Creflo Dollar - Grace Discussion
Creflo: We want to spend some time talking about this amazing life of grace. We want to spend some time talking how we're all graced right now. We've all had a very, very, very busy day, but yet this is a highlight of our day that with everything that we've experienced and seen today, it's the peace of knowing that we have God's grace available to us.
And I think right now, and I don't know about you guys, you know, I'm really understanding the Holy Spirit's part in this, and I'm understanding how, you know, people really have a hard time believing this, but, you know, when you talk about Jesus paying the penalty, this is a really radical statement. But since he paid the penalty, this is huge and I'll get it started off. There is no sin that's going to send you to hell after he's paid that penalty. That's strong. That's strong 'cause the penalty has been paid.
Now, that's hard for some people to believe, and some people are going to come back and say, you know, your behavior, behavior, behavior, your sin, sin, sin because automatic you hear, "Oh, I can now go sin," and you don't understand the Holy Spirit's part in this. He's got to start working in you and he's going to give you the desires that please God, and you know, the notion is, you know, when you say something like that to people, they automatically hear, "You're telling people they can sin". No, I'm not telling people they can sin and I'm not telling people that, you know, if you sin you're going to go to hell. I'm telling you that what Jesus did is much more powerful than sin.
Michael Smith: Yeah, there's two things, two sides to the coin that you're talking about that's truth. And you know, the idea of grace doctrinally it falls apart if you don't deal with self-righteousness and don't include the Holy Spirit. So when somebody says back to you, "So you're saying we can sin," embedded in that is an unspoken truth because I don't sin, and that right there: self-righteousness.
You know, when somebody says, "So, you know, Brother Dollar, with what you're preaching, does your doctrine mean that as a Christian I can sin"? You better hope it does because the person that's asking that question is making the assumption, "Because I don't, but you're telling me I could go ahead and do it". And there's stuff you're not even seeing there. So self-righteousness blocks a person from understanding grace. It's not true because it allows us to sin, it's true because we do. And if you don't realize that there are times you walk out of harmony with the Spirit of God if you're not walking out of even as... I don't ever walk out of harmony with the Spirit of God. You may not even be saved if you think that way.
And so Jesus before the new covenant was enacted said this. The Pharisee could not see his sin, but he could see this other guy. "He's this. He's that. He's that". But it said it wasn't the man that could see other people's sin that went home justified, but the person that could see his own. So when you ask, "So you're saying we can go ahead and sin? The way you preach we go and sin". No, it's a liberty to admit that we do, and this idea that somehow I could do something that would qualify to be as holy as God expects is ridiculous. "Oh, you're empowering people to sin". No, I'm giving you the permission to say, "I do sin".
Paul was a Pharisee of the Pharisees and he said, "But let's be honest. We all live in our lusts of our minds, everything else". So he did the law. You know, he did the external, but he was inwardly dead. So that's part A. Part B, grace is a doctrinal understanding, crumbles if you take out the Holy Spirit because, you know, Jesus had the most impact on our redemption but the shortest duration of ministry.
This is interesting now. He's alive to make intercession for us, but he's tagged in the Holy Spirit, and the idea that when a person comes and says, "I am not righteous, Jesus is righteous. God became fully human and did what I could not do, and I receive what he's done," he tags in the Holy Spirit who takes over your life and it is not, you know, I was reading this and I know we have, but just listen. There's two things. Galatians 5, this hit me so powerfully, and I'll get back. I think I'm still in rain and traffic so, if I'm shaking a little bit. Here we go. Now, it says, "The fruit of the Spirit". Man, this is so big.
Galatians 5:19. And, you know, click over it, whatever. "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance". The Amplified Bible says, "But the fruit of the Holy Spirit," or as we like to call it, "the work which his presence within accomplishes". The fruit of the Spirit is not God saying, "Here's how to live," the fruit of the Spirit is Paul saying, "Here's what the Holy Ghost presence in you will capture".
That's what you said a couple of weeks ago. Jesus taught his disciples to pray our Father which is in heaven, but when they asked how you do how he do what he do, he said, "It's the Father within, the Spirit of God is the Father within". So the fruit of the Spirit is the result of the work of the Father within. So Galatians 1 says, and then I'm done. But he says they heard, man, listen. This is it. He said they heard. Now, this is before Instagram. All y'all in Facebook, Instagram, wherever y'all are now. Way before that, see, I hear people, they write me and I say, "Who is that"? But I look them up on Facebook. I say, "Oh, I know that person". Or you'll hear somebody transitioned or passed away, brother so and so. "Who was that"?
