By Grace Through Faith – 8-15-22

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,” Ephesians 2:8 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! And we pray for the peace of Jerusalem! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Ephesians chapter 2 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

By Grace Through Faith

And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the [a]course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Brought Near by His Blood

11 Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands— 12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

Christ Our Peace

14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.

Christ Our Cornerstone

19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

Footnotes

a. Ephesians 2:2 Gr. aion, aeon

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Romans 8:1

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,”

As we have discussed many times over the years – sin causes death and we are never truly alive until Jesus breathes life into us when we enter a relationship with Him. Sometimes we buy the lie that we are ok and we stop growing and progressing and slowly we become dead again. Back-sliding is not always a dramatic fall into some sin that mankind thinks is worse than the others. Sometime it is simply falling asleep, drying up, lack of movement and vivacious fire, and a slow death that is never noticed while the enemy continually sings you a lullaby and convinces you that you are fine, right where you are – dead.

But God is not waiting for you to find a way to come back to life. It is through Him just like the first time he brought you to life.  
So today, while we read this chapter we must first know if we are alive or dead of starting to die… and then we can make the right steps to get where we need to get.

13 Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves. 14 I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken it and performed it,” says the Lord.’” Ezekiel 37:13-14 NKJV

This prophecy is for NOW, because the Jews have their own land, Israel.  And Jesus said to the Disciples that He was sending His Spirit – and it happened in Acts 2. And later in Act Peter learned that gentile are included and separately Paul learned it to and now 2000 plus years later I am a spirit filled gentile believer who was dead and has been brought to life AND I know that I KNOW, THAT I KNOW, THAT. I. KNOW. That He is the Lord and HE has spoken it and HE has performed it. He is still alive and working and completing His word in our lives TODAY!

I can with confident speak to the dry bones and say: “Thus saith the Lord: ‘I will put MY spirit in you and you shall LIVE!’”

in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

We SHALL have a testimony to glorify the FATHER! We were once dead in sin. Paul gives that section 2 verses. Make sure, when you speak your testimony, that your testimonies do not glorify the sin, that they do not speak more of the sin than of the Lord.
I was dead fulfilling the lust of the flesh – THEN I had a transformative experience with GRACE – transforming me in faith – and I have NEVER been the same again! I have never been the same again! AND I WILL NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN – all Glory to God. And it is because GOD was merciful and God saved me and God changed me and DO NOT BE PROUD OF ME – I cannot even touch an ounce of the credit. I could not even begin to do the parts I had to do without GOD changing me and working in me and through me to do my part – so ALL GLORY GOES TO GOD! ALL. ALL.

God did this great thing in me and can in you (if he has not already) because of His great love for us. Please make a special note that these next verses do not describe a love because of any reason. It is a love without a “because”, a love without a reason. I sometimes say because He made us, but this is also wrong (and I must work on not repeating this lie I bought at one time). I am an artist and blessed with the ability to create things. And sometimes I make something and look at it and say – wow that is really bad – I hate it. Humans do not automatically LOVE everything we make, including our children (sadly). God’s love is not because He made us, or else anyone who made a bad drawing in elementary school and were embarrassed by it in class would easily doubt God’s love, knowing you can hate something you created. God loves us period. Without fail and without reason. We do not need a reason to love and we need to break free from conditional love!

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

At the point of justification or salvation, before consecration and sanctification is even complete – we are made alive TOGETHER with Christ and raised up together and sit together in the heavenly places. Do not get proud about this – it was by grace and not anything you did. But today by Jesus’s revelation spoken into your life you may understand that you do not sit on your sofa in your house, or in a chair at your table or desk. You SIT TOGETHER with Christ in HEAVENLY PLACES!
When we finally understand, by the Spirit of the Lord, opening our understanding, emboldening us and helping us to, humbly yet firmly, stand in our true position – we cannot fail, the Lord is within us!

