Below are excerpts from- ‘Destined to Reign: The Secret to Effortless Success, Wholeness and Victorious Living by Joseph Prince‘…
In this book, JP talks on some fundamental truths that have been missed or muddled, over the last 100 years of Religion- rather than true Christianity…
They include topics like:
- Destined To Reign
- The Law Has Been Fulfilled
- Controversies Surrounding The Gospel Of Grace
- GRACE- A License To Sin?
- Rightly Dividing The Covenants
- Does God Chastise Us With Sicknesses And Diseases?
- The Gospel That Paul Preached
- Understanding The Holy Communion
- The Ministry Of Death
- The Power To Sin No More
- Accusations Against Grace
Buy this full book at: Amazon LINK
Before you read more excerpts from the book below, few key statements from the book are quoted here:
- Reign in life through the finished work of Christ on the cross.
- Receiving Versus Achieving the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness.
- The Work Is Finished, Sit Down
- He has already forgiven us5.
- Stop depending on your self-efforts to earn and qualify for God’s blessings in your life.
- Many believers are defeated today because they are struggling to qualify themselves for God’s blessings by their own works.
- Our God came, died a cruel death on the cross and paid the full debt of sin with His own life so that you and I can reign in life today.
- Jesus Fulfilled The Law
- The Devil Has Been Disarmed
- Jesus wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us
- You have been redeemed from the curse of the law.
- The law always condemns and keeps man away from God.
- Jesus has fulfilled completely the righteous requirements of the law, the devil cannot use the law to condemn you every time you fail.
- The Purpose For The Law- God gave the law for one purpose, and that is by the law, the world would have the knowledge of sin5, and recognize their need for a Savior.
- “I am the righteousness of God through Jesus Christ!”
- Righteousness is a gift. It is not a reward for perfect obedience to the law. You are clothed today with the righteousness of Jesus Christ. God sees you as righteous as Jesus Himself.
- Only Grace Brings Hope
- Only the finished work of Jesus can bring us wholeness, completeness and peace.
- The moment you learn to receive grace, you will start to reign in life!
- Would you as a parent want your children to be diseased and living in abject poverty? Why do you take your children to the doctor when they are unwell? Why do you give them the best education you can afford? If you on earth know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more your Father in heaven4!
- God blesses you not because you are good, but because He is good.
- Law is deserved favor — When you obey the commandments perfectly, you will be blessed. Grace is undeserved favor — Jesus obeyed God perfectly, and you will be blessed by believing in Him. My friend, which covenant are you under today? The old covenant of law or the new covenant of grace? Deserved favor or undeserved favor?
- If the devil can keep you under the law, he can keep you defeated.
- You are the righteousness of God in Christ, period!
- There is nothing that you can do that will make God love you more and there is nothing that you can do that will make Him love you less.
- Discerning The Gospel Of Grace- Let me teach you how to discern if the grace teaching that you are hearing is doctrinally sound. When you hear the new covenant of grace preached, it is always Christ-exalting. It always reveals more and more of Jesus. It always unveils the beauty of Jesus and the perfection of His finished work on the cross. Jesus is always glorified when grace is taught. There is no grace without Jesus!
- It is our Lord’s good pleasure to see your family blessed, storehouses overflowing and your body full of the resurrection life of Jesus!
- Grace imparts righteousness and has accomplished everything on your behalf.
- How Do You See God Today? The reason many believers are living a life of defeat is that they believe the LIE that God is angry with them. He is forever young, strong and loving! Today, He is always well-pleased with you because of Jesus Christ. Let that truth sink in and fall in love with Him all over again.
- What About God’s Wrath? God is no longer angry with us because all His anger for our sins fell upon Jesus at the cross.
- All Your Sins Have Been Forgiven “Pastor Prince, how can you say that even our future sins have been forgiven?” – My friend, when Christ died on the cross, you weren’t even born yet. You weren’t even an idea to your parents! All your sins were thus “future” sins. So all your sins have been forgiven, and it was accomplished through one sacrifice, by one Man. His name is Jesus. Jesus’ finished work is outside of time. His blood that was shed forgives all your sins — past, present and even future sins.
- When you are under God’s grace and His perfect forgiveness, you will experience victory over sin.
- The truth is this: God is no longer angry with you. His wrath toward all your sins has already been exhausted completely on the body of your Savior Jesus Christ. All your sins have been judged and punished in the body of another.
- The more revelation you have of the grace of God and His forgiveness, the more you will have the power to reign over all your challenges and addictions.
- Today, you are blessed because the Lord no longer counts your sins against you. Because of the cross of Jesus, you will never be punished for your sins again.
- As long as you continue to have a wrong perception of God and withdraw from Him, the devil can keep you bound in a life of defeat.
- Would you give your son a terminal disease to teach him a lesson? Then, why do you think that your Father in heaven would do that?
- Stop believing the LIE that God gives you sicknesses, diseases and accidents to punish you or teach you a lesson.
- The good news of Jesus always liberates and His perfect love removes every fear.
- Only when Christ is preached will faith be imparted.
- What Did Paul Preach? – All who believe in Jesus receive the forgiveness of all their sins and are justified from all things!
- The Gospel Imparts Faith –The more revelation you get of His finished work, the more you will receive an impartation of faith for any situation, even the seemingly impossible ones!
- Jesus did not come to bring us laws and more laws. He came to bring us abundant life through His grace!
- If you are believing the Lord for a miraculous breakthrough, then be sure that you are hearing “the word of His grace” and not the word of His law.
- The blood of Jesus qualifies you to have constant access to the Most High God.
- God gave the law to bring man to the end of himself, so that he would see his need for a Savior.
- God is after a relationship with us, one that is dependent on His goodness and His goodness alone.
- There is no more judgment for you when God looks at you.
- Anyone who is living in sin is not under grace and has not experienced the gift of no condemnation. Grace always results in victory over sin!
- Every time you fail in thought, word or deed, receive this afresh: There is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ.
- Everything in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation points to Jesus’ death on the cross.
- The old covenant will always cause you to look at yourself, whereas the new covenant will always cause you to turn and look at Christ crucified. Old Testament prophets call your sins to remembrance, while New Testament preachers call your righteousness to remembrance. Old Testament preachers tell you what is wrong with you, while New Testament preachers tell you what is right with you because of what Jesus has done, in spite of what is wrong with you. The first miracle of Moses, who represents the law, was to turn water into blood, resulting in death4. The first miracle of grace was Jesus turning water into wine, resulting in celebration and life5. The law kills, but the Spirit gives life.
- Before Sinai, every failure brought forth a fresh manifestation of God’s favor. Before Sinai, none died. After Sinai, the moment they murmured, they died.
- If you are still trying to be justified by your obedience to the law, you are effectively negating what Jesus has already done for you on the cross!
- Victory over sin comes only when people encounter the superabundance of God’s grace.
- Your sins and your lawless deeds, He remembers no more!
- It is all about Jesus and His finished work!
- You are destined to reign through Him.
- This is the secret to effortless success, wholeness and victorious living!
Chapter 1: Destined To Reign
You are destined to reign in life. You are called by the Lord to be a success, to enjoy wealth, to enjoy health and to enjoy a life of victory. It is not the Lord’s desire that you live a life of defeat, poverty and failure. He has called you to be the head and not the tail. If you are a businessman, God wants you to have a prosperous business. If you are a homemaker, you are anointed to bring up wonderful children in the Lord. If you are a student, God wants you to excel in all your examinations. And if you are trusting the Lord for a new career, He doesn’t just want you to have a job, He wants you to have a position of influence, so that you can be a blessing and an asset to your organization!
Whatever your vocation is, you are destined to reign in life because Jesus is Lord of your life. When you reign in life, you reign over sin, you reign over the powers of darkness, and you reign over depression, over poverty, over every curse, and over every sickness and disease. You REIGN over the devil and all his devices!
The power to reign does not depend on your family background, your educational qualifications, how you look or how much savings you have in your bank account. The power to reign is based entirely on Jesus and Him alone. My friend, this is not a cliché from some self-help book on positive thinking. The declaration you will reign is based on a promise that has been recorded for all eternity in the Word of God:
17 For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
The word “reign” used in Romans 5:17 is the Greek word basileuo` where you get the English word “basilica”. In ancient Rome, basilicas were used law courts.2 So it refers to a kingly, judicial rule. In other words, to reign here is to reign in life as a king, to have kingly rule and to possess kingly dominion.
The secret of reigning in life lies with receiving everything that Jesus has accomplished for us on the cross.
If you are living a life of defeat, of being defeated by sin, by perpetual guilt and condemnation, by sicknesses, by anxiety attacks, by financial lack and by broken relationships, you are not living the life that God intended for you. Based on the authority of God’s Word, you are destined to “reign in life” as a king, to have kingly dominion over all your challenges and circumstances. You are called to be above them all and not be trampled by them. The time has come for you to stop abdicating your right to reign in life!
Today, instead of seeing ourselves reigning in life, we see more evidence of death reigning in the world. The Bible tells us that it was because of “one man’s offense” — Adam’s sin in the garden of Eden — that death began to reign. It is important that you realize that our lives are wrapped up in those of our ancestors. You wouldn’t exist if there hadn’t been your grandpa. So we are sinners not because we sin, but because of Adam’s sin. Many believers still think that they became sinners by committing sin, but that is not what the Word of God says. What it says is that we are sinners because of Adam’s sin. By the same token, we are made righteous in the new covenant not because we do righteous deeds, but because of one Man’s (Jesus) obedience on the cross. The secret of reigning in life lies therefore with receiving everything that Jesus has accomplished for us on the cross.
Receiving Versus Achieving
The Bible states very clearly that we are to reign in life through Jesus Christ just by receiving two things from Him: The abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness. God’s ways are contrary to man’s ways. Man thinks that for God to bless him, he needs to deserve, earn and merit God’s favor and blessings by his own efforts. Man thinks that God’s blessings are based on his performance and good works.
However, this is not God’s way. His way is not about achieving, but about receiving. He promised that when we receive the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness, we will reign in life. He did not say that when we achieve grace and our own righteousness, we will reign in life. But for some reason, many Christians continue to live based on a system of achievement!
“Pastor Prince, if it’s really that easy, why aren’t more Christians reigning in life?”
I’m glad that you asked that question. In answer, let me first pose you a question of my own: Do you realize that most people believe that one needs to work hard to achieve success in life? The world’s system of success is built on the twin pillars of self-effort and diligence. There are always some “laws” that you have to abide by, and some “methods and techniques” that you have to keep on practicing before there can be any results. Most of the time, any result that you may get will start to fade once you cease to follow through with the prescribed methods and steps.
We have been taught to focus on achieving, on doing and on relying on our self-efforts. We are driven to “do, do, do”, forgetting that Christianity is actually “done, done, done”. The world tells you that the more you do, the harder you work, and the more hours you put in, the more success you will achieve. The world’s way is to nag you to work harder, to forget about attending church on Sundays, to spend less time with your wife and kids, and to
spend more time in the office working through the nights, weekends and holidays. I’m sure that you’ve heard that you need to “pay the price”, after all, “no pain, no gain”, right?
What believers do is that they take the system of the world and apply it to their Christian life. Instead of depending on God’s grace for His favor and blessings to flow, they depend on their self-efforts to try to deserve God’s favor and blessings.
Yet, God’s way is not for us to be blessed by our own efforts. You cannot earn God’s blessings by your performance. God’s blessings are based entirely on His grace. His blessings over your life have to be undeserved, unearned and unmerited. In other words, there is nothing that you can do to deserve His blessings, for they are based entirely on receiving Jesus, and through His finished work, the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness.
God wants us to stop trying to achieve, and to begin receiving the favor, blessings and healing that Jesus accomplished on the cross. When He hung on the cross some 2,000 years ago, He cried out with a loud voice, “It is finished!”3 Everything that you and I require to reign in life was accomplished at Calvary on our behalf. That’s why we call what Jesus did on the cross His “finished work”! He finished it. He completed it. It is DONE! The only thing that works is the finished work! Stop doing what’s already DONE! Stop doing and start receiving what Jesus has DONE!
The Work Is Finished, Sit Down
I was fellowshipping recently with my dear friend, Brian Houston, and he shared with me that his pet peeve when it comes to worship songs are songs which try to plead for what Jesus has already accomplished for us on the cross. I agree with Brian completely, and I think we all agree that Brian is someone who knows what he’s talking about when it comes to worship songs. Brian is the senior pastor of Hillsong Church, and God has truly anointed his church to write beautiful praise and worship songs that have impacted a whole new generation of worshippers in these last days. In fact, some of my favorite worship songs are from Hillsong. In my own quiet moments before the Lord, as I give thanks to Him for paying the full price on the cross for all my sins, sicknesses and poverty, my heart overflows with gratitude and I worship Him.
Oh, how I love it when the Lord responds by filling my whole study with His tangible presence, and my heart begins to burn in the presence of my lover! I remind my church that we don’t always have to feel His tangible presence, for that’s not what we live by today. But when you do feel His presence, especially during times of deep intimate worship, enjoy Him, savor His love and allow His embrace to wash over you! Relish the times in His presence when He refreshes, restores and heals you. You don’t have to wait till Sunday to worship the Lord. You don’t need a five-piece band and a worship leader to worship your Savior. Right where you are, without instruments, you can lift up your hands, your voice and your heart, and worship Him and give thanks for His finished work and His grace in your life.
Hallelujah! He is so beautiful!
I love worship songs that are full of the person of Jesus and His finished work. In my church, I have commissioned my music director to ensure that the songs we use in our church services are songs that testify of the finished work of Jesus. For example, under the new covenant, we don’t have to keep on asking the Lord in our songs for forgiveness because He has already forgiven us5. I want you to say this out loud with me:
“I am already forgiven!”
Jesus’ blood has cleansed us once and for all!
The Word of God declares this about the finished work of Jesus on the cross:
12But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God… 14For by one offering He hasperfected forever those who are being sanctified.
His finished work on the cross was offered as one sacrifice FOREVER, and when you received Jesus Christ into your life, you were PERFECTED FOREVER! And how long is forever? I checked the original Greek word for “forever” in this verse and guess what? “Forever” means forever! You have been perfected forever by Jesus’ cleansing blood, not by the blood of animal sacrifices which can never take away sins!
You may be surprised to find out that there are many believers today who do not believe that they have been perfected forever by the finished work of Jesus Christ. They are still depending on their self-efforts to qualify themselves. Perhaps you yourself are wondering, “How can I be fully assured that all my sins have already been forgiven?” Good question! Notice that after Jesus offered His life as a sacrifice and payment for all our sins, He “sat down”!
