Joseph Prince - Where Is Holiness In Grace?
Happy Reformation Day, church. About 500 years ago, exactly today, Martin Luther nailed the 95 theses that launched the Reformation. Because the ancient church, the church at that time, did not believe that one is saved by grace through faith alone. They have added man's performance, man's penance, man's giving, and man's works to the entire thing, that the gospel was lost. But when Martin Luther used that hammer to nail the 95 theses, that sound was heard, the gospel bell was heard, all across the world from then on. And it continues until today, praise the Lord. This gospel will be heard far and wide, that the gospel of Jesus Christ is now going to the four corners of the earth without walls, transcending time and space, and it all started, yes, from the book of Acts on the Day of Pentecost, but I think that the greatest reformation, the greatest move of the Holy Spirit since then, was actually on that day, 31 October, 1517, when Martin Luther nailed that 95 theses.
You know, back in those days, for him to nail that to the doors of the church, and it was read by everyone, it is a way of, like, it is like their social media of that day. If you want some announcement done, all right, you nail it at the door because the people would go to church and they would read it. And that's what he did with his 95 theses. But the 95 theses can all be summarized in five solas of the Reformation. Sola is Latin for only or alone. And these are the five solas. All their sermons, Martin Luther's sermons and all those that came after him, Zwingli, and all the rest, is based on these five solas of Reformation. First one: Sola Scriptura, which means Scripture Alone. Sola Christus means Christ Alone. There's salvation in no other. Sola Gratia means Grace Alone. Sola Fide: Faith Alone. Soli Deo Gloria: For the Glory of God Alone.
So you have these Latin words translated in English on the right, telling us that the gospel of Jesus Christ is based on Scripture alone, on Christ alone, on grace alone, on faith alone, and all for the glory of God, hallelujah. And we need to remember this, church, because, again, down through the years, man has added to the gospel. Man has added their penitence, their works, their good intent. You see, the flesh does not mind being religious. The flesh will add anything to get some glory, but that we always remember what the apostle Paul, if there's anyone who understands the gospel of Jesus Christ, it was Paul who received directly from the Lord himself, and this is what Paul said in Ephesians chapter 2. He says: "By grace you have been saved through faith". Always remember that, church. "By grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast".
Notice, it is totally by grace through faith that you and I are saved. It is not our doing. "It is not our works, lest any man should boast". And yet today, man has found room for boasting by adding to the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel of Jesus Christ will prevail, hallelujah. So, will the real gospel please stand up. Today, it seems like the real gospel, when it's preached, grace alone, faith alone, is seen like another gospel, when back in Paul's day, Paul actually in chapter 1 of Galatians when he wrote to the Galatians, he talked about those who depart from the grace of Christ into another gospel, which means the grace of Christ is the true gospel of Jesus Christ. In Romans chapter 1, he says, "Therein," in the gospel that Paul preached, let's see whether we stand when we stand up to the gospel, we stand the test. In this gospel of Christ that Paul preached, "Therein is the righteousness of God revealed". "Therein is the righteous, in it, the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith".
Now, the sinfulness of man, of course, is exposed. But that's not the trust of the gospel. It's the righteousness of God given to man as a gift, amen? "That God might be just, and the justifier of him," "that God might be righteous, and the righteousness of him who believes in Jesus," hallelujah. That's the gospel of Jesus Christ, and you and I have received that, amen. You know, sometimes people are so afraid to rest in their salvation, to rest in Christ, because they hear things like, you know, we're not to sit on our laurels and that. I even hear people saying things like, you know, people sitting in the pews, "sitting on their blessed assurance". Let me tell you this: don't make a mockery of that beautiful hymn, "Blessed Assurance". Thank God for blessed assurance. We need to have the assurance.
You see, we think that if we frighten people and take the sense of eternal security away from them, the more insecure they are, the better they will perform. Nothing could be further from the truth, friend. In fact, the more insecure, your performance will get worse. In fact, you'll be falling into sin all the time. You'll be fearful, anxious, and you may even shun away from God because why? There's no sense of security. The Scripture begins with not man, from man's perspective, from Earth perspective, upwards to God; from God's perspective to man. What God has made us. God has made the finishing post our starting post. You know, in a race, you know, you start from the starting post and then you go to the finishing post, but actually in Christ, what Christ has done in his death, burial, and resurrection, he's actually brought us all straightaway, even the weakest babe in Christ is brought straightaway to the finishing post. The finishing post is now our starting post. It says: "You are complete in Christ".
