Do we understand Godís love and grace? Can we enjoy a permanent fellowship with Him where seeking forgiveness from Him is a thing in our past. If this brings the echo of some preacher blasting out the term "cheap grace", please continue reading because this free information is for you. We really can have it all now.
Our assurance is that regardless of how much we understand, We are in God's love and His grace because we are in in Him. God Himself says that His love is beyond our understanding. (I) Because of Jesus Christ, God's love can be our experience.
Back when I first discovered some truth about God's love, grace and forgiveness, I was ridding pretty high with all this knowledge. But I was quickly brought back down to earth while talking with a teacher of God's word. I was told, "just keep your eyes on Jesus." This has helped me play down the attempt to grow in truth, doctrine and methods, and instead - to grow in Jesus Christ. The Person of Christ in us is where we should look for our growth in understanding grace, forgiveness and His love. Jesus. It is He who lives, not words about Him. The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life." (2)
If you believe, "I must get forgiveness from God each time I commit a sin or my relationship with God is blocked." Or may be you even think you must go to God for forgiveness of a sin or you will miss Heaven. What ever you believe - If you have accepted Jesus as your savior, you and I are saved and this paper you are reading can in no way change that. It can show you the relationship that God offers us now and you will love it. We can enjoy the love, grace and forgiveness relationship with God now in our time without waiting for "eternity". We can have it all now.
I was brought up in a church and family atmosphere where it meant hell or heaven for us to rush to fess up our sins to get forgiveness from God. Since middle teenage I needed to know that all my sins were forgiven at the Cross once for all - because anything else is incomplete. I needed to know Godís forgiveness was permanent for I wanted a living confidence with Him. Knowing the love of God has changed my very being because knowing His love has allowed me to accept myself, others, and even Him in a fresh, real new way. I no longer look at a person doing something wrong the way I did before. I look at that person now as me without what God has taught me. I look at God in a new way because I now trust Him even when He does not do what I think He should. Knowing my freedom in Jesus has let me escape from the limitations of old, mechanical motions that have always been such a built in phony part of my life and perspective.
Listen, this is real! I see myself no longer as some kind of robot of God, but as a man of God. I now know He is interested in me as a person. When He filled me with the Holy Spirit, I now know it was me that was the possessor of that Spirit, and not a piece of equipment plugged into a power outlet. His Spirit is not in me like a switch turned on and off depending on something I do or don't do. He is permanently in me as life. His Son and I have become wed and are alive together and I trust Him because He has made it clear, "for what God has joined together - let no man put asunder."
His Spirit does not tear itself away from me and return again, then away, then return, over and over. When this is looked at this way - it seems so silly. How did we ever come up with that anyway? That is not relationship; it is reaction. Love acts rather than reacts. God is active and has moved in to live as each person says, "I do"
To really know - that forgiveness, unconditional love and freedom are forever and consistently coming from Jesus Christ living in me is very exciting. This shows up legalism, fear, condemnation, and man's list of rules for living for what it is and that it should be thrown away. Religion is now to know Jesus Christ as living in me. I desire to know Him. My desire is Jesus Christ Himself. As the teacher said, "don't get hung up on the things you know, just keep your eyes on Jesus." Who could not want to hear this? Religious folk alive when Jesus walked on earth did not want to hear this; and guess what, most religious people today only listen to what they can do.. not that Jesus is in them waiting for them to understand what God has done. Listen! I am not implying that if you do not believe what I am saying you are lost. What ever you believe - If you have accepted Jesus as your savior, you and I are both saved.
The men of God in the bible were known and sought out for their having been with Jesus not for their education or religious credentials. (3) He was a very part of them. They wished not to know about Jesus, they wished to see Jesus." (4) In Him was life and the life was the light of men. (5)
God does love us for eternity and time. His love won't-can't wait. If He had to wait for us to change He would wait all eternity. God makes the changes because His love can't wait. He gives Himself to us and with understanding.. now.
