Creflo Dollar - Understanding Before and After The Cross Truths - Part 2
Do you have your Bibles with you? Go with me again to the book of 2 Timothy chapter 2, in the Amplified Bible. 2 Timothy chapter 2, and verse 15. And I want to again lay this. I think something really happens. There's a level of clarity that happens when we can just specifically see what was true before the cross and what is true now after the cross. When I was doing some teaching in school, in public schools, we used to have these tables and on one side you would have this and on the other side, and it would make things clear to the students that they can just see how things lined up. And I guess that's the thing I'm kind of seeing is that if we can just see what happened before Jesus died on the cross, and what happened as a result of him dying on the cross and never forget that something happened as a result of him dying on the cross. I think it'll be a blessing to you.
So I'm not gonna spend a... well, lemme hold on. I don't plan on spending a lot of time on this, but I really want you to nail this. If for no other reasons, just give you the note so you can go home and really dig into it yourself. But there's one big thing that happened after the cross that we've never really talked about. And that is obedience changed after the cross. Obedience under the old covenant was based only in your actions. Obedience after Jesus died and obedience in the New Testament is a complete different thing.
So when you don't know that and you read the New Testament, you're reading it in light of what obedience was in the old covenant and missing the real story of the impact that Jesus made as a result of him. Not only the death, the burial, the resurrection, but he was seated with him, amen? And he's coming back again. And that is the completeness of that gospel. So let me begin in some areas and then we will go ahead and get to that ultimate place where I want to be. And the only reason I want to go to Titus is 'cause Titus shows us this word, "Godly". That he'll teach us how to be godly and he'll teach us not how not to be ungodly.
That's a big deal because we think ungodly and godliness is just based on wickedness and it's based on whether or not God's involved in your life. And when you do things and feel no need to ask him to bless it, that's ungodly. And we need to begin to look at these things and rightly divide the truth of this. So, you ready? All right. Now, 2 Timothy, chapter 2:15 says, "Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved, tested by trial, a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing, and accurately dividing and rightly handling and skillfully teaching the word of truth".
And you've gotta always ask yourself which word of truth, you know what I'm saying? The Word of God. Which Word of God? Or is this the word of Christos? Is this the word of Christ? Is this the gospel word that Jesus spoke about? That's very, very important. And there's a correctly analyzing and a skillfully teaching, and if you can correctly analyze something, you can incorrectly analyze it and we've gotta wake up to that. It's just not taking the Bible. Somebody says, "I read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation". Well, you are of most people very confused probably, you know, 'cause it's not written like for you to do it that way, it's rightly dividing this thing.
Now, let's look at Romans 6:14, and then I can go ahead and get started. Romans 6:14. And verse 14 says, "For sin shall not have dominion over you: for you are not under the law". The law it's referring to is the Mosaic law. "You are not under the law, but under grace". There's a lot to be talked about even when you talk about the law, because we're... you know, most the argument has been... well, you're not responsible for the ten commandments anymore. The ten commandments, they're from God. They represent God's character. So that's why Paul repeats it in the New Testament, but the change was the Holy Spirit is now gonna administer these godly morals that rules and regulations could not minister. Under the Abrahamic covenant, which is divided up into civil law, ceremonial law, and moral law. Those are the three things you see in the Mosaic covenant. Civil, ceremonial, and moral law. The ceremony of sacrificing the animals was there.
So what happens is you got 613 of them, 10 of them represents the very character of God and is eternal. It is eternal, but you don't see these things come to pass by performance-based stuff. We're trying to perform to become moral, that's why it failed and that's why God set it up for you to fail but the law was perfect, okay? But we were not. And so in the New Testament, you have the Holy Spirit as administrator of those moral things. And Paul repeats everything except a Sabbath day. Why? Because in the New Testament, Jesus is our Sabbath. He say Sabbath is not a day, it is a person and Jesus is our Sabbath. And so you don't have to deal with that argument.
You know, that before the cross, it was moral law, we're trying to be administered by civil law and ceremonial law, and all the dos and don'ts to try to achieve morality. But under the New Testament, you have the Holy Spirit that's gonna give you a desire to do what pleases God. The Holy Spirit that's going to start working in you and moral character and Christian conduct begins to appear by the work of the Holy Spirit so you won't ever be able to boast about where you are going and where you ended up. You're still trying to figure out. You know, for some of us, "How did I get this way? Why am I thinking this way? Why don't I want to do what I want to do? What happened to that desire"?
He's given you a new desire, a new want to, and has the great ability to take away the old want to, that is the administration of the Holy Spirit that we just, we gotta give credit to. And it takes time to peel this onion to look at that. Everything that I've just said to you took me months to teach and to explain to our congregation over and over and over and over and over and over again. My wife said I was telling her about how important it is for repetition. And she says, "Well, you're good at that. Yeah, you will. You will". I said, "I am, I'm gonna talk it". You know, because sometimes the word preaches is like, well, I've already preached that before. Like the whole world has heard it. And you know, the people come to church every Sunday looking for something new and I'm like, "You didn't get what I said last Sunday".