I look them up. But there was no Instagram or Facebook. They had only heard about this terrorist named Saul, but they didn't know his face. They didn't know what he looked like. It says in Galatians 1, "When I went around the churches," it says, "I was unknown by face. They'd only heard that the terrorist that used to persecute us now was preaching with us". And it says in verse 24, "They glorified God in me". The Amplified says, "They glorified God as the author and source of what had taken place in my body".
And man, Saul didn't learn a new religion, God changed him from the inside out. So to say when you preach grace, Brother Dollar, you're empowering people to sin is a subconscious bragging that I don't sin. That implies that some of us don't. And number two, God's not setting sinners free to do what they want, he's setting born-again, spirit-filled people to do and he says, "Just watch what my Spirit will do in their life". And that now...
Kenneth Terry: Sinners are already free to do what they want.
Kenneth Fuller: But they do it anyway.
Kenneth Terry: They are doing it anyway without God. Yeah, that's powerful. And, you know, adding to that, when Jesus died, and understanding even more of the purpose of why he died, he said in John 16:7, he said, "It's expedient that I go because if I don't go, the comforter won't come". And the way we've looked at the Holy Ghost is, you know, yes, he'll come and the Holy Ghost is on the inside of us, but understanding when Jesus died and he fulfilled the promise of the Father, which was to send the comforter, the comforter came on the inside of us now and now as the comforter being on the inside of us, those things now that you just said now applies in that God is on the inside of us working out, Philippians 2:13, "It's God who works in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure".
So when the Holy Ghost came on the inside of us, it is God who's working in us not to sin, not for a reason to sin, or an excuse to sin, but he's working in us both to will and to do of his pleasure. So where does this excuse come that... now that grace has come, Jesus died, Holy Ghost came on the inside of us, the Father being on the inside? Now he's working in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure not to sin that... you see what I'm saying? He is formulating in us the thoughts, the passions, the ideas, the thinking. Yeah, will there be other things that might be tempting? Yes, but that's not our nature anymore because we now have the Holy Ghost on the inside of us who's leading us into the will and purposes of God.
Creflo: Who will shed not only love, but the desires necessary to please God.
Michael: Work in you, Hebrews 13:21. He's working in you that which is well pleasing in his will. So taking what you said there 'cause this is kind of like I was talking to pastor Sunday. I get excited like a little kid because my spiritual birthday this year, October 20th, I'll be 30 years and I can't believe that the last 5, 7 have been the most exciting. I mean, I'm like a 7-year-old because I stare at this Word and I continually find myself saying, "It can't be".
So here's a wrinkle on what you just said. In the believer's life, there's no empowerment to walk in the lower life, which is why he says it's the fruit of the Spirit, but the works of the flesh. Believe it or not, the born-again man, the born-again woman in whom the Spirit of God dwells is like a beach ball that you try to take to the bottom of a pool. It's a work to walk in strife, because there's a tailwind inside us for the higher life. There's a moving sidewalk in us that's pushing us towards that which pleases God, and it actually takes effort to walk contrary to the moving sidewalk.
Michael: You know as well as I do a born-again person is not at peace and strife because the beach ball in us pushes us to the higher life. When we have a negative interaction at a store or whatever, we leave thinking, "Maybe ought to go back. Not to go back to fix it so I don't go to hell, but because the beach ball in me presses me towards a peaceful life".
So there's always a lifting for the born-again person, and what we have to realize is that if I tell my wife this, my children this, if any good thing is coming out of me that you're tasting of, it is because the presence within is doing a work in me. And if I'm running on the moving sidewalk at church every day, meditating the Word, praying, dah, dah, dah, if I'm running, I'm making supernatural progress. If I'm standing still, I'm still making progress 'cause God is in me working 24 hours a day, and that makes me want to run around like a little kid, that makes me run around like a little kid.
Kenneth Fuller: And you show forth the fruit not what's on the inside of you. And so fruit is to taste and see that the Lord is good. There's no invisible fruit. So if you got joy, peace, love operating in your life, ought to be able to taste and see because of what's on the inside of me because that's the seed inside of me at the Holy Spirit and it's giving birthed to that joy, the love, the peace in our lives. And so I ought to be able to taste it 'cause there ain't no invisible fruit. You just can't, you know, it's tangible and it ought to be tangible in our lives.
