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Poju Oyemade - Conversation with My Friend Part 3

  • April 24, 2017 9:02 AM CEST
    My friend and our conversation on grace (Part 3)
    After my friend entered into rest concerning his justification in Christ, his major concern was this, does the finished work of Jesus not totally reverse the effect of sin? He no longer carried the burden of guilt for his sins but he asked, is that all Christ came to do? i.e not make me feel condemned about sinning. If sin produced death in man, a state where he lived perpetually beneath God’s intended expectations shouldn’t then the gift of righteousness lead to the life of Jesus being made manifest in his flesh?

    

The law couldn’t work being weakened by the flesh but was the work of Christ going to be weakened also by the flesh. Were Christians going to make the flesh their excuse? Was Paul just teasing when he said: “I am crucified with Christ nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ that lives in me for 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”.
    

Then he saw it, as sin produced death in man (a quality of life void of God), grace was going to through righteousness manifest the life of Christ in his flesh. Grace is the antidote to sin. Sin cannot have dominion over a man who lives by grace. You cannot have a man living by grace and still yielding to sin in his members. It is when that grace is not received that sin finds expression in his members though he is born-again. Where grace is not known, the righteousness in that man lies dormant without expression.

    

Grace is different from the gift of righteousness. If a Christian sins he receives forgiveness through the mercy of God but when grace comes in, his outward behavior must change and that not by his effort but through grace. He is delivered from his sinful conduct by the grace of God. As he maintains his stand in his righteous state in Christ regardless of appearance, grace comes in to match the experience in his flesh with the righteous state he has been confessing. This is what Peter referred to saying

    

1 Peter 5:10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
    Let me recount the tale of my own personal encounter with the workings of the Spirit of grace. 

When I got saved, I was still dealing with a smoking habit. I struggled daily to overcome this habit to no avail. Then one day, I decided to seek emancipation from the body of death through faith.

    

I had been rightly taught that I was now the righteousness of God in Christ through my new birth. In light of this knowledge of who I now was in Christ, I decided to consider myself “dead” to the smoking habit though it seemed yet "alive" in my flesh. So, whenever I craved a cigarette, I didn't struggle with the desire in the flesh. Instead, I declared what I knew about myself in Christ; “I was a new creature in whom old things had passed away and all things had become new”. 


Every time I picked up a cigarette I would declare "I’m a new creature in Christ, old things have passed away and all things have become new". When I fell short and the desire prevailed, I would ask for forgiveness but still maintain my confession of the knowledge of who I was in Him, in spite of the motions of sin in my body.
    

By reckoning myself dead to the smoking habit while the act still seemed alive in me, I demonstrated that I was not forsaking God's mercy by beholding lying vanities. And by declaring what His word said about the situation, I was accessing the grace of God.

    This battle continued for a while, a few weeks. 

However, it wasn't a battle between my will power and a sinful habit but between acknowledging the reality of who I was in Christ versus what was going on in my body. I would also spend time privately yielding myself to God as one freed from the smoking habit, praising and thanking Him that I was fully delivered, while the activity was yet "alive" in my flesh.

    

What happened? One day, I realized I hadn't visited the man selling cigarettes outside my hall of residence for three days! The desire to smoke was completely removed from me, I had forgotten completely that I used to smoke and so was fulfilled the scripture; "those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh and its lust thereof."
    

Note it wasn't Christ plus my efforts that produced the result but Christ plus my receiving His finished work. Mercy held me, cleansing my conscience from guilt allowing me to boldly confess the reality of the finished work even with shortcomings until, by faith, grace removed the sinful habit out of my life.

    

Grace breaks the cycle of sin and matches his conduct to the new righteous state he is now in Christ. Grace affects outward behavior and conforms the man’s conversation to that of Christ. That’s why Paul said shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid because grace removes sin in conduct. By that same grace, Jesus lived a sin free life and offered Himself spotless and so by the grace of Christ we were saved.

    

He now understood Paul in Galatians when he said “having begun in the Spirit were you going to be made perfect by the flesh?” He had sought perfection through self-effort now he understood it was the work of grace to perfect him i.e make an outward showing of his perfect righteous state in Christ having being created in righteousness and true holiness without blemish before God.
    

What many are calling grace today is really mercy the means through which sins are forgiven and the conscience cleansed. Some think righteousness is grace.
    

Grace is the enabler in the new covenant. Paul said in Hebrews that we may find grace to help in time of need so we can live the way Christ lived when he was on the earth, though he was tempted yet without sin.

    We will go deeper as to grace in our conduct in part 4 and then in part 5 look at how grace works in ministry.
    Paul showed that the key to effective ministry is grace. Where present, it manifests great things people can literally see the grace of God at work. Grace is tangible performing mighty works
    

Galatians 2:8-9
8 (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)
9 And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen and they unto the circumcision.
    Acts 4:33
And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.
    

This generation shall find the true grace we will not be deterred.
    This post was edited by Pastor Dunamis Okunowo at April 24, 2017 9:03 AM CEST