You are complete in Christ. Now, walk out that completion. You are seated in heavenly places in Christ. Now, walk out that position of rest. We think that now that we are righteous in Christ, well, you know, by grace through faith you have been saved, that is your ABC, that's your starting position, but you need to progress through holiness. And we think of holiness as the university, whereas grace and righteousness by faith is actually kindergarten. Friend, the Bible doesn't say that. The Bible actually tells us as long as we live on this side of heaven, while we wait for the Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, we will always be pursuing after righteousness. Pursuing after righteousness is how we flee youthful lust. And righteousness in the New Testament is always a gift. Righteousness is always a gift.
Yes, I believe in progressive holiness, progressive sanctification, but righteousness is complete. Once you are born again, you're born righteous. You were once a sinner, but once by grace through faith you are saved, you are righteous in God's eyes, holy and blameless. You are the righteousness of God in Christ, the Bible says. And it's important we remember this. And when we hear voices that tell us otherwise, that take the assurance away from us, that tell us that we're not complete in Christ, we need to pursue, we need to pursue. There is a goal out there, a finishing post, and that goal is for us to come to know God or to come to maturity in the place.
And friend, maturity is to realize, continue to realize, we start from God's position, God's viewpoint. God sees us complete in Christ, seated in Christ in heavenly places. From there, we proceed to the Earth, amen? We proceed, like, from heaven's perspective, we walk out our completeness, amen. We walk out our position of rest in the way we love our wives, in the way we submit to our husbands, in the way we obey our parents in the Lord. But first of all, we need to know our position in Christ. Like I've shared last week, that the book of Ephesians starts with chapter 1, our wealth in Christ, how we have forgiveness of sins according to the riches of his grace, praise the Lord. How we have been made highly favored. The word there is charitoo, "highly favored in the Beloved". It's like the Holy Spirit wants to use a word that will so, you know, portray to us, convey to us, the sense of our belovedness, that instead of just saying we are "highly favored in Christ," we are charitoo in Christ, it says we are "highly favored in the Beloved".
All this are the wealth of Ephesians chapter 1. It starts with wealth and then it comes to the middle portion of Ephesians which talk about our walk. Our walk is worthy of the Lord. You see, how much we realize our wealth, how much we rest secure in love, a sense of his love upon us, a sense of his favor around us, the more secure we are in that our walk will be as secure, as powerful, as sure, as our position in Christ, amen. It's never you walk into that position. It's never you walk to attain closeness to God. No, my friend, you are there, close to God. Just like that old hymn from the 1800s. I mean, back then, they knew about this closeness with God. Their doctrine back then was accurate, and we need to hear some of these hymns that was written even back then in 1800s.
There's one that goes like this: "So near, so very near to God, I cannot nearer be. For in the person of his Son, I'm as near as he. So dear, so very dear to God. More dear I cannot be. For the love wherewith he loves the Son, such is his love to me". They knew that we start with the wealth. We are already so dear to God, dearer we cannot be. We are so near to God, nearer we cannot be. And we need to enjoy this and from this, we step into our family relationships, hallelujah, and reveal with our loved ones from the perspective of heaven who we are, amen? The more you know you are loved, we loved because he first loved us. We've gotta understand this. You know, the apostle John, he actually calls himself the disciple whom Jesus loved. That expression only appears in John's own gospel, all right? It doesn't appear in Matthew, Mark, or Luke. It appears only in his own gospel, which means John was practicing the sense that he was loved by the Lord.
Now, the Lord loves all the disciples the same. I believe that. But John believed in it. John wrote later on in his Epistles, "We have known and believed the love that God has for us". It's one thing for God to love you; it's another thing for you to believe in that love. It was obvious that the prodigal son never believed in his father's love for him. Did the father love him? Yeah, the father loved him with all his heart, as demonstrated later on to him, but he never believed it. So it's important that we know it and we believe in it. So John believed in it. He calls himself, five times in the Gospel of John, "the disciple whom Jesus loved". And it would do us good to study those five times because it teaches us wonderful things like divine intimacy.
You know, every time that phrase appears, it teaches us something. There's a spiritual truth like divine intimacy. The first time it appears, Peter who boasted of his love for the Lord, whereas John by his action, leaning on Jesus's bosom, he's demonstrating that he is the one loved by the Lord. Not the one loving the Lord. That's the sum total of the old covenant, the law, which says, "Thou shall love God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, all your strength". And that is demonstrated in Peter. Peter whose name means stone, represents the law, and he's the kind of Christians that depend on their love for the Lord. And he was sincere. Mind you, Peter was sincere. Peter said, "Lord, I'll go to prison for you. I'll die for you". And I believe he meant it. But he didn't know his flesh. He didn't know himself. And the Lord knew that. Whereas for John, he did not put his trust in his love for the Lord. He trusted the Lord's love for him.
