Creflo Dollar - The Contrast Between the Law by Moses vs. Grace by Jesus
All right, so we're talking about a series of sermons. I call it, "The Contrast". Subtopic here is "The Law by Moses Verses Grace by Jesus". The contrast. If we don't recognize this contrast in the Bible, you'll end up misunderstanding it. You'll end up misinterpreting it. You'll end up believing wrong. And if you believe wrong, then you'll live wrong because you understood wrong. And in some cases, you were taught wrong.
So, let's read this and get into this today. Today, we're gonna do a contrast between sin and sinning. What's the difference? We throw 'em all in the same bucket. The Bible uses the word "sin" and we automatically assumed it was a verb, "sinning," because in some cases we didn't recognize when most of the time he addresses and uses the word "sin," he's talking about the sin nature or the old man that you had before you got born again. If we don't find the contrast and compare and contrast between sin and sinning, you'll read Scriptures that are referring to the sin nature and thinking it's talkin' about sinning.
And before you know it, you'll look back and say, "Well, I must not be saved 'cause I'm still sinning. And he says I'm supposed to be delivered from sin, and then you're still sayin' 'sinning.'" You were delivered from the sin nature and ultimately you'll be delivered from sinning, but I'll show you why that hadn't happened yet, even though you are a Christian. So, we're gonna look at the contrast between the nature of sin and the action of sinning, amen? Now, verse 17 says this. Let's read it out loud together. "For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ," so you can easily see here that there is a contrast here between the law that came by Moses, which includes the Ten Commandments.
There are 613 of those laws. The 10 Commandments were written on stone by the finger of God. That law that came by Moses, versus the grace and the truth, or the grace that came by Jesus Christ. You got to compare and contrast. What's the difference between the law that came by Moses and the grace that came by Jesus Christ? You just can't lump all that. The entire Bible is gonna be based on this particular contrast, understanding the law that came by Moses versus the grace that came by Jesus Christ. So, what was true dealing with the law that came by Moses may not be true dealing with the grace that came by Jesus Christ. And if you just lump 'em into the same bucket, I guarantee you it's gonna be all kind of confusion in your life as a Christian.
Now, go to 2 Timothy chapter 2, verse 15. Alright, verse 15, "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth". Now look at this in the Amplified. So, here he's saying, you know, the Word's gotta be rightly divided.
Well, how many of you know if you can rightly divide the Word, you can wrongly divide the Word? What happens if the Word is wrongly divided? If somebody wrongly dividing the Word, then you're gonna wrongly believe it. And then you're wrong belief is gonna determine your wrong way of living. If somebody rightly divides the Word and you're listening to it, then you're going to believe right and your right-believing will determine your right living. People that living bad, they believing bad 'cause they not even hearing, or maybe hearing something that's bad.
Now look at this. Amplified Bible 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, accurately dividing [rightly handling, skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth". What if that's not being done? What if it's not just being done? What if you were under the impression that all churches are the same, and you know, but they're not rightly dividing, accurately dividing, and analyzing correctly, and teaching skillfully the Word of Truth?
What happens is you pick up some bad teaching from 50 years ago, and it kept comin' on up here 'til today, and the same miss, wrongly-divided Word has created a belief within the religious part of it, and you've been believing that way for all your life. And it's just wrong. You know, I'll give you one. How many know all your life you heard... what's that Scripture? What's that one, the one Benjamin Franklin said, but they said God said it? God helps those who helps themselves.
And I mean, throughout the years, you've heard in church, "Brother, you know the Bible says God helps those who helps themself". It ain't nowhere in the Bible. Guess who said that. Benjamin Franklin said it. Just imagine how much of that been hangin' around in your thinking because, you know, somebody taught it wrong and rightly divided wrong. And just like the communion thing, "Well, if you take communion and got sin in your life, then you're going to die early death". That ain't right. That's wrong. It's not rightly divided. How many other things that you heard at church or heard at grandma's house that's wrong? So, it's gotta be rightly divided and correctly analyzed.
So, I'm going to share about four or five Scriptures to lay the foundation before I show you the distinction and the contrast between sin, the nature, and sin, the action. So, go with me to 2 Corinthians chapter 7, verses 1 and 2. So, I'm just gonna go from Scripture to Scripture to Scripture and just lay the foundation so you'll know what we're talking about. Verse 2, "Receive us; we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man". Now, this is the Apostle Paul saying, "We have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man".
