by David Leach
Seeing the Bible as Law – Means me doing the best I can to comply with God’s standards, as my head understands them, set out in the scriptures. In other words me trying to keep God’s commandments. That’s the Old Covenant which man by human nature couldn’t keep.
Seeing the Bible as Grace - Means my believing: That the words of the Bible are living seeds containing the life and nature of Jesus Christ in dormant form. (Just as natural seeds contain the life and nature of plants in dormant form). That these words are God’s grace, which His Spirit will speak to me, reveal to me, and, as I believe them, write them in my heart. That these living words will transform me into their likeness, so imparting the nature of Christ, for He is God’s grace. This is the New Covenant which, with Christ in me now doing it, I can keep.
To begin to receive God’s Grace, His word, the nature of Christ, we must believe His word:
The Law is God’s word initially written on stone and which is now written with ink on paper.Grace is God’s living word lifted off the paper and written by the Holy Spirit on our hearts.
2 Cor 3:3 And you show that you are a letter of Christ …written … by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts ESV
Our relationship with God began, and we were born again, the moment we believed in our Hearts, not our heads, the first words of the gospel of grace brought to us by the Holy Spirit:
Acts 20:24 ...The gospel (God’s words) of the grace of God.
1 Pet 1:23 Being born again of incorruptible seed, by the word of God (believed)... KJV
Eph 2:8 For by grace (by God’s words) are you saved through faith... KJV
That’s initial Grace; God wants us to have abundant Grace, as we believe more of His words
2 Cor 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound unto every good work.
Rom 5:17 ...Those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ (Grace has to be received).
But we could only receive God’s initial Grace, His word, when we believed that word with our hearts. Natural seeds only spring to life when planted in soil, our hearts are the spiritual soil in which the spiritual seed of God’s words spring to life. In order to receive more Grace, more of Christ’s nature, more of God’s words, so that we can reign in this life over all our spiritual enemies, we must believe those words, not with our heads, but with our hearts. Without such further belief there can be no more Grace and hence we cannot please God.
Rom 4:16 Therefore it is of (our) faith that it might be (that it can be) by (God’s) grace...
Rom 5:2 ...We have access by faith into this grace...(and there is no other way)
Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him (for there can be no Grace)God can do nothing for us apart from His Grace, we can only receive His Grace by faith:
Everywhere in the Bible we are told that our faith, that truly believes God, that whole heartedly trusts Him, is essential for God to do the work in our lives that He wants to:
Ps 37:5 Commit your way to the LORD, Trust in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.
Matthew 9:29 …According to your faith be it unto you.
Mark 9:23 …If you can believe, all things are possible to him that believes.
Matthew 21:22 ...Whatever you shall ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive.
James 1:6-7 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting...he that doubts...let not that person suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;
God desires and must have our trust, our belief in the words He speaks to us, in order for Him to fulfill any of His promises in our lives. He can’t bless us unless we believe His words. Otherwise our salvation would be based on our works. You would think that since receiving anything from God depends on first believing God, that we would all diligently study and learn what God has to say about faith. So that we could all trust God for everything in our lives and therefore live by faith. Most of us don’t do this and when we are unable to receive something from God, because we don’t understand our need for faith or we don’t know how to get more of it, we may complain and judge God, falsely assuming He withheld His Grace.
Some of the counterfeits that Christians assume are faith but in fact they are not faith at all:
1. Faith is not mental assent: I can read or hear a promise of God from the Bible and agree intellectually with what it says; I can even memorize it – isn’t that faith, can’t I now stand on that promise and expect God to fulfill it? No, I can’t. This is a deadly counterfeit of faith, because I am only mentally, that is with my natural mind or brain, consenting to the scripture and it can’t be fulfilled. This fake head faith can never have the joyous doubt-free assurance of genuine heart faith, so it will always be tentative and wavering. Since it doesn’t know if a promise in scripture really is God’s will, it can’t fully commit its will to that promise. Mental assent accounts for most of the so called “faith failures” where a person claimed to be believing God for a certain promise but the promise didn’t happen – it couldn’t, because they confused trying to believe God with the natural mind, or mental assent, with heart faith.
Romans 8:7 The natural mind (sense and reason without the Holy Spirit) is God’s enemy..
Rom 10:10 For with the heart a person believes, trusts in, and relies on Christ...AMP
2. Faith is not hope, or wishing it would happen: Faith and hope are not the same thing, although hope may often be the stepping stone to faith. Hope is wishing even longing for something to happen in the future, but it doesn’t know if the thing hoped for will happen. Faith believes, and when the Bible says believes it means “knows”, faith knows that it has right now whatever it is seeking, even though it hasn’t shown up physically yet. To faith it is just a matter of time, but not if, whatever it is shows up. How does faith “know” the future before it happens? Because genuine faith, according to scripture, has always heard directly from God what He is going to do. That’s why faith is doubt free whereas hope can never be.
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