Now, friend, the Bible says: "We know and we believe the love that God has for us," and what's the result? "We love, because He first loved us". John would write that later on in his Epistle. "We love, because", notice that. The cause, the effect, is that we love. But what was the cause? "We love, because He first loved us". So we love God. It is left untranslated there, all right? I know the King James put "We love God because He first loved us," but actually it's untranslated in the original, which means we love because he first loved us. We love God the way we should and we love one another the way he's commanded us to, amen, because he first loved us.
So we need to preach because so much so that the effects will be on our people, hallelujah. Will be on the people that, in a way, we are always ignorant of God's love for us, amen? We look at ourself and we say, "We've got to love God more, we've got to love God more," and all the while, God is saying, all right, for 1500 years God put men under the law and the greatest commandment says you must love God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, all your strength, and no one could do it, right? So God says, "Now, the law has demonstrated," that's the purpose of the law that men cannot, "now, watch me". And God loved us with all his heart, all his soul, all his mind, all his strength, and died for us on that cross, amen? Praise the Lord. And he loved us.
Now we love because he first loved us. So John, in the first instance of the five times that phrase appears, "The disciple whom Jesus loved," the first instance, Peter had to call upon, you know, in the Last Supper in the Upper Room, he had to signal to John when Jesus says, "One of you shall betray me," and Peter said, "Ask him who is it". You see, Peter was, the one who trusted in his love for the Lord sensed a distance between him and the Lord. And that will always happen when we trust in our own efforts, in our own love, even, in our own holiness, instead of trusting the Lord's love for us. And he had to signal to John and says, "Ask him who is it," and the Bible says it so beautifully: "John, leaning back". He didn't just ask. "Leaning back on Jesus's breast," a breast is a picture of love. It's like, "I depend on his love," amen? To hear the secrets of his heart, to have divine intimacy with the Lord, we lean on his love, lean hard on his love, believe in that he loves you, hallelujah.
And the more you believe in that love, his secrets, because when you lean on his breast, his secrets are unveiled, hallelujah. The urim and the thummim in the chest of the breastplate that the high priest wore, and Jesus is our high priest today, and the urim and thummim will give directions. And it's like when you lean on his love, you hear his directions. Lights, urim; thummim, perfections. Perfect guidance, amen, divine light in all our dwellings, praise the Lord. And you will have that direction, praise the Lord, and Jesus told John who it's gonna be. None of the disciples knew. Only John knew, because John depended on the Lord's love for him.
Now, the last time that phrase, "The disciple whom Jesus loves," we find the disciples and our Lord by the shores of Galilee. They have just finished their breakfast, and the Bible says that the Lord started walking and John was following him. And then Peter said this. "When Peter saw the disciple whom Jesus loved". Now is the fifth time that phrase is mentioned in the Gospel of John, "The disciple whom Jesus loved". When Peter saw John, he says, "What shall be done to this man"? And the Lord turned and looked at Peter, and the Lord said, "If I will that he tarries till I come, what is that to you? You follow me". In other words, we are not to look at other, you know, preachers and other ministers and what this guy's doing, what that guy is doing. And try to report to the Lord and all that.
The Lord says, "You follow me. What is that to you? Whatever they're doing, what is that to you? You follow me," amen. "You get your specific instruction from me. You follow me". You see, Peter had to be told, "Follow me". But John, in that instance where the phrase appears, "The disciple whom Jesus loved," he was already following, hallelujah. He was already following. He didn't have to be commanded. He didn't have to be told, "Follow me". Peter had to be told, but John was already following. So, you know, the more you practice the love of Jesus, you will end up doing, you know, you end up having divine intimacy with him and you'll find yourself following the Lord and also there are other benefits and effects of knowing the Lord's love in the occurrence of that phrase, "the disciple whom Jesus loved". But, friend, we are not the originator. That love comes from him, amen.
You know, the old grandfather clock, the pendulum clock, if you look at it, all right, it moves, like, left to right, but what causes it to move? It's actually, there's a pivot right on top. There's a pivot inside the pendulum clock and if the pivot is rusty, then the pendulum will not work well, or it will stop, okay? So, our position in Christ up there, where you can't see the pivot, all right, you can't see us in Christ, but that's where the source or the power comes from to walk worthy of the Lord, to walk based on the high calling of God, so if our pivot is right, the movement below will be right. So if I am seated in heavenly places in Christ, and I'm enjoying and things are going well. The oil of the Holy Spirit's flowing, praise the Lord, then my walk on earth will be in harmony. Praise the Lord. Thank you, Lord Jesus, hallelujah.
