Righteousness…And Grace…

NOTE: The below is an article which is WIP -work in progress & not Completed yet!

...Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness…But solid food is for the mature… (Hebrews 5:13 & 14)

The 1st time the Holy Spirit pointed out to me about ‘The Teaching about Righteousness’ – which was solid food for the mature Christian, I was intrigued by it and started a journey onto the discovery of Grace Vs Law…

Imagine my 2nd time– when I was reading the Red Letter Bible (words of Jesus in Red color) and the Holy Spirit pointed out that the 1st verse spoken by Jesus in the Bible also mentioned Righteousness:

Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” (Matthew 3:15)

then again 5 more times in the next couple of chapters…

Mathew Chapter 5:

6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousnessfor theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

Mathew Chapter 6:

1 “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

So it now seemed to me that both Christ and Paul took Righteousness to be important…

In the above verses spoken by Jesus, we see- Righteousness, Your Righteousness and His Righteousness…

Now Romans 5:17 is another verse that stood out…

…”For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ…”

Here 2 phrases stand out- Abundance of Grace & Gift of Righteousness

Grace is received & not earned, also there can both be Abundance and Scarcity of Grace- based on how much you are willing to receive from Him, not because of His willingness to pour out or not (John 3:34)- but rather your (un)willingness to simply take…

And Righteousness is a Gift- which is freely given and cannot be earned, and it doesn’t have a measure or quantity. It is a Unity, a Binary (0 or 1), black or white – you get it fully or you don’t get it at all- no partial measures, only the full cup…You can’t have more or less righteousness- since you can have only His righteousness, the very same full measure of Christ’s righteousness; nothing less, nothing more!

Again I looked at the treatment of the original word used in Greek for Righteousness – in the new testament, the following is the gist of it- taken from LINK

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Paul- The Apostolic Grace Preacher…

As per lot of accounts and with verses from his epistles like the ones quoted below, Paul (AD 5 – 67) seems to be the numero uno as far as grace preachers are concerned…

“the law entered, that the offence [sin] might abound, but where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20).

“even so might grace reign through righteousness unto age-lasting [aionian] life by Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 5:21).

For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. — Romans 6:14 (NIV).

“And if by grace, then it is no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.” Romans 11:6

I do not set aside God’s grace, because if righteousness could come through the law, then Christ died for nothing! Galatians 2:21

“For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: not of works lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8

Below is a small insight on same point of view:

To the unbiased believer of the Word of God, there is overwhelming proof that the secret of God’s eternal purpose and of His good news to man was first communicated by revelation to the Apostle Paul, that he in turn might make it known to others. Not only does Paul himself declare this by divine inspiration but his declarations are amply confirmed by a comparison of his message and ministry with the messages and ministries of all his predecessors. Continue reading

Watchman Nee- Amazing Grace…

Watchman Nee (1903–1972) is another Asian Christian minister, evangelist and a prolific author who was known for deep teachings and a life wrought with experience- when he was persecuted and imprisoned for his faith and spent the last twenty years of his life in prison in China. His seminal work is the 690 pages big- The Spiritual Man – for a quick look: LINK

Apart from the book –Amazing Grace who core message will be shared in detail through excerpts here, here are few quotes from his other books which reveal how Grace oriented was his outlook:

12 of his best Grace quotes from The Normal Christian Life:

  1. “Grace means that God does something for me; law means that I do something for God. God has certain holy and righteous demands which he places upon me: that is law. Now if law means that God requires something of me for their fulfillment, then deliverance from law means he no longer requires that from me, but himself provides it.” (pp.155-6)
  2. “So we can say, reverently, that God never gave us the Law to keep: he gave us the Law to break! He well knew that we could not keep it.” (p.158)
  3. “The Law requires much, but offers no help in the carrying out of its requirements. The Lord Jesus requires just as much, yea even more (Matt. 5:21-48), but what he requires from us he himself carries out in us. The law makes demands and leaves us helpless to fulfill them; Christ makes demands, but he himself fulfills in us the very demands he makes.” (p.161)
  4. “What does it mean in everyday life to be delivered from the Law? At risk of a little overstatement I reply: It means that henceforth I am going to do nothing whatever for God; I am never again going to try to please Him. ‘What a doctrine!’ you exclaim. ‘What awful heresy! You cannot possibly mean that!’ But remember, if I try to please God ‘in the flesh,’ then immediately I place myself under the Law.” (p.164)
  5. “God’s requirements have not altered, but we are not the ones to meet them. Praise God, he is the Lawgiver on the Throne, and he is the Lawkeeper in my heart. He who gave the Law, himself keeps it.” (p.166)
  6. “Though the Law in itself is all right, it will be all wrong if it is applied to the wrong person. The ‘wretched man’ of Romans 7 tried to meet the claims of God’s law himself, and that was the cause of his trouble. The repeated use of the word ‘I’ in this chapter gives the clue to the failure.” (p.169)
  7. “We think of the Christian life as a ‘changed life’ but it is not that. What God offers us is an ‘exchanged life,’ a ‘substituted life,’ and Christ is our Substitute within.” (p.180)
  8. “From start to finish, he is the One who does it all.” (p.172)
  9. “It does not matter what your personal deficiency, or whether it be a hundred and one different things, God has always one sufficient answer, His Son Jesus Christ, and he is the answer to every need.” (p.182-3)
  10. “Many Christians endeavor to drive themselves by will-power, and then think the Christian life a most exhausting and bitter one.” (p.189)
  11. “God must bring us to a point – I cannot tell you how it will be, but he will do it – where, through a deep and dark experience, our natural power is touched and fundamentally weakened, so that we no longer dare trust ourselves… At length there comes a time when we no longer ‘like’ to do Christian work – indeed we almost dread to do things in the Lord’s Name. But then at last it is that he can begin to use us.” (p.261)
  12. “We have spoken of trying and trusting, and the difference between the two. Believe me, it is the difference between heaven and hell.” (p.183)

