The Lord has been highlighting something to my heart and I think it is probably one of the most important things for us concerning our relationship with the Lord and progressing spiritually.
Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
King James Version has “by faith.” The original has “out of faith.” We get the idea that we’re going to have faith and by our faith we will be justified. That’s not it. That is one of the things the Lord has been speaking to my heart this week. It’s not our faith that is important; it’s His faith that is important. The Scripture says God has given us a measure of faith, but we know that a measure speaks of limitation (Romans 12:3). Therefore, the faith He has given to every man is limited faith, and I think all of us have had situations that required more faith than what we had. Our limited faith was not enough. I believe that has been the doings of the Lord. As long as we can get by with what we have, we won’t reach into the Lord for more. So He makes sure our faith comes up a little short of what we need. There are two kinds of faith. There is a faith that accomplishes things, and there is a faith that produces life.
In Matthew 9:27-29 two blind men said, “Thou Son of David, have mercy on us.” Jesus asked, “What would you have Me to do for you?” “That we might receive our sight.” And Jesus said, “According to your faith be it unto you.”
Then there was the little woman with the issue of blood. She said, “If I could just touch the hem of His garment, I know I’ll be made whole,” and she did. Jesus felt virtue go out. He said, “Woman, thy faith has made you whole” (Matthew 9:20-22). We realize the faith we have can accomplish things. However, scanning through the Scriptures I haven’t found any place where Jesus said, “According to your faith…” or “your faith did this” where it did anything more than accomplish something on the physical plane. When it talks about a faith that brings a change of nature, it takes a different kind of faith. It has to be “His” faith.
Our faith has great limitations when it is a mixture. Luke 17:6 says, “If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed....” The parable in Matthew 13 says that the mustard seed is the least of all seeds, yet it becomes a great tree. The mustard seed, though little, is pure mustard. Therefore, the faith we need is pure faith, not one that is mixed, but when we say “my faith” it becomes mixed. The moment we claim that faith as our own it becomes mixed with the things of our flesh nature – unbelief, doubt, insecurities, fears, etc. That faith may work to some extent, but it will not produce life. There is a difference. What you claim to possess – such as my dedication, my commitment, my submission, my faith – automatically becomes mixed with the things of your nature. Consequently, there is futility in it. I think every one of us have had times of disappointment when we were trying to have faith and believe for something. Because we were trying to work up a faith to get the job done instead of understanding the principle of grace, we were disappointed.
Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by (ek = out of) faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
We are justified “out of” faith, out of “His” faith. When we read “by faith” we think, “I’m justified by my faith.” No, we are justified by HIS faith. Paul puts it so wonderfully in Galatians 2:20: I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me. I live by the faith “of the Son of God.” Not by faith IN Him, but by the faith OF Him. In other words, we’re talking about a change of life. The life I now live is not my life, but His life; it is a change of life form, a change of nature. So it has to be His faith that is accomplishing it.
The life I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me. You cannot give yourself. “Well, I’m going to give myself to God.” That’s nice to say, but He does the giving. David got real religious and he said, “Nathan, I want to build a house for God.” Nathan said, “Just do all that’s in your heart.” Next thing you know, Nathan has come back with a word from God and said, “God says you’re not going to build Him a house. He is going to build you a house” (II Samuel 7:1-11). We want to take it out of God’s hand and possess it. “It’s my faith. I’ve got faith, Lord!” No, that faith you have is pretty much futility. I do not know what it is about man, but he is constantly deviating from the realm of grace.
Romans 5:8 But God commends His love into us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
While we were sinners! I can honestly tell you that when Christ first met my heart, saved me and made me a Christian, it wasn’t because of anything I did. Paul said, “We are saved by grace” (Ephesians 2:8). We are saved by grace – you cannot earn it, you cannot work toward it. There is nothing you can do to gain it! It has to remain grace!
We enter into a relationship with the Lord through grace, but as soon as we get in there we want to change it and start doing things. “Well, I’m going to pray a certain amount of time each day. I’m going to be disciplined to pray and read my Bible.” All these things are good but the moment you discipline yourself to do it, it is wiped it out. It is no longer grace. What you do must come out of His love, then it is Him doing it through you.