Creflo: And I think what you described is a perfect way to talk about Holy Ghost because, you know, we're talking about standing out. It's so important that people understand that I'm not holy or I didn't become holy the day you saw my fruit, I became holy the day I accepted Jesus into my life and I became holy that day. Now, what you're going to see is what's in me working itself out. It's the work that the Holy Spirit began in me that now becomes that beach ball that is now being thrown forth and you now get a chance to taste.
Michael: Yeah, you can't see it. There is this idea that I'll just sink to the bottom of sin, no. Even the man in 1 Corinthians 5 when he got caught up in adultery, you can't judge him there, one word on one sentence on one paragraph of your life story. That story is not over. Check out that same man in 2 Corinthians. He's back in... why? Because the beach ball, the Spirit of God would not let him live in darkness. It was always lifting up.
Creflo: And religion loves to judge people in bad spots. We love to take the guide and say, "Well, you know, look at him". And we do this. I mean, we have to be careful as a country. It's so hypocritical that we'll sit there and, you know, if a person does something, it stays with them forever. Like you're ain't doing that, you know. And so what happens is, we're not justifying it or condoning sin that Jesus died on the cross. That's not what we're doing. We're telling you that when you get born again, the Holy Spirit starts working in you and you bring up these things. All you say because we're under grace that, you know, we can just go and spend the night with 30 prostitutes and smoke, you know, a garbage can full of weed.
See, you're putting something in the equation that won't fit. It's, "I'm not going because of who I am now and because I'm born again and because I have the Holy Spirit working in me. It's going to be effort for me to try to make what you just said happen". It's not even right to put that a part of the equation. It's not going to be a part of the equation. "I'm not going to sleep with 30 prostitute and snort cocaine with all of the things," why? "Because I have the Holy Spirit working in me and that's not going to be something".
He's working in me to give me the desires to please God. He's not giving me desires to displease God, he's going to give me desires to please God. And I guarantee you, if you do make a choice to go and sin and to do something, it ain't going to be like it was before the Holy Spirit moved on the inside of you. It's just not going to be the same because it's going to be contradicting what he's working in you, and what used to, didn't bother you at all bothers you big time because you're thinking, "I can make a better decision than that," or, "I didn't enjoy that like I used to," or, "Eh, something in me".
You know what I'm saying? "Something in me just to do that". I'm so glad this is coming up because over the years teaching on grace, people have always tried to turn it into the license to sin who have problems with it. We love putting people on labels and say, "Well, you know, you're an adulterer. You're going to hell. Oh, you're a drug addict. You're going to hell. Oh, you're a homosexual. You're going to hell". Oh, that's a big one right there. "Oh, this should go into hell".
We love doing that and that freaks you out when you find out that you're not okay with God because you smoke weed or you don't smoke weed or you chew snuff or you don't chew snuff. You're okay with God because you believe Jesus, you believe Jesus. And I tell you, I know people freak out. Like some of you are probably freaking out right now, "I can't believe he said that". You just don't understand the part that the Holy Spirit's going to play in your life, and once you understand that, like you said, you're judging somebody based on where they are right now. Honey, stick around and reintroduce yourself to them after you see what the Holy Ghost has worked on the inside.
Kenneth Terry: But you know what, pastor? Think about that. We judge people for where they are right now. Right now for many of us was 10 years ago.
Michael: Everybody is in a different...
Kenneth Terry: Yeah, everybody's in a different right now. And so when was your right now? Because you did something at some time and it was right now. So if people judged you based off of that and if they're still judging you now, you would look at them and say, "Why you judge me like that? That was 10 years ago. That was 5 years ago. That was 20 years ago". You would expect them because, you know, somewhere in your life there's been a change. That's what the Holy Ghost does. We're trying to judge people based on right now and the Holy Ghost is still working in us changing, ridding us of those things, and that's why God can look beyond our faults and see where we are.
Michael: People, they don't understand what you just said and what, pastor, what you just said. You have a fundamental misunderstanding of Christianity. If what's being described at this table sounds, "That sounds foreign to me," you have a fundamental misunderstanding of what the gospel is. This is not some strange fringe version of Christianity. "Well, they kind of have a weird doctrine over there". This is the gospel.
I was looking at this on my way here, not while I was driving. There's two parts of this. Romans 4 says, this is why we need 25 sessions because it just, you know, but Romans 4:7 says, there's two parts. Part A, "Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered". So that's the first element of this redemption, that everything you've done up until the point you come to Christ is forgiven and covered, but that's only part one. Part two: Romans 4:8, "And blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin".