Few of his Grace quotes from Sit, Stand, Walk:

  • Do you think that if you cease trying to please God your good behavior will cease? It is when we seek to do it ourselves that we place ourselves back again under the Law. But the works of the Law, even our best efforts are “dead works”, hateful to God because ineffectual.
  • How can I receive the power of the Spirit for service? Must I labour for it? Must I plead with God for it? Must I afflict my soul by fastings and self-denials to merit it? NEVER! That is not the teaching of Scripture. Paul tells us that it was “according to the riches of His Grace” and that this was “freely bestowed on …us in the Beloved”.
  • God brings His Son’s Finished Work and presents it to us, and then He says to us, “Please sit” (Mandarin: ch’eng tso).
  • And here is the Gospel: that God has completed the work of redemption, and that we need do nothing whatever to merit it, but can enter by faith directly into the values of His Finished Work.
  • The Christian life from start to finish is based upon this principle of utter dependence upon the Lord Jesus. There is no limit to the Grace God is willing to bestow upon us. He will give us everything, but we can receive none of it except as we rest in Him.
  • I received everything not by walking but by sitting down, not by doing but by resting in the Lord.
  • Christ Experience has now become my spiritual history, and God can speak of me as already having everything “with Him”.
  • But how can I be sure that I am “in Christ”?
    I can be sure because the Bible affirms that it is so, and that it was God who put me there.
  • Our deliverance from sin is based, not on what we can do, nor even on what God is going to do for us, but on what He has already done for us in Christ. When that fact dawns upon us and  we rest back upon it, then we have found the secret of a holy life.
  • “But what can I do?” -God is waiting till you cease to do. When you cease doing, then God will begin. Continue reading

John Bunyan- Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners

John Bunyan (1628- 1688) is known more for his book- The Pilgrim’s Progress than for his book on the topic of grace which is discussed here- Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners. 

To quote from another of his other book- ‘Saved By Grace’…

…”The words thus understood admit us these few conclusions:

  • 1. That God, in saving of the sinner, hath no respect to the sinner’s goodness; hence it is said he is frankly forgiven, and freely justified (Luke 7:42; Rom 3:24).
  • 2. That God doth this to whom and when he pleases, because it is an act of his own good pleasure (Gal 1:15,16).
  • 3. This is the cause why great sinners are saved, for God pardoneth “according to the riches of his grace” (Eph 1:7).
  • 4. This is the true cause that some sinners are so amazed and confounded at the apprehension of their own salvation; his grace is unsearchable; and by unsearchable grace God oft puzzles and confounds our reason (Eze 16:62,63; Acts 9:6).
  • 5. This is the cause that sinners are so often recovered from their backslidings, healed of their wounds that they get by their falls, and helped again to rejoice in God’s mercy. Why, he will be gracious to whom he will be gracious, and he will have compassion on whom he will have compassion (Rom 9:15).

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All of Grace -Charles Spurgeon…

…”The Doctrines of Grace DO NOT LEAD TO Sin…” – August 19th, 1883 …C. H. SPURGEON

Charles Spurgeon was & still remains highly influential among Christians of various denominations, and he is known as the “Prince of Preachers“.

He was a great proponent of Grace and spoke about in length and with great depth, but sadly we have forgotten his wise words…

Go through this string of quotes from him on Grace before you read select excerpts from his book- ‘All of Grace’.

Also to read on what Spurgeon said on Grace Vs what Radical Preachers say today on Grace: LINK and another article: LINK

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Horatius Bonar- The Everlasting Righteousness

Horatius Bonar – LINK & LINK is not so well known today to most Christians, since he lived from 1808 – 1889. He was a Hymnist (140+) and a voluminous and highly popular author. He was a prominent flag-bearer of faith, after John Bunyan (1628) and before Charles Spurgeon (1834).

His book- ‘The Everlasting Righteousness’ is a wonderful book on the topic of Grace. First Published in 1874, The Everlasting Righteousness may be the best book on the doctrine of justification by faith alone- ever written. You can read the excerpts of same below…

Let me warn you- the English is a little old & the writer is well-versed in prose as well. So you might at places find the going a bit deep & at times difficult…but I can assure you that if you persist, you will reap the reward of beautiful & heart-warming messages from this man of God…

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Holy Communion

No doubt that Holy Communion was of utmost importance to the early Church:

Acts 2:42:  And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

John 6:53-58:  So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day

Acts 20:7:  On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them…

Acts 20:11: And when Paul had gone up and had broken bread and eaten, he conversed with them a long while, until daybreak, and so departed.

1 Corinthians 11:25: Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me…

It was so even to the early heroes of faith even in the past century:

following is what Bro Kenneth Copeland has written about Smith Wigglesworth, a Pentecostal pioneer:

“…The real change in Smith Wigglesworth did not come until he started getting up every day …to take Communion. Like clockwork, every day he would begin the day remembering his covenant with Almighty God by taking the bread and the cup. Every day, he lived under the influence of that covenant. And every day, he became more and more bold – until, finally, he became one of the boldest men of God in history…” (Quoted from: LINK  & LINK)

From the above understanding, I have seen a great departure in the last 100 years, where some of the present day Pentecostals view the holy communion as a monthly affair- a solemn affair than a table of Joy & celebration and often seeing the table as a table of condemnation and judgement- whereby they often stay away from it, rather than drawing nearer to Him. The result– they lose out on the benefits of partaking, due to lack of knowledge!

Below excerpts, are taken from a wonderful book on the same topic, written by Joseph Prince- Health And Wholeness Through The Holy Communion…9789810551841 Continue reading