Now, you have to be careful because when you're reading the Bible, I can show, I'm going to take you to a Scripture where he has wronged everybody, a lot of folks. And I'm tryin' to figure out, he lying. I remember Brother Copeland saw this first time, he said, "My goodness, Lord, I believe I just caught the Apostle Paul in a lie". Because right here, he says he's wronged no man, he's corrupted no man, and he's defrauded no man. All right, now go over here to the book of Acts chapter 8. Book of Acts chapter 8, verses 1 and 3. Acts chapter 8:1-3. Verse 1 says, "And Saul"...
Now, let me tell you who Saul is. Saul is Paul. Saul, they called him Saul before he got born again. But before he got born again, he was a Saul. Now, I don't know what they called you before you got born again, but they call him Saul. "And Saul was consenting unto his death". You know, they stoned Stephen to death. "And Saul was consenting unto his death. And all that time, there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles".
Now, look at verse 3. Check it out now. And verse 3, "As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering into every house". My God, every house. "And hailing men and women committing them to prison". This is the same one that just said, "I have wronged no man. I have defrauded no man". And right here, we see he looked like he messed with everybody in the community there. What was goin' on here? I love the way they put this. It was Paul that said, "I have wronged no man. I have defrauded no man".
It was Paul, the one who's born again, who says, "I have wronged no man". But over here, this is Saul, the old man. It was the old man that made havoc of the church. It was an old man that had these people put in jail. See, before you got born again, what was your Saul guilty of? But now that you're born again, don't you ever again claim any possession or relationship to what you used to do in the past. That's not you anymore. That's the old man. And if you are born again, the old man has passed away, the new man has come. I don't care what you did in the past. That's not you anymore. And if you meet anybody from your past that want to talk to you or they think that's you, mistaken identity, you're tell 'em, "Excuse me, you ain't met me before. You're talkin' about Saul. My name is Paul". Does everybody understand what I'm saying?
Now watch this, Ephesians 4:24. So, here was just the difference between the old man before you got born again who was responsible for all of that stuff, and the new man who wouldn't even claim relationship with all that stuff. Now, watch this. Ephesians 4:24, "And that you put on the new man. And that you put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness". So, when do you put on the new man? The day you decide to get born again. Lord, come into my life and save me. The old man goes away and the new man comes in. You put on the new man in place of the old man. Does everybody understand that?
Alright, go with me to the book of Ephesians 1:13. Ephesians 1:13. Verse 13 says, "In whom you also trusted, after that you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that you believed". So, you heard the Word of Truth, you believed, and that's what you do to get born again. You believe. That's what you do to get born again. You don't have to go to five revivals to get born again. You believe and you get born again, alright? He says, "After you get born again, now you were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise".
So, not only did you get born again and the new man came on the inside, glory to God, you not only have the new man, but you're also sealed with the Holy Ghost. You know what it means when you seal something? The good can't get out and the bad can't get in. Y'all don't hear what I'm sayin'. The good can't get out and the bad can't get in. Your spirit, that new man, is flawless. It is perfect. It is sealed. See, when you got born again, your spirit, your spirit...
Let me give you the anatomy of man. Man is a spirit. Say, "I'm a spirit". He possesses a soul. Say, "I have a soul". And you live in a body. Alright, now religion has talked about spirit and soul interchangeably, as if they are the same. They are not. You are a spirit being. You have a soul. Your soul is your mind, your will, your emotions. Your soul is your thinker, your feeler, and your choser. You are a spirit. You have a soul. You live in a physical body. When you die, your spirit and soul are absent from the body. Your body stays here. We put it in the box, burn it, whatever your wishes are, but your spirit cannot be killed. It is alive forever.
And whatever decision you made, either to make Jesus Lord of your life or not make Jesus Lord of your life, to keep your old man or to get the new man, is going to determine your destination once you leave your body. You've got to go somewhere. You can't stay here, because it's prohibited. I ain't telling you you got to go, but you got to go from that body when you leave, you know? We ain't got no Casper the Friendly Ghost and all those. Are you listening to me? You're sealed with the Holy Ghost.
Say out loud, "I'm sealed with Holy Ghost". The bad can't get in, the good can't get out. When you get born again, you are given a flawless, perfect new creation that cannot be infected because it's sealed by the Holy Ghost. Spirit, soul, body. Your spirit is perfect, so you're one-third perfect. Your spirit is perfect. Your soul still needs to be renewed 'cause it's got the software of the old man. And your body just does what it is told to do. So when you get born again with a perfect spirit, you can have a perfect spirit and still be sinning because you hadn't changed the software. And whatever your mind says to do, your body will carry it out.