He sat down at the Father’s right hand. Do you realize that under the old covenant, “every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins”6? But the Bible goes on to say that Jesus, “after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down”.
Jesus sat down to demonstrate to us that the work is indeed finished. Under the old covenant, the priest who served in the tabernacle of Moses never sat down, but “stands ministering daily” because his work could never be finished. The blood of bulls and goats could “never take away sins”. In fact, have you noticed that in the holy place of the tabernacle of Moses, there is not a single piece of furniture prepared for the priest to sit on? You will not find a single chair in the holy place. You will find the altar of incense, the menorah and even a table of showbread, but interestingly, there are no chairs. This is because the work of the priest was never finished. Only Jesus’ work is a finished work. And not only did He sit down at the Father’s right hand, He made us SIT WITH HIM!
4But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ… and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
Maybe you are wondering, “What is all this business about ‘chairs’ and ‘sitting down’?” Well, my friend, “sitting down” in the Bible is a picture of the believer resting in the finished and completed work of Jesus. He has finished all the work on the cross on your behalf and is now seated at the right hand of God. As it has all been accomplished on your behalf, this means that you can stop depending on your self-efforts to earn and qualify for God’s blessings in your life. You can sit down with Jesus at the Father’s right hand!
Stop depending on your self-efforts to earn and qualify for God’s blessings in your life.
Now, listen carefully to what I am saying. I am not advocating a life of passiveness and laziness. You can take up courses, read books, do your work diligently and so on, but your trust must not be in these things. It must be in what Jesus has done for you. So if you are a student, for example, by all means, study hard. Score straight As for the glory of God! But don’t trust in your intelligence or qualifications to bring you the blessings of God.
God’s grace does not make you lazy and unproductive. On the contrary, it makes you labor more abundantly for His glory. Apostle Paul, a preacher of God’s grace and the finished work of Jesus, said that he “labored more abundantly than they all”7. In the new covenant, God’s way is to bless you first, and the knowledge of His blessing gives you the power to labor more abundantly. In other words, we do not labor to be blessed, but rather we have the power to labor because we are already blessed. Can you see the different premise for laboring in the new covenant?
Many believers are defeated today because they are struggling to qualify themselves for God’s blessings by their own works.
Self-effort will rob you of reigning in life by His grace. You cannot earn your salvation, your healing or your financial breakthrough by your own efforts. If the greatest miracle — being saved from hell — comes by grace through faith, and not by your works, how much more the lesser miracles, such as healing, prosperity and restored marriages.
My friend, Jesus has accomplished everything on the cross. Our part is to trust in His perfect work, receive with open arms the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness, and begin to reign in life through the one, Jesus Christ. Today, let it be your prayer that you will stop trying to earn God’s grace and righteousness. Let the Holy Spirit teach you to start depending on Jesus’ finished work and to start receiving by His grace. This is God’s effortless way to success, wholeness and victorious living!
Chapter 2: The Law Has Been Fulfilled
I remember being invited to speak at a convention some years back and when one of the speakers got up to the podium to preach, he said with great conviction in his voice, “The greatest call in your life is to your family!” The crowd loved it, and the entire auditorium clapped and cheered in agreement. At the next session, another speaker stood up and declared with fiery passion in his eyes that “the greatest call in your life is to missions”. This time, the crowd went wild and the entire auditorium reverberated with shouts of “Amen!”
Then, it was my turn to preach, and I prayed, “God, they have used up all the ‘greatest calls’. Give me something.” And when I stood up, the Lord put this in my heart and I shared, “The greatest call in your life is to be a worshipper!” You see, long after all the missions have been accomplished on earth, and long after families are united in heaven, we will continue worshipping our beautiful Savior Jesus Christ for all that He has done for you and me, for all eternity.
It is all about Jesus! It is all about His finished work!
The more you appreciate the finished work of Jesus and all that He has done for you to reign in life, the more you will worship and glorify Him! Let’s look at the Word of God to see more of His finished work.
John 1:17, KJV
17For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
Have you noticed that truth is on the side of grace, not the law? Notice also that the law was given. This implies a sense of distance. In contrast, grace came! Grace is personal and came as a person — the person of Jesus Christ. The law is hard, cold and impersonal. You cannot have a relationship with two pieces of stone. But grace is gentle and warm. Grace is not a teaching or doctrine. Grace is a person and you can have a relationship with a person. God is not interested in mere obedience and submission. He is a God of love and He longs to have an intimate relationship with you. This is what makes Christianity unique. Many of the world’s belief systems are governed by moral codes, rules and laws. But Christianity is not about these things. It is about having a relationship with Almighty God.
Our God came, died a cruel death on the cross and paid the full debt of sin with His own life so that you and I can reign in life today. His sacrifice on the cross speaks of relationship. Jesus came to reconcile sinful man with a holy God. When you receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you are made holy and righteous by His blood once and for all. And you can enter boldly into the presence of Almighty God without any guilt, condemnation or expectation of punishment. Because of the cross, the price for sin has been paid, the judgment executed, the anger toward sin exhausted, the veil torn and the way to intimacy with God opened. Sin no longer hinders you from entering His presence. His blood has removed all vestiges of your sins!
Our God came, died a cruel death on the cross and paid the full debt of sin with His own life so that you and I can reign in life today.
Jesus Fulfilled The Law
The moment you place the law of Moses between you and God again, you are negating the finished work of Jesus, for if righteousness could come through the law, then Christ died in vain1. Christianity cannot be reduced to an impersonal list of do’s and don’ts. Jesus’ death has fulfilled the righteous requirements of the law of the old covenant. The Word of God tells us that the “handwriting of requirements” has been nailed to the cross2. Jesus came to fulfill all the requirements of the law on our behalf, so that the way to God is now opened. Hallelujah!
“Pastor Prince, you are saying that we are no longer under the law. But Jesus Himself said that He did not come to abolish the law.”
That is exactly right my friend, but you have to quote what Jesus said completely. He said, “I have not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it.”3Jesus did not sweep the law under the carpet. He came and fulfilled every requirement of the law perfectly on our behalf. All that we were unable to do, He did on our behalf. So by Jesus, the law has been fulfilled!
When you have fulfilled your debt to the bank for the mortgage on your house, my advice to you is to stop sending in your monthly payments because the debt has already been fulfilled. If the bank sends you a letter demanding more payment from you, all you have to do is produce the title deed to your home. In the same sense, the debt that you and I owed to the law has already been fulfilled by our Savior Jesus Christ! Hallelujah! When the devil comes to accuse you with the law, and shows you how you have fallen short and failed, all you have to do is point to the payment that Jesus made on the cross. Christ is your title deed, which is why you are called a Christian today. You are not your own. You have been purchased with the precious blood of Jesus Christ. The law has no hold over you anymore!
The Devil Has Been Disarmed
You probably know that the issue of “nuclear disarmament” is big news in the world today. But are you aware that there is someone more sinister who has already been disarmed? The Bible says that God has “disarmed principalities and powers”. We know from the book of Ephesians that “principalities and powers” refer to Satan and his cohorts4. So the devil has already been disarmed! But do you know what weapon he was wielding before his forced disarmament? Let’s see what the Word of God says about this:
14having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.
Based on the context of the verse, the devil was armed with the “handwriting of requirements that was against us”. What “handwriting of requirements” was so powerful that it required the death of Jesus to wipe it out? On Mount Sinai, God wrote the Ten Commandments on two tablets of stone. The “handwriting of requirements” was thus a reference to the law that was written by the finger of God. The devil then armed himself with the lawto accuse and condemn man! Now listen carefully to this: God didn’t give the law to arm the devil, but the devil, knowing that the law was against man, took advantage of it and has been using it against man.
You have been redeemed from the curse of the law.
The law always condemns and keeps man away from God. Hence, the devil uses it as his weapon to further alienate man from God. That’s why when God nailed the law to the cross, He made a public spectacle of the devil and all the powers of darkness! Once the law was nailed to the cross of Jesus, God knew that the law no longer had the power to condemn man as long as he believed on Jesus. Therefore, when you know and believe that Jesus has fulfilled completely the righteous requirements of the law, the devil cannot use the law to condemn you every time you fail. Even if he uses the law and points to your sins today, you can point to the cross of Jesus and reject the condemnation. You may say, “No one can blot out God’s handwriting.” Yes, you are right. No man can, but God can! And God did it righteously. My friend, you have been redeemed from the curse of the law. The devil and his crew have been disarmed. Hallelujah!
However, if you insist on being under the law, you are actually arming the devil again! God has nailed the law. He has blotted out its requirements, taken it out of the way and disarmed the devil. But when you subject yourself to the old covenant system of the law, you are putting that weapon back into the devil’s hands. Every teaching that says, “We have to keep the law to be blessed by God,” is putting the weapon of the law back into the devil’s hands. Instead of resting in God’s disarmament, people are rearming and remilitarizing the powers of darkness!
Let me stress that the law is holy, just and good. Please don’t misconstrue that I am saying otherwise. But even though the law is holy, just and good, it has no power to make you holy, just and good. You see, the law was designed to expose your weaknesses, your sins, and your inability to be holy, just and good. It is like a mirror that exposes your flaws — your blemishes and pimples. But you cannot take the mirror, and begin to rub your face with it to clean off your blemishes and pimples, because that is not the mirror’s purpose! You need to understand that no amount of keeping the law can make you holy. Only the blood of Jesus can do that. Nevertheless, the law is holy. It is not from the devil. It is from God Himself.
The Purpose For The Law
God gave the law for one purpose, and that is by the law, the world would have the knowledge of sin5, and recognize their need for a Savior. Without the law, there would be no sin6. For example, if there were no law on how fast you can drive on a particular road, that is, there were no speed limit, the state trooper cannot stop you and give you a ticket for speeding. In simple terms, no law equals no sin. No recognition of sin equals no need for a Savior! The law was given to bring man to the end of himself so that in his despair, he would see his need for Jesus. Because of the law, no man can say that he is not a sinner and no man can say that he doesn’t need Jesus. That is the purpose of the law. It was not designed to make you godly, but to expose your ungodliness.
What the devil has done is to keep the law over people’s heads all the time, so that they will constantly feel condemned and guilty. The devil is the master legalist who constantly reminds you of how unworthy you are. He is known as the accuser of the brethren7. Here are some of his common attacks:
“You call yourself a Christian?”
“You are a hypocrite!”
“Forget about praying. God will never listen to your prayers.”
“Look at your life. You dare step into church?”
My friend, these are lies, ALL lies! The devil is using the law to make you conscious of all your shortcomings. But through Jesus Christ, you are no longer under the condemnation of the law. The devil has been disarmed by the power of the cross! Jesus, who knew no sin, has been condemned on your behalf on the cross. Through Jesus Christ, you are now made righteous apart from the works of the law. So when you hear the voice of the accuser condemning you, remind yourself that you are the righteousness of God through Jesus Christ. Declare it out loud! Come on, say it with me three times, each time louder than the first:
“I am the righteousness of God through Jesus Christ!”
“I am the righteousness of God through Jesus Christ!”
“I am the righteousness of God through Jesus Christ!”
Righteousness is a gift. It is not a reward for perfect obedience to the law. You are clothed today not in your own righteousness, which is self-righteousness, but with the righteousness of Jesus Christ. God sees you as righteous as Jesus Himself.
Only Grace Brings Hope
Only the radical preaching of grace brings hope to believers. Only the finished work of Jesus can bring us wholeness, completeness and shalom-peace. Some people say that the Christian life is very hard. My friend, it is not hard, it is impossible! The only one who can live it is Jesus Himself, and He wants to do it in us today. That is why it is not up to our own efforts to fulfill the law of Moses. It was fulfilled on our behalf and the price for our sins has been paid on the cross. Our part today is to believe in our Savior, and receive from Him the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness. The Christian life is a life of rest in Christ Jesus and His finished work. It is time to rest from your own efforts and to enjoy Jesus! The devil hates the gospel of grace because it causes the believer to reign in life. And when you reign, the devil does not!
Only the finished work of Jesus can bring us wholeness, completeness and peace.
Chapter 3: Controversies Surrounding The Gospel Of Grace
Have you ever wondered why the moment you say the word “grace”, (let’s not even talk about the abundance of grace yet), people’s defenses go up?
You will hear people saying, “Oh… be careful of that grace preacher. I hear that he’s coming to town,” or “You have to be careful now, too much grace is not good for you. It must be balanced with the law.” Have you wondered where all these fears and apprehensions come from?
Think of all the Indiana Jones movies that you have watched. Before the hero Indy can lay hold of any priceless relic, he must overcome the obstacles and traps surrounding the prized artifact. Fiery darts whiz by on his left. Poison arrows fly toward him from the right. Hidden pits filled with jagged spears lie in front of him and giant boulders hurtle down from above. So many obstacles have been erected simply because there is a treasure at the end.
The moment you learn to receive grace, you will start to reign in life!
For the same reason, the devil has erected so many obstacles and fences around the gospel of grace. He is well aware that the moment you learn to receive grace, you will start to reign in life! The devil comes to steal, kill and destroy1. He wants to see you broke and broken. He does not want to see you reigning in life. So he has been working hard to prevent believers from receiving the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness.
Controversies — The Devil’s Strategy
The devil’s strategy is to surround the truths of God with controversies. To prevent God’s people from benefiting from the fullness of God’s promises, he erects controversies as fences around these truths. You can always tell how powerful a truth is by the number of controversies the devil surrounds it with! The Word of God reminds us not to be ignorant of the devil’s devices. When Jesus died on the cross, the serpent’s head was crushed. God gave the devil a PHD — permanent head damage! So you will find that the devil’s strategies are always lacking in creativity — what he has done in the past, he is still doing now.
For example, when God was restoring the truth of healing to the body of Christ, the devil put up a signpost that said, “Heresy!” For many years, the church looked at this signpost and backed off, saying, “Oh, that’s heresy. That’s dangerous and controversial. Let’s forget about talking about healing in the church.”
Instead of studying the Word of God to see what God Himself says about healing, the church backed off ! It didn’t matter that when Jesus walked on the earth, more than two-thirds of His ministry involved healing the sick. He went about healing the sick and all who touched Him were healed. The Bible records that “the whole multitude sought to touch Him, for power went out from Him and healed them all”2.
I wish that somebody in Hollywood would produce the scene that took place in Luke 6:19. (Mel Gibson, are you reading this?) All who were sick, lame and blind came to Jesus, and bam! The healing virtue of Jesus was powerfully released as all who touched Him were healed! That’s a powerful image to have in your mind whenever you are believing God for healing!