Creflo: Look at the NLT as you explain this. It says, "Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sins are put out of sight. Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of sin".
Michael: Yeah, yeah. So you and I have sinned before we came to the cross. The meter was running for every lie, for every lust, for every anger. And when you come to the cross, whatever has taken place before your right now or in our then is forgiven and covered and people always say, "Okay, but what about the sins that you do from that point"? But that is not the gospel. The gospel is not, "Everything you've done has been wiped out, but don't add anything else".
Michael: The gospel is, "Everything on your record beforehand is gone". And then the Lord turns the meter off and says, "The meter no longer runs on your actions. I am no longer going to add to your account. I'm going to clear your account from everything before this time and then we're no longer going to add to it". And this is what the Bible talks about the day of the Lord, the free favors of God. This is the only time in history where men have been made righteous apart from the works they do, where men are not held accountable for their sins, and in the end of the gospel dispensation when the Lord has returned and when the church age ends, it'll be game on again for you being judged by what you do.
But we're in the greatest most rejoice worthy time in the history of mankind where God says, "I'm no longer making men righteous based on what they do. I've turned off the meter of sin". "You're a creature that has never walked the earth before," Paul says. Nowhere ever has it been since Adam that a man wasn't held accountable for what he does, but in Christ we are forgiven for everything that took place, the meter is turned off, and now the only thing, you know, pastor, you said this, we were talking about it.
Love is unconditional, but relationship is not. There are things that will get you put out of the church. You can't run illegal Beanie Babies scams on every member at your church and rip off all sorts of grandmas. The deacons and the elders and the pastors have a responsibility to get you out. You just can't be there. You can do things to be put out of society. We see right now entertainment people and everything. Society rejects you. But even if the church says, "You can't be here carrying on like that," and even if society says, "Hey, you can't be here," Christ and his work never abandons you, and listen, even your relationship with Christ is conditional, and I want you to hear this.
Conditional on one thing. "I believe the grace of God above all else. I trust in that more than anything else I do". And Paul said, "Look", He said, a lot of the Jewish folks, Paul said, "I'm Jewish. Peter's Jewish. God didn't get rid of the Jews," he said, "but a couple of them decided to stick with the meter instead of trusting in grace". And Jesus said, "Well, I'm going to have to remove you out if you're going to be trying to be righteous by your works". But all the Gentiles said, "Well, we just believe what you did".
And he says, "Now, if they ever turned around and stopped trusting in the works and believe what I did, they'll be put back in". But he says to you, "If you ever fall from grace and stop trusting in what I did but try to figure out how to do it yourself, I'll move you out just like I did". He says, "So look at the severity, the severity on those that didn't do it by faith but trust in themselves and the goodness on those that just trusted God's goodness and I will continue to trust that grace". And this is the highest kind of faith. The highest kind of faith is that these four men are going to die 100 years from now and stand before the Lord and not even offer any resume. You say, "But why should I let you in"? We have put all of our, it's like going to roulette. Remember when you used to play roulette, bishop?
Michael: Right after Grace Convention last year? It's we've put it all. We haven't spread it around a little bit of Commandments, a little bit of this, a little bit, we've all put it on Jesus. Everything, all my righteousness and if that didn't hit, then I have nothing left. And Paul says, "I have counted all other works as done. I've put everything on, that I'll have the righteousness by faith". You talk about freedom, you talk about liberty, you talk about enjoying life, this is it. We've gone all in on Jesus of Nazareth, not my works, not my good days, bad days, good, I've gone all in on the righteous by faith.
Michael: And Paul said, "Now, look, you've go on". He told the Galatians, "You've gone all in on Christ. Don't start picking up a little bit of money and say we will put half on Christ and half on our works". He says if you do that, he said, "Have you believed in vain? Did you put it all on Jesus and start hedging your bets"? Christianity is that I believe the meter is turned off and I'm righteous in him, I'm a creature that's never existed, and I'll do it until I see. "Well, what if you're wrong"? Then I will be wrong trusting Jesus with everything, but not wrong saying that what he did was not enough and I need to help him out a little bit. I'm not going to be wrong.
Creflo: That's the gospel. "I'm never going back to what religion taught me. There is so much liberty. God constantly is changing and rearranging my furniture on the inside. I love it". I'm not telling you what I'm just deciphering in the Scripture, although we're doing that, but I'm telling you what's happening in my life.