If you are thinking of, like, holiness, what is holiness? And holiness is things like grace is always seen like, you know, if you believe in grace, if you preach grace, then you are someone who is compromising on holiness. You don't believe in holiness. Now, friend, that's not true, friend, because only grace can teach you to be holy. The Bible says in Titus chapter 2 that "the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us, denying ungodliness and worldly lust". Now, notice that? You know, people will say, "Well, we need to teach that, to deny ungodliness and worldly lust". No, friend, listen carefully. It says: "The grace of God". What's the subject? The grace of God. "The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us". It's the grace that teaches us. Grace is an amazing teacher.
If we'll put people under grace, grace will teach them. Yes, we teach them grace, praise the Lord. We teach them grace, and grace will teach them from within. But grace is an amazing teacher, hallelujah. And when we put people under grace, the Bible says clearly in Romans 6:14: "Sin shall not have dominion over you, because you are not under law but you are under grace," hallelujah. Now, friend, just take the Word of God. This is the Word of God. Nothing can be more clear and certain than this Scripture verse, praise the Lord. It says: "Sin shall not have dominion over you," because, "for you are not under law but under grace". You are not under who you are before God. You're under what God is to you. You are not under your efforts, your works, but you are under God's finished work for you. Praise the Lord, hallelujah. You're under unmerited favor. And it seems like people try to divide holiness from grace.
I have a message I preached in the '90s called, "Where is Holiness in Grace"? And, you know, because I saw even back then people are confused about why is that so? Yet, the results of being under grace is actually holiness. Now, friend, if I come to you and I tell you that, you know, you see my face has all the red spots and all that. I say, "No problem, don't worry about it. It's just rashes, I have this outbreak of skin rashes". But actually what I have is chicken pox. Now, you have never had chicken pox, but I come and tell you, I assure you it is not anything, you know, to worry about. I'm just having an outbreak of skin rashes. I have a skin condition. Now, actually, what I have is chicken pox. What you will catch from me will not be what I say. What you catch from me will be what I have, which is chicken pox. Mmm, okay? So the thing is this. We talk about holiness, it's not the talk, it is the fact. Is the result holy? Is the result holy?
I wanna read to you a testimony that just came in from a brother from Great Britain, and this brother says: "I had been addicted to watching pornography for more than 35 years. It was something I did every day," wow. Thirty-five years. "More than 35 years". So he didn't tell us how old he is, but he's watching pornography for more than 35 years. "It was something I did every day, seven times a day on average". Seven times a day on average, wow. "I tried for decades to end it, but I just got deeper and deeper into it. One day, I listened to Pastor Prince's sermon where he encouraged us to declare our righteousness in Christ, all while trusting the Lord for deliverance from our addictions. At first, it didn't sit very well with me, especially when I said it during and after I watched the porn".
Okay, so in other words, while he's watching, and people are saying, "You know, you can't just saying that when you're watching". Listen, friend, they will still watch. They will still watch. It's more important that they proclaim their identity, even though at that moment they might not feel it, they might not believe it, but start proclaiming it because the spirit of faith says, "I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak". That's how the spirit of faith operates. Start speaking. Start speaking and it will affect your heart. "The word is nigh thee, in your mouth, and in your heart". It is first in your mouth, then in your heart. And this is reality. It is who you are in Christ. You are the righteousness of God in Christ. If you put your trust in Christ, God sees you righteous in Christ, and when you agree that you are the righteousness of God in Christ, the Holy Spirit in you is called the spirit of truth. The Holy Spirit of truth will bear witness with the truth every time if you are testifying a lie.
You say, "I am a sinner. I am so sinful," you know, instead of proclaiming, "I am the righteousness of God in Christ," just like when you are sick, you proclaim, "With his stripes I am healed. As Jesus is, so am I in this world". You're calling things that are not as though they are. And that's what your Father in heaven does, my friend. In Romans 4 it says: "God calleth those things which be not as though they were". God looked at Gideon and God says, "Hail, thou valiant man". God looked at Peter who was like a reed, and God says, "You are Peter, a rock," amen. And friend, this is God calling those things. And God looked at Abram who didn't even have his child yet, and God says, "You'll be a father of multitudes. Your name is Abraham, father of many, father of multitudes". And it's God's way of expression of his faith. He calls those things that are not, all right, not in experience, by sight, experience, feelings, and all that. It's not there yet. But God calls those things that are not as though they were already. And this person did that, oh, hallelujah. That's the teaching, my friend.
