Creflo Dollar - When Will I Be What God Says I Am? - Part 2
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Let's go to the book of Ephesians chapter 2, verses 8 through 9 and Philippians chapter 2, verse 12, and I'll start off in Ephesians 2:8 through 9 in the New Living Translation. We're talking about when will I be what God says I am, when will I be what God says I am, and we're going to make a distinction between the standing and the state of the believer. What does that mean, the standing and the state of a believer? And so this is so very important because you've got to know that God's concerned about you. You've got to know that you have value. In fact, say that out loud. "I have value". Yeah, don't let anybody tell you that you're not valuable. Don't let anybody tell you that you don't matter. Don't let anybody tell you that, you know, your life is just a waste. It is not. You're here for a reason. You're here for a purpose. You have value. You matter and God is going to use you.
Somebody says, "Well, why don't he use me now"? He getting you ready. You know, there's got to be a preparation time. He's getting you ready. And so you got to be careful not to judge yourself based on where you are right now. God's not through with you yet, but you're on your way. Amen? "And so when will I be what God says I am? I know God says some things about me, but I don't appear to be like that right now. I mean, God says I'm righteous, but oh, Brother Dollar, I have just, I've done some very unrighteous things. When will I actually be what God says that I am"? I think by understanding this and... my job as a pastor is to continue to not run away from certain contradictions that we see in the Bible. People all talking about, always talking about, "Well, the Bible says this". You got to make sure you know how to read the Bible, okay, and understand how it fits, see?
So Ephesians chapter 2, verses 8 through 9. I want to go through this and just stick with it so you can get the point here. All right, so verse 8 says this. "God saved you by his grace when you believed". So when you believed, God saved you by his grace. "And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God". How many of you know if it's a gift, you didn't earn it? If it's a gift, you didn't do anything to deserve it. You were saved by his grace. You didn't deserve to be saved, but he saved you anyway by his grace. So trying to qualify for salvation is futile. Trying to do something so that you can earn salvation is a waste of your time. He says if you'll believe it, then God will do it even when you didn't deserve it. Salvation is a gift. You can't take credit for this. You didn't bring anything to the table. It is a gift from God. That's amazing how people ultimately try to do something to earn a gift.
If you do anything to try to earn a gift, it's no longer a gift. It's something that you deserved. When it is a gift, you do nothing but receive it. If it is a gift, you can't brag about the stuff you did to get it. It is a gift, praise God. You can't talk about how holier you were than somebody else. It's a gift, praise God, that God gave to anybody who believed. And look at this, verse 9. He says, "Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it". It is not a reward for the good things you have done, so nobody can boast about it. So right here it is a gift. It is something that God did for you. It is something that he made happen without your effort, without you bringing anything to the table, amen? That is your stance now as a believer. You are born again because of what Jesus did, and you didn't do nothing, but you say, "I'm saved based on what he did," that's amazing.
We love to tell people they're not saved based on what we saw them do. "They can't be saved after that". Whoa, whoa, whoa. They are saved by what Jesus did. That's their stance. Amen? And as long as they believe that, that stance is there. All right, but watch this. Now watch the contradiction. Philippians chapter 2, verse 12. Let's look at the King James and then the NLT. Philippians chapter 2 and 12. He says, "Wherefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence," look what he says, "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling". "What? You're telling me to work out my, well, over here you just said I'm saved. Now over here you saying work it out". "Baby need a pair of shoes. Work it out".
And look at this in the NLT. Philippians 2:12 in the NLT he said, "Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important". He says, "Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear". I remember when I saw that contradiction, I'm like, "Well, wait a minute. Over here he said I was saved and it was a gift and I didn't have to work to do nothing to deserve it, but over here he says work out your salvation. What's going on here"? See, one verse speaks of a thing as being fully accomplished, okay? Saved by grace. While the other scripture refers to it as in the process of completion, Philippians 2, something that you got to complete, all right? So one verse says you're already saved, all right? The other verse contradicts and says you got to work out your salvation, all right?
All right, let's look at a couple more. Hebrews chapter 10 and verse 10 in the King James. One verse speaks of a thing as being fully accomplished. The other refers to it as in the process of completion. All right, Hebrews 10 and 10 in the King James, now watch this. He says, "By the which will we are sanctified". We are sanctified, finished, accomplished. Your sanctification is finished. "We are sanctified," that's my stance, "through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all". Jesus has offered his body, and he said based on that we are sanctified. Based on what Jesus did, we're sanctified. Based on what Jesus did, we're saved. It's finished. But then look at 1 Thessalonians 5 and 23 in the King James, 1 Thessalonians 5 and 23 in the King James. Why am I showing you this? 'Cause you need to see this. You need to know that this is in the Bible, and I'm not just getting up here saying this so that when you're confronted with this with your relatives or somebody else, you'll know exactly how to explain it.
