Creflo Dollar - Freedom From the Heart
If you have your Bibles go with me to the book of 2 Peter chapter 1 and let's look at verses 1 through 3 together. 2 Peter chapter 1, verses 1 through 3. Now, one of the things I mentioned to you as we started this series, your impression of God is going to determine how you receive from him. Your impression of God determines how you receive from him, so, you know, what you heard about God and what you have heard about him, you know, as far as him being a healer or being the one who's the God of wrath, or you heard he was the God of punishment versus being the one who is a God of mercy.
You know, whatever you've heard about God growing up, whatever you've heard about God from other people helped to shape your impression of him and the thing I want you to understand is how important that is, because if your impression of God has already been shaped in the negative, then an incorrect concept about God will determine why your life is going in the direction that it is going. An incorrect concept about God will determine why your life is going in the direction that it is going and, for the most part, most of that incorrect concept about God we get right from the Bible. We didn't get it from the street. We got it from the Bible, an incorrect concept about God, and we got it because we didn't understand, you know, the contrast between the old covenant and the new covenant.
And that's what most people... you know, I see people become Christians, and they try to read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. I guarantee you're gonna be so confused, you ain't gonna what's up. You can't do that, because you gotta understand that the Bible is divided up into dispensations. It's divided up into covenants. You have to understand that God is a God of covenant, and he deals with us through covenant promises, so the God of the old covenant is not just the God of the new covenant. You will not see the true nature of God in the old covenant without understanding the new. The old covenant by itself will give you an incomplete picture of God. You have to understand the new covenant, because in the new covenant you see Jesus, and Jesus is a perfect expression of God's nature.
Now, what is it that you see about God in the old covenant? You see a God, because of all of the things that happened in the covenant, which I'm gonna talk to you about it tonight, you know, you see a God of wrath. You see a God of judgment. You see a God of punishment and there was a reason, but if you don't understand that reason you will go to church and see people mix that with the new covenant and present to you an incomplete nature of God. And if that is your impression of God, that he is a God of wrath, he is a God of punishment, he is a God of judgment, if that is your impression of him, I promise you, you will be so limited in what God can do for you because of the wrong or the incorrect concept of God.
Now, tonight we've talked about this before, but, you know, you know how you grow into something and you become more bold and more radical and more sure? Well, tonight Bible study I'm gonna be very bold, radical, sure. I'm not paying attention on your faces, how you might be thinking, all that stuff that I used to do. You've had enough time to absorb this, read this, understand this, rightly divide this, so now I might go in. And I found out the biggest deception of the devil that he's been able to pull off is that he is advertising, advertising the law, which was put into motion to destroy you. He's advertising in the church something that was put into motion to destroy you.
Now, I think I wanna stick with that for a moment. Instead of going to 2 Peter, I'm headed somewhere else a little different than where I thought I was gonna go. Let's look at a couple of things. We're talking about the God of harsh judgment, or we're talking about how God dealt with men under the old covenant with harsh judgment, versus what happened when we got born again. The difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament, the old covenant and the new covenant, the misconceptions about the old covenant of the law, most Christians believe that the law was the blessing of God.
Now, I want you to think about some of these things that I'm getting ready to say. I did. When I first got saved I thought the law and the Ten Commandments was the blessing of God to help me to become better, to help me to live a better life. I thought the law and the Ten Commandments was the blessing of God. "I mean, that was awesome. God gave me Ten Commandments to show me exactly what I needed to do". That's what I thought.
Ladies and gentlemen, listen to me carefully tonight. The law was not given to be a blessing. The law was given to hurt you. The law was given to kill you. Some of you are looking like, "What"? The law was given to make sin come alive. These are some of the things I'm gonna show you tonight. It wasn't given to be a blessing. It was given to increase sin in your life. The law was not given to you to give you the advantage over sin. The law was given to you to give sin the advantage over you. Are you listening to me?
While the law was perfect and flawless, it was a bad thing for mankind at the time. It was a good thing in one way. I'll show you that it was good because it came to curb sin. It came to show people that it wasn't all right to sin, but it was sent to destroy you. It wasn't meant to help you. It was meant to hurt you. The law was not meant to help you. The law was meant to hurt you, to bring you to a end of yourself, to destroy your self-righteousness, so this was the wrath of God. The law was. The law was the wrath of God. It was not the love of God. The law was the wrath of God. That was not the love of God, and so, you know, you look at Genesis 5 and 6 where it says faith worketh by love.
Do you understand your faith is gonna be working based on your right conception of who God is? And if you're thinking all of these things that I just shared, that do you understand what I just said is enough to get me kicked out of a denomination? And yet I can go through the Scripture and prove every bit of it. I'm not gonna go through it all because you got tapes. You can go get one.