Now, do you think for one moment that this person is confessing, "I'm the righteousness of God in Christ" because he's a hypocrite? No, hypocrites don't even want to mention or think about God while they are doing these things, amen? While they're involved in sin, they won't even wanna think about God. It is someone who find that he has this bad habit, he can't break this habit, and friend, until we see that sin is an addiction, sin is a habit that we in our strength cannot break, we'll never rely on God's way of deliverance. And God's way of deliverance is always, always faith. Anything you do, no matter how sincere you are in that effort, in that ritual, whatever you're doing, if it's not based on faith, it will never work. "And this is the victory that overcomes the world". It's the victory that overcome the lusts of the eyes, the lusts of the flesh, the pride of life. "This is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith". And friend, this is faith. This is what he's doing.
He says: "One day, I listened to Pastor Prince's sermon where he encouraged us to declare our righteousness in Christ, all the while trusting the Lord for deliverance from our addictions. At first, it didn't sit well with me, especially when I said it during and after I watched porn. After doing this for some time, the chains of addiction that had plagued me were miraculously broken". I'll say it one more time. "After doing this for some time, the chains of addiction that had plagued me were miraculously broken, and I'm well and truly free. John 8 says, 'And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.' I found the truth through what God's promises says about me despite the facts of my situation". Ha, ha, there he is, he's a preacher already, praise God. "'Truly where sin abounds, grace super-abounds.' Keep preaching, Pastor Prince". I believe I'll do just that, brother, praise God.
So, think about it, friend. He's not promoting sin and saying, you know, "I'm the righteousness of God in Christ, and I can go on sinning". Now, if you meet someone like that... so far I have not met anyone like that. Others have, they claim. But I have not met anyone like this in our church. But every church has them. Every church, not just our church. Every church has them, people who have no heart for God, people who are on the peripherals of the church. They might not even be born again. They are professors, they call themselves Christians but they're not possessors of eternal life, okay? So I believe if someone continues in sin, they're not born again, all right? A child of God will fall into sin like a sheep would fall into the mud, but a sheep doesn't like it. The sheep will bleat. The sheep will cry out. The sheep wants out, because the mud is not his nature.
Now, if a pig falls into mud, oh, happy hour, right? He is doing all kinds of dance in the mud because his nature is that he loves mud. You know, same thing for a child of God. You may fall into sin but you will never want it. Like this brother. Why is it that he's looking for a way out? Why is it that he's confessing the right, because he wants to continue his sin? No, friend. He wants the way out. And he found it, praise the Lord. The gospel way, hallelujah, through faith. Praise the name of Jesus. Declaring, "I am the righteousness of God in Christ". Now, if you meet someone who, say, who's living in adultery or sinning all the time and they purport that they're from our church, and you ask them and they say, "Oh, I'm the righteousness of God in Christ," and they have no heart for deliverance from that sin, and they continue in it, no, friend, they don't represent us. They don't represent what I'm teaching.
I have so many testimonies of people like this brother from Great Britain, all right, that we've been sharing down through the years, so this brother is not reflective. In fact, he is just as, he's numbered among those in every church. They always are there, all right? They are in the church but they are not of the kingdom of God, praise the Lord. Many of them, I believe that. I believe there are many professors walking around in churches, even, but they're not safe, okay? Because a child of God will never boldly tell you, "You know what? I can sin anyhow and God will still forgive me". No one will say that. No one will say that. Yes, they will say something in front of you but it's, "I believe that I'm still the righteousness of God in Christ," because they want the way out. They'll confess it and they want the way out. And they will have that way out, praise God, because they're going by the way of faith.
Always remember this, friend, that the Holy Spirit of truth cannot bear witness with a lie. If you are believing a lie, no matter how sincere you are, no matter how religious that lie is, if you are believing a lie, the Holy Spirit cannot bear witness. And how does he bear witness? In fact, the Bible says, many a times, he bears witness "with signs, wonders, and miracles". This is a miracle of deliverance, praise the Lord. From 35 years of bondage to porn, okay? Thirty-five years, seven times a day average, he says, and he's delivered now. Praise the name of Jesus. How, friend? Does this sound like someone who wants to continue? Then he would not write to me. He will not be looking for a way out. Friend, praise the Lord, think about this. "Sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace". Praise the name of Jesus.
You know, when God gave the law, the children of Israel at the foot of the mountain, they actually said before God gave the law in Exodus 19, they said, "All that the LORD has said we will do it". Now in the Hebrew it's a very strong emphatic declaration. "All that God says, we can do it". So man does not know himself. He does not know his flesh. He does not know his propensity to sin. He doesn't even know that he's a sinner, and he has no strength of his own. So man rely on his own strength and told God, "Whatever you command us, we can do it". Now, all the while God brought them out from Egypt, based on his grace, his unmerited favor upon men, right? It wasn't because they deserve it. God brought them out based on the covenant that he established with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It wasn't their goodness, it wasn't their holiness, that God brought them out. And yet, they murmured all the way out and every murmuring brought forth God's fresh divine intervention, God's miracles, like at the Red Sea before God opened the Red Sea, they actually murmured and complained, and how many know that murmuring and complaining is sin? And yet, God opened the sea for them.
