DEREK PRINCE -By Grace Alone…

Below are excerpts from- ‘BY GRACE ALONE- FINDING FREEDOM AND PURGING LEGALISM FROM YOUR LIFE’, by  DEREK PRINCE5f99b9839f89632c0493290c9e159aef

To set a flavour to the book, i quote just 3 statements below made by Bro. Derek:

  • “I believe legalism is the greatest single problem of the Christian Church.”…
  • “The ultimate purpose of this book is for you to discover what does and does not matter in your Christian walk. I believe for each of us, this is a matter of critical importance.”
  • “Confusion on this issue is the root of most of our problems.”

Brother Derek Prince is one among those preachers who had shifted towards a grace-oriented perspective in the later parts of their ministry.If you read some of the earliest books & listen to his older sermons, they are largely legalistic in flavor and a tad judgmental in language- but I need to bring to your attention to this amazing book on Grace by none other than Derek Prince- By Grace Alone: Finding Freedom and Purging Legalism from Your Life. In general Br. Dereks older book have a legalistic flavor, but this book was a total revelation for me! He had written it towards the end of his life & it was published 10 years after his deathI guess it also portrays the journey from Law to Grace in the life of a well meaning man of God like Derek. His ministry also publishes a free study guide on same available at: LINK . You can also find the same revelation on grace he had in the 2 video links: Video 1  & Video 2


I wanted to start off this compilation, quoting a prayer made at the very end of this book by Br. Derek:

…As you have read through these pages, you may have come to the realization that in some measure you have been trying to earn, or to become worthy of, the blessings of God in your life by keeping rules, or by endeavoring to measure up to some standard of what a “good Christian” should be. You may feel, at least in some areas of your life, like a “tree in the desert”—never fully experiencing the presence of God’s grace and favor in the atmosphere surrounding your life.

If you can identify with this in any way, then I would encourage you to make a decision to stop working and to receive by faith the grace that God has freely bestowed on you in Christ Jesus. I would encourage you to pray the following prayer out loud:

Dear Father,

I come to You now in the name of Your Son, the Lord Jesus. I confess that I have tried to earn Your blessings and favor by my own efforts. I have tried to attain a personal standard of righteousness that I thought would make me acceptable to You. I ask forgiveness in the name of Jesus. Would You please deliver me from any form of darkness that has surrounded me because of the curse of the broken law?

I humble myself before You, and I confess that I am receiving Your grace and favor by faith. I make the decision to stop working for Your favor. And I humbly declare that I am righteous before You, not based on anything I have done, but on the righteousness of Christ, which has been given to me based on His finished work on the cross on my behalf. I confess that it is a free gift, not bestowed upon me because of any righteousness or merit on my part.

I ask that throughout my life You would, by Your Holy Spirit, enlighten me whenever I begin to rely on my own strength and efforts to live righteously before You. I ask that in my times of need You would grant me the understanding always to turn to the graces that are in the fullness of Christ to overcome the sins and weaknesses in my life. I declare that I trust in Your grace alone to walk with Christ.

Thank You for the grace You have granted me. Thank You for the grace that has called me into Jesus, forgiven me of every sin, justified me by His work, made me alive by His Spirit and raised me up with Him to sit in heavenly places. Thank You for Your grace, which is always sufficient for all my needs for all of my life.

Now, Father, help me as I go forward in Your grace, serving You, representing You and touching the lives of others with the power of Your grace.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

—————————

1 The Two Ways to Righteousness

Do you have problems that seem to have no logical solutions? Do you struggle unsuccessfully to make headway in your walk of faith? Do you wonder sometimes just what is right and what is wrong in God’s eyes?

What I am going to tell you may surprise you, but I feel quite certain that there is an answer for you, and it has to do with one of the most important teachings of the Bible. Over the years I have become convinced that Christians fail to live the kind of lives God wants us to live, or enjoy the salvation that He has provided, because we are unclear in our understanding of this vital teaching.

What is it? It is the relationship between law and grace. Many of the problems Christians experience relate directly to their understanding—or misunderstanding—of these two paths to righteousness. Yet, consider the emphasis the Bible places upon it. One entire epistle (or letter) of Paul—the epistle to the Galatians—is devoted to this subject. In its six chapters the phrase the law occurs 28 times. Apart from Galatians there are at least 27 other chapters in the New Testament that touch on the relationship between law and grace. In other words, law vs. grace is one of the major themes of New Testament teaching.

Yet very few believers understand this. They try one path, then the other, then perhaps try to straddle the two, having no clear picture of the distinctions.

Let’s begin our study with some basic definitions. Then we will look briefly at the opening and closing pages of the Bible, and see how law and grace span the millennia. But this is not simply an exercise in Bible education. This theme of law vs. grace has indescribable impact on our lives, particularly as we turn to face the end of the ages.

What you are about to read in this book, properly understood, has the potential to change your life for the good from this point onward. In simple terms, it can enable you to find true freedom and to purge the deadly power of legalism from your life.

What Is Law?

In our study, the word law refers to religious law…we will be studying law viewed as a means of achieving righteousness with God.

