Creflo Dollar - The Full Meaning of Grace - Part 3
If you have your Bibles, go with me to the book of Romans chapter 11:6, and Romans chapter 4, and verse 4. Right before we get into this morning's sermon, I wanna tie up some loose ends from last week, and I was just, I went home after church yesterday, and I mean, just last week, and started thinking about this, and it's gonna come up, so I might as well go over it to make sure that you have an understanding when it comes up, and it concerns work. Romans chapter 11, verse 6 in the NLT, he says, "And if by grace", Romans 11, yeah, verse 6 in the NLT, "And since it is through God's kindness, then it is not by their good works. For in that case, God's grace would not be what it really is, free and undeserved".
A lot of people think that God's grace comes by your good works. They believe more in the gospel of performance than they do in the gospel of grace, and what he says is "If it comes by your good works, then it would not be what it really is, free and undeserved". The grace of God is free and undeserved. But we still have people in the body of Christ that insist that you need to have some good works in order to get favor, and they give you requirements of what you need to do in order to get the favor of God. Well, it wouldn't be grace, the favor of God, if it is somethin' that you have to work for. It's free and undeserved. All right, look at Romans chapter 4 in verse 4. Romans chapter 4, and verse 4 in the NLT.
Now notice he says here, "When people work, their wages are not a gift". It's not a gift when you get your paycheck. You worked for that. That was somethin' that was owed to you. So when people work, their wages are not a gift, but it's somethin' they have earned, and grace wouldn't be grace if it's somethin' that you have earned. So work as a means of obtaining God's favor and grace are completely excluded from this gospel of grace. God's grace always acts first on behalf of man before man can act on behalf of God. God's grace works first on behalf of man equipping him, and now man can work on behalf of God. An illustration of that is in 1 John 4:19. The Bible says, "We love him", why? "Because he first loved us". Had he not acted on man's behalf first, we wouldn't be able to do what we needed to do second.
That's how this grace works. But now here's the thing that came up when I got home last week. What about Philippians 2:12? Go to Philippians 2:12 in the King James. Philippians 2:12, says, "Work out your own salvation". "See there, Pastor Dollar, the Bible says, 'Work out your own salvation.'" And I thought, "Man, I need to talk about that. That's gon' come up in somebody's conversation". And in verse 12, he says, "Wherefore, 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 with trembling". Now, most believe we need to do works to prove we are saved. Most people believe that we need to do works to prove that we're saved, and I call that the gospel of performance. First of all, salvation isn't somethin' you have to work for. Salvation is a free gift from God that is received, how? By faith. You don't work for salvation. It works for you.
Let me say that again, you don't work for salvation. Salvation works for you. "Working out our salvation" is very different from "working for our salvation". When Paul tells us that we need to work out our salvation, he is simply explaining that the wonderful gift that we freely receive from God is inside of us, and we bring out those beautiful attributes and character traits. We bring it out by faith. Faith, the greatest level of faith is rest. Faith is a rest, but it is faith that works, not us. So working out what is on the inside of us happens by faith. It's not happening by good works. Salvation is a gift made available to the whole world, so when he says, "Work out your salvation," he is saying, "By faith, receive all that you have been gifted with. Receive salvation".
Sozo. Receive your healing, your deliverance, your prosperity, your wholeness, and how do you do that? By faith, not by doing works to deserve it. Does everybody understand that? All right, if you don't understand it, I'm gon' stay here all the time. Did you get that? All right. "Well, Pastor, we didn't have no problem with it". Well, just in case one of those smart Christians come up to you and try to tell you, "You're supposed to work out your salvation," "I don't know what Dollar and them talkin' about," this says, you work it out by faith. You don't work. You work out your salvation. You don't work for your salvation. Your salvation is a gift, amen?
Now let's pick up where we left off last week and begin this sermon. The first thing I wanna do is we've been talking about grace and what it is. In this series, we're talkin' about a deeper definition of grace or a fuller meaning of grace. Now, this is how we define "grace". I gave you this definition last week. "Grace" is the "unmerited, abounding provision of this unrestrained operation. It's the unmerited, abounding, always growing or increasing, provision of the unrestrained operation of God's infinite love". "The unrestrained operation of God's infinite love". Now, this infinite love can only come through Jesus Christ on behalf of mankind, on behalf of man, especially for those who depend on him. It is this 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.
