Creflo Dollar - The Full Meaning of Grace - Part 1
Now, this morning we're gonna begin a series or a part of this series that we're talking about now, we're gonna look at a deeper definition of grace. We need a fuller meaning of grace. I'm teaching you how to live by grace, but I don't think people really understand what it is. What we do understand is correct, but it's so much more, unmerited favor. Absolutely right, but it's so much more, love. Absolutely right, but it's so much more and so today is going to challenge you to understand what grace is and to look at your life and discover the areas that you've been doing and living by that's not the grace life.
So let's begin as we look at this in John chapter 1 verse 14 and 17. Let's look at it in the King James and in NLT. John 1:17. The objective of the next couple of weeks is that we want a fuller, more comprehensive, more practical and complete understanding of what this grace is. All right, verse 14 says this, "The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld his glory, the glory, as of the only begotten of the Father". Now, who is the only begotten of the Father? Jesus. All right, so watch this, Jesus the only begotten of the Father watch this, "Full of grace and truth". Now, the truth is grace. So Jesus is full of grace, which is the truth. Jesus full of grace, which is the truth. Now, move on down to verse 17 in King James. "For the law was given by," who? "Moses, but grace, which is the truth came by," who? "Jesus Christ".
So please understand something. Jesus Christ is the source of all of this grace. He is full of grace and they're people who are more connected to religion and doing church, but not Jesus. The grace that we're talking about, grace and Jesus are one. Grace is not just a curriculum, it's not just a teaching, grace is a person. Jesus is full of grace, which is the truth. It's Jesus. It's Jesus. So that you won't get so lost every now and then you need to remind yourself when you're talking about grace, we're talking about a person. Jesus, is that person full of grace and truth.
Now let's go back, let's look at these two verses in the NLT. Oh man, what, what all these scriptures in teaching. Sometimes at church, you just got to get some teaching. Don't get mad at that. Church should have never become an entertainment hour. And we spent years learning how to do church and where did they leave us? It left us with the situation where we don't know how to do life. We don't know what to do when the finances are short, we don't know what to do when sickness knocks on the door. We don't know what to do when we feel offended and hurt. We don't know what to do, and so we gotta get fed. Verse 14. "So the Word became human," yeah, "And made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love". Notice how he's translated grace here. "He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness and we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father's one and only son". Unfailing love, love that cannot fail, won't fail.
Verse 17. "For the law was given through Moses, but God's unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ". His unfailing love, his love that will not fail, came through Jesus Christ and it's called grace. Now, let's deal with some practical things here. Grace never, ever means a license to sin. Grace never means permission to sin. Grace never means tolerance and permission to just continue to misbehave, that's not what grace is. Grace still has this objective, holiness is still the objective of grace. Now lemme show you how religion has done to us. It's okay for the most part for long time to hear that grace is a license to sin. It is not a license to sin as some people think on the contrary, grace is, is that which prevents a believer from sinning. Grace is what stops you from sinning. Grace is not what causes you to sin.
Somebody says, "Well, you know, I love the message of grace, but you know, we gotta, we can't talk about grace too much 'cause people get to hearing that grace too much they're gonna start living careless lives". No it's 'cause they're not hearing it and it's 'cause they don't understand it. Grace is never responsible for you sinning. You can't hop in the bed with Miss Bessy and then hop out time out, "Well, I'm under grace". Grace didn't had nothing to do with that. Grace is not a license or permission to sin, but grace is what will help you to stop sinning. Grace prevents sin. Think of that. Grace prevents sin. Now because of this, there's a lack of understanding of grace and so it is necessary to consider the true meaning of grace.
Now I'm gonna give you what I feel is the complete definition for grace. If you can just put that on the screen, 'cause it's long, and then I'm gonna work on breaking it down. Here's what I believe grace is. Grace is unmerited, abounding provision. When something abounds, it continues to increase. Grace is unmerited, that means you can't do anything to deserve it. It's unmerited, abounding provision of the unrestrained operation of God's infinite love that comes through Jesus Christ on behalf of man, especially for those who depend on Him. So you see why it's gonna take some time to break this down? It is the unmerited abounding provision. Grace is a provision and it's nothing you can do to get it, nothing you can do to deserve it, it's unmerited abounding, constantly increasing provision. It's provision. Grace is provision. It's provision of the unrestrained.