So if you're gonna see your behavior change, you're going to have to renew your mind to line up with that new spirit. And when that new spirit is in line with a renewed mind, then your body will do what it's told to do. Yeah, but you can be saved and talking in tongues, and not renew your mind, and still be cussing, and acting crazy, and sleeping around. And you're saved, but you haven't renewed your mind. You've still got the old software who is still determining what happens in the physical world. You won't come to church. You won't listen to the Word. You ain't got time to hear the Word. You go to sleep every time somebody tryin' to give you the Word. And the Word is the only thing that can renew your mind.
Stupid is a part of the software that you already got, so ain't no use in you tryin' to renew your mind with stupid that you already got. To renew your mind means to change it, and the only thing that can change your old stupid mind is to get the Word of God so it can rearrange and change the stupid and put something in there that will line you up with God's plan for your life. Please forgive me for not being able to come up with a better way to articulate myself than to use the word "stupid". Amen, you understand that? Everybody still on the bus?
Hebrews 10, verse 10 and 14. Hebrews 10, verse 10 and 14. Verse 10 says, "By the which will we are sanctify," that means set aside, "through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all". So now, we've been sanctified through the offering of Jesus's body on the cross, and he did it once for all times. Look at verse 14, "For by one offering he has perfected for ever them that are sanctified". How long are you perfected?
All right, what part is he talkin' about, your spirit, soul, body? He's saying your spirit is perfected forever because Jesus died on the cross so that your spirit could be perfected forever. Forever. Your spirit is perfected forever. Forever. But you don't see that because on the outside you're still sinning, and your mind's not bein' renewed, and you don't remember you're sealed with the Holy Ghost, and the bad can't get in, and the good can't get out, and you're perfected forever because of the sacrifice.
See, we've not understood spirit, soul, and body. We just put that in the bucket. But you are a spirit, you have a soul, you live in a physical body, and there is a part of you that's just like God right now, that is perfect, and that is your born again spirit man, perfect just like God. While we're here, look at verse 26. All right, Hebrews 10:26 says, "For if you willfully sin after you have heard the knowledge of the truth, then there remaineth no more sacrifice for your sin," King James. No more sacrifice for your sin.
Now, most people say here, "See there, if you sin, then there's no more sacrifice for your sinning". That's not what he's talkin' about. "For if we sin willfully". How many you know that all sin is willful? You didn't slap somebody and say, "Oops, that was an accident". No, it's a willful sin. All sin is willful, alright? So, what is the willful sin here, in context? The willful sin is rejecting Jesus as the final sacrifice for man's sin. When you don't accept his sacrifice as the final sacrifice to pay for man's sin, that is the willful sin here.
"For if you sin willfully," by rejecting the body of Jesus as the final sacrifice, "after you've received the knowledge of the truth," that Jesus's body is the final sacrifice, "then there remaineth no more sacrifice of sin," because the only sacrifice for sin today is Jesus and the body of Jesus Christ. And if you refuse to accept Jesus's body as the final sacrifice, there is no other sacrifice except the body of Jesus. And if you reject that, then that's your willful sin. Does everybody understand that? Tell me you understand so I can go on.
Alright, alright, 1 John 3:9. No, no, no, no, no, go to Hebrews 12:23. Hebrews 12:23. Now, this is gonna become pretty shocking pretty quick. Hebrews 12:23, "To the general assembly and the church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect". Did you see that? So, when you got born again, your spirit was made perfect. So all of you who are born again, say this out loud, "My spirit man is perfect, my soul man needs to be renewed, and my body will do what it's told to do". Your spirit is perfect.
All right, now watch this. Go to 1 John 3:9. Now, you'll see why am I laying this foundation. Why am I laying this foundation? Because there's a lot of religious stuff out there and you got to rightly divide the Word. This is an example. "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin". All right, if you don't know how to rightly divide that, you can immediately look at that and say, "Somethin' wrong with that, because I do". That's the problem with church folks. They come to church, get born again, and they don't think that they are still having some sin issues. That's why you need Jesus, 'cause you have sin, sinning issues.
