John 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. (NKJV)
The grace that Christ brought upon His subsequent death, burial, and resurrection came with life transferred to everyone that called upon Him. This new life would be superior in quality from the previous life that any man had ever lived. Christ purpose of saving us by His grace was for us to allow His grace to reign in our lives right now continually, without ceasing to yield to the old man, by humbling ourselves under Christ mighty hand. We are taught moment by moment and day by day by exceedingly greater portions of the very grace that has saved us on how we must conduct ourselves among the ungodly without being abrasive to those on the outside of Christ's grace.
Here is what F.B. Meyer had to say about our sojourning among the unregenerate or ungodly, “Our motive in going amongst ungodly men must be carefully considered. If it is to help and save them, as our Lord did, no harm will come to us. Nevertheless, if we go into the way of sinners for our own amusement, need we be surprised if the bloom passes off the fruit and the fine edge from the tool? Let us examine ourselves. Are we startled and shocked now, as we used to be, by an indecent illusion or a blasphemous word? Is there a coarsening process at work? Even where worldliness does not injure us, we may suffer by contact with the low ideals of our fellow-Christians. Let us watch and pray; let us consider one another and exhort one another day by day, lest any be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”
Hebrews 3:13 But instead warn (admonish, urge, and encourage) one another every day, as long as it is called Today, that none of you may be hardened [into settled rebellion] by the deceitfulness of sin [by the fraudulence, the stratagem, the trickery which the delusive glamour of his sin may play on him]. (Quick Amplified Bible)
When the Lord Jesus Christ gave the law to Moses to give to His people Israel, He did so knowing that one day He would come and live (as a man) then die and rise from death fulfilling all the requirements of His law. Christ could not give grace and truth to Moses and tell him to give it to the people because when Christ brought grace and truth He did not bring something written on stones but grace and truth is a part of Him. Grace and truth is His nature, His Character, His very person is flowing with grace and truth like a never ending River or the mighty Niagara Falls. He is grace and truth.
When we receive Jesus Christ, we instantly receive truth and He gives us corresponding grace to walk or live in His truth everyday we yield to Him and allow Him to fill us with His Spirit. Example, while I was living in rebellion to my Savior (a prodigal son in a far country), I sincerely believed that abortion was not the murder of a child at all. I thought that the pregnant woman had every right to do with her own body whatever she felt was right for her situation.
However, in Judges 13:5 the Lord Jesus speaking to the mother of Samson calls Samson a child (a person) from the womb. Moreover, in many other passages from the Bible in the Old Testament the Lord Jesus clearly teaches us that human life begins now at conception. A person outside of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ does not clearly understand truth. This is why the ACLU and many other organizations and individual people fight so hard for freedom of the mother to make the choice of abortion alone because they are void of the truth. I heard Dave Ramsey speaking on how we should handle our money from a biblical perspective and he said that 98% of anything is not the truth. This is so simple and obviously true.
Some professing Christians do not get this truth. They overlook or miss it altogether. Only 100% is truth and this is what we find in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and in His Holy Word. In Christ and His Word is zero variance or shadow of turning.
When Pontius Pilate stood before the Lord Jesus Christ and questioned Him, Christ did not argue with Pilate, on the contrary, He being truth incarnate told Him that this was the reason, the very purpose He came into this world to testify of the truth and that every person who was of the truth would hear Him. Not just with their physical ears, but with their spiritual ears, their hearts. Pilate was searching for truth and truth itself stood face to face with him and yet he did not see or hear the truth speaking to him. His heart was so hardened by sin and rebellion and by the cares of this earthly life, his status or occupation, and even his physical safety blinded him from seeing truth and grace incarnate.
This conversation between Pilate and our Lord Jesus is so amazing to me every time I read it or hear someone speak about it. It confirms what many of us have encountered in our walk with the Lord. Despite how passionately we present the gospel to some lost people. Despite how we present the endless beauty of Christ Jesus, warning them of an endless Eternity minus His forgiveness that will never end in torment for them in hell. Yet many still, as Pilate are deaf to hear and blind to see their need for Him and His forgiveness of their sin. Like Pilate they walk away believing they face no peril, but go on in their sins racing head long into an Eternal brick wall not seeing their danger.
1 John 5:18 & 19 We know [absolutely] that anyone born of God does not [deliberately and knowingly] practice committing sin, but the One Who was begotten of God carefully watches over and protects him [Christ's divine presence within him preserves him against the evil], and the wicked one does not lay hold (get a grip) on him or touch [him]. We know [positively] that we are of God, and the whole world [around us] is under the power of the evil one. (Quick Amplified Bible)
We are to simply present the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ to them and leave the rest up to God the Holy Spirit. We cannot convert one soul that we ever witness to while we are down here. What we can do and what we must daily do is to look into our own hearts and make sure our profession of faith in Christ is genuine with no counterfeit marks anywhere in sight.
Our profession of faith in Christ should be lived with such grace from Him that our internal (our integrity, character, etc.) and external (where we go and what we do daily) should be so different from the non-believer. They should daily witness a dramatic difference in our two lives. Some will desire to know why we live the way we do. We can always testify and give glory to Jesus Christ our Lord for the continual grace, mercy, and love He shows to us even though we do not deserve it at all.