The world doesn’t have the truth. They package fiction and present it as truth. They present creatures from outer space and make you believe that aliens are real! On the flip side, we believers have the truth, but we present and package the truth as if it was fiction. Come on! Believers, we have the truth. Let’s proclaim the truth of the gospel of Jesus with boldness! Only the truth of Jesus’ grace and power has the anointing to liberate and set people free. I believe with all my heart that God is raising up a new generation of directors, producers and scriptwriters worldwide who will present the truth of the gospel of Jesus in all its purity and power.
Now, when God was restoring the truth of prosperity to the church, signposts were again put up, calling it heresy. For many years, the church backed away from the teaching of prosperity because it was controversial. Again, it didn’t matter that the Bible declared that Jesus Christ became poor on the cross, that we through His poverty might be prosperous.3 The church backed off, saying, “Let’s forget about it. It’s too controversial.”
I don’t understand why some believers would fight for the right to be sick and poor.
Would you as a parent want your children to be diseased and living in abject poverty?
Why do you take your children to the doctor when they are unwell?
Why do you give them the best education you can afford?
Isn’t it because you want your children to be blessed, healthy and to have a prosperous future? Do you think that your heavenly Father would want anything less for you? Do you seriously think that your heavenly Father will bless you with a meager hand when the streets of heaven are made of pure gold? Listen carefully: The streets of heaven are not plated with gold. They are made of solid gold! Think about this for a moment. If you on earth know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more your Father in heaven4!
Recognize that the devil has been using controversy as a device down through church history to prevent believers from having access to the most powerful truths of God. He built fences of controversy around healing, prosperity and grace to keep believers from reigning over sickness, poverty and sin. The more controversies you find around a truth of God, the more powerful that truth must be.
Pay close attention to what I am saying. Not all controversies are based on the truth of God’s Word. We have to test everything against what the Bible says. Nevertheless, controversy is a tool that the devil uses to prevent God’s people from accessing His truths. He is a crafty liar and deceitful thief, so we have to base what we believe on the Word of God and test everything against the Scriptures. Don’t back down from grace just because you have heard that it is controversial. Study the Word of God yourself and see what it has to say about grace!
Deserved Versus Undeserved Favor
“Oh, so you are one of those ‘prosperity gospel’ preachers!”
My friend, there is no such thing as a “prosperity gospel”. There is only one gospel in the Bible and that is the gospel of Jesus Christ. However, when you believe the gospel of Jesus, which is based entirely on His grace, it will result in health and prosperity. In fact, the gospel of Jesus Christ leads to blessings, success, healing, restoration, protection, financial breakthroughs, security, peace, wholeness and MUCH MORE!
God blesses you not because you are good, but because He is good.
God blesses you not because you are good, but because He is good. Grace is based on His faithfulness and goodness toward you. It is not contingent on your performance, but is based on His undeserved favor. If it were contingent on how good you are, then it would no longer be based on grace, and would instead be based on the system of the law. It would be deserved favor. This is the difference between the old covenant of law and the new covenant of grace:
Law is deserved favor — When you obey the commandments perfectly, you will be blessed.
Grace is undeserved favor — Jesus obeyed God perfectly, and you will be blessed by believing in Him.
My friend, which covenant are you under today? The old covenant of law or the new covenant of grace? Deserved favor or undeserved favor? If being blessed by God today is dependent on your doing, your ability to keep the law and your ability to make yourself righteous, then there would be no difference between being under the old covenant of law and being under the new covenant of grace. The good news would not be that good after all, since there is no real difference between the old and the new. Come on, my friend, God found fault with the old covenant5, and for a good reason!
Fences Around The Abundance Of Grace
A good friend of mine who’s a fellow minister once suggested to the dean of a reputable Bible school that “grace” be incorporated into the school’s curriculum. The dean replied, “You have to be careful when it comes to grace.” This apprehension toward grace is prevalent in many Christian circles. The moment they hear “grace”, they go on high alert!
I told my minister friend that I actually do not agree that grace should be a topic in a Bible school’s curriculum. Grace is not a topic — grace isthe gospel. It is the good news! The word “gospel” simply means “good news”. Grace is not a theology. It is not a subject matter. It is not a doctrine. It is a person, and His name is Jesus. That’s the reason the Lord wants you to receive the abundance of grace, for to have the abundance of grace is to have the abundance of Jesus!
“How can you say that grace is a person and that person is Jesus Himself?”
Excellent question! Let’s look at what the Word of God says about this:
John 1:17, KJV
17For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
Notice that the law was given, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. The law was given, implying a sense of distance, but grace came! Grace came as a person and His name is Jesus Christ. Jesus is the personification of grace. Jesus is grace! It is important that you begin to realize that truth is on the side of grace, and not on the side of the law. The Word of God declares that if you know the truth, the truth will set you free. Well, my friend, grace is the (definite article) truth that will set you free, not the law of Moses. The law is on the side of Moses, but grace and truth are on the same side as our Savior. Yet, there are people today holding on to the law of Moses and preaching it as if it is the “truth” that liberates. My friend, the grace of God is the only truth that liberates. Truth is on the side of grace!
If the devil can keep you under the law, he can keep you defeated.
You never hear, “Oh, be careful of the Ten Commandments,” or “Be careful of that law preacher. I hear that he is coming to town.” Why is there no controversy about the Ten Commandments? This is because the devil wants you to be subject to the law. He doesn’t want you to know that Jesus has liberated you from the law. If he can keep you under the law, he can keep you defeated.
Interestingly, people are afraid that when you tell a believer that he is completely forgiven by grace, and no longer has to earn his right standing
before the Lord via the law of Moses, it would cause him to go out and live a life of sin and debauchery. However, the Bible is very clear that the “strength of sin is the law”6. It is not grace that gives people the strength to sin. It is the law! The more you are under the law, the more sin is strengthened! Conversely, the more you are under grace, the more sin will be depleted of its strength.
In fact, the Bible declares that “sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace”. Now, don’t just gloss over this powerful revelation. Read the verse again. It is from Romans 6:14 — “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” This means that the more grace you receive, the more power you have to overcome sin. In other words, sin shall not have dominion over you when you receive the abundance of grace!
Unfortunately, there are well-meaning people today who are preaching a completely different message. They preach that sin shall not have dominion over you when you are under the law. So when they see sin, they preach more of the law! That, my friend, is like adding wood to fire because the strength of sin is the law. Sin is strengthened when more law is preached! But the power to have dominion over sin is imparted when more grace is preached! So who is the one who switched the roles? Will the real gospel please stand up? The devil has pulled the wool over the eyes of God’s sheep! It is time to preach the truth. It is time to remove the wool from our eyes and break down the fences surrounding the gospel of grace!
Fences Around The Gift Of Righteousness
The devil has also succeeded in erecting fences around the gift of righteousness. Today, conventional theology teaches you that not only is there such a thing as “positional righteousness”, there is also something known as “practical righteousness”. They are saying that even though you were made righteous by grace, you now have to do right and keep the law to continue being righteous. They call this having “practical righteousness”.
My friend, this is something that Apostle Paul never taught! There is only one righteousness in Christ Jesus. Let’s see what Paul says about those who are ignorant of this righteousness. He said, “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness [that’s what some people term ‘positional righteousness’], and seeking to establish their own righteousness [now that would be what they call ‘practical righteousness’], have not submitted to the righteousness of God.”7 So it is clear that Paul is against any teaching that says that you have to earn and merit your own righteousness. You are either righteous or you are not. There is no such thing as first having “positional righteousness” and then having to maintain that through “practical righteousness”. You are the righteousness of God in Christ, period!
Notice that the strategy here is to deceive the believer into believing that righteousness is something that you need to achieve by keeping the law perfectly. It all sounds very good to the flesh, but if that is so, then the promise of the gift of righteousness is completely thrown out of the window. The devil is very crafty. He has no problem with righteousness, but he wants to deceive you into pursuing your own righteousness through the law. He wants you to depend on your own self-righteousness, so he throws out the little word “gift” from the phrase “gift of righteousness”. Then, he gives you a false impression that you are responsible for earning your own righteousness through your own works and self-efforts, instead of depending on the finished work of Jesus.
You are the righteousness of God in Christ, period!
There are many believers who are very sincere about keeping the law and earning their own righteousness, but I’m sorry to say this: They are sincerely wrong. God’s way is by grace. Righteousness cannot be earned by good works. It can only come as a gift. A gift is no longer a gift if you have to work for it.
For example, if I gave you a brand new dazzling red Ferrari on the condition that you pay me US $20,000 every month for the rest of your life, is the Ferrari really a gift? Of course not! How can it be a gift if you have to pay or work for it? That is double-talk! But that is what some people are preaching today. They say that God gives you the gift of righteousness, on the condition that you keep the Ten Commandments for the rest of your life to remain righteous. Now, is this a real gift? Come on, when God gave you the gift of righteousness, it was a real gift. Stop trying to earn it with your own works. God’s gifts to us are unconditional!
Start believing that righteousness is a gift in the new covenant! Many believers are defeated today because they are trying to earn their own righteousness by their law-keeping and good works. My friend, righteousness is a gift because of what Jesus has accomplished on the cross for you. All your sins — past, present and future — have been washed clean by His precious blood. You are completely forgiven and from the moment you received Jesus into your life, you will never be held liable for your sins ever again. You have been made as righteous as Jesus not through your behavior, but by faith in Him and His finished work on the cross8.
There is nothing that you can do that will make God love you more and there is nothing that you can do that will make Him love you less.
Perhaps you are saying, “But… but… I didn’t do anything to become righteous!” That is exactly right. You did nothing to become righteous. And Jesus did nothing to become sin. You are clothed not with your own righteousness, but with Jesus’ perfect righteousness. It is a gift that He purchased for you with His own blood! Therefore, righteousness before the Lord cannot be earned. Your righteous standing or right standing before Him can only be received as a gift. Today, your right to be righteous is a blood-bought right! There is nothing that you can do that will make God love you more and there is nothing that you can do that will make Him love you less. He loves you perfectly and He sees you clothed with Jesus’ righteousness. So begin to see yourself clothed in Jesus’ righteousness.
License To Sin?
“But, Pastor Prince, if you preach that one is forever righteous before the Lord apart from his works and law-keeping, won’t people go out and live a licentious life? Won’t it give people a license to sin?”
Another fantastic question! Let me begin by asking you this: Have you noticed that people are already sinning without a “license”? We all have the same goal of wanting people to live a life of victory over sin. Allow me to make this explicitly clear in black and white, so that there is no doubt:
I, Joseph Prince, am vehemently, completely, aggressively and irrevocably AGAINST SIN!
Sin is evil. I do not condone sin. A lifestyle of sin leads only to defeat and destruction. So while our goal is the same, where we differ is the “how” of getting to the victorious life. Some think that it is by preaching more law. I am convicted that it is by preaching the grace of God.
When you visit our church, you won’t find a congregation that, having received the good news of the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness, wants to run off and start living in sin. Of course not! In fact, some of the top business people, management executives, entrepreneurs, lawyers, accountants and consultants in my country attend our church, and you will find a congregation that is deeply in love with the person of Jesus. You will hear wonderful and amazing testimonies of how marriages have been restored, how huge debts that had run into the millions have been supernaturally cancelled, how terminal diseases have been miraculously healed and other awesome testimonies that the good news of Jesus brings!
Sin loses its appeal when you encounter the Person of grace, Jesus Christ, and realize all that He has blessed you with and done for you on the cross. You begin to realize that you have been given this great gift of righteousness and that you did nothing to deserve it. You did nothing to earn it and you did nothing to merit it.
Now, what happens? Does this encounter with Jesus cause you to want to go out and sin? Of course not! On the contrary, it will cause you to fall in love with Jesus all over again. It will make you a better husband, a better father, a better housewife, a better student. It will make you someone who desires with all your heart to guard the glory of our Lord Jesus by living a life that is victorious over sin, by His grace and strength! The preoccupation with Christ instead of with self, will cause you to start reigning in life through the one, Jesus Christ — that is the Gospel Revolution! The Word of God says, “Awake to righteousness, and sin not.”9 The more you realize that you are righteous, the more victory you will experience over sin! Wake up every morning and give thanks that you are the righteousness of God through Jesus Christ.
The Final Restoration
Down through the centuries, God has been restoring His truths to the church, and I believe that the last and final truth is the person of Jesus Christ and all that He has accomplished on the cross. The revelation of the finished work of Jesus will get stronger and stronger in the end times, and man will begin to enjoy the full benefits of the new covenant of grace.
Jesus did not die on the cross for us because any one of us deserved it. We all deserved hell’s fire, but we have been redeemed by Jesus Christ. The word “redeem” literally means to buy with a price. The price here is Jesus Himself. He gave Himself up as a ransom for you and me. He gave Himself up, so that you and I can receive the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness to reign in life. It is all about Jesus!
It is time for the church to stop backing away from grace and to stop worrying that it might be too controversial. Study the Scriptures and begin to see for yourself that this is the power of God to salvation. Stop backing away from grace!
Discerning The Gospel Of Grace
Let me teach you how to discern if the grace teaching that you are hearing is doctrinally sound. When you hear the new covenant of grace preached, it is always Christ-exalting. It always reveals more and more of Jesus. It always unveils the beauty of Jesus and the perfection of His finished work on the cross. Jesus is always glorified when grace is taught. There is no grace without Jesus!
So don’t be too easily impressed just because somebody tells you that he preaches grace. The Word of God tells us to test everything. God wants us to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves10. Even as you read this book, I don’t want you to take my word for it. I want you to crack open your Bible and study the Word of God for yourself, and see the grace of our Lord Jesus in the new covenant coming alive. Grace is not a doctrine. Grace is a person and His name is Jesus. Therefore, there is no grace teaching without Jesus Christ. You cannot separate Jesus and grace! If someone keeps dropping the word “grace” in his sermons, but there is no exaltation of Jesus and His finished work, it is not the gospel of grace.
Similarly, to further discern if what you are hearing is the gospel of grace, note that grace does not point to your efforts, your performance or your doing. It makes nothing of man’s self efforts and points completely to Jesus’ efforts and what He has done. The law makes one self-conscious. It is always asking, “What must I do?” But grace makes one Christ-conscious. It is always asking, “What has Jesus done?”
Your part is to only believe on Jesus Christ, and when you believe, you are blessed and made righteous!