And so I just played a trick on them one time. I just gave the same sermon I preached the last week a new title, and they came up talking about, "Woo. That was good". I said the same thing I preached last week. Amen? Okay, so let's get into the before the cross and after the cross. Let's look at a couple of scriptures here in the NIV. Matthew 22 and 29 in the NIV and then Colossians 2 and 8 in the NIV. Matthew 22 and 29 in the NIV he says, "Jesus replied, 'You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.'" Wow. You're in error 'cause you don't know the scripture and the power of God. That's powerful. And then look at Colossians 2 and 8 in the NIV. Colossians 2 and 8 in the NIV says, "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ".
You see what he says? Make sure that nobody takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophies. That is so powerful. And so now, that's why I feel like I need to continue this because a lot of that's going on. All right? Number one, before the cross. Before the cross, we were blessed only when we obeyed and cursed when we failed to obey. So before the cross, you were blessed when you obeyed, you were cursed when you when you did not obey. In fact, look at this very clearly. Deuteronomy 11:26 and 28, and you can just go to the King James. Deuteronomy 11:26 and 28.
Now, as you can tell, my objective this morning is to get this out to you. I'm not trying to have church. If I want to have church, I can just put this down and just start screaming and we can just have a little cartwheel service, but I'm trying to get this to you so you can think about it, and then as you attempt to go forward in the gospel of grace, sometimes when you're ministering to people and you say, "Okay, well let me do this first, and then maybe they can see the contrast, and then I can start talking to 'em about some other things that will really bless their lives". Okay. So look at Deuteronomy 11:26. It says, "Behold, I set before you this day," what? "A blessing," what? "And a curse".
All right, that's what it was before Jesus died and was raised up from the dead. Before the cross there was set before you a blessing and a curse. Now, that you're born again Christian under grace, you can't use that, you can't use that. That was before the cross, and before the cross, we were blessed when we obeyed and we were cursed when we failed to obey. The issue is, I think the church today with grace teaching going out and faith teaching going out and then the normal traditional things, we've seen the church now teach and demonstrate trying to live in mixtures. You know, work out your own salvation. We say it by grace, okay? Mixtures. And anytime try to mix something, you get nothing. You get nothing.
And, you know, we'll take a little of the new and put it with a little of the old. We were warned about that. New wine and old wine skins, you lose the benefit of both the container and wine. So you gotta look at that carefully. So now that was what it was like before the cross. What was it like after the cross? You're blessed not necessarily because of our acts. After Jesus came, after he was raised from the dead, we're blessed not necessarily because of our acts. We are blessed in before the cross, it was all because of our acts. We're blessed because of what we did and cursed cause of what we couldn't do. All right? But now after the cross, we're blessed not necessarily because of our acts, but because we are his redeemed. We are blessed because we are his redeemed. We are blessed because of Jesus.
Galatians chapter 3:13 and 14, let's read that again. Galatians 3:13 and 14. Before the cross, I'm blessed because of my obedience, okay? After the cross, I am blessed because I am his redeemed. Verse 13 says Christ has what redeemed us from what? The curse of the law. So there is no more curse. After the cross, there is no more curse. And yet you have people who walk in the fear of a curse that has been taken care of because we have been delivered and redeemed from the curse. I think that's exciting news. I've been delivered and redeemed from the curse. "Being made a curse for us: for it is written, cursed is every one that hangeth on the tree". One tree started a curse, but the second tree and the last one ended it. Amen? Praise God. Verse 14. "That the blessing". So why? Why? "That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through," who? "Through Jesus Christ". Say this out loud:
I'm blessed because of Jesus. Not because of what I do. But because of what he did. I'm blessed because of Jesus.
Okay? And so what we understand here is that I've been redeemed from the curse of the law, and I am blessed because of Jesus. That's different from what happened before the cross. All right. Look at Romans chapter 4 and verse 8. Romans chapter 4 and verse 8. We've got to address the mentality of, "But what do you do? What do you do? What do you do? What do you do"? "What do you do"? And it's always, "What do you do"? "What do you do? What do you do"? And it's never, "Well, what do you believe? What do you believe? What do you believe"? Because if you believe right, you're gonna do right, but if you're focused on do and do, do, do, do. You remember the rich young ruler? You know, he had the answer. He said, "Good master, what do I need to," watch this, "do in order to have eternal life"?
And remember what Jesus said? Jesus tried to give him the opportunity to step away from his performance and to step into the one that would take his whole life to another direction. He said, "None is good but God". And the man didn't even hear, "It's God". "None is good, but God. Depend on God". And he ignored him. "Yeah, but what do I do"? He says, "All right, if you must know what you do, then keep the commandments". Wow. The opportunity that was passed by. And to show you how messed up the jacked-up this dude was. And then he turned around and says, "I kept all of these from my youth up". Jesus knew. "Boy, you ain't kept all of these". And so he tested him. He said, "All right, since you kept all of these, sell what you have, give to the poor, come and follow me".
