The Foundation of Salvation (Works or Grace?)

Works versus grace has been a long-held debate among people inside the walls of church buildings. Such a discussion is supremely important, because it strikes at the heart of our union and relationship with God. Are we saved by works which we perform, or is salvation purely an act of God’s grace? Or is salvation some kind of synergy between our God’s grace mixed with our works?

Your response to this question will change absolutely everything about your relationship with God, how you interact with Him, and what you can expect from Him.

Today we will be exploring the most important aspect of our relationship with God, salvation, to answer the question of whether salvation is earned by our works, or is received as a gift from God.

How to Be Righteous

Righteousness – it’s one of the main focuses of the Christian life, and many people are constantly striving towards the goal of being righteous; or being more righteous. There are entire books, study guides and conferences all centered around living righteously, and learning how to be more righteous.

There are countless numbers of Christians today who are on a quest to “better themselves”, to be more righteous, and be more like God and please Him. I used to be one of those people, as well. I know exactly how it feels, and it seems right; it seems like a very good thing. You may even be asking right now “why wouldn’t that be a good thing?! We need more righteous people, who want to please God!”

And I do agree that it is a very good thing for people to be righteous, and of course to please God – we all want that. However, the question isn’t really whether that’s a good thing or not; but rather how do we accomplish it?

You see, no-one is questioning the importance of being righteous, but rather where we diverge is how to be righteous. Because when you ask this question, most people immediately jump to their own works and performance, and what they need to do for God.

So today, we will be examining what the scriptures actually say about how to be righteous; and the answer may surprise you!

Death to Sin: Your New Life in Christ

Spend some time listening to Christian leaders and you will probably hear them say that we must continually “die to sin” and “die to self”. They will typically say that this dying is a process that we must continually strive towards, focus on and work hard to achieve.

This leaves many people stuck in the spiritual mud of legalism – spinning their wheels furiously to get ahead, but never actually making progress – because progress can not actually be made in this fashion.

So today in this study, we will be taking a look at the idea of dying to sin, and dying to self, as well as what it actually means to have new life in Christ, because all of these ideas and terms are actually related… and sadly through generations of religious indoctrination, we have forgotten the foundation of the finished work of Christ, and begun to construct a faulty foundation of works and self-effort in-place of the cross, and that is not only foolish, but it is flat-out deadly.

Pictures of Jesus in the Beatitudes (part 3)

Welcome back to the third part of our series of studies focusing on seeing Jesus and pictures of Him and His finished work, right there in the first part of His sermon on the mount, known as the Beatitudes.

So far we have just begun to scratch the surface as we began looking at the first three of the Beatitudes; and already we have seen some amazing pictures of Jesus.
Today we will obviously continue with more of the Beatitudes as we see more pictures of Jesus

The Names of God Show Who He is (Part 4)

Last week, we looked at one of the most important names of God, which was יהוה צדקנו – The ever-exiting God is our righteousness. And we saw how that righteousness is not merely a separate thing that He gives to us, but that He Himself is our righteousness. A very important distinction that highlights His glory, His grace, and the amazing union that we have with Him today in Christ.

Now in this study today, which is part four of our series looking at the names of God, we are continuing this theme by looking at the name of God יהוה מקדשכם, the ever-existing God, who is your sanctification.
This goes hand-in-hand with His name that we studied last week. And as before, it highlights His glory and His grace. As as we see this today, we will be able to enjoy deeper levels of unity with Him as we rejoice in the fact that, yes, He is both our righteousness and our sanctification.

The Importance of Knowing That You’re Righteous

On several occasions, I have been in conversations where I have bluntly asked someone, “are you righteous in the sight of God?”, and then the person in question would hesitate, they would pause, and consider their life and their behaviors, and then with shakiness in their voice answer “I think so…”. This reveals the fact that when it comes to righteousness, such people as the ones I have spoken with, really have no confidence at all in their righteous standing before God; and it’s precisely for this reason that they aren’t standing on the proper foundation… they aren’t standing in Christ, but instead are looking at their own behaviors and performance and judging their righteousness and their standing before God based on that, instead of on the finished work of Christ.

This has a more damaging effect than you may imagine at first, because righteousness by faith in Christ is at the very core of our new identity, and it is very important to successful spiritual warfare; to the utilization of our power in Christ. As we studied last week, God has given us power; He wants us to have it and make use of it… but we will never have success, unless we stand on the proper foundation, and approach from the correct perspective.