As an introductory text, look at Romans 10:4, where Paul makes a profound and far-reaching statement: “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”

In this passage Paul is saying that the moment a person believes in Jesus Christ, in the way that experience is defined in the New Testament, that is the end of law for that person as a means of righteousness. That event is not the end of religious law as a part of the Word of God, for law will endure forever. Nor is it the end of law as a record of Israel’s history. It is, however, the end of law as a means to achieve righteousness with God. There are no exceptions for Jew or Gentile; it is to “everyone who believes.”

Remember, the moment you exercise faith for salvation in Jesus Christ, that ends law as a means of righteousness. This simple statement by itself, when carried to its logical conclusion, would make the most far-reaching changes in almost all sections of the Christian church if it were understood and applied.

What Is Grace?

Now let’s consider the definition of grace. To try to define grace is almost presumptuous, but the definition I will use is this: “that which is freely given by God and received by faith, without being earned or deserved.”

This definition of grace gives us two important facts. The first and most important fact is that we cannot earn it, and we can never deserve it. Anything that we can earn or deserve is not grace. The second fact is that grace is normally received by faith. Ephesians 2:8–9 makes this clear: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

Someone might think of himself as very spiritual and say, “Well, I was saved by grace, but, after all, at least I had the faith to receive the grace.” According to this Scripture, however, God could reply, “Yes, but don’t forget, I gave you the faith. You didn’t even have that of yourself.”

Grace has nothing to boast about. I believe that one of the hardest things for a person to receive is the free grace of God, because we always tend to think we have to do just a little to earn it or deserve it. You may prefer to believe there was some special reason why God should have chosen you, but that is not what the Bible teaches.

Two Ways of Righteousness

In all human history and in all the revelation of Scripture there are only two possible ways to achieve righteousness. Anybody who seeks to achieve righteousness is going to follow one or the other. Furthermore, each way excludes the other. If you go one way, you cannot go the other way—you cannot mix one with the other. One way is by the works of law and the other is by grace through faith.

I do not know how to press this point sufficiently, but confusion on this issue is the root of most of our problems. People want to mix a little law and a little grace, but God does not allow it. If something is of law, then it is not of grace. And, if something is of grace, then it is not of law.

Consider these verses from Scripture. First of all, John 1:17 says: “For the law [the Law of Moses] was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” Please notice the word but in this passage. How did the Law come? By Moses. How did grace and truth come? By Jesus Christ. They are absolutely distinct.

Then, Romans 6:14 says: “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” Notice the delineating words in the latter part of the verse: not . . . but: “Not under law but under grace.” If you are under grace, you are not under law. If you are under law, you are not under grace. You cannot be in both conditions.

Also, please take note of this amazing statement: Sin shall not have dominion over you. Why? Because you are not under the Law, but under grace. And the converse is also true: As long as you are under the Law, sin will have dominion over you.

Throughout this book, I will emphasize this point continually because it is the root of so many problems. Most believers hold the conviction that grace is really the correct way for a Christian to live. But if they find grace too difficult, then they reason that it is all right to live by law. Law may not work as well, but basically they expect to get the same result more or less.

As I understand the revelation of Scripture, this is completely wrong. Grace and law are not two alternative ways of doing the same things. They are two opposites that produce directly and diametrically opposite results.

In Romans 10:5–6, Paul is writing about law and grace:

Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, “The man who does those things shall live by them.” But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down from above).

The Law is clear. If you want to be made righteous by the Law, then you must do everything the Law says all the time. If you can accomplish that feat, then you do not need grace. But, if you cannot be justified by the Law, then you must accept grace or not be justified at all.

The Law says, “This is what you have to do and to keep doing all the time.” Grace says, “Someone else has done it for you.”

Two Kinds of Religion

I believe that there are only two possible kinds of religion in the world. There never have been more than two and there never will be more than two. One is a religion of law and works; the other is a religion of faith and grace. I also believe, by divine design, that these two types of religion are presented to us at the very threshold of human history. One is the religion of Cain, which is the religion of law and works; the other is the religion of Abel, which is the religion of faith and grace.

The presentation of these two religions is the first recorded incident of human history after the Fall. To me, it has become increasingly more significant that these religions are presented to us at the onset of redemptive history. Let’s read the account of how this concept was introduced:

Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the LORD” [Cain means “gotten, acquired, achieved”]. Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel [Abel in Hebrew is habal, and it means “vanity or frustration”]. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the LORD. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the LORD respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering.

Genesis 4:1–5

This passage indicates that the Lord bore testimony that He had accepted Abel’s offering, but He withheld the testimony of acceptance from the offering of Cain. Furthermore, it was obviously done in such a way that the Lord’s preference was known to all concerned. However it happened, God’s testimony was not something invisible. Most commentators believe that a supernatural fire fell upon Abel’s sacrifice and consumed it. We cannot prove this, but we do know for sure that there was a supernatural testimony of favor attributed to Abel’s offering that was withheld from Cain’s offering. And this made Cain furious. Nothing upsets religious people more than to tell them that their religion does not work.

At the end of verse 5, we read, “And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.” A different look came on Cain’s face. I believe that the sanctimonious religious mask slipped and something else appeared that had lain hidden underneath.

So the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.

verses 6–8

Bear in mind, religion was the source of the first murder ever committed.