Under law, the burden is on you to perform. Under grace, the burden is on what Christ has performed on the cross. That is why Jesus said, “Come to Me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest, for My yoke is easy and light.”11 Jesus was not speaking to people who were tired and weary from their secular jobs. He was talking to people who were weary and heavy laden by the requirements of the law of Moses. The yoke of the law is hard and heavy. Jesus came to reveal grace, and the yoke of grace is easy and light because it involves none of you and all of Christ. He has borne the burden of sin on your behalf. Under grace, your part is to only believe on Jesus Christ, and when you believe, you are blessed and made righteous! Isn’t this amazing grace?
The new covenant of grace is so powerful that there have been attempts to pervert the teaching on God’s grace. There are so-called preachers who are preaching a “grace” that is not of God! They believe in “universal salvation” and claim that because of God’s grace, all will be saved, even without believing in Jesus. This is a lie from the pit of hell! No man can be saved except through our Savior Jesus Christ. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life12. No man comes to the Father and receives eternal life except through Jesus! There is no grace without the person of Jesus. The teaching of “universal salvation” is a LIE that dishonors Jesus and negates His work on the cross! True grace always makes Jesus the center of everything. It is all about Jesus!
It is time for the church to tear down these fences of controversy around grace and start unveiling more and more of Jesus. This is the heartbeat of my ministry — the unveiling of Jesus and seeing more of Jesus, His loveliness, His perfection and His grace. It is all about bringing the “amazing” back to grace!
When believers don’t understand that God’s grace is His undeserved, unearned and unmerited favor, they will depend on their own efforts to keep the law of Moses to deserve, earn and merit His favor. Similarly, when believers don’t understand that righteousness is a gift, and that it is about “right standing” and not “right doing”, they will depend on their own efforts to earn this gift.
Pulling Down The Fences Of Controversy
My friend, you are destined to reign in this life. It is our Lord’s good pleasure to see your marriage blessed, family blessed, storehouses overflowing with more than enough and your body full of the resurrection life of Jesus!
Begin to see that the devil has entrenched fences and built strongholds that are so fortified that today, they are like thick walls. These thick walls surround the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness. By the grace of God, we are going to pull down these thick walls, for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds. Let’s pull down these strongholds that have robbed believers of their destiny to reign in life. Start receiving the treasures that were purchased for you by the blood of Jesus, and begin reigning in every area of your life!
It is our Lord’s good pleasure to see your family blessed, storehouses overflowing and your body full of the resurrection life of Jesus!
Chapter 4: We Have Been Robbed!
“Sometimes God is angry with me, sometimes He is happy with me.”
“Sometimes He blesses me, sometimes He curses me.” “Sometimes God cares for me, sometimes He leaves me.” “Today, He prospers me, but tomorrow, He may give me poverty to humble me.” “Today, He heals me, but tomorrow, He may give me a disease to teach me a lesson.” “Today, He forgives all my sins. Tomorrow, I am responsible for my sins.”
Welcome to schizophrenic Christianity! This is what many believers are hearing and believing today: Sometimes God is good, sometimes He is not! Sometimes He is happy, sometimes He is not! They are tossed to and fro, never anchored on the rock of Jesus Christ. Such believers are living between two covenants — the old covenant of law and the new covenant of grace. They believe in a mixed message that tells them that there are times when God is angry with them and times when He is happy with them.
When you ask them, “When is God happy with you?” they will say, “When I do right.”
When you ask them again, “Does that mean that when you do wrong, God is angry with you?” they will say, “Yes! God is angry with me when I do wrong.”
My friend, those who believe that God is sometimes angry with them are still living under the old covenant of the law and not under the new covenant of grace. Under law, God demanded righteousness from man. Under grace, God provided righteousness for man. Under law, everything depended on man and his obedience. But under grace, everything depends on Jesus and what He did on the cross. The law demands, but will not lift a finger to help, while grace imparts and has accomplished everything on your behalf.
Have you noticed that in the old covenant based on the law of Moses, it was all based on what YOU had to do and not do? Just count the number of times the phrase “you shall not…” appears in Exodus 20 where the Ten Commandments were given. Compare this with the new covenant of grace where the Lord says:
8“… I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel… 9not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers… I will put My
laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people… 12For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
The old covenant of law is based on “you shall not… you shall not… you shall not…” while the new covenant of grace is the Lord saying, “I will… I will… I will…” It is clear that the emphasis and demand of the covenant of law is on you performing, while the emphasis and demand of the covenant of grace is on God Himself performing! He will do everything on our behalf. In fact, because Jesus has already died on the cross for us, He has already done everything on our behalf. Remember, Christianity is “done, done, done”, not “do, do, do”. Jesus came to establish the new covenant of grace and under this new covenant, God is no longer angry with you because His anger and wrath have already been exhausted on the body of Jesus on the cross.
Grace imparts righteousness and has accomplished everything on your behalf.
Pay close attention to this, for it will radically transform your life: The only reason Jesus could cry out “It is finished!” on the cross was that the full anger of God against sin had been totally exhausted on His body. Jesus cannot lie! And if the anger of God has already been completely exhausted, how can God be angry with you today? How can God be angry with you when He has already declared, “Your sins and your lawless deeds I will remember no more”?
How Do You See God Today?
The reason many believers are living a life of defeat is that they believe the LIE that God is angry with them. The reason many are not able to reign in life and experience a life of victory is that they carry around with them this guilt and condemnation that God is angry with them because of something that they have done in the past. My friend, be careful when you hear sermons that make God look like an old man with a big stick, waiting to unleash His wrath on you when you fail to live up to His standards!
When I was growing up in the Lord, that was exactly how I pictured God. In my mind, He was an elderly, unsmiling man with white hair, white eyebrows and a white beard. I used to see Him holding a big club, waiting to bash me on the head as soon as I sinned. Of course, when I grew in the understanding of God, I started to see Him without that big menacing club, but He was still not smiling and He was still very old.
One day, when I was a teenager, I was on a bus and praying to the Lord, and I heard God’s voice saying to me, “Son, why do you picture Me like that, as an old man?” I replied confidently, “Well, you are a Father and that’s how fathers look like, right?” He replied, “Son, do you know that growing old is part of the curse that came upon the earth because of Adam’s sin? In heaven, there is no curse. We are forever young.”
When I heard Him say that, all of a sudden, I began to see God as the same God who spoke with Abraham as a friend under the terebinth trees and showed him the stars, the same God who parted the Red Sea and delivered the children of Israel from slavery, the same God whose hand of favor made a young shepherd boy king over all of Israel. That’s how I see my God today. He is forever young, strong and loving! He is not wielding a club and ready to punish me. His arms are spread wide, ready to embrace me.
My friend, do you see an angry God today, or a God who is smiling and ready to embrace you? Because of Jesus’ finished work, we are no longer under the covenant of law where God is happy with you sometimes and angry with you at other times. Today, He is always well-pleased with you because of Jesus Christ.
Let that truth sink in and fall in love with Him all over again.
What About God’s Wrath?
Several years ago, I was walking to my car after a preaching engagement when a guy came running after me from the auditorium. Just as I was about to open my car door, he stopped right in front of me, wheezed and said, “Wait, pastor…” He was panting very hard and trying to recover from his sprint. “Wait… I have a question for you.”
He looked very disturbed and said, “You talked about God’s love, but the Bible also says that God is wrath!”
Right there in the parking lot, I began my next sermon. I explained that while God has wrath, the Bible never defines God as wrath. Instead, according to the Bible’s definition, God is love.
He then exclaimed, “But Pastor Prince, sometimes I see God being angry!”
I explained, “We do see God being angry in the Old Testament, and in the book of Revelation, where His anger is toward those who have rejected Jesus. But for you and me, believers in the new covenant, we are not part of the Old Testament and we will never be punished because we have already received Jesus. As believers, God is no longer angry with us because all His anger for our sins fell upon Jesus at the cross. Jesus became the Lamb of God who takes away all our sins. On the cross, Jesus cried out, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’ Why do you think He cried that? He cried that so that we would all know specifically that at that point in time, God’s wrath fell upon Him. He became our sin offering and the fire of God’s wrath devoured Him completely as He who knew no sin became our sin, so that you and I will never experience God’s wrath again.”
God is no longer angry with us because all His anger for our sins fell upon Jesus at the cross.
After I had explained this, he thanked me. The disturbed look that had creased his face had given way to a smile. I believe that as he walked away, there was a peace and assurance in his heart that God was no longer angry with him because his sins had already been judged completely on the cross at Calvary. Hallelujah!
There are many sincere believers today who are like this man. They believe that God is a God of love, but at the same time, they also believe that He can be a God of great wrath. When they read the Bible, they get confused because they see an often-angry God in the Old Testament, but a loving God in the New Testament. Is God schizophrenic? Is He really angry sometimes and loving at other times? Let’s find out in the next segment.
Rightly Dividing The Covenants
It is important that we understand that God works through covenants because that explains how God blesses people. Under the old covenant of Moses, if the children of Israel obeyed the “big ten” — the Ten Commandments — they would be blessed, otherwise, they would be cursed and punished. Think about this for a moment: Were they cursed because God is a God of wrath? No, they were cursed because they had failed to keep the terms of their covenant. It was a covenant that depended on their ability to keep the law and they could not.
The good news is that you and I are no longer under the requirements of the old covenant. Through Jesus’ finished work, we are now under the new covenant, and in this covenant, we are blessed not because we are good or because we do good. To put it simply, we are blessed because Jesus is good, and He made us good and accepted by washing away all our sins with His own blood! We have to rightly divide the covenants.
“Pastor Prince, are you saying that God has gone ‘soft’ on sin?”
No way, my friend! Listen carefully to what I am saying: God is holy and righteous, and He hates sin. There is no question about that. But the full anger and judgment of God against sin fell upon Jesus on the cross. Have you ever wondered how it was possible for Jesus to be punished for sin since He committed no sin? The Bible says that He who knew no sin became sin1. Jesus committed no sin, but the past, present and future sins of humanity were all collectively punished on His body! He knew no sin, but was punished for our sins. So God has not gone soft on sin. Sin has been judged at the cross of Jesus!
All Your Sins Have Been Forgiven
“Pastor Prince, how can you say that even our future sins have been forgiven?”
My friend, when Christ died on the cross, you weren’t even born yet. You weren’t even an idea to your parents! All your sins were thus “future” sins. So all your sins have been forgiven, and it was accomplished through one sacrifice, by one Man. His name is Jesus. Jesus’ finished work is outside of time. His blood that was shed forgives all your sins — past, present and even future sins.
Many Christians have the erroneous belief that only their past sins have been forgiven. They believe that when they received Christ, only their past sins were forgiven. So they believe that they have to be very careful from that point onwards. That was the impression that I was given by preachers and teachers when I was growing up.
Then, I read the Bible for myself and saw that it said that God, “having forgiven you all trespasses…”2 My friend, “all” means all. It refers to allthe sins of our lifetime! God didn’t just take away one segment of our trespasses. He forgave all — past, present and future — of our trespasses! God’s definition of “all” is not limited by time and space the way man’s definition of “all” is. When God said “all”, He really meant all! Understand that Jesus does not have to be crucified again for your future sins. They were all forgiven at the cross as well!
Let me illustrate it this way. Imagine that you and your family have managed to wriggle your way to the front of a jostling crowd in Disneyland, where the street parade is about to start. You and your children can’t wait to see Mickey Mouse and his friends riding past on their beautiful floats. Donald Duck sails past and your children wave in excitement. Next comes Goofy, and then Pluto, and wow… is that Mickey coming up next? That’s how we see life. We have a linear perspective and we see events unfold day by day. However, God’s perspective is different. He has a “helicopter’s view”. He is up there, high above the parade, and He sees all the floats from the beginning to the end. He is “the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End”3.
In the same way, when God forgave your sins at the cross, He saw the sins of your entire life from beginning to the end. God has taken all your sins, even the sins that you have not yet committed, and put them all on Jesus. All your “future” sins have been fully judged on the cross!
Does knowing this make you go, “Whoopee! I can do anything and commit any sin I want since I’m already forgiven”? Or does it make you want to live a life of honor that glorifies your God, who loves you so perfectly and completely?
When you are under God’s grace and His perfect forgiveness, you will experience victory over sin.
I don’t believe for one moment that a believer who has truly encountered the complete forgiveness of Jesus and the perfection of His finished work would desire to live a life of sin. It is His grace and forgiveness that gives you the power to overcome sin. Apostle Paul said, “Sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”4 When you are under God’s grace and His perfect forgiveness, you will experience victory over sin.
We Have Been Robbed
Many Christians have been robbed of fellowship and intimacy with God because they believe the lie that God is still angry with them because of their sins. They avoid having contact with God, thinking that He gets angry with them whenever they fail. So instead of going to God when they fail, they run in the opposite direction. Instead of running to the solution, they run away from it.
The truth is this: God is no longer angry with you. His wrath toward all your sins has already been exhausted completely on the body of your Savior Jesus Christ. All your sins have been judged and punished in the body of another.
Schizophrenic teaching that tells you that God is sometimes angry and sometimes happy with you based on your performance is unscriptural and will make you a schizophrenic believer. It’s time to get out of confusion and to start seeing your God for who He really is.
God is (present tense) love. Stop being robbed of true intimacy and a relationship with your gracious and forgiving Savior Jesus Christ. Instead of avoiding Him when you fail, know that He is the answer to all your problems. You can go to Him and receive grace for your failures. His grace is greater than all your failures. He loves you perfectly, so go to Him with all your imperfections. In the same way that He restored that precious brother from our church, He will love you into wholeness!
The more revelation you have of the grace of God and His forgiveness, the more you will have the power to reign over all your challenges and addictions.
Today, you are blessed because the Lord no longer counts your sins against you. Because of the cross of Jesus, you will never be punished for your sins again.
Look at what John said: “If anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”12 He did not say, “If anyone sins, he will be punished for his sins!” No, under the new covenant of grace, Jesus is today your Advocate. He represents you before God and as Jesus is, so are you13!
Is Jesus righteous before God? Yes! Then so are you. Is He accepted before God? Yes! Then so are you. Is He well-pleasing before God? Yes! Then so are you.
Now, will the revelation of what Jesus has done for you cause you to go out and sin? Of course not! In fact, knowing that He has borne your punishment will cause you to fall in love with Him. It will give you the strength to break free from sin!
Not A Big Sinner?
“But Pastor Prince, I’ve never committed adultery or killed anyone. I haven’t really committed any major sins. I think that I have kept all of the laws of Moses.”
Well, have you ever lost your cool at somebody who cut into your lane without turning on his indicator lights? Have you ever blown your top at your spouse? If your answer to either of these questions is “yes”, then you are a murderer. And have you ever undressed a woman in your mind? If you have, then you are also an adulterer.
“How dare you call me a murderer and an adulterer?”
