Creflo Dollar - When Will I Be What God Says I Am? - Part 1
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Go with me to Ephesians 2:8 through 9 in the NLT. Ephesians 2 in the NLT, and then Philippians 2:12. I'm gonna read that in King James and in the NLT. I call this this morning, "When Will I Be What God Says I Am"? When will I be what God says I am? Have you ever read a scripture and he's saying, "That's you"? But then you look at your living, and it's not you? I mean, you believe by faith that that's you, but then when you get down to looking at "Is that being expressed in my life"? it doesn't seem like that's you.
So, we're gonna introduce to you two terms today: the standing of a believer, a believer's stance in Christ, your standing in Christ, we have to know this, and a believer's state, the state of a believer, or when I use the word "state" I'm talkin' about the walk of a believer. So, it's the standard of believing you're a believer, your stance in Christ. I am the righteousness of God. That's my stance in Christ. But my state, my actual walk, may not look so righteous. There's a contradiction here. You're tellin' me I'm righteous on one hand, and then you're tellin' me to do somethin' to become, to be that. You're sayin' I am righteous, and then you're sayin' do somethin' righteous. Now, I know it's important, the stance in Christ is by faith. I gotta believe that I am who God says I am, even though I'm not expressing that yet. Y'all with me now? Hallelujah. I am.
So, I wanna start off with this to try to set up this contradiction and try to answer this question, when will I be what God says I am? Because religion, most people only come to church to hear what they already know, and I'm not tryin' to do that. We're maturing, so I wanna dig deeper. I want to challenge what you say you know, and then what happens is once I challenge what you say you know, you're so traditional about what you know, you're not hearing what I'm tryin' to show you, and then you get all upset and say, "I don't know about that". Well, that's right, 'cause you don't know everything, and I don't know everything, but as God causes us each to grow, we can't be afraid of comin' to church and hearing something you hadn't heard before. Church should not be just comin' to hear what you already know.
If I did that, if I came to church to hear what I already know, eventually I would, like, "Well, I ain't comin' to church," why? "'Cause I already know. Preacher ain't growin'. I ain't growin', so I'mma stay home". Okay, so let's dig into this. Verse 8: "God saved you by his grace when you believed". So, the only thing you had to do to be saved (past tense) is believe. How many of you believed Jesus one day? All right? So now you're saved. It's his work. You're saved, and all you did is believe. He says, "And you can't take credit for this"; see that? So, you brought nothin' to the table. You are saved by unmerited favor and grace of God. You didn't get saved 'cause you deserved it. You didn't get saved because you did something awesome. You are saved because you believed in Jesus, and you were saved, and he says, "And you can't take credit for it". Wow.
I meet a lot of Christians who love to take credit for their life. I can't take credit for it. I'm saved. And I can't take credit for it. I believe Jesus and I'm now saved. That is my stance, I am saved right now, and I can't take credit for it. So, I get to heaven because I'm saved, and I can't take credit for it, and I get there, I'm there, and I can't take credit for it. So why are you comin' up there with a long list, look at all the stuff I deserve for you to open this gate. He say, "Bruh, I'm on the gate 'cause you believed, and I saved you". Because what happens is we think God is, like, walkin' behind us to pick up our crumbs. And we're like, "All right, God, I'mma do this, and then you help me out a bit". But God'll say, "No, no, no, you can't do none of the work. There's nothing, you don't bring nothin' to the table. I'm the one that is doing the work in you".
The difference between this new covenant and the old covenant: in the old covenant, we work for God; in the new covenant, he works for us, not in a demeaning type of way, but he's doing the work. You're not doing the work. God's already seen what happens when you try to do the work. He is doing the work. Think of that. The creator of heaven and earth is working in you. Ooo, Jesus. So, "God saved you by grace when you believed. And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God". Now, here's somethin' that's gonna come up. We have confused the gift with the payment, or the earnings. You work and you earned money. When you get a gift, you don't work for a gift. I don't know what it is, we just can't get out of the mentality of what you have, you didn't work for. What you have, you didn't earn. What you have, you didn't deserve.
And there's always this part on the inside of a human that says, "But I got to do somethin' to feel like I deserve it". We even get like that during Christmas sometimes. People give gifts to you, and now, eventually you say, "Well, I know they gonna get me a gift, so I'm going to get them something". So, they deserve something because you know they gonna get you something. Well, it's not a gift anymore. A gift is somethin' that is free of charge. You didn't earn it, you didn't work for it, you don't deserve it, it's not anything that you brought to the table or qualify for. It is something that was extended to you that all you have to do is receive. I declare that the body of Christ has a receiving issue. They don't know how to receive. They keep trying to work and sweat for somethin'.