Jesus is our life. Nothing need be accomplished by Him or us to make Him more available to us than He is right now. No promises, no new data, no deprivations, no amends ... These have all been borne by Him, and He is life itself. Listen! Out of Him, out of His life in us, will come our lives. Because He is in us, we are alive in Him. As I trust Him on this moment, His presence and His love is processed in me, for me, to me, and out of me. Example; when I do not like what is going on with you, with me, or between you and me, I trust Him. It is His life in me which, in turn, will produce the reality of Christ to others.
I find in my life that I slow down how God can use me. There are too many things I tend to do by myself instead of with His children. Even if it is Scriptures, prayer, books or just spending quite time with Him, and even though this turns out good, it is not the same as being with God's people.
It is in His church, His body where Jesus dwells. Yes He lives in us today through the Holy Spirit. In addition, Godís Spirit has been sent to the church, the body, and not as "many" Holy Spirits to individual upon individual. We know and experience the Lord Jesus best as we know Him through His body. No matter what we do alone with Him, it is not the same as seeing him in persons and allowing Him a more opportunity for fellowship and unity in the body.
Jesus is best known in person. Since it may be awhile before we go to Him, He has agreed to come to us. He is present today in His body. We have individual bodies; His body is corporate. It is composed of all who trust Him. And we never know real oneness with Him on earth except as known through others. His love is ours in the grater way through a corporate relationship with Him.
There are no rules. The Holy Spirit rules. We think we are taking a chance when we are open to Love and be loved. Openness to others within the body is often new because we are so used to being alone. Or we are so accustomed to coming together to share with others world-type things only. Or we simply report to one another that which He is doing with us and for us and not what He is to us. There is nothing wrong with issues and works that we see as a result of His presence. But it is He Himself who is the foundation of our oneness. Jesus is our life together.
I cannot tell you what to do. We are too "do" oriented as it is. Just follow the Lamb wherever He goes. Just keep your eyes on Jesus. Trust yourself to the Fulfiller of your heartís desires. And as His life is ministered to you, He will doubtless begin, if He has not already begun, to draw you together in fellowship and intra-personal oneness with those of like precious faith. Where this happens is not the issue. Why not just let it happen? As you depend on Him alone, you will find this life with others sooner than you think, for God is God right now. And His love is that way, too.
We tend to become products of our environment. That is one reason Paul told the Romans, "Do not be conformed to this world," (6) or as J. B. Phillips translates it, "Donít let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould . . " (7)
Specialization has carried over into the spiritual realm. In the beginning there was the church. Today there is the church - plus. We have training centers, evangelistic groups, welfare agencies, Christian political movements, tapes and books. A result of these services is that each group has its specialty. We begin to think that can not enjoy the Christian life without knowing something about each specialty. Is joy with Christ always just another Bible conference, book, or tape away. I am not saying all these are bad but they also should not be used as shortcuts.
How does the Christian come to know the simplicity of the person of Jesus Christ when, there is always someone with another shortcut. Not only is God in love with us where we are, but He wants us to be in love with Him where He is, too. Certainly, if you or I need something further in our Christian experience, we can trust Him to give it to us. "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!" (8) Jesus Christ will not withhold from us one single thing that we need to have victory in Him. He will equip me to do what He wants me to do.
Men will tell you they have the hidden answer to victory and joy in Christ. Make sure that the answer is Jesus and not another activity, law, goal, or strategy. Paul did not say: "Until youíve experienced all that I have , you can not enjoy a consistent Christian life." Experiences come from Jesus Christ. It is He who is our experience, the author and perfecter of our faith.
"As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord (by faith), so walk in Him (by faith), having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith ...." (9) We are now being built up in Him. The Lord is our Shepherd; we shall not want. And He gives us His grace, love, forgiveness and understanding. Just trust Him and have it all now.
(3) Acts 4:13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. (Back to text)
(6) Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what Godís will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Back to text)
(9) Colossians 2:6-7 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. (Back to text)