The writer of Hebrews gives us further information about their offerings: “By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks” (Hebrews 11:4). Notice what the writer of Hebrews emphasizes: It was by faith that Abel brought his offering, and Abel’s offering received supernatural testimony from God.

In the table below you will see seven points in which Abel’s religion differs from Cain’s religion. As we compare these two religions, I want to emphasize once again that there are really only two religions in the world. Every human religion that has ever been practiced falls into one or the other of these two categories.

The Two Kinds of Religions   (see Genesis 4:1–8)

Abel’s Religion 

Cain’s Religion 

1. Involved faith (see Hebrews 11:4) Did not involve faith
2. Received God’s word (see Romans 10:3) Refused God’s word (compare Romans 10:3)
3. Offered propitiation—a slain lamb (see Romans 3:25) Offered man’s own works—the product of earth, which God had cursed (see Genesis 3:17)
4. Was accepted by God (see Genesis 4:4) Was rejected by God (see Genesis 4:5)
5. Received supernatural testimony (see Hebrews 11:4) Received no supernatural testimony (see Genesis 4:5)
6. Produced a martyr (see Genesis 4:8; Hebrews 11:4) Produced a murderer (see Genesis 4:8)
7. Will produce the Bride (see Revelation 19:7–8) Will produce the Harlot (see Revelation 17:1–6; 18:1–4, 23–24)

2 Seven Facts about the Law of Moses

  • Fact #1: The Law Was Given through Moses
  • Fact #2: The Law Is a Closed System
  • Fact #3: The Law Means All or Nothing
  • Fact #4: Christ Fulfilled the Law
  • Fact #5: Christ Broke Down the Wall of Separation
  • Fact #6: Christians Are Not under the Law

Paul states this plainly: “Sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace” (Romans 6:14). He explains it more completely in Romans 7:4:

Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.

Here Paul has been addressing the problem that was particular to the Jews. Every Jew who is confronted with the claims of Jesus Christ and who is prompted to accept them is always tormented by the suggestion that he or she is going to be a traitor to his or her own people. Jewish people believe that they are betraying something sacred.

Paul expresses the Jews’ freedom from their obligation to the Law with an illustration from marriage. If a woman is married to a man, and she wants to marry another man while the first man lives, to do so would make her an adulteress. But if her first husband has died, she is set free from the law of that husband, and she is free to marry the other man.

Paul is saying that Israel was married to the Law, and as long as the Law lived, if Israel were to turn to anyone else, she would rightly be labeled adulterous. But what Israel had to learn is that the first husband has died, and she is now free to be married to Christ, the resurrected Messiah, without being adulterous and without committing spiritual treason. In verse 6, therefore, Paul concludes: “But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.”

We have been delivered from the Law in order that we might live “in the newness of the Spirit.” When we are led by the Spirit, we are not under the Law: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God” (Romans 8:14). How do you live as a son of God? You are led regularly by the Spirit of God. That is the mark of His children.

This is restated in Galatians 5:18: “If you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” The only way you can live as a child of God is by being led by the Spirit. The moment you go back under the Law, you are not living as a child of God any longer and you have lost your inheritance.

  • Fact #7: Christians Are Warned against Going Back

Finally, consider the solemn warning of Paul about the Law in Galatians 3:1–4. The power of these Scriptures overwhelms me, and I often marvel at how long it took me to see what Paul is saying here. The only thing that surprises me more is that most Christians still have not seen the urgency of Paul’s warning, which begins right in verse 1: “O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified?”

Is it possible for Spirit-baptized Christians to be bewitched? It must be, or Paul would not have made this statement. Then he asks, “Haven’t you seen Jesus on the cross paying the final penalty, putting an end to the law?”

Paul then asks a very telling question: “This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” (verse 2). He asks them if they had to be circumcised before they received the baptism with the Holy Spirit, or if they received it by faith after listening to the preacher. Then he adds: “Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? Have you suffered so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain?” (verses 3–4).

This is a very solemn thought. If you go back under the Law, all the rest is vain. As you read Galatians, you see that Paul is deeply concerned. He speaks of them as “my little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you” (Galatians 4:19).

It is an amazing fact about the Galatians that there were no moral problems in the Galatian church. In the Corinthian church, on the other hand, there was a man cohabiting with his father’s wife, there was drunkenness at the Lord’s Table, and there were deep divisions in the church. Yet when Paul started the letter to the Corinthians, he took time to thank God for the grace of God that was bestowed upon them.

When he wrote to the Galatians, however, who had no moral problems but were going back under the Law, he did not take even one moment to thank God for them. He said, “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel” (Galatians 1:6). He was much more upset over the Galatians with their legalism than he was over the Corinthians with their immorality and their drunkenness.

In concluding his letter to the Galatians, Paul writes: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1).

The “yoke of bondage” to which Paul refers is the Law. We talk about bondage to drugs, alcohol and other forms of addiction—all of which is of valid concern. But the bondage that so concerned Paul was the bondage to the Law.