And on the other side, they were okay for a while and then they murmured there was no water. And God, instead of judging them, God turned the bitter waters of Mara and made it sweet. And then they were okay for a while and again they murmured there was no food, and Bible says God says: "Behold, I will rain," what, judgment? No, "I will rain manna, bread, from heaven". And none of them deserve it. None of them, because you know why? Grace is all about God's faithfulness, God's holiness, God's truth and counsel and wisdom. It's all God, praise the Lord. It's nothing to do with man. But the more man relies on that and the more man sees that, it will transform man. Man is transformed by beholding the glory of the Lord, hallelujah. And there's the message we need to share with the people, hallelujah. Thank you, Lord Jesus.
But look at this, right at the foot of Mount Sinai. So all the while, God, in spite of their sin, and not because of sin, doesn't mean God condoned sin, no way, but because they were not under the covenant of law just yet, they were under the covenant of grace that God established with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It's totally a covenant of grace. And God is faithful to that covenant in showing grace to them. And it is the goodness of God that should have led them to repentance, praise the Lord, because the Bible says: "The goodness of God leads you to repentance". But at the foot of Mount Sinai, in Exodus 19, they boasted in themself. And you look at God's tone. In Exodus 19, the moment they boasted, God actually told Moses: "Set bounds upon the mountain all around. Tell them, 'Don't come near.'"
God never used that language, my friend. When God brought them out from Egypt, God was so near to them, I repeat, God was so near, so close, to them, in a pillar of fire by night and in a pillar of cloud by day. God went ahead of them and prepared the way for them. When the enemies came behind them, the pillar of cloud went behind them to protect them and to cause darkness upon the Egyptians and light upon their way. And God opened up the way. God led them by a pillar of cloud and pillar of fire. God was so close to them. None of them died. Not a single one of them died. And, friend, for sure they were not perfect. None of them died. But at the foot of Mount Sinai, man boasted in his own effort, and because of that, God changed his tone for the first time: "Moses, tell them, 'Don't come near.'" Now, this is the thing. If man wants to boast in his own effort, his own strength, his own goodness, 'cause all the while God did not bring them out based on their goodness, based on their strength, based on their holiness. God brought them out based on his goodness, his faithfulness.
And now, at the foot of Mount Sinai, man has boasted. So God stepped back. God says, "Is this how you want me to deal with you, based on your obedience, based on your law-keeping"? The very next chapter, Exodus 20, God gave them the Ten Commandments. You know what's the result, friend? A golden calf. They made a golden calf. They never had a desire or temptation to build a golden calf in Egypt. Nor after the Red Sea. But at the foot of Mount Sinai when they received the law, when they boasted in their law-keeping, in their obedience, in their strength, you know what happened? The very first commandment, "Thou shall have no other gods before me". And what do you see? You see a golden calf, and they were worshiping it. And God was grieved, because by the law, it's not the knowledge of righteousness. The Bible says: "By the law is the knowledge of sin". Paul says, "Moreover the law entered that the offense," the sin, "might abound". Praise be to God. "Where sin abounds, grace super-abounds," and the Greek there, it says, "Where sin increased, grace super," huper, "super-abound," praise the Lord. Thank you, Lord Jesus.
That's why I'm more excited about God's grace swallowing up sin than to focus on sin all the time as if God's grace is something weak, something that cannot overcome sin, but man needs to put his efforts together with God's grace, then it can be done. No way, friend. Sola gratia, it's grace alone. Sola fide, faith alone. Sola scriptura, Scripture alone. What I'm sharing is from the Scriptures, friend. You can check it yourself, praise the Lord. Thank you, Jesus. And soli deo gloria: To God be all the glory, hallelujah. Who gets the glory, amen? If God does his part, and then man does his part, you know who gets the glory? Half for God, and half for man. Men always want to have some glory. No, friend. God wants to have all the glory. We cannot handle one little glory, no way. In heaven, it won't be, "Worthy is the Lamb and me". No, it's, "Worthy is the Lamb," alone, hallelujah. Praise the Lord. And if God wants to have all the glory, let him do all the work, which he delights. He wants to do it.