And so, if you read the Scripture, "Whosoever is born of God does not commit sin," and you know you had a bad attitude yesterday, you know you passed by somebody in traffic and you told them to pick a finger and it was a middle one, you know you got mad at the waitress and you didn't leave her a tip, and you know you have a bad temper, and you know you exaggerate and lie a lot. All that's sin. I said all that's sin. The Bible says to know to do good and to do it not, that's sin. The Bible says whatever's done not of faith is sin. So, when you're in fear, and when you're in doubt, and you know you were scared last night 'cause the car didn't stop on the side of the road. All that's sin. That's sin. That's why you need a Savior. That's sin. That's why you gotta renew your mind.
So, "Whosoever is born of God does not commit sin". So, he can't be talkin' about your body and he can't be talkin' about your soul that is still in the process of being renewed. So what part of man that is born of God that cannot sin? Your spirit. You see that? So, if you don't know spirit, soul, and body, you get confused right there. And in your mind you would think, "Oh my God, I'm not supposed to sin," so you have to pretend like you're not sinning because he says, "Whoever is born of God does not sin".
And so you walk around deceived thinkin' that you do not sin, and you do sin because you don't know he's talkin' about your spirit, not your soul and not your body. But if you don't know spirit, soul, and body, then you'll have conflict when you see that 'cause that needs to be rightly divided so you can understand what he talkin' about here. "Whosoever is born of God". Well, whosoever is born of God? You are a spirit being. So, he's talkin' about you. The real you is a spirit. The real you.
You are not your soul, you are not your body, you are a spirit being. 'Cause when you die, your spirit and soul will leave your body and you will know people when you get to heaven. You will recognize things when you get to heaven without your body. You are not your body. He says, "Whosoever is born of God does not commit sin". What is he talkin' about? Come on so I can go on. What's he talking about? Okay, "For his seed remaineth in him". Oh yeah. "And he cannot sin, because he is born of God". He sealed with the Holy Ghost. The good can't get out and the bad can't get in. A third of you became perfect the day you got born again.
Now you got two more pieces to deal with, but a third of you is already heaven ready. I said a third of you is already heaven ready. You don't need to polish it up. You don't need to dust it off. A third of you is heaven ready. If you were to die right now, guess where you goin?' Heaven. Heaven. Now you got other church folk saying, "No, no, no, you ain't goin' to heaven doin' that, acting like that". Alright, you might be talking about somebody who's in the process of getting rid of that, but I guarantee you if they were to die right now, they're goin' to heaven. You're gonna be shocked when you get there 'cause you think only those phony perfect people are going to go, and ain't nobody perfect.
That's the whole deal. Ain't nobody perfect. They just deceived into thinking that they perfect because they hadn't looked at themselves and their weaknesses real honestly. They're goin' around and got on a religious, you know, phony suit, saying that they one thing and they not that thing at all. You ain't perfect at all. How many times I gotta tell you ain't perfect. If you was perfect, you wouldn't need Jesus Christ. If you was perfect, he wasted his time dying on the cross. If you was perfect, he should've kept his blood. If he was perfect, nobody should've nailed his hands to the cross. You ain't perfect. You ain't never gonna be perfect until you recognize that the only perfection you have is the Spirit in Christ Jesus.
Amen, well, welcome to church this morning, everybody. I'm so glad to see you. If you have your Bibles go with me to the book of Saint John chapter 1 and verse 17. Saint John chapter 1, in verse 17. We are in the middle of a series I call it "The Contrast: The Law by Moses and Grace by Jesus Christ". "The Contrast". And today, we're gonna look at the contrast between whether or not we should be performing or working. Performance based Christianity versus performing to activate the authority that has been given to us by the Lord Jesus Christ.
Let's begin in John, St. John chapter 1 and verse 17. Let's read verse 17 out loud together. Ready? Read: "For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ". Now you can see that there is a contrast here: the law by Moses versus grace by Jesus Christ. And it becomes very important, as Christian people, for us to understand what was true under the law that came by Moses versus what was true under the grace that came by Jesus Christ. Because what you're gonna understand is whatever what's true under the law by Moses may not be true under the grace that came by Jesus Christ. And when you don't understand that most people, they resolve it as being, well, not only a conflict, but a contradiction and it's not, you just have to know how to rightly divide the Word of truth, amen?