The servant is out in the field plowing and tending the sheep. When he comes in, does the master say, “You’ve worked hard today. Sit down and have something to eat”? No, he doesn’t. He says, “You fix me something to eat and serve me. Then afterwards, you can eat.” He is still an unprofitable servant (Luke 17:7-9). Your works do not earn anything. This was the problem of the Pharisees. They had all their works, even the little nit-picky things they did like paying tithes of mint, anise, and cumin (Matthew 23:23). They thought their disciplines would earn God’s favor. It is grace! Man tends to leave the realm of grace and start making commandments and various disciplines. It doesn’t mean we don’t do anything, but it is the heart that makes the difference. It has to be by grace! “Surely, if I spend enough time working in the Word, then God will bless me.” No, you just lost your blessing when you put it that way. Do you see what I mean? It is grace!
Romans 2:1 You are inexcusable, O man, whosoever you are that judges; for wherein you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you that judges does the same thing.
There’s religiosity. Religious people like to condemn because it makes them feel super spiritual. Religiosity is like a crab spirit. You don’t have to put a top on a basket of crabs. As soon as one gets near the top, another one will pull it down. Flesh is flesh is flesh. Our flesh is no different than the vilest person you can think of because that’s what flesh is – vile. Yet, the realm of grace is available and God will be gracious even when we are at our worst.
Peter approached Jesus and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him – seven times? Jesus said, “Not seven times only but seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:21-22). Wow! That is a lot of repenting! He told Peter that because that is God’s way. God is always willing to forgive. God lives in the realm of grace, and if we’re going to be in God, we must live in the realm of grace, too. In fact, we’re not going to get anywhere at all as Christians until we learn to live in the realm of grace.
Micah 6:8 He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.
“But I’m not good enough.” You will never be good enough. The young rich ruler asked Jesus, “Good Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus answered, “Why do you call Me good? There is none good but God” (Luke 18:1819). “Surely, by this time in all the years I’ve walked with God I must have some goodness.” You cannot claim it as your own. The moment you do it becomes mixed with your adamic nature and is polluted. It has to be pure faith, pure love, pure commitment, and pure dedication. All of those things are found only in Christ, and they have to remain His.
Little Jack Horner stuck his thumb in a pie, pulled out a plum and said, “What a good boy am I.” No, we’re not ever going to take the attitude that we’re a good boy. I know there’s a remnant but when we claim, “We’re the remnant,” it becomes a polluted remnant. It would be best to just walk with God and don’t claim anything as yourself. That is a problem among many churches. There is such a buildup of self and self-exaltation. Be humble! How are we going to be humble? Human nature isn’t humble, neither can it be. Only Christ is humble. Oh, Lord Jesus, be my humility; be humble in me.
These are things that have been on my heart this week. I feel it is very important for us to learn how to live in the realm of grace. When we get in this realm of grace and we live there limitations, futility, and strivings will be eliminated. There is the Sabbath rest; there is the Kingdom.
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.
In John 4 Jesus was ministering to the woman at the well. “If you knew the gift of God, you would ask Him for living water.” King James says “the gift of God” but it means “if you knew how God gives.” We’ve read about how God gives. Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. For everyone that asks receives; he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, if his son asks bread, will he give him a stone? If he asks a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him? Matthew 7:7-11. God wants to do good things for us and in us, but we eliminate those good things by claiming them as our own. That is the Pharisaic attitude that really turns God off.
For by grace are you saved through faith. Your whole walk with God is by grace. That doesn’t stop. Grace unto grace. You move from one realm of grace to another realm of grace.
Ephesians 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
“I’m getting somewhere with God now. I’m more dedicated.” That is the thinking of a Pharisee.
Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them.
His good works! We walk in them by being in that grace realm. We don’t have any trouble with being saved by grace, but when we are saved we start wanting to earn everything and to do good works for Jesus. We feel compelled to do something to measure up, something is required. That’s why churches have their tenets of faith – this is what we believe; this is what we do. What is the work that we must do? This is the work of God, that you believe on Him whom He has sent. John 6:29. Our Christian life begins and ends with grace.
Copyright © 2006 by Henry DuBose