Indeed I, Paul [Paul puts his personal authority into what he is about to say], say to you that if you become circumcised [as a way of observing the Law], Christ will profit you nothing. And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law.

verses 2–3

You cannot choose one little part of the Law and say, “I’m going to do that” but leave out the rest. It is all or nothing. And once you attempt to be justified by the Law, Christ is of no more avail to you. This is exactly what he says in verse 4: “You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.”

Looking again at Romans 8, we see that Christians are presented with two alternatives: “As many as are led by the Spirit of God [first alternative], these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear [second alternative]” (verses 14–15).

This is a vivid description of legalism. The word bondage is a rather mild word, and we may not be disturbed by it. The literal translation is “slavery.” When you go back under the Law, you come under the spirit of slavery to fear. The Law says, “Do this! And if you don’t do it, you are a transgressor!” Or, “Do that! And if you don’t do it, you will die!”

The spirit of slavery motivates us by fear. If we are honest, looking back over the past centuries, the majority of Christians have been under the spirit of bondage to fear. Their religion has been motivated by fear of doing the wrong thing, being found guilty and going to hell. That spirit is not from God! This is such a critical issue that I want to come back to it in a subsequent chapter.

So far in this book, we have considered two ways of seeking to obtain righteousness. One way is by the works of law and the other is by grace through faith.

If we cannot achieve true righteousness with God through the Law, then for what purpose was the Law given? Is it of any use for us today? This is the subject of our next chapter.

Working Out Righteousness

As we mature in the daily outworking of love, we also need to grow in the area of righteousness. The two work together: God requires a righteousness that is expressed by divine love worked out in our daily lives. Just as love is both a gift and something that must be worked out, so is righteousness. We must make the effort to move from imputed righteousness (the gift we receive from God) to imparted righteousness (the way we live). Let’s look at these facets of righteousness a little more closely.

Imputed Righteousness

When you receive Jesus Christ by faith as your Savior, you are clothed by divine grace with His righteousness. Isaiah says the Lord gave him a garment of salvation and a robe of righteousness (see Isaiah 61:10). When you receive the garment of salvation, God next gives you a robe of spotless righteousness. This robe is Christ’s righteousness credited to you. “[God] made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). This is imputed righteousness. God credits it to your account on the basis of what Christ has done.

Paul uses Abraham as an example of imputed righteousness, quoting Genesis 15:6: “[Abraham] believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.” Abraham’s faith was accounted (reckoned or imputed) to him for righteousness. Paul goes on to say that Abraham is the pattern for us, and righteousness will be imputed to us also if we have faith:

And therefore “it was accounted to him [Abraham] for righteousness.” Now it was not written for his [Abraham’s] sake alone that it was imputed to him, but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead.

Romans 4:22–24

If we believe in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus on our behalf, His righteousness is imputed to us the moment we believe. There is no more guilt, no more condemnation, and the devil has nothing to say against us any longer.

But for you to become a mature Christian, that imputed righteousness must be worked out in your daily living as part of your character. This is imparted righteousness—the way you live.

Imparted Righteousness

The challenge of maturing as a Christian is transferring imputed righteousness to imparted, outworked righteousness. Unfortunately, for most people, that is a lengthy and sometimes difficult process!

One of the clearest statements in Scripture of the relationship between the gift and outworking of righteousness is found in Philippians:

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

Philippians 2:12–13

As Paul explains here, God works in and we work out. If God did not work His righteousness in us, we would have nothing to work out. Notice that not only does God work in “to do,” but He also works in “to will.” He puts in us the will to do that which is right.

Being a Christian should not be a continual struggle to do something you do not want to do. If you are continually struggling to do what you do not want to do, then you have never been born again; because when you are born again you receive a natural desire to do the will of God. God works in you “to will” and then “to do,” but God works in you only in proportion as you work out. If you stop working “out,” God can no longer work “in,” because there is something in your heart like a traffic jam. In a traffic jam the car behind you cannot move into the place you occupy until you move forward. Some Christians have been parked in one place and the meter time expired a long while ago! God says, “I’m waiting. I’d like to do a lot more for you, but until you do what you already know to do, how can I give you any more?” Work out what God works in—that is what it means to transfer imputed righteousness to imparted righteousness.

7 Grace: God’s Enablement

How does God enable us to do what He requires? Just as the first question of what God requires was answered by the single word love, the second question is also answered by a single word: grace. We will begin our examination of how God enables us by explaining how grace operates in us. This equips us to see the love of God developed within us. I believe the operation of grace is one of the most difficult spiritual truths for the natural mind to grasp. The remainder of this book will be devoted to exploring this beautiful and profound theme.

Grace Defined

Let’s begin with a definition of grace. This definition is accepted by many Bible scholars, but certainly does not exhaust the full meaning: Grace is the free, unmerited favor of God toward the undeserving and the ill-deserving.

Notice, first of all, that grace is free. Grace cannot be earned; it cannot be worked for. Also, please notice that grace is not only toward those who are undeserving but even to those who are ill-deserving. In other words, even when we deserve judgment and wrath, God, out of His grace, offers us good. The word favor is an alternative word for grace. Especially in the Old Testament, both words are used almost interchangeably.

Grace is one of the key concepts of the whole Bible. The unfolding of grace begins in the Old Testament and is brought to completeness with the revelation of Jesus Christ in the New Testament. In the New Testament, the Greek word for grace occurs 155 times, mainly in the epistles.