So today in this study, we look at the importance of knowing, truly knowing beyond doubt that you are righteous.

The Absolute Perfection of Christ

Jesus is perfect. As believers that statement might not be too surprising. Most Christians would say “Amen” to it, and agree with the statement without thinking twice. Yet in practice there are some areas where we don’t take into account just how very deep His perfection runs. For example, let me ask you a simple question: If you could obey the Law of Moses perfectly, would you be righteous?

Most of the Christians that I have discussions with, would answer “yes”, and indeed many are trying to do exactly that… they are trying to continually improve their behavior to align to what they call the “moral law” (even though the Law of Moses really has no divisions or separate categories).

Additionally, many of the Christians that I speak with, believe that this is all that Jesus did; they believe that the reason Jesus was the perfect sacrifice was because He simply kept the Law of Moses perfectly.

And what I want to share with you today, is the fact that Jesus’ perfection is so much deeper than that! I want to expand your vision and broaden your horizon to see much more of His perfection than what is generally seen. And as you see the perfection of Jesus today, you will be able to more fully appreciate what He has accomplished for you.

Righteousness, Apart From the Law

We all want to improve. It’s natural to want to be better, do better, achieve greater things. This natural desire drive us to constantly strive farther, higher, to reach beyond perceived limits. It has fueled the creation of new inventions and discoveries, and caused us to explore new ground and even beyond our planet.

There is one area though, where this natural desire can get us into trouble… and that is the area of our spiritual identity. Because we tend to judge our standing and our progress by our performance; by the things that we achieve, or how good we are doing presently. And when we seem to have failed, our natural reaction is to become depressed, discouraged, even angry, and then clench our fist even tighter and declare “This time I’ll do better!” – and we get ourselves into a vicious cycle of determination, failing, guilt, and then back to determination. And it repeats over and over again.

What I want to share with you today, is how to break that cycle. Many people are deceived into thinking that if they just try hard enough, or focus more, they can get out of it themselves… but that is actually part of the trap. The way out doesn’t come by your strength, effort or force of will, but through knowing the truth of Jesus Christ that makes you free. As you see this truth, you will finally be able to break out of this performance-driven cycle, and be free to live and love, through the finished work of Jesus Christ.

Your Victory in Christ, By Putting on Incorruption

As I’ve mentioned the last couple of weeks… I talk to a lot of people who claim to be believers in Christ, but seem to have more defeats than victories, They are constantly recounting the details of their latest trial, latest hardships or their latest burdens. From their perspective, the enemy is always on the offensive, and they are always on the defensive, struggling just to survive and make it through another day.

I see this quite often and it’s sad, it should not be. There are millions of people who have been deceived in the worst possible way, to quite literally spend their entire lives being subjugated by an already defeated fore. A foe who has been completely beaten and spoiled by Jesus Christ Himself.

Today what I want to share with you, is the victory (yes, victory!) that you have in Christ today, right now. Not sometime later when you get to heaven, but right now today in this world. And by seeing this, you will not need to live another single second in defeat. You will no longer be held hostage by a powerless enemy any longer.

Psalm 51, Jesus, and Your Relationship

If you’ve read any of our previous studies, you know that I talk a lot about your identity in Christ, your foundation in Him, your Relationship with God. I talk about those things so often because without these things, you really have nothing but dead religion. Without these things: without your identity, without your relationship, without your foundation on Jesus Christ, it’s all just empty ritual, empty tradition, and ultimately an empty existence.

I had one person ask me once: Why don’t you teach something more relevant? And I had to respond and say that there is nothing more relevant than the finished work of Jesus Christ, and who you are in Him. I have discussions with people all of the time, who claim to be Christian’s, who say that they are believers, but they have no real relationship with God; they have no foundation, or realization of their identity… and these same people are living defeated lives… they are down all of the time, and they spend more time talking about how the enemy is beating them down rather than the victory that Jesus has won.

And please understand, I am not pointing fingers at those people, I’m not judging or ridiculing them at all – that’s not what Jesus called me to do… my purpose in mentioning their situation, is to highlight an issue that needs to be addressed… the lack of this foundation, identity and relationship in and through Jesus, is hurting people and destroying lives.

So what I want to share with you today, is more on this foundation. So that you will be able to live in the confidence, joy and peace of Jesus Christ every single day.