So at one time, this love was restrained, but it's provision of the unrestrained operation. There's an unrestrained operation of God's infinite love that's over us. A love that can't be restrained, that's free to operate and it all works through Jesus Christ but and it works on behalf of mankind. I'll show you that grace was given for mankind for you. Somebody, won't, won't God show Satan some grace? Grace wasn't given for Satan. Hell was given because of what he did. Grace was given for mankind, especially, here're the ones who are gonna really walk in it, especially those who depend on him. Especially those who depend on him. Whoa. So if you're, if you've made your life up and made a declaration of dependence, boy, you're gonna bump into this abounding provision of God's unrestrained operation of his infinite love that works through Jesus Christ, especially for those who depend on him. Amen.
All right now, let me see if we can break this down. Let's start off with this word, providence, God's providence. It's literally talking about his care of everything that he created. God's providence, his protective care. It's the protective care of God in his provision for all of his natural creation. In other words, God's providence is, that all of his natural creation, he has provided nourishment and care for it. It is God's providence is all of everything that God created, he had to provide the care and the nourishment for it. Let me give you a few examples until you can get this. For example, rain, sunshine, and the elements in the earth are part of his provision or providence for plant life. He created plant life and now he has provided the necessary provision and nourishment for plant life. Sun and rain. If you understand that, say, "Amen".
Look at another one, food. Food for animals and all other things needed to sustain their lives, that's a gift of God's care and God's providence. So if he created animals, he's committed to make sure that they have food and all the things they need for care and nourishment. So also our food and clothing and shelter and everything needed for the wellbeing of man's natural life. So the wellbeing of our natural life, God is committed through his providence provision so that he has available all of the nourishment you'll ever need, all of everything you need to care for your natural life. I'll even go farther than that. There's probably no sickness in this world that somewhere on the earth, God got something man, just trying to discover what all of it is. That's his providence. God's providence for his creations though, how do I say this? Because of man sin in the garden, it's partially withheld and partially limited by the curse because of sin, but his providence, and his nourishment, and his care for mankind has never failed. Now, if you understand all that say, "Amen".
All right, now watch this. Grace is a similar, great and abounding provision of God. Grace is like the food that was provided for the animals. Grace is like the sunshine that was provided for plant life. Grace is a similar provision provided by God but instead of being for the physical creation, it is essentially for the spiritual realm. Grace is a provision for the spiritual realm. It is a provision of God to restore all that was lost spiritually because of man's sin. And think about this man's sin and lost his whole relationship with God. And God says, all right, I am gonna create a new creation in man, but I gotta get a provision for that new creation to be nourished and cared for once man gets it, glory to God. It's law spiritually because of man's sin.
Now it makes it possible, he says, to sustain a new creation, a new creation, that's gonna be on a higher plain than any other creation. When you got born again, the old you departed, the new creation came on the inside. In order to nourish that new man in you, God had to provide grace 'cause that's the only way he can care and nourish you. So, when there's situations that happen in your life and you feel condemned, grace has got to come in to nourish that new man, to keep you in the place you ought to be, 'cause the devil's gonna try to destroy you, but he has nothing like the grace of God nourishing your new man and now everything about you comes from that new man out. Your entire value system and who you are, is based on that new man that you now have. I am the righteousness of God that was given to me through the grace of God and now that righteousness in me, flows out of my new man, affects my soul and I now wear the identity of righteousness. Y'all you're getting this? This is so strong.
So grace is God's care and nourishment for the spiritual realm designed to nourish the new creation once you say, "I believe Jesus," and the old man leaves and the new creation comes in, grace is now what's gonna keep you nourished and keep you right and never, ever go back to the devil and the devil says, wait a minute, I only got one thing, if they don't believe it, I can get 'em. Oh, that's true. If they don't believe it, I can get 'em. If they don't believe it, I can get 'em. And religion has been Satan's attempt to keep you away from this gift of grace. This great provision of God is summed up in Romans chapter 8:32, turn there. This great provision of God is summed up in Romans chapter 8 and 32. This is awesome. Now watch this. "He that spared not his own Son," well, he that spared not grace, you see that? "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all how shall he not with him also freely give us all things"?