Verse 23 says, "And the very God of peace". It's like here's the intended. The very God of peace will sanctify you. Wait a minute. I just read out I am sanctified, but this is talking about sanctification. He says here sanctification is an uncompleted process. "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly. I pray God your whole spirit, soul, body be blameless to the Lord". So on one point it's finished. On the second point it's an uncompleted process. There it is again, same contradiction. And then look at this, Hebrews chapter 10:14. Let's check it out one more time and I'll explain to you what's going on. Somebody say, "The Bible contradicting itself". No, no, no. No, no, no. There is some contradictions in there, but he's not contradicting himself. He knows exactly what he's doing. We the ones got to figure out what's going on.
Hebrews 10:14 he says, "For by one offering he hath perfected", hath past tense done done it, finished, "He hath perfected, he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified". Perfected, we are already perfected forever, all right? But then check this out. 2 Corinthians 13 and 11, 2 Corinthians 13 and 11 he says, "Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect". "Wait a minute. If I'm already perfected forever, why are you telling me to be perfect like you don't know I'm already perfect? You said I was already perfect, but here you're saying be perfect". So Paul's admonishment here is, why should those who have been perfected forever be told to be perfect?
All right, so listen. This contradiction leaves when you understand the one refers to the believer standing in Christ or it refers to his position before God. In Christ I'm saved right now. In Christ I'm sanctified forever right now. In Christ I'm perfect forever right now. That's called your stance. That's your standing in Christ. You see, I am righteous because of Jesus Christ. I stand before God as if I've never sinned. That's my stance. I am holy right now in Jesus Christ. That's my stance. Are you hearing what I'm saying? I'm saying you're righteous right now. Say, "I'm righteous right now". Say, "I'm holy right now".
Now watch this. Say, "I'm perfect right now". See, that normally gets people right there, but understand he's talking about your position before God. He's talking about standing in Christ. Standing in Christ, these are the things you are. 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. That's why you're perfect 'cause you're in Christ. Now, if you're not in Christ or if you're not born again, you're not perfect. You're none of those things. Your position in Christ right now, follow me. So in the other situation, the contradiction in the other case, it refers to the believer's life on earth, which is called his walk or it's called his state. So I am perfect in Christ, but in my walk or my state living here, that's not complete yet. I'm perfect in Christ. I am striving. Really I'm not striving 'cause of what I'm getting ready to show you, but the process of perfection is being completed in this life.
So while in Christ you're perfect, in your walk, in your life, your state right now has not caught up with your stance. I said your state right now hadn't caught up with your stance, but God gave you your stance so it can... what's the word? Give me the utterance for this. Balance your state. And one day your state will come up to your stance, but you got to have the stance. You got to be standing in that place before you ever end up in that place. So I call you righteous right now, and the day you call yourself righteous eventually God's going to start performing in your walk, in your life whatever it takes for you to reach that place. Glory be to God. Glory be to God. So our earthly life should be wholly set apart for God's use. Our earthly life should be living perfect before God. That's what it should be, it should be, it should be. I'm sanctified right now. My life I'm living right now should be sanctified.
Can I be plain with you? But it ain't all the way there yet. It's still not completed, but it takes the stance to start affecting the state. It takes the stance to eventually impact your walk. You can't keep going around saying, "I'm righteous" and not end up being righteous. You can't keep going around saying that I'm holy without eventually being holy. Everything has a starting place. I love how God did it. He started us with what was finished so he can finish. Y'all don't understand what I'm saying. He started off with something finish, he calls the end at the beginning. So he called you holy at the beginning and you will end up like that, but he called it from the beginning, and you're going to see it at the end. He promised us that. In fact, let's look at some scriptures right quick.
Philippians chapter 1, verse 6 in the NLT, Philippians 1:6 in the NLT. I'm amazed at God's commitment at getting us there. One of the things that religion says is you don't need God. Work real hard to get there yourself, and God realizes human beings who have fallen in sin. What happened to the nature of man when it fell? He said, "There are certain things I just got to give them, I just got to do 'cause they can't do it". The New Testament is all about God serving us because you just can't do it, and no matter how hard you try, you ain't going to be able to do it without him. Religion tells you you can do it without him. Mammon says you can do it without him. You can't. Look at these promises. Verse 6, "And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day," what? When Jesus Christ returns.