Matthew Henry 1662-1714 had this to say about our calling in Christ Jesus our Lord, “It is designed for our sanctification: And called us with a holy calling, called us to holiness. Christianity is a calling, a holy calling; it is the calling wherewith we are called, the calling, to which we are called, to labor in it. Observe All who shall be saved hereafter are sanctified now. Wherever the call of the gospel is an effectual call, it is found to be a holy call, making those holy who are effectually called.”
Jesus Christ most harsh and railing words were directed at hypocrites (pretenders, actors playing a part without true love in their hearts for Him). The truth of the whole matter is that we must love our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ with our whole hearts. This is where He lives in every true believer and He looks, upon our hearts not on our external busy deeds. What is the motive for everything each of us does daily? The Lord Jesus Christ very eloquently reminded me through my Pastor one Sunday morning as he preached from the book of Micah what He requires of all His children. The title of my Pastor's message was “It's up to You” J+M+O=B or Justice+Mercy+Obedience=Blessings.
Micah 6:8 He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, and to love kindness and mercy, and to humble yourself and walk humbly with your God? (Quick Amplified Bible)
We are daily to do what is right in our own conduct. We are daily to do what is right in our conduct toward others (no matter what). We are to daily thank the Lord Jesus Christ for His grace and mercy to us as we are enabled by His grace to be merciful to others. Finally, we are to walk humbly before Him by being obedient daily to do what His Word says without ever trying to figure out how it does not apply to each of us individually.
Proverbs 1:5 The wise also will hear and increase in learning and the person of understanding will acquire skill and attain to sound counsel [so that he may be able to steer his course rightly] -- (Quick Amplified Bible)
Let us daily be in continual prayer, study of God's Word often, and not forsaking the assembly together with our other brothers and sisters in Christ as we see His second coming drawing nearer, bringing others to church to hear the gospel, and finally giving money to further the spread of the gospel around the world.
Let us be reminded daily by the wisest man to ever live on earth except the Lord Jesus Himself. Solomon who had more women than any man ever, more money, more of the finest foods, more power, more of every earthly thing imaginable. At the end of his life, he realized all of the above things, power, pleasure and influence he had meant absolutely nothing. In the end, he then wrote as he was about to face death and an endless Eternity:
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 All has been heard; the end of the matter is: Fear God [revere and worship Him, knowing that He is] and keep His commandments, for this is the whole of man [the full, original purpose of his creation, the object of God's providence, the root of character, the foundation of all happiness, the adjustment to all inharmonious circumstances and conditions under the sun] and the whole duty for every man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it is good or evil. (Quick Amplified Bible)
This is how we can examine ourselves today to find out if we are allowing the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to change us into His image daily. We can ask ourselves if we listen to the instruction, rebuke, guidance, and complete wisdom from the Word of God or are we questioning some of its words and desiring to change them, muffle, or water them down because we want to see it another way or to walk and live in contradiction to some of its teaching and instruction. John Bunyan said speaking of the Bible, “This book will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from this book.”
The Bible is the only absolute truth there is on the earth. We can never allow ourselves to doubt this and we must stand for the truth or else we will be a party to the propagation of error and Apostasy. We need something that is not from ourselves to be able to live in the truth of the Word of God. It is not enough to read the Word of God and to know what it says but we need something supernatural to occur in us to strengthen and empower us to walk or live daily according to the Words from Holy Scripture. This is the grace attribute of Christ Jesus our Lord. Everyone rightfully teaches that grace is un-merited favor that we receive from our Lord Jesus Christ that we do not deserve and I accept and agree that this is what grace is in the life of every believer.
However, for the purpose of our daily walk or life down here in this nasty evil world system still under Satan's rule and control we need something internally to energize and empower us to live our lives as Christians above the mire of sin and wickedness. The enemy of our souls the devil is constantly trying to pull or draw us away from intimacy with Christ through television, unsaved family members, unsaved friends, our workplace, and other things like cell phones, movie theaters, ipods, DVD players etc. and the list is endless. All of these things and people are tools used by the enemy to keep us as Christians from maturing in our walk with Christ and to cause us to stumble and fall in sin and stay there for a long time. He wants our witness and testimony ruined for the lost world all around us.
Having become partakers of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ's Divine Nature, the grace supplied to us daily is Divine influence upon our hearts, which affects our lives, and the way we live right now. This is the definition of grace that is relevant for each one of us as redeemed children today.