The normal New Testament salutation among Christians was “Grace and peace. . . .” Sometimes they added “mercy” and said, “Grace, mercy and peace. . . .” It is implied by this salutation that if you want peace, you must have grace first. The only way we can have true peace is out of the grace of God.

Almost all New Testament epistles (or letters) begin and end with grace. Their salutation is usually something like “Grace and peace be to you”; and most of them end with “the grace of God be with you,” “the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you” or simply “grace be with you.” This is significant because the epistles essentially deal with working out the truth of the Gospel in daily living. The manner in which these letters open and close makes it clear that in order to work out the truth of the Gospel, we must begin and end with the grace of God. If we do not start and finish with God’s grace, Christian living is not possible on the level that the New Testament outlines.

Let’s look briefly at the original words for grace used in the Greek of the New Testament and in the Hebrew of the Old Testament.

The Greek word for grace is charis. This word also appears in another form in the word charisma. Charisma is the word that is used for the gifts of the Holy Spirit and for various other manifestations. Charisma means “grace made manifest or made specific.” Charis is “grace, in general”; charisma is the specific manifestation of that grace in someone’s life.

The Beauty of Grace

Two Hebrew words are commonly used in the Old Testament: chen and ratson. They are used more or less interchangeably. Chen means “beauty” and ratson means “pleasure.” It can mean both “favor” and “beauty.” The basic meaning of these words in both languages is “beauty or attractiveness.”

We need to bear in mind that grace is always beautiful and it is always attractive. A person who is in the grace of God is an attractive person. A congregation in which the grace of God rests is an attractive congregation. If a congregation does not have the grace of God working in its midst, it may have the truth but it will not attract anyone. It takes the grace of God to attract people to the truth. It says about the early Church in Jerusalem that “great grace was upon them all” (Acts 4:33) and “the Lord added to the church daily” (Acts 2:47). What attracted people to the early Church was the manifestation of the grace of God in His people. The beauty of the Lord, the attractiveness of God, was upon them.

One common phrase in the Old Testament incorporating the word chen is to “find grace [or favor] in the eyes” of somebody. Genesis 6:8 says that “Noah found grace [or favor] in the eyes of the LORD.” The favor Noah found in God’s eyes distinguished Noah from all the other men of his generation; and, because of Noah, his family also found grace in the eyes of the Lord.

Grace has something to do with the way we look at people. And, in the context of this study, the grace of God is about the way God looks at us. There is a saying that goes, “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.” This little phrase contains a good deal of truth. I have noticed that one man may look at a certain woman and think she is beautiful while another man might not give her a second glance. They are looking at exactly the same person, but it is the way that the man looks at the woman that determines what he sees in her.

The Source of Grace

Applying this truth as we examine the grace of God, we find that it begins not with us but with God. God’s grace originates out of the way He chooses to look upon us. When He looks upon us with favor, then grace begins to operate in our lives. The idea that grace depends primarily on the way God looks at us is beautifully illustrated by the Levitical blessing. This blessing is shared between Christians and Jews alike.

And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, ‘This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel. Say to them:

“The LORD bless you and keep you;

The LORD make His face shine upon you,

And be gracious to you;

The LORD lift up His countenance upon you,

And give you peace.”’”

Numbers 6:22–26

There are six parts to this blessing.

  • First, “the Lord bless you.”
  • Second, “the Lord keep you.”
  • Third, “the Lord make His face shine upon you Fourth, “and be gracious to you.”
  • Fifth, “the Lord turn His face toward you” (literal Hebrew reading).
  • And, sixth, “give you peace.”

Notice that the phrase the Lord be gracious to you is both preceded and followed by the mention of the Lord’s face. First, the Lord makes His face shine upon His people, and then the Lord turns His face toward them. The operation of the Lord’s grace depends on the way He looks at us. The last part of the blessing is, “And give you peace.” Once again, real peace only comes out of the operation of the grace of God.

Grace in Times of Need

There is a beautiful example of the Lord’s grace manifested by His looking on His people in the second chapter of Exodus. The end of this chapter describes Israel’s misery in Egypt and how the Lord began to show grace and favor toward them:

During that long period, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.

Exodus 2:23–25, NIV

The Israelites are in desperate need and misery, unable to help themselves; all they can hope for is the grace of God. God hears their groaning and responds: “God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.” God’s favor began to operate when He turned His face toward the Israelites in concern for them. Then, in a practical way, He began to move on their behalf to intervene and deliver them. The point where “God looked on the Israelites” was the point at which His grace began to operate.

Another wonderful verse reaffirms the truth that God is the only source of true grace: “But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you” (1 Peter 5:10).

God is the God of all grace. In other words, grace comes solely and entirely from God; there is no other source of grace in the universe. If you want grace, you must go to God. His grace is the only force in the universe that matures us and makes us firm, strong and steadfast. This is the favor of God as His face is turned toward us.

Our Need for Grace

At the beginning of this chapter we defined grace as the free, unmerited favor of God toward the undeserving and the ill-deserving. To appreciate the full measure of God’s grace let’s consider the last half of this definition—the undeserving and the ill-deserving. These words refer to the condition of the human race left to itself apart from God. Once we understand how desperate the human spiritual state really is, we understand why grace alone can meet our needs.