He says, "God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can't take credit for it; it is a gift from God". Verse 9: "Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done", most of us got saved in the midst of all the bad stuff we have done. Salvation is not a reward. You're not rewarded with salvation. It's a gift. "Salvation's not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it". He says it's a gift, so nobody can boast about it. You can't talk about how you deserve to be saved and how awesome you are. It is a gift that comes from God. I am saved. It is settled because I believed. That's my stance. I'm saved.
Now, my stance is not, I'm saved if I'm flawless. I'm saved if my conduct is good. I'm saved if I wear a church dress or a church collar. You see all these qualifications? You get saved for free, and then after you get saved, the church starts charging you to maintain your salvation. It starts charging you to maintain your salvation. And we still, we say, you're actin', look at you, supposed to be saved. Now I'm chargin' you to maintain it. It's kinda like, you know, yesterday I had to call, and I had to renew my club membership for my car insurance. Well, they didn't give it to me as a gift. But this is a gift God gave you. You shouldn't have to renew your salvation. And now it's in question now because your behavior did not line up with your stance. I am saved not based on my behavior. I'm saved based on my belief in Jesus, and he gave me a gift. And it's my gift. It is my gift and I'm saved no matter what I do. I'm saved. And I'm not gonna lose my salvation unless I stop believing that I'm saved. I'm saved.
Now, as long as I believe I'm saved, if you give it time, my state is gonna catch up with my stance. All right, let me stop. Everybody with me? All right, 'cause God gonna be able to do stuff he's never been able to do before as soon as he can get you outta his way. You keep tryin' to do his work. Now, interesting, Philippians chapter 2 verse 12. Philippians 2 verse 12 in the King James, he says, "Wherefore, my beloved, as you've always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence", watch this, "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling". "Well, wait a minute, I thought I was saved". You are. You're saved by your faith in Jesus Christ. "Well, why did he just tell me to work out my own salvation, and do it with fear and trembling"? See, these are the contradictions that cause splits in churches and different denominations and stuff like that.
You know, "I'm saved". No, the Bible says you gotta work out your salvation. You see? And they think they got one up on you. "I'm saved". "No, you gotta work out your salvation". But basically, what they're saying is when you're saying, "My stance is I'm saved in Christ, and no man has anything to do with that," what they're saying is, "No, you gotta work out your own salvation. You better watch out what you doing". And so, you immediately go to work because you see this scripture now. So you see one verse, Ephesians 2, speaks of a thing has been fully accomplished, while another verse, Philippians 12, refers to it as in a process of completion. One is in process; the other one's finished. One is an uncompleted process; the other one is completely finished. And so, what we're gonna see here is the power that's released when you believe in the finished works of Jesus Christ, to help what's not finished, or unfinished, to eventually catch up with what is finished.
Now, let me use some scriptures to explain this, 'cause there's no way I can explain this to you without scripture. You have to see that it's in the Bible and I'm not messin' up, I'm not makin' some kind of a new doctrine. Hebrews 10:10 in the King James. Watch this. Let me give you another illustration here. Hebrews chapter 10:10. Now here he says, "By the which will we are sanctified", we are sanctified, set aside, holy, "through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ and it's once and for all". So right here, he says your sanctification is fully accomplished because of Jesus Christ, and it's fully accomplished once and for all.
So, I say, here's my stance as a believer. I am sanctified already. I am holy already. I am sanctified by the body of Jesus and what he sacrificed in that body, and I'm sanctified once and for all. Once and for all times, I'm sanctified. Say out loud, I'm sanctified. All right, so Jesus is responsible for you being sanctified, not you. Jesus is responsible for you being sanctified. Again, look at 1 Thessalonians 5:23. Here is sanctification. Now watch this. Now watch this, this is interesting. 5:23 says, "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit, soul, body be blameless to the coming of the Lord". And he goes, "Faithfully he will do it". Look at the first part of this. "And the very God of peace sanctify you", wait a minute, I thought he already sanctified (past tense) me. Why is he sanctifyin' me right now?
Here, sanctification is an un-complete process. He's praying that God of peace will, that he will sanctify you. It is an un-complete process. One, Hebrews 10:10, it's a finished process. 1 Thessalonians 5:23, it's an un-accomplished, or an unfinished, process. Look at Hebrews 10:14. Hebrews 10:14. I'll read a couple more scriptures and then add some more talk to this. Here again, verse 14, "For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified". All right, so, I'm sanctified. My stance is I'm sanctified by Jesus Christ. And then he says, "I've been perfected forever". Because I'm sanctified, I've been perfected forever.