Calm down my friend, it is not me. It is our Lord Jesus. He said, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment… You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”14
Let’s be scriptural here and not go by our own standards when determining whether we have sinned or not. Let’s go by Jesus’ standards. Man brought the law of Moses down to a place where he thought that he was able to keep it. But Jesus came and brought it back to its full and righteous standard. Man can attempt to keep the law outwardly (like the Pharisees), but Jesus has demonstrated that it has to be kept inwardly as well. If you fail inwardly, you fail outwardly too. Jesus showed us that it was impossible for anyone to be justified by the law. Only He could fulfill the law on our behalf and justify us by His grace!
God doesn’t categorize sin. Whether it’s a “minor” or “major” sin, it’s still a sin. He does not grade on the curve — when you fail in one, you fail in all15. There is no person on the face of this planet who does not need to depend entirely on the grace of God because there is no man who has not failed in his own efforts to keep the law! The Bible declares that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”16. By Jesus’ standard, we all fail! The good news is, even when you fail, God does not judge you for your failure. All our sins have been judged at the cross. Hallelujah! Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!
Chapter 6: The Evil Conspiracy
When I was growing up as a young Christian, I was taught many things about God which robbed me of any desire to build a more intimate relationship with Him. I was told that the more I knew, the more God would hold me accountable, and my punishment for falling short of His expectations would be more severe than someone who knew less.
When I got hold of this teaching, I knew exactly what not to do. I decided not to touch the Bible, since the more I knew, the more I would be punished by God. Come on, my mama didn’t raise no fool! I would rather be ignorant than to learn more about the Word and attract greater chastisement should I fail! So I left the Bible alone and refused to turn up for any Bible study classes. I simply stayed away from anything that could further “incriminate” me.
I was also taught that the closer I drew to God, the more trials and tribulations I would experience. Have you heard this one before? When I got hold of this teaching, again I thought to myself, “My mama didn’t raise no fool. I’m not about to allow trials to overwhelm me!” From that point on, I didn’t want to draw close to God.
Can you see how wrong teachings about God can rob you of all that He has for you?
As I grew in the Lord, He opened my eyes and I realized that the teachings that I had received were not true. Contrary to what I had been taught, I found that the closer I drew to God, the closer I was to the Answer to all my problems. I was drawing close to the miracle worker. I was drawing close to the healer. I was drawing close to the provider, my Jehovah Jireh!
As long as you continue to have a wrong perception of God and withdraw from Him, the devil can keep you bound in a life of defeat.
The more of God’s truth you know, the more the truth will set you free from erroneous beliefs that are not based on His Word. In fact, it is the devil who would love for you to fear God (in an unhealthy way), so that you would stay away from your only source of help. The devil would love for you to stay away from the Bible because it is the book of your inheritance, and it tells you what belongs to you through the blood of Jesus Christ. The devil would love for you not to find out the truth, so that he can keep you in bondage, sickness and poverty. As long as you continue to have a wrong perception of God and withdraw from Him, the devil can keep you bound in a life of defeat. He loves to pull the wool over the eyes of God’s sheep, and deprive them of a life of victory and liberty. There is an evil conspiracy to keep you defeated. The devil is using erroneous teachings about God to blind and confuse God’s people.
Does God Chastise Us With Sicknesses And Diseases?
One of the most evil teachings that I have heard is that God will chastise His own with sicknesses, diseases, accidents and tragedies. When I was a teenager, one of the youth leaders in my previous church was involved in a horrible accident that nearly killed him. A church leader gathered some of us youths to go visit that youth leader in the hospital and we all went in the church leader’s car. As he was driving, he began to lament, “Why did this happen to him? I don’t understand. Why would God’s chastening be so severe this time? What did he do to cause God to chasten him this way?”
As a young Christian listening to his church leader bemoaning God’s chastening, can you imagine how I felt when I “realized” that God was behind the accident? Honestly, it frightened the living daylights out of me to think that God would chastise a believer using such a severe method! I remember praying, “God, please don’t ever chasten me this way. Whatever it is, please, just tell me, all right? I will listen. I promise!” I became very afraid of God. I didn’t want to draw near to Him because I was afraid of Him, afraid that if I made a mistake, He would not hesitate to chastise me with accidents that could leave me crippled for life or even dead!
Do you know that this erroneous teaching is actually based on the old covenant and not the new covenant? In the book of Leviticus, God says to those who fail to obey His commandments, “I will chastise you seven times for your sins.”1 But guess what? You are no longer under the covenant of law. You are under the covenant of GRACE! Jesus has already borne all your chastisement and punishment on the cross. Read it for yourself in Isaiah 53:
4Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.
The prophet Isaiah saw a prophetic vision of our Lord Jesus on the cross, bearing the punishment for our transgressions. He declared that the “chastisement for our peace was upon Him”. Jesus has already been chastised on our behalf! When Mel Gibson’s The Passion Of The Christ was released, people complained that the movie was too graphic and violent. The truth is that what the movie portrayed is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what our Lord really suffered on our behalf.
During the time of the Roman Empire, the soldiers had various instruments of cruelty and torture at their disposal. The infamous cat-o’-nine-tails was a whip with nine chains. To each chain was attached many metal shards and hooks, so that when a prisoner was beaten with it, the metal shards and hooks would latch onto his flesh and rip it apart when the whip was jerked back. That is why the prophet Isaiah described Jesus as having “no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him”2.
Jesus’ flesh was torn apart and He was violently scourged beyond human recognition. The chastisement that we deserved came upon Jesus, so that you and I will never have to go through what He endured on our behalf. And by His stripes, we are healed!
So how can anyone have the audacity to say that God will still chastise us with sicknesses, diseases and accidents today? To say this is to negate the finished work of Jesus Christ! Under the new covenant, God will never again chastise the believer for his sins! By His stripes you are healed! Whatever condition you have today, it is not from the Lord! Look to Jesus on the cross. See Him beaten and scourged, and receive healing and wholeness from Him. He has paid the price for your total healing. Today, He redeems your life from destruction3!
Chastisement In The New Covenant
“Pastor Prince, how can you say that there is no chastisement and punishment in the new covenant? Hebrews chapter 12 states it very clearly:
“5… ‘My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.’
“See, Pastor Prince, here is clear evidence that God chastens believers in the new covenant!”
My friend, there is confusion in the church because the original Greek word here for “chastens” is poorly translated. The Greek word here ispaideuo4, which means “child training”. It does not mean “to punish”. Pai is where you get the word “pediatrician” (a doctor who specializes in treating children), while deuo means “to teach a child”. You will find that the translation of the word paideuo as “child training” is more consistent with the context of the passage. Read on. The next verse says, “If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?” Even if you do not know that the Greek word for “chastens” here actually means “child training”, you would be able to deduce it from this verse, which tells us that because God deals with us as sons, He disciplines us just as earthly fathers would their sons.
Would you give your son a terminal disease to teach him a lesson? Then, why do you think that your Father in heaven would do that?
Now, think about this for a moment: Would you give your son a terminal disease to teach him a lesson?
Then, why do you think that your Father in heaven would do that?
Let me give you a Bible study tip: When you read the Bible, be sure to read everything within its context because when you take the “text” out of its “context”, what you are left with is a “con”! Many believers are hoodwinked into believing “cons” and erroneous teachings when something is lifted and taught out of its context.
I’ve never understood how people could see a terminal illness as a lesson from God. They say things like, “God gave that person a terminal illness to teach him patience”. My friend, what lesson is there to learn after the person dies from that terminal illness?
You need to be alive for the lesson to be useful. There is no use for patience when one is dead!
Let me say this again to make it very clear: Sicknesses, diseases and accidents are not lessons from God! When you train a child, you give lessons that teach the child things that will benefit him in the future. There is no future if the child is dead. God would never use sicknesses and accidents to teach you and me — His children — lessons!
God’s righteous anger against sin has been satisfied and today, we can expect only love from Him, not judgment. We can expect grace, not punishment. We will never be punished in the old covenant way ever again! In the new covenant, while there is no longer any punishment, there is child training, but God does not train His children with sicknesses, diseases and accidents any more than you and I do!
How Would You Discipline Your Children?
If you ask me whether there is correction in the Christian walk, I will say, “Yes, absolutely.” But it is important that we understand that God corrects us the way a father corrects his son. Would you torture your own son with sicknesses, diseases and pains to teach him a lesson?
Would you force your son to put his hand into the fire until the smell of burning flesh fills the kitchen to teach him not to play with fire or to touch a gas stove? Can you imagine doing that and saying, “Do you know why daddy is doing this? It’s because daddy loves you. Now, you know that fire can burn you, so don’t play with matches anymore”?
Would you drive your car over your daughter’s legs to teach her the dangers of playing by the side of the road? Can you imagine saying, “Come, girl, be strong! Daddy loves you, so he is doing this for your good. You will understand it some day”? Of course not! Parents who do such things should be incarcerated! There is a “special home” for parents who are like that.
Sadly, there are still Christians who accuse our heavenly Father of afflicting them with sicknesses and accidents to teach them lessons. With teachings like that, it’s no wonder believers are wandering in the wilderness, thinking that God is angry with them and looking for opportunities to destroy them. What kind of God do you think we have? He is our Abba! Abba is the most affectionate term you can use to address a father in the Hebrew language. It means “Daddy”! Do you really think that your Daddy God will punish you this way?
If you earthly fathers know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more your heavenly Daddy who loves you! I don’t have to tell you that sicknesses, diseases and accidents aren’t good gifts! They are from the devil, and because of Jesus’ finished work, we have been redeemed from every evil work and curse. We can receive protection from every evil occurrence, sickness and disease. By the stripes on Jesus’ back, we are healed!
Read Psalm 103 and look at all the benefits that Jesus has purchased for you with His own body:
1Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! 2Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits:3Who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, 4who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies, 5who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Come on, believers. Read this Psalm every day and do not forget any of the benefits of Jesus’ finished work! He forgives you of all your sins, heals you of all your diseases, redeems you from destruction, crowns you with loving kindness and satisfies your mouth with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. Don’t you accuse Him of giving anyone diseases or accidents!
By the way, if the people who insist that God uses sicknesses to punish believers truly believe that, why are they going from doctor to doctor trying to get healed? That’s inconsistent! On the one hand, they say that their sicknesses are from the Lord, but on the other hand, they are trying to get rid of them.
Stop believing the LIE that God gives you sicknesses, diseases and accidents to punish you or teach you a lesson.
I always tell my congregation not to leave their brains at home when they come to church. Stop believing the LIE that God gives you sicknesses,
diseases and accidents to punish you or teach you a lesson. I honestly find it difficult to understand why there are believers today who fight vehemently for the right to be sick, broke and defeated when God is full of grace and mercy, and wants us to be healthy, prosperous and protected from all evil occurrences! Let’s start to expect good gifts from the Lord. Reject anything which even remotely suggests that God is angry with you, and is going to discipline you with sicknesses and accidents when you fail!
What About Paul’s ‘Thorn In The Flesh’?
“Pastor Prince, what about the ‘thorn in the flesh’ that Paul suffered from? Wasn’t it a sickness?”
Well, let’s see what Paul said about this “thorn in the flesh”: “And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, athorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.”5 Nowhere in the verse does it say that the “thorn in the flesh” is a sickness or disease.
The Bible, not human conjectures, must be used to interpret the Bible. Thorns in the Bible refer to personalities that harass you. Even in our English language, we use the phrase “a pain in the neck” to describe someone who harasses or irritates us. It is just an expression and does not refer to an actual pain or disease in our necks.
In the same sense, the “thorn in the flesh” that Paul had was not a disease. In the book of Numbers, you will find that the enemies of Israel were described as “thorns” — “But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then it shall be that those whom you let remain shall be irritants in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they shall harass you in the land where you dwell.”6 Let the Bible interpret the Bible!
Paul himself tells us what the thorn is. He called it “a messenger of Satan”. So it was clearly in reference to an evil personality who instigated people to attack, gossip and backbite Paul everywhere he went preaching the gospel. And what did God tell Paul about this thorn in the flesh? He said, “Just be cool, Paul, My grace is sufficient for you.”7 So Paul did not suffer any sickness or disease. He was so anointed with the resurrection life of our Lord Jesus that even when his handkerchief touched the sick, they were healed.
Are You Hearing The Good News?
Recently, a lady in our church attended a prophetic seminar and a so-called “prophet” told her that the reason her son had a disability was that there was “sin in her life”.
Have you been fed this lie before? Have you been told that the negative things that you may be experiencing are a result of God’s discipline because of your sins? My friend, that is utter nonsense and utter cruelty. God does not punish sin in the new covenant with sicknesses and diseases because sin has already been punished on the body of Jesus. His blood has already been shed for the forgiveness of all our sins. When you received Jesus Christ into your life, all your sins were washed away. It is a finished work.
Anyway, the lady approached our church leaders for help and they shared with her that God has already punished sin in the body of Jesus. She then went back to seek this “prophet” to ask what he meant. When he saw her, he tried to avoid her. When she finally got to speak to him and asked him what he meant, he just said, “Oh, that was what the Lord told me to tell you.” (My friend, don’t be intimidated when someone flippantly or conveniently uses the name of the Lord as an excuse to tell you things in your life that are not scriptural.) He then produced a name card and explained that he ran these prophetic meetings part-time — he had a day job and was only a “part-time prophet”.
This is downright cruel, isn’t it? God’s people are precious. They are looking for solutions, answers and help, and we have “prophets” like these going around in Christian circles condemning believers, convincing them that God is angry with them, and that He punishes them with sicknesses, diseases and accidents!
The good news of Jesus always liberates and His perfect love removes every fear.
Come, my friend, it is time to rise above all these teachings that have no biblical basis, and which are not based on the new covenant of Jesus Christ our Lord. The Lord wants believers to be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves”8. Open your eyes and see the evil conspiracy of the devil to keep believers in bondage with erroneous teachings about God that are not based on the new covenant of grace. Whenever you hear a teaching that puts fear in your heart, you can be sure that what you are hearing is not the gospel, or good news, of Jesus. The good news of Jesus always liberates and His perfect love removes every fear. The good news always imparts faith and exalts the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross!
Chapter 7: The Gospel That Paul Preached
Beloved, you must eradicate this idea that forgiveness of sins is a basic teaching. Think about it: If it is really basic, why is it that so many believers miss it and are defeated by their lack of understanding?