A People in Darkness

A picture of humanity apart from God’s grace is found in Matthew’s gospel. This passage describes the beginning of the earthly ministry of Jesus in Galilee with a quote from the Old Testament, Isaiah 9:1–2:

.”

Grace through the Cross

As we move deeper into the mystery of God’s grace, we need to understand that grace can only come into operation as a result of the atoning death of Jesus Christ on the cross. If Christ had not died on the cross as our substitute and as our sin offering, there would have been no possibility for grace to operate in our lives.

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, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us.

Romans 8:3–4

God had to deal with sin through the cross before we could be reckoned righteous by His grace. The atonement of Christ did five specific things that made a way for the grace of God to begin to operate in our lives. The work of the cross is not limited to these five things, but these are especially important as far as the release of God’s grace toward us.

  1. Christ Paid the Penalty for All Sins
  2. Christ Terminated the Law As a Means of Righteousness
  3. Christ Settled Satan’s Claims Against Us
  4. Christ Put Away Sin
  5. Christ Executed Our Carnal Nature

8 Two Distinctions: New and Old Covenants

If we can understand the distinction between the way grace operates and the way the Law operates, we ultimately will eliminate a great deal of confusion in our lives. As we are learning, many believers struggle constantly because they do not understand the difference and try to walk in a mixture of grace and law. I want to begin this section of the study with a simple summation of the difference between grace and law: Law commands the “old man” from without. Grace writes upon the heart of the “new man” within.

Essentially, law is external; it is outside of me. I look objectively at the Law and I say, “That’s what I have to do.” Grace, however, is internal. It does something inside me that results ultimately in my acting in accordance with what has been written on my heart.

Paul gives us a summation of the difference between law and grace, and points out seven ways in which grace differs from the Law. I believe this is one of the clearest and most succinct statements of this distinction in the entire New Testament. I want to quote this passage here for you to read it in its entirety. Then we will consider it in detail.

Do we begin again to commend ourselves? Or do we need, as some others, epistles of commendation to you or letters of commendation from you? You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart. And we have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. But 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, how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious. Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech—unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away.

2 Corinthians 3:1–13

Operation of Grace vs. Operation of Law  -from 2 Corinthians 3:3–13

Verse  Law

(Old Covenant) 

Grace

(New Covenant) 

3 Ink Holy Spirit
3  External tablets of stone  Internal tablets of the heart
6 Letter Spirit
6–8 Death Life
9 Condemnation Righteousness
10–11 Temporal glory Continuing glory
12–13 Veiled meaning Plainness of speech

Two More Important Differences

Beyond these seven distinctions, there are two more important ways in which the New Covenant differs from the Old Covenant. They are pointed out in this passage from Hebrews, which is actually a quotation of Jeremiah 31:31–34:

No Mediator Needed

The writer of Hebrews then goes on to point out two more distinct differences between the Old and New Covenants. The first difference is that every believer knows God in a direct and personal way without the need of a mediator: “All shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them” (Hebrews 8:11).

No More Offerings

The second distinct difference between the Old and New Covenants is that there is no more consciousness of sin by God, and, therefore, no more offerings for sin are required: “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more” (Hebrews 8:12).

The very memory of our sin has been blotted out from God’s consciousness. The writer emphasizes this again two chapters later:

For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before, “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,” then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.

Hebrews 10:14–18 (emphasis added)

If our sins have been forgotten by God, we are not going to need another sin offering, and we have no need to continually remind God of our past sin. Whereas the Old Covenant required many sacrifices, which were a continual reminder of sins, there has been one final, sufficient sin offering and there are no more sin offerings required.

From the New Testament we have seen nine distinct ways in which the operation of grace differs from the operation of law as it is expressed in the Old Covenant.

  1. The Law writes with ink. Grace writes with the Holy Spirit.
  2. The Law writes on external tablets of stone or other material. Grace writes on the internal tablets of the heart of the renewed believer.
  3. The Law writes letters. Grace writes spiritual truth.
  4. The Law ministers death. Grace ministers life.
  5. The Law ministers condemnation. Grace ministers righteousness.
  6. The Law has a temporary glory. Grace has an abiding and exceeding glory.
  7. The Law uses veiled meanings. Grace uses free, open language.
  8. The Law was given through a mediator. Grace gives us a direct, personal relationship with God through Christ.
  9. The Law reminds us of our sin through continual sacrifices. Grace removes our sin from God’s consciousness by one complete, sufficient sacrifice.

We have seen how grace differs from law by comparing the Old and New Covenants. Before we look further into the nature of grace we need to make one more clear distinction, which is how grace differs from works. This is a major theme of the New Testament, which we will consider in the next chapter.

9 Two Distinctions: Grace and Works

Now we focus on another important distinction that Scripture makes, the distinction between grace and works.

Probably the key passage for this distinction between grace and works is Ephesians 2:8–9: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

Here Paul makes two positive statements and one negative statement about grace and works. The two positive statements are: by grace . . . through faith. Grace and faith must always be kept together because grace always comes through faith. Then Paul makes the negative statement: not of works. Grace always excludes works. We cannot work for grace and we cannot deserve it. We must receive grace by faith. Grace and works are contrasted all through the New Testament; they are two mutually exclusive alternatives.