And the Bible says he was sad. He was sad at that saying. Like, most people don't offer time, they are sad at that saying. "It's offering time. I'm sad". Because he had already exalted. He broke what the first command. "Thou should I not have no other god before you". Money had already possessed him. This guy missed the whole deal, had an opportunity to just break into this grace that Jesus was trying to show him. All right? So he says here in verse 8, "Blessed is the man to whom the Lord," watch this, "will not impute sin". You're blessed, the Lord is not going to impute sin. Under the Old Testament, all of our sin, we were responsible for all of our sin and we were charged with it. But on the after the cross, the Lord will not, will not, will not, not ever will he impute.
What does it mean to impute something? To hold against you or to charge to your account. So this blew my mind when I first saw it. I'm thinking like, I can't, no. Blessed is the man and here's why he is blessed. The Lord is not going to charge to your account your sin. That's mind-boggling to me. And then people are like, "Oh, that can't be true". And the reason why they did that, they panic because they know they're still, watch this, sinning. Because they never got the deal that God has delivered you from the sin man. And now he gave you a new creation who has now got you into an evolution of grace. But he can't because you keep judging yourself by what you do, that was before the cross, instead of judging yourself by who you are, that's after the cross. Amen?
I so want to teach. Yeah, I'm gonna do it. Romans 1, back up to verse 1. And look at it in the NLT. Romans 4:1, and we'll read up to verse 8 in the NLT. Hopefully, this is just start ringing and you can just get so much revelation from this. He says, "Abraham was humanly speaking," Abraham was humanly speaking, the founder of our Jewish nation. "What did he discover about being made right with God"? Genesis 15, what did he discover? 'Cause Bible says Abraham believed God and it was accounted on him for what? Righteousness sake.
What did he discover about being made right with God? Verse 2, "If his good deeds had made him acceptable to God, he would have had something to boast about, but that was not God's way". It's not God's way now. You're having good deeds and then boasting about it. That's not God's way anymore. Verse 3, "For the scripture tells us, Abraham," did what? "Believe God, and God counted him as," what? "Righteous because of his," what? "Faith in God". Verse 4, "When people work, their wages are not a gift, but something they have earned". 5, "But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgive sinners". 6, "David also spoke of this when he described the happiness of those who are declared righteous without working for it".
Declared righteous without working for it, declared righteous without working for it. Religion wants you to work for it, deserve to be declared righteous. That's not it. This thing is so awesome. Jesus is like saying, "Dude, rest, I got it and we're still trying to work so we can deserve it". 7, "Oh what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sins are put out of sight". So the sin meter has been turned off. Whose sins have been put out of sight for the sin meter has been turned off. So here's when you're gonna be tested on whether or not you believe this. When you miss the mark and then go back to the old way of not believing that what Jesus said is true, then you know you have no confidence in this grace of what Jesus has done for you. And that's gonna be the big test. It's like, you know, you did something and now you're saying, "Well, I gotta do something else to reclaim my righteousness".
You're not gonna lose your righteousness. The only way you're gonna lose your righteousness is Jesus has to lose his because in fact, your righteousness is not your righteousness. Your righteousness is his righteousness and you receive that by faith. No man will ever be right with God by keeping the law. That's book of Galatians. You're right with God because of your faith in Jesus Christ. If you understand that, say amen. And then he goes on down to verse 8, and you know, "Yes, what joy for those who record the Lord has cleared of sin". Now, so that was all stuff that happened as a result after the cross. That's what we have. Now, number two. Before the cross, God was distant and unapproachable to the people. Exodus 19 and 12. Before the cross, God was distant and unapproachable to the people.
Exodus 19:12, says, "And thou shall set bounds unto the people round about, saying, 'Take heed to yourselves, that you go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it: and whosoever touches the mount shall be surely put to death.'" I would have to say that's unapproachable. But that changed. After the cross, we have been brought near to God. Ephesians 2:13 and 14. After the cross, we have been brought near to God. And he says this, "But now in Christ Jesus," in who? "In Christ Jesus, you who sometimes were far off are made now or bought near," how? "By the blood of Christ". Verse 14, "For he is our peace, who has made both one and has broken down the middle wall of partition between us".
We are now bought near to God by the blood of Jesus. He is no longer unapproachable. You don't need a priest to come in on your behalf. You don't need a Melchizedek to show up and stand between you and God. He is no longer, he's removed that whole deal of him being unapproachable. You can come boldly to the throne of God and ask for help in a time of trouble. Hebrew chapter 4:16. Hebrews chapter 4:16. This is after the cross. He is not unapproachable anymore. You can approach God, God receives you. And that's what I just read here. "Let us, therefore, come boldly unto the throne of grace that we may obtain," what? "Mercy," mercy is what you don't deserve, you get it anyway. And he says, "And you'll find grace to help you in a time of need". That's humility right now. I humble myself to come boldly with liberty like I know I got a right to come to the throne of grace and I am no longer dealing with a God who is unapproachable.