Alright, so now watch this. He nourished us with Jesus, grace, so he can give us all things. He nourished us with grace so he can give us all things. There is nothing that God can't do for you when you believe in Jesus and begin to allow this grace to show up in your life. Now, as that was all the bulk of what we're doing. So now let's break it down, I wanna talk about sevenfold definition of grace which gives me opportunity to break down that big definition and also break down what we're talking about. Now, I like to get stuff in you so it can be moving around, so then when I say it in a clearer way, you like the light bulb comes on and you really get what happens here. All right?
So what is grace? Sevenfold definition of grace? Here's the first slice. The first slice. Grace is the operation of God's love. Grace is the operation of God's love to them that believe and receive Jesus and receive this providence and this provision of grace. Now I'm gonna go through several scriptures, in fact, five right here, and I want you to see if you can locate the operation of grace in each one of them. All right? First one, John 3:16. You don't have to turn there, I hope you know that. For God so what? "Loved the world," all right, what's his operation? "That he gave his only begotten Son," and his Son is grace, right? So God so loved the world did just like Titus, he's made salvation available to the whole world. All right. He loved the whole world, God so loved the whole world, "That he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever," what? "Believeth in him, believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life".
This is an operation of God's love. That I love you so much, I gave my son so that you won't perish, but have everlasting life. We take that so lightly. I'm telling you, he loved you. I mean, which one of your kids you gonna give up? Which one of your kids are you willing to give up? And I'm gonna say this ahead of time, I'll say it again, Jesus died for his enemies. That's mind boggling. He died for his enemies. Now you think about somebody that'll dog you out, gave you a hard time and you like, I ain't dying for them. Jesus died for his enemies. That's an operation of his love that came by grace, that came by Jesus.
Look at the second scripture, Hebrews 2 and 9 in the NLT. Hebrews 2 and 9 in the NLT. He says, "What we do see is Jesus, who for a little while, was given a position a little lower than the angels and because he suffered death for us," look at that operation. He died for us, "He is now crowned with glory and honor". So when I tell him, "I love you," we see him operating like this. Yes, by grace, Jesus tasted death for everyone. So when I talk about, "I love you," there's an operation of it. He died for you. He died for, listen, he died for everyone that is ever gonna be born on the earth, so they would all have the same opportunity to believe him. Let's keep going.
John 1 and 16. The giving of the Son of God in death for every man is said to be by grace. Is said to be by grace. For God so loved the world gave his own begotten son, that was by grace. John 1:16. He says, "From his abundance, we have all received one gracious blessing after another". From his abundance, grace and blessings after another. See, look at the operation of God's love, grace upon grace. One blessing after another. Grace upon grace and I'm telling you, it's gonna be like, bam, bam, grace upon, grace upon grace, But all of that's gonna come from his abundance glory to God.
Be careful not to take credit for something you don't know about. Talk about what you know, be careful not to do that. I'm telling you in the name of Jesus, out of his abundance, we have received one gracious blessing after another. Has anybody ever received a blessing from God? I'm telling you it came out of his abundance. Those who received grace upon grace out of his fullness are the same who Jesus loved until the end and then John 13 and 1, he talks about those who he loved until the end. It was his disciples that he loved until the end.
Alright, now, look at this, Ephesians 1 and 4 in the NLT. "Even before he made the world, God loved us, chose us in Christ to be holy and sanctified and without fault in his eyes," before the world. How you do that? Before the world, God called the end at the beginning. He didn't wait till the end to see it, to call it, he saw it at the beginning before the end showed up and God saw at the end that you would be holy and without fault in his eyes. He knew a Jesus would come. He knew grace would be provided. He called your number at the beginning before you were born and before he made the world, glory to God. It's supposed to be.
Look at Ephesians 2 and 7 NLT. Ephesians 2 and 7. "So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of his incredible wealth of his grace and kindness towards us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus," and God says, we're gonna be the example. Somewhere around our future, I don't know maybe it's in heaven or whatever, but we're gonna be the example. We're gonna, we're gonna be the ones that he says, "Come here, you guys, who were under the age of grace, come here. You are the examples of the incredible wealth of grace that I showed". See, when you started believing in Jesus, your sin meter was turned off and the grace meter was turned on.