Over the years I have read many books and listed to many speakers, teachers and preachers when it comes to receiving the blessings of God; everything from financial prosperity, to prosperity in your body (healing) and a common theme among them is that they all try to enumerate different “steps” that one must complete in order to receive from God. They list things such as unconfessed sin, lack of faith, roots of bitterness, as things which can prevent us from receiving from God.
These things may sound correct, they may seem holy and right, but are they actually want the Bible teaches? Must we indeed cleanse ourselves of all sin before we can receive from God? And if so, how can we do it? This is what we will be studying today. So if you are tired of all the steps and hoops that we are told that we must jump through in order to receive from God, this study today will set you free from that by the Word of God.
Those of you who are familiar with my testimony know that I was in a dire situation. I found myself in the ICU of a hospital waiting to die of terminal disease. I was not in a good place with God, we really didn’t have much of a relationship at all beyond the fact that I was pretty sure that He existed, and beyond that I didn’t really bother Him and He didn’t bother me. You see, I grew-up with a legalistic perspective of God, being taught that God was holy and that He had a zero tolerance for sin (which is true), and then also being told that I was a sinner (also true!) however the preachers at the time never really mentioned what Jesus had done for me, opting instead to preach a heavy-handed message that caused me to leave the church feeling worse than went I came in – telling me that I needed to measure-up to God’s standard or spend eternity in hell.
Well, I didn’t know any better at the time – after all, they were the highly educated and “chosen” ones of God, and my ignorance coupled with their withholding of the truth, led me down a very dark path which landed me in the hospital with an incurable blood disease. This happened because as I continually heard about a judgmental God who demanded perfection from me, and the more that my understanding of scripture was tainted by this inaccurate view, I became more and more sin-concious instead of Jesus-concious. The more that I read my Bible colored with the misconceptions I had about God, the more that I saw all of the ways that I was failing short, and I hated every minute of it. I hated my life, and I even resented God for setting the bar so impossibly high and then punishing me for it. None of these ideas about God were true of-course, but again, I didn’t know any better… so my life was quite literally a living hell of condemnation, guilt and despair. I pushed God out of my life because to me, all He was, was a mean nag, reminding me of how filthy I was and a source of pain.
So this was the state I was in when I contracted my illness. I say this because I want you to fully understand when I tell you that I was not close to God at this time, and I want you to know that the statement is not an exaggeration – not even in the slightest.
When man’s medical knowledge had been exhausted, I found myself waiting to die in the intensive care unit of the hospital. I was not looking for God, in-fact I was convinced that He was the architect of my suffering. I figured that this was the zenith of my punishment that those preachers had told me about. It was then and there in that frame of mind and ignorance of God that He reached out to me, and it’s vital that you understand that He reached out to me! There in that pitiful state, He revealed Himself to me on a personal level. There in that state of confusion, ignorance and desperation, He showed me His grace, His mercy, His love and even His healing power. If He had not done so, I would not be here right now!
I share this story with you first because I want to prepare you for the truth of the scripture. You see, my life-story runs directly against the common theological position of having to cleanse yourself before receiving from God – I certainly did no such thing! Yet today people are believing the same lies that were fed to me: that they have to do A, then B, then C, and then close their eyes and hope hard enough and maybe they will get God’s attention, or catch Him in a good mood and He will help, but don’t count on it too much!
These lies have been destroying people for too long and so let’s get into the scripture and see what the Bible really says and not what man has been peddling as a false truth. Take a look at Romans 8:32:
“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”
You may already be familiar with this verse, but let’s meditate on what it is actually saying to us here. The “He that spared not His Own Son” is God the Father. Far from the mean and angry judge that nags us about our filthiness, no in-fact He cares so very much about us that He did not spare His own Son Jesus, but delivered Jesus up for all of us, so that we would be spared. Take notice of what the second-part of the verse says: how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?
This is a serious question that most of us have not even stopped to consider. Contemplate for a moment the sheer value of Jesus Christ and everything that He represents. Jesus is more valuable than literally anything! He is God incarnate! Heaven is so-named because He is there, and this is also why Jesus Himself states in Luke 17:21 that the Kingdom of Heaven is in us, because His Spirit indwells us! (Romans 8:11) And With Him we are also freely given all things!
Stop here, and consider three phrases from this sentence: “with Him”, “freely given” and “all things”. Understand that when you have Jesus,, everything else comes with Him. Colossians 1:17 says that all things are set before Him, all things are held together by Him and in Him all things consist. So get this vision… With Him, all things come with Him: the greater blessing always includes the lesser, and Jesus is the absolute greatest blessing of all; but many people are trying, and striving and struggling to obtain the lesser blessings apart from the greater blessing which is Jesus. If this is difficult to understand you can actually remove the word “also” from our verse and it makes it easier to understand:
how shall He not with Him freely give us all things? You see, all things are freely given with Him.
Notice also that they are “freely given”… basic English, if something is freely given, it means that you do not need to earn it, work for it, or barter for it. It does not need to be traded-for or obtained by any means or effort. It is a free gift.
Now what is free given with Jesus? “All things”. Many people limit this; man delights in placing limits on what God has made limitless. All things here means exactly that… all things. It cannot be limited because Jesus Himself has no limits, and you have Him! Do you see it? God really is that good!