Paul affirms this in his letter to the Romans: “And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work” (Romans 11:6). In other words, if you can earn something, then it cannot come by grace. And the opposite is also true: If something comes by grace, you cannot earn it.

The contrast between grace and works points us to the two mutually exclusive routes to achieve righteousness with God that we have observed. One path is through keeping the Law; the other path is through Christ. The Law demands works; but Christ offers grace. We must choose one path or the other, but we cannot have a little of one and a little of the other. This is brought out in the passage that speaks of Jesus as the eternal Word of God made flesh: “For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17).

In addition, as we have learned, to be justified or to achieve righteousness by the Law, we have to observe the whole law all the time. The Law, given through Moses, was a single comprehensive system presented at one time. Moses continually warned the Israelites not to add to it or take away from it. It is a complete indivisible unit. (See Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32.)

In Galatians 3:10, Paul expresses the same truth:

For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.”

Paul is quoting from Deuteronomy 27:26, where Israel is agreeing to keep the Law. Notice also, if you wish to rely on achieving righteousness by keeping the Law and you break it at any one point, you come under the curse that the Law itself pronounces. Israel could not

The Problem of Legalism

I believe legalism is the greatest single problem of the Christian church. Legalism is, first of all, the attempt to achieve righteousness with God by keeping a set of rules. If you are attempting to be righteous with God by any set of rules, you are under legalism. There is nothing wrong with having rules. We need them. It is wrong, however, to believe that keeping those rules will make us righteous with God.

Legalism is the cause of much of the sin in the church. Many sincere and honest Christians have embraced a set of “do not” rules such as: Do not look at another woman. Do not drink alcohol. Do not wear certain articles of clothing. Do not go to the movies. Do not associate with particular people. They think that observing these prohibitions will make them righteous. When our attention is focused on such regulations, however, we become enslaved by them. The way to be pure is not to focus on resisting lust, because the more you focus on lust, the more it dominates your thinking. There is a totally different way of becoming righteous. It is a righteousness from God, which is by faith in Jesus Christ.

If the Law is ruled out as a means of righteousness, the only way to be in God’s favor is through Christ. Paul goes on to say this:

But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

Romans 3:21–24

Please notice, first of all, that righteousness comes “through faith.” True righteousness is given us “by His grace” with no distinction between Jew and Gentile, between Catholic and Protestant, or between one nationality and another. Paul is very clear that we are all alike in one point—we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Since we cannot be justified by the works of the Law, therefore, we must accept the only alternative, which is God’s grace. We cannot earn it. We must receive it by believing in Christ Jesus.

10 Receiving Grace

How to Receive God’s Grace

The ability to receive God’s grace is of vital importance for each of us. There are two aspects to this transaction. The first is negative and the second is positive.

  1. Stop Working

The negative aspect may be summed up in two simple words that are very surprising to most people: Stop working. You must stop trying to earn God’s approval. As long as you are trying to earn the grace of God you cannot receive it. God cannot give you His grace on the basis of what you do because that would be a false basis. If God gave grace to you based on what you did, you would have a false picture of yourself, of God and of everything that is involved in His relationship with us.

This first requirement, which is very difficult for religious people, is absolute and God will not change it. Paul states:

Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness.

Romans 4:4–5

Notice the vitally important words: To him who does not work. Then, once you stop working, you must simply trust God, who justifies the ungodly. This, of course, is humbling because it means you are putting yourself in the category of those who need to be justified because they are ungodly. This is the part that is very, very difficult for religious people to see. They cannot conceive of themselves as being categorized with the ungodly.

To the one who trusts God, who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness. From this point forward you are living on God’s credit; you are no longer living on the produce of your own labor. This is God’s grace, because your faith is credited to you as righteousness. You are not considered righteous because of what you have done, but because you believe in God who justifies the unrighteous. This is the negative aspect of receiving God’s grace. We must stop working.

  1. Receive Jesus and Yield to Him

The positive side is simple: You receive Jesus and yield yourself without reservation to Him. All God’s grace is in Jesus Christ; He is the only channel of God’s grace. When we receive Him, all the grace of God is made available to us. The first chapter of John’s gospel makes this clear.

Boasting of Grace Alone

This chapter has led us through a progression of growing in grace, from humbling ourselves to receive the grace of God to making room for His grace to work in and through us by denying ourselves. This final step is, in many ways, a culmination of every step. It is boasting only in the grace of God.

The grace of God leaves no room for boasting—except about the grace of God! In reality, if we are truly living in the grace of God, grace is the only theme about which we can boast. We have nothing left of our own goodness, our own righteousness or our own wisdom to boast about. Paul repeats this theme in several passages of the New Testament: “Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law” (Romans 3:27–28).

Paul makes it clear that if we have been justified by faith without keeping the Law then we have nothing about which we can boast. Boasting is excluded by the principle of faith.