So, in Christ I'm sanctified right now. In Christ I am perfect. I am perfect right now in Christ, in Christ. But now, watch this. 2 Corinthians 13:11. He says, "Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect". What? Be perfect. Well, I just read that I'm already perfect. He said, "Be perfect". So why should those who have been perfected forever be told, "Be perfect"? I just read it. We just read it. You're perfected forever, and he turns around and says, "Be perfect". My stance is I'm perfected forever. My walk, or my state, is in process. Not there yet, in process. So, this contradiction, it'll leave when you understand that one refers to the believer's standing in Christ, or his position before God. He is, for example, positionally sanctified, or set apart, for God's eternal purpose. He's perfect in God's sight because he's in Christ.
So, all of who you are and all that has been settled about who you are is only because you're in Christ, period. It's because you're in Christ. Now, in the other case, it refers to believers' life on the earth, which is called his walk, or his state. His earthly life should be holy, set apart, for God's use. He should live perfectly before God. He's not doing it right now. He should, he should, he should. "But wait a minute, I'm already perfect". Yeah, in Christ. But what's your state right now? You ain't perfect now. You just cussed somebody out last night. But see, look at what I'm sayin'. But you're perfect in your stance. You're perfect when you cursed them out. You're holy when you did somethin' unholy. You're righteous when you did somethin' unrighteous. Your state won't change your stance. But your stance is workin' to change your state.
Don't get, like, some of y'all lookin' at me confused. You know you ain't perfect. That's why it amazes me whenever you point at somebody else's issue, you have to be subconscious, or consciously saying you don't have one. That's why I don't know why Christian folks judgin' folks. It's like, you already know you are not there where your stance is. You already know that. How is it that you're gonna be critical or judgmental about somebody else's state when your state ain't where your stance is? Their state might look raggedy, but the stance is intact and if they keep believing that...
Listen, you remember that time I told yo, I was counseling this guy and he had a problem with smokin' weed and he said, "I done tried everything"? I said, "Here's what I want you to do". I said, "Every time you think about smokin' weed, I want you to say, 'I'm the righteousness of God.'" He fell out laughin'. He's like, "What"? I said, "I want you to say you're ri... even if you get it up there and you start smoking, I want you to say you're the righteousness of God". He was like, "What"? And he did it. He lit it and put it on his mouth and said, "I'm the righteousness of God". He lit it, "I'm the righteousness of God". He put it on his mouth, he says, and then it dawned on him. "Wait a minute, I'm the righteousness of God". What happened? There's coming a day that you're gonna believe your stance. Watch this. And what you have to recognize is you're not responsible for this progression. God is.
Now hold, let me show it to you. Let me, you see, I gotta preach this one over here, but when you get this, ooo, all that strugglin' you tryin' to do to be what you can't be without him, he started it all. He started you at the finish line, and not at the startin' line. He went and brought you all the way up to the finish and said, "You're righteous. You're holy. You're perfect". All right? That's where you are. He called the things that be not as though they were. He called the end at the beginning. Look at these three scriptures with me real quick. Philippians 1:6 in the NLT. These are fascinating scriptures.
Philippians 1:6 in NLT. Look what he says: "And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you", you didn't start it, "will continue his work", who's work? His work. "He will continue his work until it is finally finished". When is it gonna be finished? "On the day when Jesus Christ returns". That's all he can tell you. He can tell you this, "It's my work. I started it. I'm gonna finish it, and I'll be done when Jesus returns". Oh my goodness, man, I was like, "What"? Who does that? Who does that? Do you understand what's happenin' here? God says, "I'mma start a good work in you". The day you believed and got saved, he says, "I done started the work". And he says, "Now, watch this". He says, "It's my work".
But what have we been doing? We been tryin' to make it our work. And then we been tryin to work and sweat and act like... and then we... with that, we try to make a lot more rules so we can have a lot more work. And that's why I shared this scripture with you this morning. We've not been aware of him. God is working in you. What is he doing? Finishing what he started. If you ever got saved in your life, I don't care how stupid you've been lookin' lately, God is gonna finish the work on the inside of you. He is gonna finish the work on the inside of you, and it'll be done the day when Jesus comes back. It'll be done. It's gotta be done then. It'll be done. It'll be done. Your state, even if it's five minutes before he comes back, your state will resemble your stance.