This fact is very important as we move forward with our study today.
As I mentioned in the opening most people believe the lies that have been fed to them about receiving from God; that certain steps must be taken first, certain hoops must be jumped through and certain procedures and red-tape must be followed first before God will give us anything. Well that certainly wasn’t true with any of the people in the Bible that came to Jesus, let’s look at some examples:
- He freely multiplied the loaves and fishes for the entire multitude (John 6, Matthew 16, Mark 6)
- He freely healed all sicknesses, diseases and demon-possessed people in the crowds (Matthew 8, Matthew 9, Matthew 14, Acts 10)
- He freely taught all who would listen and healed them as He went (Matthew 4, Mark 1, Luke 4)
- He freely healed without discrimination both Jew and Gentile, even those who did not recognize Him as God (Mathew 8, Mark 7, John 9)
Religious teachers who promote the idea of earning the blessings of God often say that we must meet some requirement first, whether it is faith, or rejecting sin, or being free from bitterness, but I submit to you that in the scripture references above, when Jesus healed all the multitudes, that there were some included there who did not have their lives all together. I am certain that some there were sinners. I’m sure the demon-possessed people had a few issues that needed to be worked-out. Yet none of that seemed to stop Jesus from providing, or them from receiving.
So with our time remaining today, let’s examine so of the commonly-proposed “barriers to receiving from God” that many preachers and teachers tout today: the first one being lack of faith. Now most proponents of this idea, get it from a statement made by Jesus, found in Mark 9:22-23, the pivotal moment in the account of the demon-possessed boy:
“And often it has cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if you can do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us.
Jesus said to him, If you can believe, all things are possible to him that believes.”
Here in verse 22, the father of the boy pleads with Jesus saying “If you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” and the response given by Jesus in verse 23 has been widely misinterpreted and abused. For started, the word believe seen there is not in the original Greek text… it simply reads “’if you can’”, and notice the double nested quotation marks. Jesus is quoting the words of the boy’s father and responding. Jesus is saying it like this: If you can? All things are possible to Him that believes. Now there is only one person who is believing in this account… it’s not the disciples, because they already failed. It’s not the father because he cries in the next verse “Lord I believe, help my unbelief!”, and it’s not the demon-possessed boy. The only one who believes here is Jesus… and this is the key!
The father of the boy realized something that modern day Christians have forgotten, we do not need great levels of faith, nor should we try to have faith in our own faith. Let me explain… often-times we try to believe directly for the thing which we are focusing on; mistake number one. Because we should never be focused on the gift, but instead the Giver of the gifts. Yet we try try to eliminate the middle-man who is actually our High Priest (Jesus) and we try to believe directly – using our own faith – for the thing we are seeking. This fails every time. Instead we should remember what Jesus is teaching here. All things are possible to Him who believes; There is only one who truly believes perfectly, and that is Jesus, and our faith should be latched onto His faith. We can believe on His belief! It’s enough to believe that Jesus believes and rest in that, because you are in Christ!
This is what is meant when the scriptures say that Jesus is both the author and the finisher of our faith, in Hebrews 12:2. If Jesus is both the author (leader, originator) and the finisher of our faith, then that encompasses the totality of it. Because from the moment something is started, every point beyond that is part of the finishing of it. So in Christ, you have all the faith needed for anything.
What about sin then? We already know that in Christ our sins have been punished in the body of Jesus and done away with (Romans 3:21-31) And we also know that under the New Covenant of Grace in Christ God has promised to not even remember our sins and iniquities (Hebrews 8:12). So if He does not even remember our sins, by His own promise mind you, then there is absolutely no way for Him to punish or receiving based on our sins which He does not remember. So Jesus is our complete righteousness and justification before God the Father.
I had a person tell me once that we could only receive something when we clearly saw it with our “spiritual eyes”. I told him that was just magical language which put an artificial wall up to try and block us from freely receiving.
The fact is that Jesus sees perfectly with His divine spiritual eyes, and His sight is all we need since we are in Him already. Think about it: He was the only One to tell the man with the withered hand to stretch it forth in Mark 3:3. Jesus did that because He saw the man’s hand healed with His divine sight. Jesus spoke every single miracle because He saw it with His divine sight. (John 5:19)
His sight is set to our account just as much as His righteousness, justification, holiness, faith and belief. This is why the scriptures say over and over again that you are complete in Christ! (John 1:16, Ephesians 1:23, Colossians 2:10)
We could go on and on listing every possible thing, but the point of it all is this: Jesus has completely demolished every single barrier to your receiving!
It is His faith,
It is His belief,
It is His sight,
It is His righteousness,
It is His holiness,
It is His justification,
It is His authority,
It is His power,
And He has plainly given you an answer of Yes and Amen In Him (2nd Corinthians 1:20)
So knowing this, that in Christ there are no barriers, the burden has been totally lifted off of you, because Christ already carried it before you were even born! With this truth, you can act with boldness and confidence the way it should be, with all of your reliance squarely on Jesus! You no longer have to stand in yourself, your own righteousness, holiness, belief or faith level! Just trust in Christ and freely receive what He freely gives. In Christ Jesus, there are no barriers to receiving.