The power of the gospel is to live each waking moment having the confidence that all your sins have been forgiven. Contrast this with living with a perpetual sense of guilt and condemnation that comes with thinking that when you sin, fellowship with God is broken, He no longer answers your prayers, He is far away from you, and until you repent and confess all your sins, the Holy Spirit will not return. Many Christians still have this impression that the onus is on them to keep God’s forgiveness by their own doing. So how can forgiveness of sins be a basic teaching? There are too many believers and even pastors, preachers and leaders, many with wonderful titles and Bible school credentials, who are still confused about the teaching of forgiveness.
The best way to understand the gospel, therefore, is not to base it on what you have heard from various sources, but to go back to what the apostles preached in the early church. Let’s examine what Apostle Paul, the apostle of the new covenant, preached. After all, Paul was the apostle whom God appointed to preach the gospel of grace. He received more revelation on the new covenant of grace than all the other apostles put together, and was responsible for writing more than two-thirds of the New Testament.
Paul’s Preaching Was Full Of Power
8And in Lystra a certain man without strength in his feet was sitting, a cripple from his mother’s womb, who had never walked.9This man heard Paul speaking. Paul, observing him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed, 10said with a loud voice, “Stand up straight on your feet!” And he leaped and walked.
Observe how the Holy Spirit describes this man: One, he was without strength in his feet. Two, he was a cripple from his mother’s womb and three, he had never walked. The Holy Spirit used three different descriptions to emphasize how the man could not walk and was facing a (seemingly) impossible situation. Yet, when he heard Paul speaking, he was filled with faith to be healed!
How did the man come to be filled with faith?
The Bible says that faith comes by hearing and hearing the word of Christ1. The man at Lystra was filled with faith because he heard the word ofChrist! I know that in most of your Bible translations, it says that faith comes by hearing “the word of God”. But if you study the original Greek word for “God” here, it is not Theos for “God”, but rather Christos for “Christ”2.
You see, faith does not come by simply hearing the word of God because the word of God would encompass everything in the Bible, including the law of Moses. There is no impartation of faith when you hear the Ten Commandments preached. Faith only comes by hearing the word of Christ. This doesn’t mean that you should only listen to preaching from the portions in your Bible that are printed in red which indicate that Jesus spoke those words. (Putting what Jesus said in the Bible in red letters is a human convention anyway.) To hear the word of Christ is to hear preaching and teaching that have been filtered through the new covenant of grace and Jesus’ finished work.
Only when Christ is preached will faith be imparted.
You can preach from Genesis to Revelation from the perspective of Jesus and His grace. In my church, I am known to preach and teach extensively from both the Old and the New Testaments. After all, Christ is in the Old Testament concealed, and in the New Testament revealed. In the Old Testament, you will find shadows of Christ in the five Levitical offerings, the tabernacle of Moses and even in the high priest’s garments, but it takes a new covenant minister to draw Christ out. Only when Christ is preached will faith be imparted. Hallelujah! I love talking about Jesus!
What Did Paul Preach?
Let’s get back to the man at Lystra. What could Paul have been preaching that was so powerful that it imparted such faith to this man so that he could believe for healing in his impossible situation?
“Well, Pastor Prince, I think that Paul was teaching divine healing.”
Let’s look at the passage. The Bible only says that Paul was “preaching the gospel” in Lystra3. It doesn’t say that he was teaching divine healing. Don’t misunderstand me. There is a place for teaching divine healing. I even have a whole series of teachings on divine healing. But faith for healing doesn’t come only when you hear teaching on healing. Faith for healing can also come when you are simply hearing the gospel! Anyway, I wanted to know what Paul preached at Lystra, so that I could preach the same message and impart faith to people. So I asked the Lord what Paul preached. I mean, how could the Holy Spirit leave out something so important? If only He had recorded it in the Bible!
Then, the Lord told me that He had recorded one of Paul’s sermons in the Bible. He told me to go to the previous chapter and showed me that right there, in Acts chapter 13, the Holy Spirit had preserved a sample of the gospel that Paul preached everywhere he went. So there it was, Paul’s sermon recorded for us by the Holy Spirit, word for word! Paul covered quite a lot of ground, but you have to see for yourself what the main thrust of Paul’s sermon was and where it climaxed:
38Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man [ Jesus] is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; 39and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.
The power of the gospel that Paul preached is found in the forgiveness of all your sins for “everyone who believes”. There is no other qualification for being forgiven of your sins. The old covenant was based on justification by works (obedience to the Ten Commandments).You had to perform to be forgiven. But the new covenant of grace is based entirely on justification by faith (believing in Jesus Christ). Can you see the radical difference? The demand is no longer on you, but on Christ. This is the good news: All who believe in Jesus receive the forgiveness of all their sins and are justified from all things! Good news? Hallelujah! There is no better news than this!
All who believe in Jesus receive the forgiveness of all their sins and are justified from all things!
I can just imagine how the man at Lystra responded when he heard Paul proclaiming that he could be justified from all things if he only believed on Jesus. When he heard Paul preaching about the good news of Christ, faith came and filled his heart. With tears in his eyes, he must have turned away from his lame feet and rejected every thought that he had been lame from birth because he was being punished for his or his parents’ sins. Instead, he must have believed with all his heart that if he believed in Jesus Christ, he would be forgiven of all his sins. Probably choked with tears, he whispered, “I believe.” And at that very moment, he heard a loud voice saying, “Stand up straight on your feet!” It was Paul commanding him and before he had time to hesitate, he found himself leaping to his feet with joy, and for the first time in his life, he walked!
The Gospel Imparts Faith
Notice that Paul did not lay his hands on the man to heal him. There wasn’t an altar call for those who wanted healing. The faith to be healed came from just listening to the gospel of Jesus Christ. We have experienced this time and again in our services. As people are sitting in the service, and hearing the gospel of grace and Jesus’ finished work being preached, healing miracles break forth!
The more revelation you get of His finished work, the more you will receive an impartation of faith for any situation, even the seemingly impossible ones!
One of my dear friends, Marcel Gaasenbeek, shared with me about a wonderful healing miracle which took place in his car as he was driving to Romania with a few friends. Marcel is a pastor of a dynamic grace church in Holland, and on this particular day, he was on his way to Romania for a preaching engagement. He was listening to one of my sermons in his car, something that he did often.
Lulled by the monotony of the long drive, one of Marcel’s friends dozed off in the back seat. This friend had been involved in a jet-ski accident some years ago and since then, he often suffered sharp pains in his back. Somehow, through the fog of sleep, he heard me preach this: “Jesus has already healed you and the devil is the one giving you lying symptoms in your body.” He said “Amen!” in his heart, agreeing that Jesus had already healed him by taking his sin and bearing his curse. At that moment, he felt the power of God go through him, and today, he is completely healed! All the pain in his back is gone!
That’s the power of hearing and hearing the gospel of Jesus. That’s how faith comes! The more of Jesus you hear, the more of His grace you receive. And the more revelation you get of His finished work, the more you will receive an impartation of faith for any situation, even the seemingly impossible ones!
Persecution Against The Gospel Of Grace
In any case, I was not unprepared for the persecution. The Lord had warned me a long time ago that there was a price for preaching the gospel that Paul preached. He told me that people would call me names and persecute me. And the persecution has indeed come. But the persecution has come mainly from people who believe in justification through the law and man’s self-efforts.
This is consistent with what Jesus Himself experienced. When He walked on this earth, the only people who could not receive from Him were the Pharisees, the experts on the law. They knew the law inside out, but not the author of the law who was standing right before them. Isn’t that amazing? It shows us that legalism blinds people — legalistic people have eyes that do not see and ears that do not hear! In contrast, those who acknowledged that they were helpless sinners (the prostitutes, corrupt tax collectors, uncouth fishermen and social outcasts) did not know the law as the Pharisees did, but they received and welcomed Jesus with joy!
“But Pastor Prince, if what you are preaching is really from the Lord, then it will not cause division.”
Let’s look at what happened in Acts 13. After Paul had finished preaching, the Gentiles begged that the same sermon be preached to them the next Sabbath. On the next Sabbath, the Bible records that “almost the whole city”4 of Antioch gathered to hear Paul preach on the forgiveness of sins, justification by faith through the cross of Jesus and the grace of God. For the whole city to show up to listen to Paul, the good news that he was preaching must have spread like wildfire across the city!
However, notice that there was one group of people that was very unhappy with what Paul was preaching — the Pharisees or what I call the “religious mafia”. The Bible says that when they saw the multitudes, “they were filled with envy; and contradicting and blaspheming, they opposed the things spoken by Paul”5. These legalistic keepers of the law are still around today. The law blinds them. There is a veil over their eyes and they cannot see that the old covenant of the law is no longer valid. When they see believers impacted by grace, they become “filled with envy” because they have worked so hard and depended on their own efforts to achieve their own sense of self-righteousness.
Jesus did not come to bring us laws and more laws. He came to bring us abundant life through His grace!
So when the Pharisees saw believers under grace receiving miracles, blessings and breakthroughs by the power of Jesus Christ, and being clothed with His perfect righteousness without works and without any self-effort, they were filled with envy. In their envy, they contradicted, blasphemed and opposed Paul. Division was caused not because Paul was not preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, but precisely because he was preaching the gospel of grace which was from the Lord.
Grace contravenes the traditions of man. It makes nothing of man’s own efforts and makes everything of Jesus Christ. This angered the religious mob of His day.
Paul’s sermon ended with a firm warning for those who refused to believe in God’s grace and forgiveness in the new covenant:
41‘Behold, you despisers, marvel and perish! For I work a work in your days, a work which you will by no means believe, though one were to declare it to you.’
This warning given by Paul was not for the whole congregation. It was only for those who rejected the gospel of grace. You see, those who blindly insist on holding on to justification by the law of Moses will “by no means believe” when they hear about justification by faith, and will say in their hearts that it is too good to be true. The law is a veil over their eyes and they cannot see God’s grace. But praise God that when Jesus died on the cross, the veil that had separated unrighteous man from a righteous God was forever removed. The Bible says that when Jesus yielded up His spirit, the veil of the temple was “torn in two from top to bottom”6. The veil is a picture of the law of Moses. Once the law was removed, man was made righteous by faith in Jesus’ blood and the way into the Holy of Holies was opened! Too good to be true? It is true, my friend, and that’s why the gospel of Jesus Christ is good news for us today. Jesus did not come to bring us laws and more laws. He came to bring us abundant life through His grace7!
Let’s come back to the question of the gospel of grace causing division.
Is it possible to preach the gospel of grace and cause division to the extent that people would even want to kick you out of their c ities? Yes! This happened in the early church. Paul was “speaking boldly in the Lord” and preaching “the word of His grace” when in the very next verse, you find that “the multitude of the city was divided: part sided with the Jews, and part with the apostles”8. There was even a “violent attempt… made by both the Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to abuse and stone them”9.
Thus, it is clear that when you preach the same good news that Paul preached, it doesn’t mean that everybody will be united and say, “Hallelujah!” There will be those who would want to kick you out of their cities and say all kinds of things about you to assassinate your character. But just because there was division, it certainly did not mean that what Paul preached was not true. That is precisely why Paul warned that even when God declares something so good, there are those who will refuse to believe — “you will by no means believe, though one were to declare it to you”.
If you are believing the Lord for a miraculous breakthrough, then be sure that you are hearing “the word of His grace” and not the word of His law.
That is why the gospel that Paul preached is not a man-pleasing gospel. Paul did not preach to be welcomed everywhere he went. He preached the truth of the gospel even if it meant being stoned by his opponents and being expelled from cities. He did it because the gospel is THE POWER OF GOD to salvation!
Make sure that you are hearing the gospel that Paul preached. The Bible declares that the Lord bore witness to “the word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands”10. You see, the Lord bears witness only to “the word of His grace”. If you are believing the Lord for a miraculous breakthrough or want to see more power in your life, body, finances, career and ministry, then be sure that you are hearing “the word of His grace” and not the word of His law.
By the way, look at how Paul had to preach first before the Lord could bear witness to the word of His grace with signs and wonders. Preaching the good news first is also consistent with Jesus’ style. Everywhere He went, He went teaching and preaching to the multitudes before healing them. There are some people who come to me for prayer for their conditions before the service, and it is clear that they are not interested in hearing the gospel, or any teaching or preaching. They just want prayer. But God’s way is always teaching and preaching first, followed by healing. He confirms the word of His grace with signs and wonders.
Are you faced with an impossible situation today? Are you trusting the Lord for a breakthrough? If so, I encourage you to get hold of good teachings that are full of the good news of Jesus. Faith will be imparted to you as you hear more and more of Jesus. You will stop being preoccupied with yourself, your lack and your weaknesses, and you will become fully occupied with Jesus, His beauty, His perfection and His grace!
The Gospel That Paul Preached
My only endeavor is to preach the same gospel that Paul preached, and no other gospel. Preaching any other gospel was a serious matter to Paul. In fact, he pronounced a double curse on those who preached a different gospel. Paul said, “Even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.”11 And as if that first curse was not sufficient, he reiterated, “As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.”12 Now, my mama didn’t raise no fool. I decided years ago that people can say what they want about me, but I’m not coming under any curse for preaching any other gospel!
Is the gospel of Jesus Christ the power of God to salvation
(a) for everyone who keeps the law of Moses?
(b) for everyone who confesses all his sins?
(c) for everyone who fasts and prays long prayers? It is none of the above. It is (d) for everyone who believes! This is the “justification by faith” that Paul preached and this is what I will preach! Under the new covenant of grace, we are justified not by our right behavior, but by our right believing in Jesus Christ. Through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of all your sins. Do you believe in Jesus? If your answer is “yes”, then don’t let anyone add more conditions to your forgiveness — you are already forgiven of all your sins simply because you believe in Jesus! Nothing more, nothing less. This is the gospel that Paul preached. And when you get a hold of this truth and simply believe it, you’ll see the power of God come into your situation to turn it around for good!
Understanding The Holy Communion
“Pastor Prince, what about the times we partake of the Holy Communion? Aren’t we expected to confess all our sins so that we don’t partake of it unworthily?”
Let’s read what Paul actually said about partaking of the Holy Communion:
1 Corinthians 11:27–30
27Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.
Down through the years, the body of Christ has mistakenly believed that to partake of the Holy Communion in an “unworthy manner” is to partake with sin in your life. So we are told not to partake of the Communion when we deem ourselves “not right with God”, lest we become weak, sickly and die before our time. But we have turned what was meant as a blessing into a curse. When I received this erroneous teaching as a teenager, I would always let the Communion elements pass me by, thinking, “My mama didn’t raise no fool!” I was always concerned that I would be partaking unworthily. Now, by doing so and being “safe”, I did not realize that I was robbing myself of the blessings and benefits of Jesus’ broken body and His shed blood.