Now go to Romans chapter 6 and verse 14. Romans chapter 6 and verse 14. Now, the law by Moses versus the grace by Jesus Christ. Well, in this dispensation, which one should we be living by? Well, according to Romans 6:14 he says, "For sin shall not have dominion over you". Sin shall not have dominion over you, why? "For you're not under the law". So what else is he saying here? Under the law, sin has dominion over you. And we saw that last week. Under the law, sin dominates your life. He says, "For sin shall not have dominion over you: for you're not under the law, but you're under," what? You are under grace.
That's pretty clear, and yet you've got to understand how to correctly analyze life under the law versus life under grace and they're not the same. They're not the same. If you throw it into the same bucket, you're gonna make a mistake because life under the law was all about what you can do to get something from God. Life under the law was all about your performance to be able to deserve something from God. But first of all, life under grace is all about Jesus, amen.
Life under grace is all about Jesus. Life under Grace is all about what Jesus has already done and you believe it and you believe it. Now, what we're gonna do this morning is we're gonna show you the contrast between not performing to do what Jesus has already done versus performing to activate authority that has been given to you by Jesus. And we confuse those. So, when I say to people, you know, you don't have to perform to be made righteous then they get all, "Well, you gotta do something". Yeah, you gotta do somethin' to loose your authority, but there's nothing you can do to get what Jesus has already done 'cause if you could have done it, you would not need Jesus. And the church said... Amen.
So, I want to establish some things here right at the beginning. There are two very important points for us to understand before I can move into to showing you some things, and the first thing I want to establish, I want to say this about three or four times until you can digest it. So here it is: performance-based religion is sin, it's not an option. "Well, I can choose to do this". Performance-based religion is sin. Why? Because the righteousness of Christ is the only true righteousness. Any other righteousness is goin' to be righteousness that was born out of self-effort and performance.
Performance-based Christianity is sin because when you look at Christ's righteousness, the only true righteousness is Christ's righteousness. The only true righteousness is Christ's righteousness and the only way you can get it is to believe and receive it. And then when you believe and receive it you have to surrender self-effort.
Okay, now, I'm gonna break that down. I'm gonna say it one more time, and then I'm gonna break it down. Number one, here it is. This is so important. Performance-based Christianity: you doing something to get something from God. You performing to try to deserve something from God, you being good to motivate God to be good to you is sin because Christ's righteousness is the only true righteousness. For you to try to obtain righteousness any other way you'll have to employ your self-effort to do it. You have to perform to get it, you gotta do something. It becomes your righteousness that you got from your works and your performance.
So you're tryin' to be good, you're trying to feed the poor, you're tryin' to do all of these things, and those aren't bad things, but it is bad when you're only doing it to try to achieve righteousness another way. And the righteousness you get is not true righteousness, the only true righteousness, the only true righteousness you can get is one that you have to believe Jesus for. That's the only true righteousness and when you get this true righteousness, by faith and belief in Jesus, then you're going to have to surrender your self-effort. You got to finally let it go. You know how many years it's takin' me to be able to say what I'm saying to you right now? You got to finally let it go.
Now I'm telling you right now that the only true righteousness is the righteousness you get from Christ. And you say, "Yes, amen". But now if I turned around to flip the script and say do you believe you're righteous because of what you do or do you believe you're righteous because of what Christ did? And you'll say, "Well, I'm righteous because of what Christ did". Then why are you still tryin' to earn your righteousness through your performance on what you do? Either it is or it's not. I got two people who understand that. Let me say it one more time and then we'll go on. This is the basis of what I'm about to show you.
I am literally gonna show you Scriptures that I was gonna say to you everything I'm preaching to you right now that right now in your head you're like, "I don't agree with that," because you're having a battle this morning between the religion that is inundated your thinking versus the Spirit that's waking up and saying praise God, somebody finally got it. Amen. One more time. Performance-based Christianity is sin because the only true righteousness comes from Christ and you get it by receiving it and surrendering all self-effort. Any other righteousness is self-made righteousness and that won't work.
Let me use another word. All self-performance is sin or in other words, excuse me, in other words, if you think that by self-performing or self-effort or your performance that you can be righteous, you're missing the mark. That's wrong, it's deception, you're missing the mark. Now, go to Romans chapter 7 and verse 5. I got one more thing to show you and we can get started. Romans chapter 7 and verse 5. Performance-based religion is sin because the only true righteousness is Christ's righteousness and the only way to get it is to receive it and surrender all our self-effort. The only way to get it is to receive it and surrender all your self-effort.