I taught last year on living under the correct covenant and all those Scriptures that were shared. I'm gonna share some just a little different here, but, man, I want you to please understand the law, the Ten Commandments was given to break you down, the Bible says in Romans 7 to cause sin to come alive. It was against you. It was to give sin the advantage over you. It was not to bless you. It was not to transform you. It was not to make you holy. It was really meant to break you down so, so much until you would finally, after being broken down and condemned and beat up and shown that every time you thought you were okay that you were not okay, so that you would eventually say, "I need Jesus. I need a Savior".
Now, what I just said, I'm gonna have to say a lot now. Over the years, I've been this way, but this year is gonna be bam! Some of y'all jumped, "Hey, calm down. Calm down". I'm on your side, man. Now, let's look at some things here. Let's go to Galatians, and I got something I have to show you about Noah, excuse me. The first murder. I gotta show you something about the first murder and then I gotta show, because you're gonna see a lot and then I gotta show you something about Lamech, and you're gonna see some real clear things. That I think this is gonna so bless you.
All right, now let's look at the Scripture. Let's start off tonight in Galatians 3, verses 9 through 12, and I'm just gonna read some things to you. Galatians 3, verse 9, "So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham". All right, now you gotta understand, first of all, it doesn't take faith to live by the law, but it does take faith to live by the new covenant. Now, you gotta understand the grace of God was working before the law. Before the law was given man was living life under God's grace. Listen, men couldn't get born again before Jesus came, so, I mean, that sin nature, that nature, that fallen nature of man continued to grow and be infected by sin, the more, the more, and more all kinds of things would happen.
So now, watch what it says in the next verse. "For as many as are of the works of the law," the works of the law, "are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the books of the law to do them". Now, hold on verse 10. Notice he did not say, "For as many as are of the works of the law are under the blessing". He said if you're, the works of the law. That means you believe you got to perform in order to get God to do something for you and that's what the law was about. You gotta do something in order to get God to do something for you. He says, "For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse".
You're under the curse, so the law and the Ten Commandments brought you under the curse. It didn't bring you to the blessing. You were under the curse. I don't understand. Listen, you know this by now. You can go to 90% of the churches, and they're preaching the law and the Ten Commandments as a blessing, that God sent it, and he loved us enough to give us ordinances that we could live by and show us exactly what we gotta do. Do you see what it said this? "As many as are under the works of the law are under the curse". You're not under the blessing. You under the curse. "For it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in the things that are written in the book of the law to do them".
That's what he said, so if you didn't do it, you couldn't do it, you'd be cursed. Ain't that what he said? If you do this you'll be blessed, but if you couldn't do it you'll be cursed, and nobody could do it all but Jesus, so the law brought you under the curse. Man, that's strong. Look at the next verse. "But that no man is declared righteous," or justified by the law, "in the sight of God".
So, the law doesn't declare anybody righteous. No man can be justified by the law, not in the sight of God. It is evident for the just shall live by what? By faith. Faith in Jesus Christ is the only way you can be justified, but there are many people that are trying to be justified by the law, justified by their performance, what they can do to get God to do something. So, they perform real hard to try to get God to do something, and he says no man can be justified by the law. Your performance will always come up short. Your self-effort will always come up short. It is evident the just shall live by faith.
Now look at this in verse 12. Verse 12 says, he says, "And the law is not of faith". Did you see that? It's not of faith. It doesn't take faith to live by the law. You don't need faith to live by the law. "The law is not of faith: but the man that doeth them shall live in them". You're living under the curse when you decide you're going to, you know, do the law and to live under the law. Verse 13, "Christ has redeemed us," come on now, "from the curse," what? "Of the law". Not Christ has redeemed us from the curse. He's redeemed us from the curse that the law brings.
Let me see how I'm gonna do it. If Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, how many of you know he had to redeem us from the law? It was the curse of the law that he redeemed you of, so he had to redeem you from the law. Jesus came to deliver you or to pay the ransom for us to walk free from the law or from performance-based religion. He came to redeem us from performance-based religion. He came to redeem us from performing to try to get God to do something, performing to try to get God to do something, performance-based religion. The law was all about do this and you'll get blessed.
In fact, he said in Deuteronomy 18 "if you". The condition was if you do this, then you'll get blessed, but now notice the condition was also and if you don't do it then you'll be cursed, and Jesus came to deliver us from that. Glory be to God. Somebody say, "Thank you, Jesus," man. Now, how did he deliver us? Being made a curse for us, all right? "For it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on the tree". And what happens when he hung on a tree and received the curse? What happened when he hung and received the curse? "That we might receive, that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles," how? How? "Through Jesus".
So, the blessing comes how? How? The blessing does not come through the law. What comes through the law? The curse. The blessing comes through, so you see the choices now: law, get curse; Jesus Christ, get blessed. Why? He says, "That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith". And that promise was Jesus and that new covenant and the deliverance that Jesus would bring to bless mankind. If you understand all that say, "Amen".