I now know that this is not what the Bible teaches. To partake unworthily does not refer to you partaking as an unworthy person because of your sins. Come on, Jesus died for unworthy people! What the verse really refers to is the manner in which you partake. To partake unworthily is to fail to discern that the bread which you hold in your hands is the body of Jesus Christ that was beaten for you, so that your body may be healed and whole. This was what was happening in the early church. There were believers who were just eating the bread because they were hungry, or taking the bread as a ritual without discerning the Lord’s body and releasing faith.
Therefore, to partake in an unworthy manner is not about you failing to examine yourself and confess all your sins to make sure that you are worthy to partake. It is not about the one partaking. It is about the act or manner in which one partakes. It is about discerning the Lord’s body and releasing faith to see the bread as His body, striped for your healing. It is about seeing the wine as the blood that was shed for the forgiveness of all your sins. Therein is the secret to God’s divine health and wholeness. Many fail to discern the body of Jesus and see for themselves how He has suffered in His body on their behalf. This is the reason “many are weak and sick”. So it is not about looking at yourself and confessing your sins. It is about looking to Jesus and seeing what He has accomplished on the cross for you!
In our church, we partake of the Holy Communion every week. And by teaching the people to discern the Lord’s body, we have experienced one amazing healing miracle after another. There was a lady in our church who suffered from deep vein thrombosis while on her way to Israel with one of our church groups. (We organize regular tours to Israel for our church members.) She had fallen asleep on the flight after taking some medication, and did not move around enough to allow her blood to circulate freely and sufficiently throughout the long flight. As a result, she went into a coma upon arrival in Israel and had to be hospitalized immediately.
I happened to be in Israel at that time with my pastoral team. We visited her in the hospital and partook of the Holy Communion by her bed, proclaiming the finished work of Jesus over her. Miraculously, after a couple of days, she awoke from the coma and from what medical practitioners considered a potentially fatal condition! Praise be to God, she was completely healed. She was so full of the resurrection life of Jesus that she joined the next group that had just arrived in Israel. Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!
If you are interested to learn more about the Holy Communion, get hold of my book titled, Health And Wholeness Through The Holy Communion. There are more testimonies in the book and the book will liberate you to partake of all the benefits of the Holy Communion. Remember, it is not about examining yourself for sin and making yourself worthy to partake. It is all about discerning the Lord’s body! It is all about Jesus and nothing about man’s own efforts.
Consciousness Of Jesus’ Blood Brings Victory
Perhaps you are going through some challenges right now and you are wondering, “How can the blood of Jesus bring me healing, prosperity and victory in my marriage?”
My friend, all you need to know is that you are being constantly cleansed of all your sins. Once you believe that all your sins are indeed forgiven and that God does not hold anything against you, faith will spring forth. Faith will be there for healing. Faith will be there for prosperity. Faith will be there for restoration in your marriage and family. The continuous washing of Jesus’ blood qualifies you for any miracle that you need in your life right now. Jesus said to the paralytic man, “Son, your sins are forgiven you,” before He said, “Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”8 Why? Because Jesus knew that unless the man had the assurance that all his sins had been forgiven, he would not have faith to be healed. This is what people need to hear. This is what we need to teach in the church!
The devil’s strategy is to make you feel like you are not qualified to enter God’s presence. He will bombard you with thoughts of condemnation, accusing you of being unworthy for having wrong thoughts or saying harsh words against someone. He will give you a thousand and one reasons why you don’t qualify for God’s blessings. But the truth is that whatever wrong feelings you had or whatever bad habit you had succumbed to, the blood of Jesus keeps you clean. The blood of Jesus qualifies you to have constant access to the Most High God. Because you are under this waterfall of forgiveness, every prayer that you make avails much.
The blood of Jesus qualifies you to have constant access to the Most High God.
We overcome the devil by the blood of the Lamb. When Monday comes and Tuesday rolls by, and your pastor is not there to preach to you, do you know what you need to remind yourself of? 1 John 1:7 — “… the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” His blood keeps on keeping on cleansing you from every sin. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, His blood is cleansing you. And any time and every time you pray, your prayer hits the mark.
My friend, cease from depending on your own efforts to maintain your forgiveness and begin to enjoy the extravagant waterfall of God’s forgiveness every moment of the day. You’ll find peace for your soul and the faith to reign in life will well up on the inside of you. You’ll see miracles begin to unfold in your life!
Chapter 10: The Ministry Of Death
I didn’t write this book to tell you what is so wrong about you and to point out where you have fallen short. On the contrary, I wrote this book to declare to you what is so right about you (in spite of all your weaknesses) because of Jesus Christ. This book is about the good news of Jesus Christ. He did not come to condemn you. He came to take your condemnation upon Himself, so that you will never be condemned again.
Has Jesus died on the cross for us?
Has His blood been shed for our forgiveness?
Then, why is it that so many believers are still living in condemnation even though He has already been punished for their sins?
Did the cross make a difference or not?
Jesus Christ has already delivered all believers from the covenant of law which condemns. But there are believers who choose to continue living under its condemnation instead of receiving the grace that has been purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ. Rather than put their trust in the unmerited goodness of God through Jesus Christ, they have chosen to put their trust in their ability to abide by the Ten Commandments. Simply put, they have chosen the ministry of death.
“Sacrilegious! I would have you know that the Ten Commandments are God’s holy laws. How dare you call them the ministry of death!”
Take it easy, my friend. I’m not the one who came up with that. The Bible states it very clearly:
2 Corinthians 3:7–9
7But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, 8how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? 9For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory.
It is the Bible that describes the Ten Commandments, which were written and engraved on stones, as the “ministry of death”! Some have argued that the “ministry of death” refers exclusively to the “ceremonial laws” of Moses, such as those pertaining to animal sacrifices. Therefore, they say that while we may no longer be bound by the ceremonial laws, we are still under the “moral laws” or Ten Commandments. However, this cannot be true because the ceremonial laws were never “written and engraved on stones”. They were written on parchment. Only the Ten Commandments were written and engraved on stones, and the Bible calls them the “ministry of death”. That’s why the Bible also says in the preceding verse that “the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life”1. The covenant of law kills, but the covenant of grace gives life!
The Covenant Of Grace Is Much More Glorious
I used to think that Moses put a veil over his face because his face shone so bright that he did not want to frighten the people. Actually, the Bible says that Moses put on the veil because he did not want the people to know that the glory was departing or “passing away”2.
Moses represents the law, the Ten Commandments. He represents the ministry of death and condemnation. While the law, the ministry of condemnation, had glory, the Bible declares that “the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory”. Praise be to God that you and I are under the new covenant, the covenant of grace and righteousness!
How is the covenant of grace more glorious than the covenant of law?
The law demands righteousness from sinful man, whereas grace imparts righteousness to sinful man. Let me illustrate what I mean. The law says to a man who is balding, “Thou shall not be bald!” The poor guy grabs what little hair he has left on his scalp and says, “I can’t help it! It keeps falling off!” Grace, on the other hand, says, “Receive the hair!” and the guy gets new hair!
You see, the law demands perfection, but will not lift a finger to help. And, as shown in the case of the balding chap, man has no ability in himself, no matter how hard he tries, to fulfill the law’s demand, and is thus cursed for breaking the law. Grace, on the other hand, imparts perfection and does everything for man through Jesus Christ, and all that man needs to do is to believe. Which do you think is more glorious? The ministry of death which demands or the ministry of grace which imparts?
The Ten Commandments Kill
When God gave the law on Mount Sinai, it was on the first Pentecost, exactly 50 days from the Passover when the Lord delivered the children of Israel from slavery in Egypt. Do you know what happened when the Ten Commandments were given? At the foot of Mount Sinai, 3,000 people died3. Now, let’s compare this with the New Testament. When the Day of Pentecost had come, God poured out His Holy Spirit upon all flesh and what was the result? Peter stood up to preach the gospel and 3,000 people were saved that day4.
good news? But I now realize that not everybody is willing to accept how good the good news truly is. Because I preach the gospel of Jesus and teach that we are no longer under law, my name has been dragged through the mud. Today, people don’t throw stones, they shoot poison emails.
One of the things which I have been accused of is being an antinomian (someone who is against the law of Moses). The truth is that I have thehighest regard for the law. And it is precisely because I have the highest regard for the law that I know that no man can keep the law. We have to depend totally on God’s grace! Those who accuse me and other grace preachers of being antinomian are the same ones who pick and choose the laws that are convenient for them to keep. They claim that they have a high regard for the law, but they are actually lowering the standard of God’s law to a place where man thinks that he can actually keep the law. So they choose the laws which are convenient for their personalities or which are in line with their denominations. Come on, it is us grace preachers who have the highest regard for the law! We recognize that it is impossible for man to keep the law perfectly.
You cannot pick and choose which laws you want to keep. The Bible says that if you want to keep the law, you have to keep all of it, and if you break one law, you break them all11. The law is a composite whole. God does not grade on the curve. Also, you cannot just keep the law outwardly. You have to keep it inwardly as well. Do you know anyone (other than God Himself ) who can keep God’s laws perfectly all the time?
Let me say this explicitly so that there is no misunderstanding:
I am for the law, for the purpose for which God gave the law (and you can quote me on this). You see, God did not give the law for us to keep. He gave the law to bring man to the end of himself, so that he would see his need for a Savior. There is nothing inherently wrong with the law. The law is holy, just and good. But it is time to realize that while the law is holy, just and good, it has no power to make you holy. It has no power to make you just and it definitely has no power to make you good.
God gave the law to bring man to the end of himself, so that he would see his need for a Savior.
Do you remember the analogy I used earlier about the law being like a mirror that exposes your flaws? My friend, if you look in the mirror and see someone ugly, don’t blame the mirror. Don’t get mad and punch the mirror! It’s not the mirror’s fault. The purpose of the mirror is simply to expose your flaws. In the same way, the law is not at fault. Its rightful purpose is to expose your sins. It was not designed to take away your sins! In fact, the Bible states that the law was given to magnify your sins — “the law entered that the offense might abound”12.
Without a mirror, you would have no knowledge of your flaws. Similarly, the Word of God says that “by the law is the knowledge of sin”13. It also tells us what the role of the law is: “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”14 What do all these verses tell you, my friend? They tell you that the law was designed to lead you to the end of yourself, and cause you to despair in your own efforts to achieve God’s standards, so that you will see for yourself that you need a savior!
The law justified no one and condemned the best of us, but grace saves even the worst of us. Yet, there are still people today trying to use the Ten Commandments to remove their sins. That is like rubbing the mirror on their faces to remove their pimples. It just doesn’t work! My friend, only the blood of Jesus can remove sins. His blood was shed on Calvary so that your sins can be forgiven. Start believing the good news today!
The Knowledge Of Good And Evil
There are two trees in the garden of Eden that you need to be familiar with. The first is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This is the tree that Adam and Eve were forbidden to eat from. Have you noticed that this tree was not called the tree of the knowledge of evil? It was called the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This is because the tree is a picture of God’s law or the Ten Commandments. The law is the knowledge of good and evil.God did not want man to partake of the law. He wanted man to partake of the tree of life, which is a picture of our Savior Jesus Christ. Whoever partakes of this tree will have eternal life15.
“But Pastor Prince, what’s so wrong with knowing good and evil? What is wrong with knowing the law?”
The danger is this: You can know the law inside out, and yet be miles and miles away from God. Under the law, all you will have is religion, not a relationship with God. But God is after a relationship with us, one that is dependent on His goodness and His goodness alone. When man partakes of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he becomes dependent on his self-efforts to do good and keep away from evil. And when man is depending on his own efforts, he is bound to fail. On the other hand, when man partakes of the tree of life, he is completely dependent on Jesus and Jesus alone.
God is after a relationship with us, one that is dependent on His goodness and His goodness alone.
Now, who planted the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden? The serpent? No, it was God. In fact, when God had created everything in the garden of Eden, He saw everything that He had made and said that it was good. This included the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil was from the Lord. But while the tree was good in itself, it was not good for man to partake of it.
Likewise, while God’s law is holy, just and good, it was not meant for man to keep. Man has no ability to keep it. Also, man cannot pick and choose which laws to keep — if he fails in one, he fails in all. God does not grade on the curve. The Bible says that the wages of sin is death. Therefore, once man fails in one facet of the law, he is condemned to die and can no longer partake of the tree of life, which would give him eternal life. This is why when Adam and Eve sinned, God had to drive them out of the garden, and place cherubim and a “flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life”16.
What’s the significance of all this? Well, there is a principle in Bible interpretation known as the “law of first mention”, which says that every time a word is mentioned for the first time in the Bible, the meaning of the word in that instance has special significance for how we are to understand that word throughout the Bible. In this instance, it is the first time the word “sword” is mentioned in the Bible. In the context of this verse, we see the sword here as God’s judgment. It is a restless sword turning every way so that there is no way that sinful man, having disobeyed God, can ever return to Him.
Now, let’s look at the last mention of the word “sword” in the Old Testament. It is found in Zechariah chapter 13:
“Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, against the Man who is My Companion… Strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered…”
The Shepherd mentioned in the verse refers to Jesus, our good Shepherd, and how all His disciples fled when He was struck on the cross. It shows us that the restless sword of judgment, which for so many generations had barred sinful men from a holy God, was finally sheathed in the bosom of our Lord Jesus when the full judgment and vengeance of God for all our sins came upon Him on the cross. Jesus was smitten on the cross for our sins.
By sacrificing Himself and absorbing the full brunt of the judgment that was meant for you and me, Jesus stopped the sword of judgment that prevents us from partaking of the tree of life. He sacrificed His own body to open the way to the tree of life. God will never condemn us because His only begotten Son has already been condemned on our behalf. The cross at Calvary has become the tree of life for us in the new covenant. We can freely partake of His righteousness and live each day without guilt, condemnation and shame. Hallelujah!
There is no more judgment for you when God looks at you.
What does this mean, my friend? This means that there is no more judgment for you when God looks at you. Stop depending on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil for your justification. Jesus has redeemed you from the ministry of death by dying on the cross. Enjoy what He has purchased for you today and partake of the finished work of Jesus, our tree of life.
You are no longer under the ministry of death.
Jesus came that you may have life, and have it more abundantly17!
Do Not Back Away From Grace
“Pastor Prince, I know of someone who says that he is under grace, but is clearly living in sin. Can a person be under grace and still live in sin?”