And last week, we began to break that down, and we were talkin' about the seven facets of grace. The first one is that grace is the operation of God's love. The second one we talked about was God's love is infinite, and the third thing we talked about before we dismissed last week was God's grace is unmerited. Now today is the most important message, I promise you, that I have ever preached. And at the time, all of 'em were the most important ones, but now this is the most important one. Man, after I finished prayin' this mornin', the Lord said to me, he says, "We gotta get this out". I said, "God, I agree. We gotta get this out," because I saw the scripture this morning in Zechariah 12:10 that said that in last days, when all of this stuff is goin' on, that God is gonna pour his grace out on the house of David. And I said to myself, "And they've gotta happen", that we gotta make sure they understand it before that time come. And then he went on, he says, "Yeah, I'm pourin' my grace out on those who crucified me".
Yeah, he presented himself to his own people, and they didn't receive him. So listen to this. This is so, so very important. I think a lot of things about the grace of God is gon' fall in place today after this, so if you don't mind, I'm gonna stick really close to my notes at this very beginning. I'll step away, but I need to make sure you get this, okay? You ready? You got your antennas up? You got your pads and your pens ready? All right, let's do this thing. Grace, number four, and we're talkin' about the sevenfold definition of grace. Grace is the unrestrained operation of the love of God, and now we're gonna get into that. Now, while it is true that sin cannot limit God's infinite love, sin cannot limit God's infinite love, there is something which is also infinite that completely restrained that love.
Now, this is before Jesus did what he did. Sin cannot limit God's infinite love, but there is something which also is infinite that completely restrained it. In other words, there's something that's also infinite that, if it were not dealt with, God wouldn't be free to love mankind the way that he can today, and what is that other infinite item? This restraining force, the only force that can restrain God's love was the infinite justice of God, the infinite justice of God which demands that sin must be punished according to the holy law. So there's God's infinite justice. God's infinite justice, if it is not satisfied, will restrain God's infinite love, and what is that justice? It demands that sin must be punished according to the law of God. Now, once you get this, you're gonna see how a lot of stuff falls in place.
Now, why is that so? Because of this, God was not free to do for sinners all that his love desired. Jesus had to come. At one time, he couldn't do all that he wanted to do for sinners until this issue was dealt with. In order that love might operate freely and without restraint, something first had to be done to satisfy every demand of God's justice. You see, if God's justice were to be satisfied by the sinner, then he must lose his life. Before Jesus died in order to satisfy God's justice with the sinner, he's gotta lose his life, for the law demands that the sinner must die. You remember this scripture in Romans 6:23? He says, "The wages of sin is", what? "Death". So in order for God to be a God whose love is not being restrained, that's gotta be satisfied. That's gotta be satisfied. You just don't sin and there's no justice that comes with it unless his justice is fully satisfied. If you understand that, say, "Amen".
But if the sinner be put to death, think about this, if the sinner be put to death, no opportunity remains for love to operate in his behalf 'cause he's dead. So it's clear that, if God's justice was to be satisfied and love left free to operate, that God himself had to supply that which was needed to satisfy that infinite justice. God's love found a way to satisfy his own justice. Look at God. God's love found a way to satisfy his own justice and thereby set free or set love free to operate without restraints. God found a way to satisfy his justice. It had to be paid for. Whatever they did, that's what you see in the Old Testament. When you did something, somebody had to die. Even, you know, at the bottom of Mount Sinai, when they received the law, when everything opened up and they all fell and went straight to hell, they got God's justice. That was justice. God's justice had to be satisfied. I'm so glad that's not like that today.
See, I want you to appreciate your Almighty God, who said, "I gotta find a way to satisfy my justice so that my love won't be restrained". Now, look at 1 John 4:10 in the NLT. 1 John 4:10 in the NLT, and then 1 John 2:2 in the King James. All right, 1 John 4:10, if you're there, say, "Amen". "This is real love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins". Now, we've heard that, for the most part. "He sent his Son to take away our sins," but today you're gonna learn now, "How did all of that happen"? 'Cause his Son can't take away our sins until this infinite justice has been satisfied, so let's go to 1 John 2:2 in the King James. Somebody says, "Oh, I feel like I'm in school". Oh, you in school this mornin'. You gotta get this.