Now that's a simultaneous action. I receive it and I surrender all my self-effort. I quit tryin' to do stuff to deserve to be righteous. I believe that I'm righteous because of what Jesus did. Say out loud: I am righteous because of what Jesus has done, not because of what I do. I am righteous because of what Jesus has done, not because of what I do. Say it one more time: I am righteous because of what Jesus has done and not because of what I have done.
So, if your performance had nothing to do with you being righteous but what Jesus did has everything to do with you being righteous, if your performance has nothing to do with you being righteous, if your performance has nothing to do with you being righteous, of course after you get born again, if your performance has nothing to do with you being righteous then how can you say that you're no longer righteous if you don't perform well? How can you say you no longer righteous when you sin?
'Cause some people believe you can sin away your righteousness. Then I'm no longer righteous 'cause I sin. No, no, no, no no. What you do didn't have anything to do with you being righteous in the first place, so what you do is not gonna have anything to do with you losing your righteousness. You're righteous because of what Jesus did and you believed in that and you don't throw away your righteousness just because you misbehave one day. You're still righteous and because you believe you're righteous, we can fix the misbehaving, but you're tryin' to fix the misbehaving to try to be righteous instead of being righteous by faith and that will fix the misbehavior. Are y'all following what I'm saying?
One Christmas, the tree fell over the driveway and there was ice out and snowing and stuff like that and I went out there and meet and move the tree. I'm tryin' to be the man in my house, I went moved the tree. I moved the tree limb, actually, and it wasn't that big, but I moved the tree limb, but I forgot it was frozen so it's gonna pop. Now, I'm moving the tree limb backing up to this little hill that leads right down to the pond. Hm-mm, it happened. And I pull a pop. Ahh. Poof, in the pond, wet.
I go in the garage, Taffi say, "Uh, what happened"? I said I fell in the pond. She said, "Oh, I wish I could have seen that". All right, now watch this. I was a black man when I pulled that tree. I fell in the pond, I did not get out of the pond and I was another type of man. I was still the same man that pulled the tree. I didn't stop being a black man because I fell in the pond. So, likewise, you didn't stop being a righteous man because you fell into sin.
What happened when you fell in the pond? I got out of the pond. I drag myself home and I kept on being a black man. What happens when you're the righteousness of God and you fall? You get up. You realize that was a bad decision and you keep on being a righteous man, you didn't stop being righteous because you fell.
Now, here's the second thing we're gonna need in order to go through this. And I'm tryin' not to scream but I really get so excited. Please forgive me. I'm not, nothing's wrong with me. I'm just really geeked up excited. In fact, I looked on the inside of my jacket, I said is that weed? So if I'm happy, it's the jacket. Cannabis just everywhere. I'm just...
Okay, let's get back in the Spirit here. Romans 7 and 5. Now watch this, "For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins," in the "flesh, which were by the law, it did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death". Now notice this: "When we were in the flesh by the law". "When we were in the flesh by the law the things that worked in our members when we were in the flesh by the law".
Now here's the only point I want to take out of this. I am saying to you that when you are in performanced-based Christianity operating by the law, you're in the flesh. Let me define the flesh for you according to verse 5. The flesh is, according to this verse, being under the law trying to do good in your own self-effort. Being under the law trying to be good in your own self-effort. In your own self-effort, your own self-effort.
All of us can say amen to that 'cause there's not one person in here that's not been in a church somewhere where you were up under the law and somebody said to you, you got to do this in order to get that from God and you got to do that in order to get this from God and if you don't do that just right then you can't do that right and if you do that then God gonna get ya and if you... Nope, nope, that's under the law. That's under the law. But even though you were under the law you were tryin' to be good. You were tryin' to be good.
I'm at my Baptist Church and I'm doing everything I can. I'm tryin' to be good, I'm trying to serve, I'm cleaning up, I'm cutting the grass, I'm playing the piano, I'm singing, I'm preaching. And then one day, I got tired. Pastor call, he said, "Son, you gonna come to church tonight"? I said no. He said, "You all right"? I said, "Ain't nothin' wrong, I'm just tired".