My friend, do not back away from the gospel of grace just because you see some negative examples. Go to the person and confront him! If he says, “Well, I am under grace,” but still lives a lifestyle of sin, this is what I’ll say to him: “No, you are not under grace. The Bible says that sin shall not have dominion over you when you are not under law but under grace8. So if you are living in sin, you are definitely not under grace. You are not enjoying the gift of no condemnation and the free, unmerited favor of God. That is why sin has dominion over you. You cannot claim to be under grace when you continue to live in sin!” Such people become agents that the devil uses to instill suspicion and fear against the gospel of grace. But our part is not to back away from the gospel that Jesus preached just because a very small group of people use grace as an excuse for their lifestyle of sin.
If someone has really known and experienced grace and the gift of no condemnation, he will NOT want to live in sin. Sin will be the last thing on his mind! Let me put it very clearly: Anyone who is living in sin is not under grace and has not experienced the gift of no condemnation. Grace always results in victory over sin!
The Power To Sin No More
I believe that most believers desire to live lives that are glorifying to God and that most of us normal, rational human beings are NOT looking for an excuse to sin. But there is a struggle which Paul himself wrote about: “For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.”9
I am writing to believers who have this genuine struggle with the law and who like Paul are crying out, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”10 If this is your cry, then this is written especially for you: The person who will deliver you is Jesus. His amazing grace will save every “wretched man”. In all your helplessness, weaknesses and vulnerabilities, Jesus looks at you with His tender loving eyes and says to you, “Where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you? Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”
Every time you fail in thought, word or deed, receive this afresh: There is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ. When Jesus died on the cross, all your failures were already condemned in His body. Today, you are free to live a victorious life not because of your obedience to the law, but because of your obedience of faith in Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
Every time you fail in thought, word or deed, receive this afresh: There is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ.
Paul said, “For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh.”11 What the law could not do, God did (notice the use of the past tense) by sending His Son. The law could not save the “wretched man” that we were. It could only condemn us. But God saved us by placing all the guilt, punishment and condemnation for our sins on Jesus’ body at Calvary.
Your inheritance today is no longer guilt, punishment and condemnation for your sins, but righteousness, peace and joy through Jesus Christ. This is God’s way for you to experience effortless success in your life. He has already done it all on your behalf. Your part is simply to believe and receive. That is how you walk in victory over sin, addictions, negative thoughts and every cycle of defeat that has you in bondage. Good news? That is the gospel of Jesus Christ!
Chapter 17: Picture Of Pure Grace
When my daughter Jessica was about five years old, I asked her, “What is a Bible?” She replied, “It is a book that is all about Jesus, with a red string in it.” Oh, I love that! Isn’t it so precious to see things from a child’s perspective? She did not describe the Bible in religious terms that we adults are fond of. She just saw the Bible in its simplest and purest form — a book that is all about Jesus, with a red string in it! Of course, I had to explain to her that the red string is a bookmark. But you know what? There is indeed a “scarlet thread” that runs through this book, from the beginning in Genesis to the end in Revelation. It is all about Jesus and His finished work at the cross.
When new believers read the Old Testament for the first time, they might wonder what all the slaughtering of animals, sacrifices and sprinkling of blood are about. Well, when you understand that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins, you will begin to appreciate the value of the blood, especially the blood that Jesus shed for our sins.
The Bible says that after Adam and Eve sinned by partaking of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, God “made tunics of skin, and clothed them”1. The first time an animal was sacrificed to cover man’s sins happened right there in the garden of Eden. All the animal sacrifices in the Old Testament are shadows of Jesus Christ, who is the substance. The blood of bulls and goats under the old covenant all pointed to the substance of Christ, whose blood was shed on the cross of Calvary. As John the Baptist said, Jesus is the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”2. In the book of Revelation, John heard a voice saying, “Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah,” but when he turned to look at the Lion, he saw instead a “Lamb as though it had been slain”3. Everything in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation points to Jesus’ death on the cross. It is because of His sacrifice that we are under the new covenant of grace today.
Everything in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation points to Jesus’ death on the cross.
The old covenant will always cause you to look at yourself, whereas the new covenant will always cause you to turn and look at Christ crucified. Old Testament prophets call your sins to remembrance, while New Testament preachers call your righteousness to remembrance. Old Testament preachers tell you what is wrong with you, while New Testament preachers tell you what is right with you because of what Jesus has done, in spite of what is wrong with you. The first miracle of Moses, who represents the law, was to turn water into blood, resulting in death4. The first miracle of grace was Jesus turning water into wine, resulting in celebration and life5. The law kills, but the Spirit gives life.
Pure Grace From Egypt To Sinai
When God liberated the children of Israel from the bondage of slavery in Egypt, He did not do so because they had kept the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments had not even been given yet. The children of Israel came out of Egypt by the blood of the Lamb.
The Lord showed me something a number of years ago that ushered me into the Gospel Revolution. I was sitting in my living room, just spending time in the Word, when He spoke to me and said, “Son, study the journey of the children of Israel from Egypt to Mount Sinai for this is a picture of pure grace. Not a single Israelite died during this period although they murmured and complained.”
I had never heard anyone preach that before and neither had I read it in any book. So, feverishly, I turned to that portion of the Scriptures, trying to find someone who had died, so that I could prove God wrong! Have you been there before, trying to prove God wrong? Well, you can never succeed, and indeed, I could not find any Israelite who died even though the people murmured and complained.
Even though God had rescued the children of Israel from their Egyptian slave masters by performing great signs and wonders, the children of Israel failed to honor God, and murmured and complained over and over again. When the Egyptian army came thundering toward them from behind and the Red Sea was before them, the children of Israel cried out to Moses saying, “Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness?”6
That was a complaint against God, and murmuring and complaining are sins. But what was God’s response? He opened up the Red Sea and they crossed over to dry land on the other side, safe from their enemies. Even after God had brought them safely to the other side of the sea, the murmuring continued. At Marah, they complained about the bitter waters. What was God’s response? He made the bitter waters sweet7. In the wilderness, they cried out against Moses when they were hungry. What was God’s response? He rained bread from heaven8. But still, the children of Israel complained. When there was no water again, they cried out against Moses, saying, “Why is it you have brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?”9 What was God’s response? He brought water out of the flinty rock.
Study the Bible yourself. You’ll find that every time the children of Israel murmured and complained, it only brought forth fresh demonstrations of God’s favor, supply and goodness. Why? Because during that period, the blessings and provisions they received were not dependent on their obedience or goodness. They were dependent on God’s goodness and faithfulness to the Abrahamic covenant, which was a covenant of grace.
The Exchange Of Covenants At Mount Sinai
Then, something tragic happened right at the foot of Mount Sinai. In Exodus 19:8, your English Bible says that the people cried out to Moses, saying, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do.” In the original Hebrew text, this is actually a statement of pride. They were saying, “All that God requires and demands of us, we are well able to perform.” In other words, they were saying, “God, stop assessing or blessing us based on Your goodness. Start assessing, judging and blessing us based on our obedience.” So they effectively exchanged covenants, from the Abrahamic covenant which is based on grace, to the Sinaitic covenant which is based on the law.
All this while, God was with them and had fought for them. He opened up the Red Sea, rained manna from heaven and brought water out of the flinty rock, even though they kept murmuring and complaining. But the moment they said those prideful words, God had to change His tone. He told Moses to instruct the people not to go near the mountain, for “whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death”10.
Why do you think God changed His demeanor here? It was because man presumed on his own strength and entered into a covenant based on his obedience. This is what we call self-righteousness. Since the people wanted to be judged based on their performance, in the very next chapter, God gave them the Ten Commandments. From then on, since they boasted that they could do all that God commanded, God had to assess them based on His laws. He would bless them if they kept His commandments, but they would be cursed if they failed to do so. What the people did not understand was that they had to obey all of the Ten Commandments perfectly because if they failed in one, they would be guilty of all11. You see, the law is a composite whole and God does not grade on the curve.
Now, let’s see what happened when the children of Israel placed themselves under the law. After they boasted that they could fulfill all that God demanded of them, the works of the flesh were immediately manifested. They broke the very first commandment — “You shall have no other gods before Me”12 — by fashioning a golden calf and worshipping it as their god13! Isn’t that sad? So be careful when you boast of keeping or defending the law because the works of the flesh will follow soon after.
From that point onwards, every time the children of Israel murmured and complained, many of them would die. Observe this: Before Sinai, none died. After Sinai, the moment they murmured, they died. Before Sinai, every failure brought forth a fresh manifestation of God’s favor. But now that the Israelites were under the covenant of law, sin had to be punished. Their blessings and provisions no longer depended on God’s goodness, faithfulness and grace. Under the covenant of law, their blessings depended on their perfect obedience, and every failure and sin would result in judgment and punishment.
That is why the law of Moses is called the ministry of death and condemnation. It is an inflexible standard that had to minister death and condemnation to the Israelites whenever they sinned. You would think that after 2,000 years, people would learn, but there are believers today who are still using the same refrain as the children of Israel at the foot of Mount Sinai. They are bragging, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do.”
We Are No Longer Under The Old Covenant
Can you see what the Lord was showing me? The Israelites’ journey from Egypt to Sinai was a picture of pure grace. It was not dependent on their goodness but His goodness, not on their faithfulness but His faithfulness. Before the law was given, they were under grace and nobody was punished even when they failed. But immediately after the law was given, nobody was spared when they failed. The good news is that we are no longer under the old covenant of law. We have been delivered from the law through Jesus’ death on the cross. Because of Jesus Christ, we are now under the new covenant of grace, which means that today, God does not assess us based on our performance, but on His goodness and faithfulness.
If you are still trying to be justified by your obedience to the law, you are effectively negating what Jesus has already done for you on the cross!
Why are there believers today living as though the cross did not make a difference? Instead of enjoying the new covenant of grace, they are still fighting to be under the old covenant of law and the Ten Commandments. I declare to you that the cross of Jesus did make a difference. If you are still trying to live under the law, trying to be justified by your obedience to the law, you are effectively negating what Jesus has already done for you on the cross!
Under the old covenant, God said, “I will by no means clear the guilty.”14 However, in the new covenant, God says, “I will remember your sins no more.”15 Can you see the contrast? It is the same God speaking, so what happened? The cross happened, my friend. The cross made the difference. Today, God does not remember your sins or hold them against you because He has already judged them in the body of His Son. Believers get confused when they do not realize that the cross has made a difference. Consider this: If we are still supposed to be under the Ten Commandments as many argue, then what did the cross of Jesus accomplish?
Accusations Against Grace
In the book of Romans, Paul said, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?”9Obviously, Paul was misunderstood and accused of telling people to sin more so that grace may abound. This is the same accusation that has been leveled against me.
But Paul never said, “Let us sin more so that grace may abound,” and neither have I. I want to make this explicitly clear again: I, Joseph Prince, am vehemently, aggressively and irrevocably against sin! Sin is evil and it leads to destructive consequences.
I am on the same side as everyone who is against sin, only with this difference: Some believe that victory over sin is found in preaching more of the law, but I find that in the Scriptures, victory over sin is found in the preaching of God’s grace.
Let’s read what Paul said in its context:
20Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more.
Have you noticed that the law entered so that sin might abound? It clearly means that the more you preach the law, the more sin will abound. After all, the strength of sin is the law. Therefore, when you see sin and you preach more of the law, you are literally adding wood to fire.
The Superabundance Of God’s Grace
In saying that “where sin abounded, grace abounded much more”, I am preaching the same message that Paul (it is good to be in Paul’s company) preached. What Paul meant, which is also what I mean, is this: Sin does not stop God’s grace from flowing, but God’s grace will stop sin. Ask yourself which is greater, your sins or God’s grace? The answer is obvious. God’s grace is always greater! In fact, when you read “where sin abounded, grace abounded much more” in the original Greek, it actually says that where sin abounds, grace “superabounds”10. So where there is sin, God’s grace is in superabundance!
We cannot be afraid to preach grace because it is the only power to stop sin in people’s lives. When you fail, instead of feeling guilty and condemned, receive the super abounding grace of God that tells you that you are still the righteousness of God! It is His super abounding grace that will rescue you from that sin. Those who wallow in guilt and condemnation are the ones who have no ability to overcome their sins. Since they believe that God’s grace has departed, what hope can they have? Victory over sin comes only when people encounter the superabundance of God’s grace. It is His grace that has made sinners righteous!
Victory over sin comes only when people encounter the superabundance of God’s grace.
Throughout this book, I have endeavored to show you the gospel of Jesus Christ through the Scriptures as well as through my own struggles with the erroneous teachings that I had received as I was growing in the Lord. I have shown you that under the dispensation of grace, God is not judging you and does not punish His own children with sicknesses, diseases or accidents. Because of Jesus’ finished work at the cross, He will never be angry with you nor rebuke you even when you fail. So don’t ever forget the main clause of the new covenant, which says that your sins and your lawless deeds, He remembers no more!
Many believers are defeated today because they do not know the God of the new covenant of grace. I believe with all of my heart that because you took this wonderful journey with me down the road of Emmaus and saw for yourself, beginning from Moses to the Prophets, all the things concerning Jesus Christ and His finished work, your heart would now burn with His extravagant love for you. Jesus truly puts the “amazing” back into grace!
Today, God is all about blessing you with His grace — His undeserved, unearned and unmerited favor — in every area of your life. Stop trying to deserve and earn your own acceptance before God with your own works and efforts. It will only frustrate the grace of God and nullify the effects of the cross in your life. My friend, Jesus already finished the work. Believe with all your heart that it is not about what you need to do today, but about what has already been done and accomplished on your behalf.
Beloved, I have preached to you the gospel of Jesus Christ and am fulfilling the commission He gave me in 1997 to preach grace radically so that lives can be radically transformed. I know that if you have believed this good news of His grace, your life has begun to be radically transformed, together with the countless believers around the world who have already been impacted by the Gospel Revolution.
I pray that this book has torn down the fences of controversy that the enemy has erected around the teaching of God’s grace and gift of righteousness, so that you may indeed receive not just grace, but the “abundance of grace”, and receive not just righteousness, but the “gift of righteousness”, and start reigning in life. Start reigning over sin, over sickness, over condemnation, over financial lack and over the curse of the law through the ONE, Jesus Christ.
All that I have shared works most powerfully and effectively within the environment of the local church. These truths are for the greater good of the body of Christ and should never result in you becoming a law unto yourself. Beloved, I want to see you enjoying the safety of the covering of a local church where there is accountability and submission. This is where our blessings are tremendously multiplied.
I thank you for taking this journey with me and for giving me the opportunity to unveil more and more of Jesus to you. You have been a wonderful traveling companion. We should do this again sometime soon! In the meantime, I look forward to hearing from you about how our Lord Jesus has touched and impacted your life with His amazing grace.
It is all about Jesus and His finished work!
You are destined to reign through Him.
This is the secret to effortless success, wholeness and victorious living!