Creflo Dollar — Living In The Balance of Grace and Faith
I wanna take the time tonight to balance grace and faith, to show you that any time you go into the extreme in any area, it's gonna end up in error.
2 Timothy chapter 2, verse 15. He says to "study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." Rightly dividing the word of truth. Now let's look at this in the Amplified. Rightly dividing the word of truth. I want you to think about something. If you can rightly divide something, what if you wrongly divide it?
The Amplified says: "Study and be eager to 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 [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth."
But what happens if you don't correctly analyze? What happens if you don't accurately divide? Could it be that we are living life as if Jesus has never gone to the cross and died and shed his blood? Because there were requirements before he went to the cross and something changed after the cross.
We celebrate the change. We talk about the blood of Jesus. We talk about how he has delivered us from our sins. But somehow, many continue to live life as if Christ hadn't died on the cross. So if he died on the cross and he shed his blood, what's the difference? I mean, what does it mean if he died on the cross, he shed his blood, and we're still living the same way, thinking the same way? So did the requirements change? Are there requirements before the cross that changed after he went to the cross? Are there certain things that was required of us before the cross that changed afterwards?
Now let's go to Deuteronomy chapter 28 and just hang in here with me. I've been biting on this for over a year and I feel like I got it now and I wanna share it with you. Deuteronomy chapter 28 and let's look at verse 1 through 3. I want you to see this. Verse 1 says: "And it shall come to pass, if thou..." Underline those two words, "if thou." "And it shall come to pass if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth."
Verse 2: "And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee," watch this, "if thou..." Underline that again. "If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God."
Verse 3: If you do that, "Blessed shalt thy be in the city, and blessed shalt thy be in the field," if thou. So in these first three Scriptures, if thou would keep the commandments the result's the blessing. If thou, if you do first, if you first keep the commandments, then God secondly will see you blessed. If you do it first, then you'll get the blessing second.
And look at verse 15. He said, "But it shall come to pass, if thou..." Underline that again, "if thou." "If thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee." If thou. So again, if you do not keep these commandments, then secondly the curse comes on you because of what you do first.
In both cases, it's what you do first that determines what's gonna be done to you second. So according to what we just read, verses 1 through 3, in order the requirements for the blessing, the requirements for the blessing before Jesus went to the cross, right here, was that you first would have to keep the commandments in order for him to be able to bless you. But is that so after the cross?
Well, let's go to Galatians chapter 3. Galatians chapter 3, verse 13 and 14. Verse 13 says: "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree," 14, "that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles," how? "Through Jesus Christ." So after the cross, the blessing comes on you through Jesus Christ. So after the cross, it is what Jesus Christ does first to enable you to be blessed second. Oh yeah.
Now, listen. Am I saying that obedience is not important? No, no, no, no. Look at Romans chapter 5:19. I wanna show you what's happening here before and after the cross. Romans 5 in verse 19 says this. He says, "For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners." You know, no man did anything to be made sinners, it was the actions of one man, Adam, that was responsible before everybody was born. "So by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous."
It wasn't by any act of your own that made you righteous, but it was by the actions of one man that made you righteous. And notice he says, "So by the obedience of one." By the obedience of one. His perfect obedience. Before the cross the requirement was you first had to keep the law that would enable God second to bless you. But after Jesus went on the cross and shed his blood, it is now what Jesus did first in perfectly being obedient which now enables me to be obedient and through him I get blessed not because of what I did first but because of what he did first.
What happened? The order changed. It is not what I do first that enables what God will do. It is now what Jesus has already done that now enables me to be able to do what I could not do by myself. Turn to your neighbor and say to them, "You need Jesus." Okay, let's go on now. Now, let's look at Matthew chapter 19, verse 16 and 17. Matthew chapter 19, verse 16 and 17, and now let's look at this.
Let's see this has gotta work throughout everything now. If you find one area where this string* doesn't work you've gotta throw it all away. So now let's look at the area of salvation. Verse 16: "And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?" So he's interested in what do I have to do to have eternal life?
Now, there's something very interesting taking place here because look at how Jesus responds. "And he said unto him, Why calleth thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou will enter life, you have to keep the commandments."
So the answer to the man's question, "How do I have eternal life?" Jesus answered him based on the requirements before he went to the cross. Because Jesus was still operating as a prophet under the old covenant, Jesus was still operating in the dispensation before he went to the cross. And at that time the correct answer was, "If you wanna have eternal life now, you first have to keep the commandments and then you will have eternal life." But is that so after the cross?
Well, let's look at the book of Acts chapter 16, verse 30. And you know the story of Paul and Silas who were arrested. They're in jail. They sang and they praised God. Their earthquake showed up, shook the jail. The jail doors opened. The guard now is freaking out because he's, like, "Man, what is going on here? I might as well kill myself 'cause they're gonna kill me when they find that y'all got out."
Verse 30: "And he brought them out, and he said, Sirs," the jailer, "what must I do to be saved?" Now what we just saw was the rich young ruler asking, "What do I need to do to have eternal life?" Similar questions. "What must I do to be saved?"
Look at the answer, verse 31: "And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and if your house believes like you believe, and then your house will be saved too." Now, I said it like that because some people think, "Well, you know, if you believe and saved, then your whole house just gonna automatically get saved." No, they got to believe just like you believe.
So notice, before the cross, it was you keep the commandment first, which will enable him to give you eternal life second. But after the cross, it was what Jesus has done first and you believing it will now enable you to be born again because of what he did. It is not because of what you did first but because of what he did in shedding his blood, now you can be saved and you can believe what he did.