So even right now, I'm actually resting in the Lord, I'm letting him do the work. You see, I always feel like if Joseph Prince is talking and preaching, right, the people wouldn't get blessed. But if I... I've prayed before this and I asked the Holy Spirit to speak through me, I ask God to cause me to speak as the oracles of God, and I've done that prayer, I've prayed and I believe God has answered me, and I believe that, right now, as I rest, the more I rest, the more I'm not active, or trying to put in my intelligence or my knowledge or my effort, but the more I rest, the Lord will bring the appropriate word and appropriate illustrations and "it's God who works in me both to will and to do his good pleasure". And the word there in the Greek is the present continuous tense. It is God working in me all the time. And that's why the verse before that must be read in its context: "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling". It is not saying, "Work for your salvation".
Again, we cannot negate the five solas of the Reformation, all right? It is not our works. You know, somehow, people still believe that that verse is saying: "Work for your salvation". No, it says, "Work out". You cannot work out something that's not inside. You work out what is in. Notice, the verse after that, it says: "Work out your own salvation because it is God who works in". You work out what God works in. God works in the love and the more you rest, the more God works in. And when God works in, you work it out. God works in me the love for my wife or God works in me the forgiveness for someone that I feel that, you know, doesn't deserve my forgiveness, and I'm not able to forgive the person, but God works it in me, the more I rest in the Lord, not try to forgive. Have you tried trying to forgive before? The more you try to forgive, what happens? The more angry you are with the person. You pray that, and the next five minutes you feel angry again. You got to pray that again. You know why? Because we're not doing it the Bible way. Scriptura, sola scriptura. Scripture alone. We're not doing it the Bible way. The Bible way is "Forgive, even as God for Christ's sake has forgiven you".
My friend, unless you understand how God has forgiven you, you cannot forgive. It's like we need to know that we are loved before we love. Those who know they are loved best are the ones who love best. Those who know they're loved, love. Those who know they're forgiven, and we have been weak in this, presenting how forgiven we are in Christ. It does not produce licentiousness, my friend, any more than the woman who wept at Jesus's feet at the house of Simon the Pharisee, and Simon was criticizing the woman in his thoughts and Jesus defended the woman, and Jesus says, "Whoever is forgiven much, will love him much". Maybe the revelation of how forgiven we are is not preached in its entirety. We have forgotten the major benefit, the first benefit, found in Psalms 103, and God tells us "not to forget all His benefits". And the first one says, "Who forgiveth all". How much? "All your iniquities". Does that produce licentiousness? Do you go around saying, "Yippee, I can now sin because God has forgiven me of all my". No, and it doesn't make you do that. If you are, then I gather you're not born again. It makes you love God and, friend, unless we understand the first benefit, we cannot receive the next benefit, "Who heals all your diseases".
If this part, the first benefit, is faulty in our preaching, then the second cannot follow. And perhaps that's the reason why we are seeing partial healings in the church for so long. There was a time in the Acts of the apostles, the Bible says: "They were healed every one". "And great grace was upon the church". "And with great power they gave testimonies of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ". They bore witness of it; how? In healings, miracles, signs, and wonders. Perhaps we're not seeing much of this because we've been faulty in our preaching of how forgiven we are. It is when you know you are forgiven.
Notice again, what it says in Ephesians and Colossians. Paul teaches this. "Forgive, even as God for Christ's sake has forgiven you," past tense. You know, in the Gospels, remember when Jesus, sometime Jesus would use words to bring people to the end of themselves, just like the rich young ruler who came to Jesus and he says, "What must I do to inherit eternal life"? Jesus didn't give him the evangelical answer. He didn't give him the gospel, why? Because he was boasting. "What must I do to inherit"? Jesus gave him some of the commandments from the ten. And you know what he said? "All these I have kept". Then Jesus says, "Sell all that you have and give to the poor". By the way, he didn't say that to everyone, not to all his disciples, only to that rich young ruler. "And come and follow me". And there's the first commandment, right? "You shall have no other gods before him," right? And yet, money was his god. And he walked away, sorrowful.
And friend, it is not that rich men cannot be saved. It was that he trusted in his riches than in God's grace. So what we see here is that the Lord can give the law to bring man to the end of himself, and he is an expert in doing that. The Bible says in James, it says that if you keep the law and you offend, you break one, you are guilty of all, not just of the one you break. You are guilty of all. So let's say, you know, you're doing fine with all the nine commandments, and then the last one you covet somebody's car, or somebody's husband or somebody's wealth, you know? You look at Elon Musk and you say, "Wow, I wish I'm as rich as him". You know, it's coveting, coveting is sin. The last one got you just like the last one got Paul as well, as he shared in Romans 7. Thou shalt not covet. So friend, if you break that it doesn't say, "Well," you know, God doesn't say, "Well, at least you keep majority of it, you know? You're fine". No, the Bible says you break one, you're guilty of all.