Listen to these words from Adam Clarke (1715-1832) on what our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ meant in Matthew 7:17 & 18, “As the thorn can only produce thorns, not grapes; and the thistle, not figs, but prickles; so an unregenerate heart will produce fruits of degeneracy. As we perfectly know that a good tree will not produce bad fruit, and the bad tree will not, cannot produce good fruit, so we know that the profession of godliness, while the life is ungodly, is imposture, hypocrisy, and deceit. A man cannot be a saint and a sinner at the same time. Let us remember, that as the good tree means a good heart, and the good fruit, a holy life, and that every heart is naturally vicious, so there is none but God who can pluck up the vicious tree, create a good heart, plant, cultivate, water, and make it continually fruitful in righteousness and true holiness. Love to God and man is the root of the good tree; and from this principle all, its fruit is found. To teach, as some have done, that a state of salvation may be consistent with the greatest crimes, (such as murder and adultery in David), or that the righteous necessarily sin in all their best works, is really to make the good tree bring forth bad fruit, and to give the lie to the Author of eternal truth (Jesus Christ).”
Therefore, the profession of being in Christ Jesus is far more than just a verbal profession. Jesus Christ is grace and truth, therefore, every life or heart that calls His name, as Lord must be one that is progressively, determinedly, and continually departing from iniquity, lawlessness, and sin. Grace and truth in Christ Jesus will not allow the truly devoted heart to rationalize or compromise with sin of any ilk. The daily grace transmitted to us (as we continually come boldly before His throne of grace) by our Lord and Savior should be molding each of us more and more into His likeness or image.
His chastisement prunes and prunes us that then by His grace we might bear fruit, more fruit, and ultimately much fruit. As for the true Christian, he expects to have his reward in the next life, and to endure hardness in this. The promise of the old covenant is adversity. Remember Christ’s words-”Every branch in me that beareth not fruit”-What? “He purgeth it, that it may bring forth fruit.” If you bring forth fruit, you will have to endure affliction. (Charles Haddon Spurgeon)
Christ being grace and truth also will guard us or garrison us about with His grace and the truth of His Word that we would not fall prey to seducers trying to draw us away into compromise. The sins of commission and omission are our downfall when we do not allow His grace to work nor live by the truth of His Word.
James 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. (Quick Amplified Bible)
Every person on this earth graciously and mercifully is given an opportunity to encounter truth (Jesus Christ). Grace is the riches of the soul and therefore it alone constitutes true riches. The Apostle Paul in the Epistle to the Ephesians tells us that we (those who have been truly born again of incorruptible seed) are blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies with Christ Jesus our Lord. No earthly thing, status, honor, or title can ever be more gratifying than this promise and truth of what the grace of Christ Jesus brings to the true believing heart.
Paul warned us repeatedly that a little leaven would leaven the whole lump and that allowing compromise to sin will only lead to a tragic downward spiral into destruction. Christ always gave the grace required for each of the Prophets and Apostles to accomplish what He sent them out to accomplish in His name for His Glory.
Each one of our lives must correspond to the great and eternal doctrines spelled out to us in the Word of God. When this is true in any life fierce persecution will surely follow, but we need not despair because the exact quantity of grace we need to endure will be freely supplied to each of us, as we are obedient to our Lord and Saviors Word. Therefore, we have nothing or anyone ever in this life as we sojourn to fear as we obey our Master Jesus Christ. We are to live godly as He gives us grace to do so. Gratitude and true piety will always go hand in hand, just as ingratitude and impiety will go hand in hand. We must pray without ceasing to have not the form of godliness in our daily lives but by Christ's grace that we would daily have the true power of godliness manifested (visible) in each of our lives daily.
Here is what the Prince of Preachers Charles Haddon Spurgeon had to say about Jesus Christ being full of grace and truth, “Believer, you can bear your testimony that Christ is the only begotten of the Father, as well as the first begotten from the dead. You can say, “He is divine to me, if he be human to the entire world beside. He has done that for me which none but a God could do. He has subdued my stubborn will, melted a heart of adamant, opened gates of brass, and snapped bars of iron. He hath turned for me my mourning into laughter, and my desolation into joy; he hath led my captivity captive, and made my heart rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. Let others think, as they will of him, to me he must be the only begotten of the Father: blessed is his name. And he is full of grace. Ah! had he not been I should never have been saved. He drew me when I struggled to escape from his grace; and when at last I came all trembling like a condemned culprit to his mercy-seat he said, ‘Thy sins which are many are all forgiven thee: be of good cheer.’ And he is full of truth. True have his promises been, not one has failed. I bear witness that never servant had such a master as I have; never brother such a kinsman as he has been to me; never spouse such a husband as Christ has been to my soul; never sinner a better Savior; never mourner a better comforter than Christ hath been to my spirit. I want none beside him. In life he is my life, and in death he shall be the death of death; in poverty Christ is my riches; in sickness he makes my bed; in darkness he is my star, and in brightness he is my sun; he is the manna of the camp in the wilderness, and he shall be the new corn of the host when they come to Canaan. Jesus is to me all grace and no wrath, all truth and no falsehood: and of truth and grace he is full, infinitely full. My soul, this night, bless with all thy might ‘the only Begotten.’”
Impart unto me, O God, I pray Thee, the spirit of Thy Love, that I may be more anxious to give than to receive, more eager to understand than to be understood, more thoughtful for others, more forgetful of myself. AMEN. By F.B. Meyer
Sincerely in Christ,
Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
Author, Silent Assassins of the Soul (not yet published; coming soon)