I wasn't gonna retire, I was just tired, because legalism will wear you out. I was under the law trying to be good in my own self-effort. I'm under the law, watch this, tryin' to be like God without God. Y'all don't hear what I'm sayin.' I'm under the law trying to get to heaven, trying to make heaven my home through my own self-efforts. I'm under the law. I'm tryin' not to cuss you out 'cause, you know, church folks got on my nerves. I'm tryin' to go in church right, you know, enter into it, cause it's thanksgiving, but sometime I'm pissed because they got on my doggone last nerve and I'm tryin' to make heaven my home. I'm tryin' to pray in tongues, I'm tryin' not to respond, I'm trying not to shoot a bird to jumped that just came right in front of me and they knew exactly that's... I'm tryin' to do all that. I'm tryin,' I'm tryin' Jesus, I'm trying through my own self-effort.
That's the flesh. We have finally come to the point where I can boldly say to you that there is a problem with a Christian who won't switch from the dispensation of the law to the dispensation of grace and I am telling you that under the law it is sin, you miss the mark, you are in the flesh. One sure way to be in the flesh is to be in the law, under the law comin' to church trying to be good. Trying to get some punch with God. I got need to go to church. I ain't been to church in a while. I need to go because I need to get some points from God. You should've stayed home. And that's the only reason you come to church 'cause you thought he was gonna get you some points with God.
That is the wrong motivation to come to church to try to fulfill the law. How many new laws are we tryin' to create from religion? After Jesus has come and died and was born under the law to set us free from the law. So we no longer have to be servants, but we could not be sons of the Almighty God. That's the flesh; the flesh requires you to be under the law trying to be good in your own self-effort. Trying to be righteous in your own self-effort. Tryin' to bear the fruit of the Spirit with your own self-effort so you can have something to boast about 'cause when you're under grace there is no boasting 'cause you knew it was God that had to get on the inside of you and it was God that had to give you the desire to change.
Nothing changes on the outside until it's changed on the inside and we've had it backwards. Religion has you attacking the outside tryin' to create inner identity and by believing Jesus, he gives you the identity the day you believe him and when you really believe you're righteous, you'll start doing righteous things. You keep tryin' to deal with the outside. I can't hardly talk to you about who you are because you keep telling me about what you do. And I'm tryin' to tell you who you are and you just started talkin' about what I do.
"Well, I do this and I'm ashamed of that and that keep happening". And how do you stop this? And how you do that? And when did that happen? And what if I did and what if I do? And what have I did and what if I do? And Jesus said I got that cover if you can go ahead and receive who you are. I have made you.
Now, go to 1 Corinthians chapter 1:30. I decided I'm going to preach every time I take the pulpit like Jesus to come back in an hour. And he gave me one hour to convince as many people as I can. I don't expect everybody to believe this, I'm here to preach that I might win some. And then next Sunday win some more and the next Sunday when some more. Verse 30. Now, I'm gonna look at this in the King James and then the Amplified. He says, "But of him are you in Christ Jesus". One verse says, "By his doings you are in Christ". "But of him are you in Christ Jesus".
Now how many you know I'm preaching to people who make a decision to get born again, right? And have of him are you in Christ Jesus. By his doings, you're in Christ Jesus. How do you even boast about this one? It's his doings that you're in Christ Jesus. You believed but it's his doings you in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us, what? Wisdom, and what? And what? Now how many of you know that sanctification and holiness have the same Greek word? So sanctification and holiness and he has made unto us, what? "Redemption or ransom that was paid".
Now look at this in The New Living Translation or whatever I called out, it doesn't matter. Amplify will be fine and then we'll go to The New Living Translation, but we gotta do it quick. He says, "But it is from him that you have your life in Christ". Check that out. It's just doings that you have your life in Christ. He did that. None of your performance accomplished that. It's of him that you have your life in Christ. "Whom God made our wisdom from God".
"He revealed to us a knowledge of the divine plan of salvation previously hidden," it was hidden, "manifesting itself as our righteousness, thus, making us upright and putting us in right standing with God," he did that, "and our consecration makin' us pure and holy". He made us Holy. He made us Holy. He made us righteous, he redeemed us glory to God. He is our redemption.
What redemption? "Providing our ransom for from eternal penalty of sin". He paid the ransom, you didn't pay it. You couldn't afford to pay this ransom. This ransom was so expensive that even goin' to hell was not enough to pay the debt. He paid the ransom. So I am righteous because he made me righteous. I believed it, he made me righteous. I believe it, I believe that I'm righteous because of Jesus and he says you're righteous. I'm redeemed because of Jesus. He says you're redeemed. I have wisdom because of Jesus. He says, "All right, you have wisdom".