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.)
We should take note that Paul combines grace and righteousness as two required ingredients for reigning. Both are required to live a victorious life!
That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
Righteousness deals with our standing before God. A person who does not understand their position in Christ Jesus will not have grace reigning in their life.
This is a revelation many Christians miss. It is the reason why so many are living defeated lives absent of God’s power.
Paul tells us that grace reigns “through righteousness” by “Jesus Christ”. I challenge you to go through the New Testament to identify Scriptures that identify your rights in Him. Let me provide you with a few examples.
- Even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life BY JESUS CHRIST our Lord (Romans 5:21)
- IN HIM we live, and move, and have our being… (Acts 17:28)
- IN HIM we live, and move, and have our being (John 15:5a,7)
- Therefore if any man be IN CHRIST, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
- For we are his workmanship, created IN CHRIST Jesus . . . (Ephesians 2:10)
Can you see the pattern? God views us through our position in Christ Jesus. We should spend time meditating in these Scriptures on a daily basis!
Many people believe that God can do anything. How many of us actually believe that He will do it in our lives?
If we continue to focus on the external we will never see ourselves in Him.
For we walk by faith, not by sight.
2 Corinthians 5:7
Walking by faith will require us to develop spiritual vision. It will require a revelation of who we have become through Christ Jesus!
Walking by sight is walking by the input of our five physical senses. The world is a depressing place. We should not be surprised by being constantly bombarded with depression if our focus is outward!
The cure for an outward obsession will be found in a revelation of our position in Christ. It will require effort to dig out all of the Scriptures which tell us what this is. This effort will be greatly rewarded as it will lead us into His rest.
This does not mean we will never face a trial or experience physical symptoms. It does mean that we will have rest resulting from our confidence in His acceptance and love for us.
Religious tradition tells us that we must live holy to earn God’s love and acceptance. It also holds people in bondage by indicating our lack of holiness is the cause of God not answering our prayers or blessing us. I’ve even heard a minister say that God will not allow joy to enter into an impure life!
Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.
I’ve met people who walked away from God because they were told He caused their illness or took a child from them. This is totally understandable! Who would want to serve such a callous God?
Religious tradition has robbed a large portion of the Church from being able to experience God’s power. Christians struggle with the concept of a loving God because they have been told He is the one causing all of their problems.
God will never leave us (Deuteronomy 31:16)! He sent Jesus to bear the punishment for our sin as a result of His intense love for us (John 3:16). When Jesus left, the Holy Spirit came in His place to ensure that no human being would ever be alone.
Can any of us really say that God would take pleasure in our suffering if He went to such extreme lengths to draw us back into fellowship with Himself?
Many years ago an opportunity opened for me to speak in a Freewill Baptist Church. This was odd because I had just graduated from a school with Pentecostal beliefs that were totally counter to what this church believed.
The pastor greeted me with a warning that he was aware of my background. He even went as far as to tell me the school I had just graduated from was a cult! I listened in shock wondering why he would invite me into his pulpit with a conviction that I had come from a devil worshipping Bible school!
Pastor introduced me when it was time for the message. I had sat through worship and the offering arguing internally with the Holy Spirit. The whole setup was so strange that I truthfully was doubting my ability to minister to these people who believed so differently from me.
I’ll never forget the walk from my seat to the pulpit. The Holy Spirit began to speak to me in that still small voice within my spirit just as He will speak to anyone listening. He asked me to talk about Him.
This church did not believe in the miraculous or that gifts of the Spirit were for today. I was hoping to give a simple salvation message, tuck my tail, and run! He was asking me to talk about Him.
As I stepped up to the pulpit the silence was almost deafening. The people looked at me and I looked at them without a clue of how to start. It was at that point I heard something totally unexpected that changed my entire outlook towards God.
“Son, I did not ask you to talk about what I do. My request is simply to talk about me and please start with the last verse of 2 Corinthians.”
This seemed like an odd request. It was clear I was being directed to talk about the Holy Spirit without talking about His gifts or manifestations. It was a totally new concept but I obeyed.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.
2 Corinthians 13:14
Paul ended his second letter to the Corinthian church with an exhortation for his readers to experience “communion” with this Holy Spirit. This is a place of intimacy birthed in a relationship and it is what the Holy Spirit wanted me to talk about.
Religion has robbed the Church of power because it has taken away the aspect of relationship. It paints God as a cruel taskmaster who will lose His temper and punish us for the smallest mistake. This is not the picture painted in Scripture.
The Holy Spirit asked me to talk about Him. We focus on what He does (e.g., healing) when we should be focusing on Him. He desires a relationship with each one of us. Relationships require effort. People would rather look for shortcuts but a relationship cannot be built on shortcuts.
I obeyed and spent about thirty minutes talking about the Holy Spirit at that little freewill baptist church. The people did not reject me and many actually had tears in their eyes by the time I finished. It seemed that His presence manifested as my sermon progressed.
At the end of my message the pastor stood with tears in his eyes. He told me that no one had ever told him a relationship with the Holy Spirit was possible! Standing in front of his congregation this pastor asked me to introduce him. I was shocked.
The anointing was strong. Without thinking I placed my hands on this pastor’s head and asked the Holy Spirit to introduce Himself. He did and the pastor fell to the ground. I was young in the ministry and didn’t know what to do.
Suddenly one of the elders stood and asked if he could meet the Holy Spirit. One of the ladies then stood and then another. Soon the entire congregation was streaming to the front of that auditorium seeking an introduction. We sought the person and experienced the miraculous!
You may have a need for healing or finances. Most Christians will immediately cry out to God for these things. I believe this is why we struggle with receiving from our loving heavenly Father. People approach Him for what they need, struggle with their faith, and then become disillusioned when the answer does not come.
Consider what would happen if instead we set aside an hour or two just to spend time with no strings attached. What would happen if we took the words of Paul to heart and just invited the Holy Spirit to spend time communing with us? I believe the result would be miraculous!
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