Derek Prince - Stop Trying To Earn God's Grace And Favor
I want to go on this evening dealing with faith and the theme is: Faith and Works. Two simple words that are used very commonly in the New Testament and yet it is truly amazing how many of God’s people do not have a clear understanding of the relationship between faith and works. Let me say that by faith we mean simply that which we believe, by works we mean simply that which we do. What is the correct relationship between what we believe and what we do? I want to begin by just briefly stating the gospel.
So many of us use the phrase, the Gospel, and we talk about it as if it’s something that we absolutely know clearly what we mean. In actual fact, I think a lot of people speak about the Gospel and they’re not aware of what the Gospel actually is. It’s stated very clearly by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15 verses 1 through 5. 1 Corinthians 15:1–5: Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the Gospel which I preach to you which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved if you hold fast that word which I preached to you unless you have believed in vain. And then Paul goes on to state the gospel. And the Gospel is stated in three simple historical facts, it’s not complicated. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried and that He rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures.
So the Gospel consists of three simple historical facts. Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He was raised again the third day. And where those statements are not made, the Gospel is not preached there’s a great deal of so-called gospel preaching which never actually contains the Gospel. Those are the three vital facts that we need to lay hold of: Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He was raised again the third day. And the first attesting authority is not the eyewitnesses who saw Him after He was raised, but the Scriptures. That’s the ultimate authority. Paul says twice, according to the Scriptures. Then he goes on to list various people who were witnesses of His resurrection. But bear in mind the final authority in all matters of faith is the Scriptures.
Now, Paul goes on to explain, that if we will receive these simple facts by faith, without works, without what we do, righteousness will be imputed to us. We will be reckoned righteous. It is very important to see that Paul says, it’s not by what we do but it’s by what we believe. It’s not by works, but it’s by faith. And he goes on in Romans chapter 4 to discuss the lesson that we can learn from Abraham, for it says that Abraham had righteousness imputed to him by faith. And Paul then begins to discuss the lesson that we learn from this. And he says in Romans chapter 4, Now to him who works the wages are not counted as grace, but as debt.
If you work for somebody and receive your wages that’s not grace, that’s something that’s owed to you. But he says that’s not how we achieve righteousness. It’s not by our works, it’s not something we’ve earned. And then he goes on with a most amazing statement. And I tell people, if you’ve never been surprised by what you read in the Bible you’ve never really read the Bible. because it contains the most surprising statements. And so Paul goes on to say, in Romans 4:5: But to him who does not work but believes on him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness.
So, if you want your faith to be counted to you for righteousness, what’s the first thing you have to do? Stop working. To him who does not work. As long as you think you can earn it by what you do, you will not receive it. This is the hardest thing for religious people. We’re so used to the idea we’ve got to do something to earn God’s favor. Favor cannot be earned. Grace cannot be earned. By definition they cannot be earned. And so, the first thing you have to do, if you want to be reckoned righteous by God, is stop trying. Do not work. That’s a startling statement to many people, but then the Bible is a startling book. Much more startling than most of us realize.