In Romans 4, Paul goes on to apply this specifically to Abraham. It was important for Paul to prove that Abraham was accepted by God based on the principle of faith alone, because Abraham was the father of the race of Israel. By pointing to Abraham’s experience, Paul is presenting a key by which Israel could understand her own experience. Paul is careful to point out, therefore, that Abraham had nothing to boast about. He, too, was justified by faith without works, as we saw in an earlier chapter.

What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”

Romans 4:1–3

Abraham received righteousness from God, not on the basis of keeping any law or performing good works, but simply because he believed in God’s grace. And on the basis of his faith, he was credited with righteousness. Abraham received that wonderful “credit card” of God’s righteousness. As I mentioned before, even when we are not but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law” (Romans 3:27–28).

Paul makes it clear that if we have been justified by faith without keeping the Law then we have nothing about which we can boast. Boasting is excluded by the principle of faith.

In Romans 4, Paul goes on to apply this specifically to Abraham. It was important for Paul to prove that Abraham was accepted by God based on the principle of faith alone, because Abraham was the father of the race of Israel. By pointing to Abraham’s experience, Paul is presenting a key by which Israel could understand her own experience. Paul is careful to point out, therefore, that Abraham had nothing to boast about. He, too, was justified by faith without works, as we saw in an earlier chapter.

What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”

Romans 4:1–3

Abraham received righteousness from God, not on the basis of keeping any law or performing good works, but simply because he believed in God’s grace. And on the basis of his faith, he was credited with righteousness. Abraham received that wonderful “credit card” of God’s righteousness. As I mentioned before, even when we are not measuring up to how we ought to live, our faith is still credited for righteousness. We can never pay in the “cash” of good works; but we can extend God’s “credit card” of righteousness.

In his letter to the Corinthian church, Paul reminds the Corinthian Christians what type of people they had been before they came to Christ. Then he points out the same lesson: There is not any room left for boasting.

Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”

1 Corinthians 1:26–31, NIV

Grace Is Sufficient

When the grace of God is operating in our lives, we are not limited to our own resources. In fact, God’s grace begins just where our own resources end. As long as we can handle the situation in our own ability, in our own strength and in our own wisdom, we do not need God’s grace. When we come to the end of our own ability, strength and wisdom, however, that is where God’s grace comes into operation.

Paul says in essence, “If you want the grace of God in an abundant measure, then get in a hard place in the will of God.” The more difficult and impossible our circumstances become, the greater then will be the measure of God’s grace available to us.

Take to heart what Paul says here. “I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses.” Surely, this does not make sense! How could Paul delight in things like that? Paul says, “I’ve learned a lesson. Difficulties make me weak; they bring me to the end of my own ability. However, when I am weak, then I am strong!”

God’s grace will not force its way through our strength. As long as we are strong, God’s grace stays in the background. But when we are weak while moving in the will of God, when we have run out of all our own ability, that is where God’s grace comes flooding in. The greater the need, the greater the measure of God’s grace.

Receive His Grace

In closing this book I want to give you the opportunity to respond to the grace that has been offered to you in Christ. As I have ministered the Word of God through the years, I have endeavored to move beyond merely giving lectures about spiritual truth. I always seek to give those receiving the teaching the opportunity to respond and apply what has been taught in a personal and meaningful manner.

As you have read through these pages, you may have come to the realization that in some measure you have been trying to earn, or to become worthy of, the blessings of God in your life by keeping rules, or by endeavoring to measure up to some standard of what a “good Christian” should be. You may feel, at least in some areas of your life, like a “tree in the desert”—never fully experiencing the presence of God’s grace and favor in the atmosphere surrounding your life.

If you can identify with this in any way, then I would encourage you to make a decision to stop working and to receive by faith the grace that God has freely bestowed on you in Christ Jesus. I would encourage you to pray the following prayer out loud:

Dear Father,

I come to You now in the name of Your Son, the Lord Jesus. I confess that I have tried to earn Your blessings and favor by my own efforts. I have tried to attain a personal standard of righteousness that I thought would make me acceptable to You. I ask forgiveness in the name of Jesus. Would You please deliver me from any form of darkness that has surrounded me because of the curse of the broken law?

I humble myself before You, and I confess that I am receiving Your grace and favor by faith. I make the decision to stop working for Your favor. And I humbly declare that I am righteous before You, not based on anything I have done, but on the righteousness of Christ, which has been given to me based on His finished work on the cross on my behalf. I confess that it is a free gift, not bestowed upon me because of any righteousness or merit on my part.

I ask that throughout my life You would, by Your Holy Spirit, enlighten me whenever I begin to rely on my own strength and efforts to live righteously before You. I ask that in my times of need You would grant me the understanding always to turn to the graces that are in the fullness of Christ to overcome the sins and weaknesses in my life. I declare that I trust in Your grace alone to walk with Christ.

Thank You for the grace You have granted me. Thank You for the grace that has called me into Jesus, forgiven me of every sin, justified me by His work, made me alive by His Spirit and raised me up with Him to sit in heavenly places. Thank You for Your grace, which is always sufficient for all my needs for all of my life.

Now, Father, help me as I go forward in Your grace, serving You, representing You and touching the lives of others with the power of Your grace.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Buy this full book at: Amazon LINK  & get free Study notes from Derek Prince Ministries: LINK

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