Now, let's go through another Scripture real quick. Look at Romans chapter 14, verse 23. Romans chapter 14, verse 23. See, what most people do, they believe that God moves in their life in proportion to their performance. Think about it now. Think about you. Most Christians believe that God moves in your life in proportion to your performance, and so now what do you have? You have a church full of Christians who believe that "God will bless me based on, in the proportion that I perform". So, if my performance is 50%, then I believe God will bless me 50% based on my performance.
I can tell you that is not what it means to have faith in Jesus Christ. That is under the law. What happens when you fail to perform properly? It's all wrong. He does not bless us based on a proportion of how we perform. He blesses us based on how we believe in him and what he's already done and just so hard for Christians to just believe that you can get something from God without you having to perform to earn it. And this is what they did. This is man trying to bring you to a place where you know God enough that you'll have enough confidence in him to rest in what he's already done. But that is not true.
We don't believe and we should not believe that God moves in your life based on the proportion of your performance. That's not worked, so now you gotta really look at that 'cause that brings a lotta questions, because all we've been doing as Christians is performing. I'm getting a lotta questions about, you know, our fasting time, and I decided to do this. You can go ahead and fast if you've got an unbelieving issue.
I'm gonna teach on it, but I'm gonna show you that fasting is designed to deal with unbelief. It is put in place to deal with unbelief, where you remember where Jesus said, when he was talking to his disciples and he was trying to cast this devil out of this lunatic, and they could not do it? And the father came and he said, "Your disciples came, but they could not do it". And the disciples asked Jesus about it. He says, "Because of your unbelief". And then, he went ahead and talked to 'em, and he said, "This kind cometh not out but by prayer and fasting".
And most of the church interpreted it as Jesus is saying that as they thought Jesus was saying this kind of demon doesn't come out, but if you read it in context and read it right it was not referring to the demon. It was referring to unbelief and what he was saying is this kind of unbelief, that you don't deal with this, you deal with this kinda unbelief through prayer and fasting. Unbelief. So, guess what we did? We went the law route, and we decided to turn fasting into a performance in order to get God to do something.
I know I'm right about it. Tell me the truth now. Tell me the truth now. Nobody wanna say it, but that's what we did. We were fasting to try to get God to do something. We were fasting to try to move God to do something. That people that are fasting right now trying to get God to move, and I want our church to see this time that God has already moved and if you believe him go ahead and stand on your belief. But if you got a problem believing him maybe you need to fast so you can deal with the unbelief.
So, I'm not saying don't fast. I fast. There are certain areas of my life sometime, when I've been exposed to something so much and I'm thinking, "That's affecting my belief in God," been looking at too many movies of airplane crashing. Now, that I need to fast and pray and get my believing in line with the Word of God, so, yes, that's where fasting fits. But if you try to fast under the law, I gotta quit howling. This is just the first month of the year, man. I got a lotta of 'em. If you try to fast under the law, you see what you're doing? You are performing to see if you can get God to do something.
That's what living under the law is about. It's trying to be righteous by the law, doing something to be righteous, versus being righteous by faith 'cause it's already been done for you to be righteous. And that's hard for religious people. Well, religious people, that's a strong term. That's a strong term, so here is what, one of the greatest things Satan has ever been able to pull off is to advertise the law in church and get us to buy in on it. That is a law-based performance-based Christianity which we have not been called to. We've been called out of that because of Jesus.
I'll show you in a moment if a man could be righteous by the law, I'll show that right now. Go to Galatians. I think it's 2. If a man could be righteous by the law, then Jesus waste this time. Galatians 2:16 and Galatians 2:21. Let's read Galatians 2:16. He says, "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law," but how is he justified? "By the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be," what? "Justified".
So, how are we justified? By our belief in Jesus Christ, not by something we did, all right? So, we were justified by believing in Jesus Christ, "That we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no man be justified". No flesh is justified. You know what the flesh is? The flesh is works. The flesh is you trying to perform or do something to make it happen, and what he's saying is all of your performance, your best performance is still not enough to justify you. Glory be to God.
Now look at verse 21. All we're doing is frustrating the grace of God when you do that. He says, "I do not frustrate the grace of God," Paul says, "for if righteousness come by the law," and the works of the law, if you can become righteous by performing. But ain't that what we've been doing all our church lives? We come to church so we can be righteous. We give our tithe so we can be righteous. We sing in a choir so we can be righteous and if you don't do none of those things you're doing something so you can be righteous.
It's not enough for you to believe. He has qualified me, and he is waiting for me to believe and to receive my righteousness. He says you frustrate the grace of God. What's God's grace? God's unmerited favor that doesn't require your works, your efforts, or anything to try to get it. It is his favor unmerited. It's undeserved. It's favor you didn't work for. You can't deserve. You can't work for it. You don't earn it. It's favor given and then favor received. What's stopping most people from believing that? They don't know the nature of God.