth):
    1. They hate instruction(The Lord’s instruction)
    2. They cast the instruction of the Lord behind
    3. They speak against their own brother
    4. They slander about their brother
    5. They consents with an evil person
    6. They partake with adulterers
    7. They give their mouth to evil
    8. Their tongue frame deceit
  2. We are to order our conversation. Order means to dispose (arrange, set in readiness, arrange in an orderly way). Our conversation should e ordered, disposed, rehearsed. Why should it be ordered or rehearsed? So that it is right, whatever comes out of our mouth is the right conversation.
  3. God is telling the wicked: Let there be a change in your attitude. Do not hate the Lord’s instruction but love it!! Go into God’s presence seeking instruction. The purpose of your quiet time and time with God should be to receive instruction(chastisement if necessary, discipline, correction, …doctrine)
  4. When an instruction comes to you from the Lord assimilate it, actuate it and let it become part of your life!

Few things to stir away from:

v  Do not consent (be pleased with, accept, approve) with an evil person.

v   Do not partake with adulterers.

The dictionary meaning of partake:

  • Do not have any portion with
  • Have anything to do with
  • To take part in/with
  • To have portion of/fellowship with

The writer of proverbs is clearly telling us (under the direction of the Holy Spirit) not to have fellowship/communion with adulterers.

v  Do not allow your mouth to speak evil (give your mouth to evil)

v  Do not frame any fraud or deceit or guile with your mouth

v  Do not speak against your brother

v  Do not slander your brother

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Psalm 39

Psalm 39 gives a deep insight into the struggle David has a king, controlling his tongue. Let’s take a look at some of the key verses on this psalm :

Psalm 39:1  To the chief Musician, even to Jeduthun, A Psalm of David. I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me.

David is making a decision here unto himself, that he will not sin with his tongue. His approach to not sin with the tongue is to bridle it. He says that he will take heed to his ways , which means that he will pay close attention to the path he will walk in.

Key words

  • His ways – The word ‘way’ is translated in the greek as ‘derek’ . It means ‘a course of life or mode of action’. It could also mean journey.
  • Take heed – The work ‘take heed’ is translated as ‘shamar’. Shamar means to hedge, protect ,attend to.

So David is saying that while the wicked are before him  he will [‘guard’, hedge] his mouth while the wicked are before him. David probably understood what Jesus said centuries later in  Mat 15:18  But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.

David understood that every time he said something that was not according to god’s will or God’s revealed will, he was sinning. I am sure he would have felt that ‘sense of defilement’ every time he said something of that nature.

The emotion connection

It is a good decision to guard your mouth, but is it enough? Lets read on to see what followed:

Psa 39:2  I was dumb with silence, I held my peace, even from good; And my sorrow was stirred.

True to his word, he keeps silence. He is in his own words dumb [tongue tied]. I am sure that after he made this decision , several opportunities showed up at his door requiring that he participate and participate actively. But David says that he was silent in all these situations. He even withheld himself when speaking when it was good.

When the wicked was there, he, David held his peace (withheld himself from speaking) even when it was good. Why? This is a great key. We may think that speaking what is good is a good thing. Not always. Sometimes we just need to keep silent. A perfect example is the Lord Jesus Christ himself. When he was accused and genuinely asked, he remained silent ( Mark 15:1-5). He only spoke to answer one question of Pilate : Art thou the King of the Jews?

But, we also notice something happening within David which he explicitly calls out:

Ps 39:2 … and my sorrow was stirred.

It is true that David kept silent, but deep within his heart,  his emotions were boiling. His sorrow [grief, pain, sorrow] was stirred.

Let’s read on….

Psa 39:3  My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue.

David didn’t keep silent. He spoke. But he spoke to the Lord. He turned his emotional despair to a prayer. This is the key! We can make many decisions. But to keep them, we need to channel our decisions in the Lord. David found this ‘channel’ through prayer. He would pour out his heart to God , who would comfort and strengthen him.

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