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,”

By grace which I ALWAYS say if NOT just defined as “God’s undo favor on us”. You will only say that if you have NEVER experienced grace. If you experience it you know it is actionable, powerful, and transformative. Grace is the spark that ignites sanctification and consecration and set your heart a blaze to know Him!
All you need to do is believe, have faith. But you cannot even do that unless the Lord gives you a measure of faith to use.

not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

There is an age old question all of mankind asks themselves at some point (well, maybe not all – but many): what is my purpose? It is usually followed up with other questions about existence and a desire for deeper understanding. And the answer is we are created to do good work. From Adam created to manage this planet to Eve created to support him – and all of mankind commissioned to manage the earth and love to Moses reminding the world through his Mt Sinai experience – with commandments and laws – that as we work we need to LOVE (as love is the summary of the Law). And then Jesus saying that while we manage the earth, and work the soil and tend to the animals – do not forget to Go ye therefore and LOVE (aka work and love). And here we are with Paul saying our purpose is good works – combining the love and the work.

We are created to do good works in Christ, but even that we cannot do until we are touched by grace’s transforming power and transformed! We cannot love without condition – until we experience love. Experience God. And IN HIM, we can fulfil our purpose of good works – by GOD working it in and through us!

11 Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands— 12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

Let the Lord reveal the depth and power here. And while we are seeking the power of the clean word – let’s take a moment to speak on the BLOOD. This past weekend I was so humbled to be part of an amazingly powerful service with God. During a part, God was delivering people and we were speaking in LOVE in AGREEMENT by THE NAME OF JESUS. That is authority. You cannot cast out by the blood. The blood does not hold the authority, the name does.
We did plead the blood to cleanse all sins – that is where we apply the blood! We did plead the blood into every wound and pain and illness – because that is where it is applied. And as the enemy left the people they were not brought near to God. Then we washed them, cleaned them, made them whole by pleading the blood – Jesus cleaned them. And that act, brought them near to God. But we did not leave them empty – we shut every evil door and prayed with them until they were filled in God’s spirit overflowing.
I have simplified this to just the bullet points in order to show how the blood, and NOTHING but the blood washing our sins away after we repent and ask forgiveness can permit us to be in the presence of the Lord. And we do not even have to ask for Him to draw near HE comes running, missing us and longing to be near us and finally he can once we are purified by the blood.

14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made [the middle wall of separation]…, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.”

I had to reread this a few times to make sure I covered it all. I did not want to break it up, because it is harder to understand broken up.
Jesus is our peace. Peace is described loosely as a spirit, as a warring angel, and now as Jesus Himself. SO what is peace? Well, Jesus is our peace because He made a way to the Father. There is peace like the calm quiet night, but that isn’t what the Bible is referring to. That is a shallow man made quiet – not true peace. Peace isn’t even a confidence in a storm that God is in the storm with you – knowing it will be ok is faith, not peace. Peace is the solution to the conflict of enmity with God – and that is Jesus! And once we start applying the correct definition of peace to the Bible – peace is no longer a passive hippy word or confused with faith that is strong enough to calm you.
In Matthew 5:9 when Jesus blesses the peacemakers and calls them the children of God – because they are acting like Jesus solving enmity with the Blood of Christ making a way for God to have a relationship with His children! No wonder he called them children! So now read peace correctly!

17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.”

The conflict of enmity is resolved for both Jew and Gentile.

19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”

The temple is a symbol we always pay special attention to knowing its depth and meaning – especially since we are called the temple of the Holy Spirit. We are each the temple, we are building the temple kingdom with sword in one hand and tools in the other like Nehemiah and at the same time we are literally a brick in the wall all connected to the firm foundation and corner stone which is Christ Jesus!

Paul calls us bricks in the wall in a few books and I usually do not say much about it because secular music from the late 1970s early 1980s has given that image a negative connotation and made that wall a prison – wherein being the temple that is a brick in the temple is an inception of the indwelling, acceptance, belonging, and love to be part of something larger in the spirit which is freedom. Isn’t it just like the enemy to take freedom and twist it into a prison?  

But by grace, through faith – we are made free again!

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

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