Did you see what God just promised here? God started the work. Somebody say, "When did he start it"? When you believed, he gave you the gift of salvation. You are born again. God started it. Now here's the commitment. "I'm going to finish it". I don't care how stupid, stupid look in your life. As long as you keep believing in God, he is working in you to finish what he started. That blows my mind. While you are seated here this morning minding your own business, God is at work in you, praise God. God is using, he's using all of these things in our life, in our walk as instruments to bring us to the end so that our end will resemble our beginning. My God. But you got to start with victory in order to end up with victory. We go from victory to victory. So all of the mess in your life God said, "Let me see if I can use it. Oh, I can use that. And all of the disappointments, let me use that. And all that situation," he says, "let me use that".
See, he didn't cause the mess in your life, but he'll sure figure out how to use that mess in your life to bring you to the place where you need to be. So here's the thing that I got. I am now relaxing my hold on trying to bring myself to a certain position in my life and I am resting and trusting that God knows how to do it. Let's read that scripture again. He made the commitment to do the work. Here's where we're going over the next several months. I have to disengage that religious mindset of yours where you think that it's your work that's going to bring you to a place where you're pleasing God. That's why he says he is able to keep you from falling. You not. How many times you done failed? God says, "I'm able to keep you from falling and to present you", come on, say that again. To present you, to present you what? So the work that God's doing is getting ready to move all of the stuff, and when he finishes, I'm focusing on the finish line.
When he finishes, there'll be no fault. You're going to be presented before... see, he's got to present you before God, and he's going to say, "God, I present to you Fred Jones faultless and perfect and sanctified and righteous. This is the work that I have performed". Hallelujah. God is working in me. I dare you to turn to somebody and say, "God's working in you right now, God's working in you right now". But here's the thing we got to get. We have this mindset, bishop and I were talking about this this morning. We have this mindset all you have to do is take one step and he'll do the rest, and I'm coming against that. You don't have to take no steps. All you got to do is believe and God will do all the stepping. And see, that's the thing, you think God needs your help. God don't need you to be who he is. You need him to be who you are, and for millions of years in church we've all, religion always tells you what you got to do in order to get God to do something.
Religion says do this so God can do that. That's what religion says. If you do this, then God will do that. And what God is saying is, "Listen, I'm not walking beside you to be your wingman". He said, "I'm not walking beside you to be your wing. I'm walking in you 'cause I got to do the work from the inside out". "Well, the Lord got my back". God said, "I ain't behind you. I'm walking in you. If you walking up there by yourself, you're going to get lost. You don't know where you're going. I know where you're going. I know where you got to go. I know the fiery furnaces you got to go through. I know the situations you got to go through. I know the pain you got to go through. I know the hurt and the disappointment you got to go through. But I know you got to go through all of that because I'm preparing you for the next set of mess that you got to go through. And when you finish that mess there's some more mess over here, but the last two messes got you ready for the third mess".
And you don't realize that you are growing because of all that mess in your life, and God is showing you that, "I can take your mess and make a masterpiece out of your mess. And when I fi..." I got chills just a little bit 'cause I almost did a two and a half off the thing and ran. Let's read it again. "And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work," he will continue his work. "He is continuing his work until it is finally finished," and somebody says, "Well, when is it going to be finished"? "On the day when Christ Jesus returns". You know what the Bible says? The Bible says and when we see Jesus, we're going to be, come on, help me, like him.
I don't know how to get ready for something like that, but God says, "I'm going to have you ready. Trust me, I got you. I'm going to have you ready". "Well, Lord, it don't seem like I'm ready. You don't... see, why I lose my attitude last night? It don't seem like I'm ready". He says, "I got you. I got you 'cause I'm going to develop you from that attitude you have. I got you. I know you can't see me working in certain things because you think I only work at church". He said, "I'm working at that strip club you sneaked out and went to the other night. I'm working. I'm going to use that stripper. While she on the pole, she's going to be preaching to you. I'm working. I'm working when you went to the bar after you stood up and told everybody you were delivered from alcohol. I'm working because there's a dude right next to you just as drunk, but he got the Holy Ghost".
Somebody says, "You can't have no Holy Ghost and be a dirty vessel like that". Ain't no other kind of vessel but dirty. "The Holy Ghost don't inhabit dirty vessels". The only thing the Holy Ghost got to inhabit is a bunch of dirty vessels. If you aren't a dirty vessel, you wouldn't need him to inhabit you. But you need miss... You need Mr. Clean to jump on the inside of you, to start scrubbing you down and wiping you off. You see what church has done to our thinking? And God's sitting up there laughing like, "Man, look at them. Preacher telling them you got to do this if God going to do that, and if you don't do this, then God can't do that". And God like, "That's a fable". He said, "I know you. I know you human. I know you human. I know what I'm dealing with. You are not a surprise. The junk you do," God said, "that ain't surprising me". "God, you can't come in. This place is too holy". Well, what you doing in there?