All right, so here's this word, "propitiation". And verse 2, says, "And he is", referring to Jesus, "He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world". All right, now watch this carefully. The word "propitiation," if you just separate it and define it on its own, it means "compensation," it means "payment," it means "peace offering," and it also means "ransom paid". Oh, my God. "Compensation, payment, peace offering, ransom paid". Now, I thought about it, and I'm like, "Oh, wow, I gotta study a little deeper. I gotta study a little deeper". Look at what I found, "Propitiation," it is "that which satisfies divine justice". "That which satisfies divine justice". It was the payment that satisfied divine justice. It was the compensation that took care of divine justice. It was the ransom that was paid to take care of God's divine justice.
Somebody says, "Well, how's that so"? Well, I can see it. Jesus had to become the payment and take upon everybody's sin and say, "God, I am the satisfaction and the payment and the compensation for everything that anybody would do wrong. Is that enough to satisfy your justice"? "Yes, it is. So that is enough to take care of every man's sin. Now I'm free to love with no restraints". Glory be to God. So apart from the death of Christ, God cannot deal with fallen man on any other basis than the law and justice. If you take Jesus out of the situation, subtract the ransom and the payment out of the situation, the only way that God can deal with mankind is through the law and through justice, which means, the wages of your sin, you would have to die, and had Jesus not shown up to pay the ransom every time you...wait a minute.
Some of us would've been dead. I'd have been gone. I'd have been gone. You better be thankful for God. You'd have been gone. You would've been dead and in hell because that justice was infinite, but when Christ died, the restraint upon God's love was removed, and love set free to act. God's love is free to operate in grace. That's why when you start acting crazy, out of grace his love can still be on your crazy self, and stuff happened that you know wasn't supposed to happen for you, but it happened anyway because his justice has been satisfied, and there are no more restraints on his love. Grace, then, is more than love. It is love operating righteously in view of the fact that the penalty for sin has been paid. Something was done, listen to this, something was done for God on the cross.
Think of that. Think of that. Somethin' was done for us on the cross, I know, but somethin' was done for God on the cross. What was it? He became free to fully exercise his love without compromising his justice. Mm, oh, my God, did y'all get that? Ha-ha-hah, oh, all right, so make it personal. "He is free to love me without compromising his justice," in other words, all the stuff you do that doesn't line up with God's Word. And I'm not talkin' about breakin' the big ten. I'm talkin' about your bad attitude, your little nasty comments. I'm talkin' about all the stuff you do to people. And, see, what grieves the Holy Spirit even today is how we treat people. I'm talkin' about all of that.
If Jesus hadn't been the ransom to fully satisfy his justice, then there's no way God could turn his face or turn his head away from the stuff that you've done, but, see, every time he looked at your bad behavior and your sin, he can't help but to look at you through Jesus, the sacrifice and the ransom, and he sees that his justice has been satisfied, so now he can fully and freely love you with love that's runnin' you over, tryin' to do you good and make you happy, and the Bible says the goodness of the Lord will change your mind, change your direction. I don't know if y'all, I'm about to fall out up here, I don't know if y'all...what?
So, now you see, when people come up and they try to condemn other people, they're ultimately saying that Jesus's ransom was enough of a payment for grace to be free and undeserved. Love give me a moment, wow. Wow, that's just how great thou art, you see? You understand when I say, "I got to serve him"? I got to praise him. I got to take all of the doggin' and the talkin'. I got to take all of it, but look at what he has done for you and for me. Look at what, Jesus came as the compensation for what you couldn't afford. Even you goin' to hell would not have been enough to satisfy and pay everything that he did, and I don't understand people tryin' to talk about Jesus, dog on Jesus.
"I don't believe in Jesus. He was just a man". But he was your payment. If it were not for Jesus, you would not receive the mercy and the grace and the love and the forgiveness. That's why your crazy will never be able to match his grace. Oh, my goodness. Oh, my God. I'm not talkin' some doctrinal teaching for debate. I know this is true. Have you ever had God to do somethin' for you that you know you didn't deserve? Have you ever had God to open up a door in your life, and you know it should've stayed closed? Glory be to God. Have you ever had God save somebody in your family, and they were no good for nothin', dirty, but he saved them anyway, sanctified, filled 'em with the Holy Ghost? And if that's not enough, look at what he's done for you.