So, why did Jesus gave the law to the rich, young ruler? So that he will know he cannot be saved without Jesus. And that's why Jesus told him when he says, "Good Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life"? Jesus says, "Why do you call me good"? You see, friend, "is Jesus good"? Yes, perfect goodness, manifested in the flesh. But he's telling him, "Why do you call me good? There is none good by God". In other words, "Are you calling me God? If you're calling me God, you'll have no problem selling all that you have and giving all to the poor and following me because you know I'll take care of you. Are you calling me God? Don't flatter me. Don't call me good Master because there is none good, but God". So actually, it was the deity of Christ was presented to him. You see, friend, that's what the law does. The law exposes us. By the law is the knowledge of sin. Are you getting this so far, friend?
And like I shared just now in everything that we do, the more we rest, and that is true holiness. The holiness we want to produce must be the fruit of the Spirit. Love, joy, peace, gentleness, goodness, faith, self-control, all of them is the fruit of the Spirit. And have you noticed where, in the New Testament, the fruit of the Spirit appears? Would you say that this is progressive sanctification? Would you say that this is holiness, amen? The fruit of the Spirit? And holiness is not a face like you look like you're baptized in lemon juice, you know, grumpy and, you know, "Oh, I love Jesus, amen". How about notifying your face? You know, it's not the kind of holiness. Notice the first word "love". What comes after love? Joy, then peace. This holiness is not like what man makes it out to be. When man's efforts is involved, it's always morose, depressing. All right, it is not like that. It is love, joy, peace, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness. Self-control is a fruit, it's not an effort thing. Self-control, which is in the fruit of the Spirit. It's a fruit and he contrast that we works of the flesh, works of the flesh.
What's works of the flesh? Friend, what's works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit? Works of the flesh. He goes on to list, the entire list down there, all the works for the flesh, all those yucks, those yucky stuff, amen. But notice he calls it works of the flesh. He doesn't call it fruit. Fruit is fruit of the Spirit, not works of the Spirit. Fruit of the Spirit, works of the flesh. Whenever you energize your flesh, even in trying to do good, the works of the flesh is produced. Israel said to God, "All that you commanded us, we will do it, we can do it". And next thing they produced, the works of the flesh. When they're under law, sin becomes attractive. When you are under grace, holiness becomes attractive. When you are under law, sin has dominion over you. You cannot but sin. When they put themself under law, the next thing you see is the golden calf. My friend, nothing can be more clear, and that's why the Bible says, "The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ". Hallelujah. Praise the name of Jesus.
You see, grace is all about God working, God moving on man's behalf. It's God working. Law is all about man working, man's efforts. Grace can also be said supply. Spirit of grace is all about supply. The law is all about demand, demand. Thou shall not, thou shall not. Grace supplies, grace supplies the holiness, grace supplies the want-to's and the desire. Back to Philippians chapter 2 again. It says, "For it is God who works in you both to will". What does that mean to will? God gives you the willingness. You don't want to do something, you can tell God, "Lord, Lord, work in me, Lord. I'm willing to be made willing". Praise the Lord, amen. It is God who works in you. God never, you know, in the New Testament, people think that we do things that we don't want all the time. All the time we do things that we don't want.
I grant that there are times that I don't have a desire for something, but I know that God wants me to do it. But you know something? To do some assignment or something, but I'll ask God to give me the willingness because or else it's all done in a pharisaical spirit, it's done as an outward show. I must have the willingness inside. Praise the Lord. And the Bible says even that willingness, it is God who gives you that willingness. For it is God who works in you that willingness. He works in you that willingness and to do of his good pleasure. What does that mean? That means even the performance of his good pleasure is given by him. He gives you the willingness, and he gives you the doing, the performance of his good pleasure. Praise God. We cannot even take glory for all these things.
So, the fruit of the Spirit is a fruit, fruit is a result of life. Works of the flesh. Works is the result of effort. I repeat, fruit is the result of life, grace. Works, works of the flesh is the result of efforts, man's efforts. And notice where you find the fruit of the Spirit, in the Book of Galatians. And what are the first chapters before chapter 5 where it talks about the fruit of Spirit? All the previous four chapters, what he's talk about? Law and grace, law and grace, how the Galatians have allowed some teachers to come in and promote the law among them, telling them it's fine, believing in Jesus is fine, believing what you're believing from Paul and all that. Paul has left them at a time and they come in and say, "What Paul says is fine and all that, but you need to add circumcision. You need to add human effort. You need to add this, add that". And straightaway the joy was gone.
Paul asked them, "Where is the joy that you used to have? Where is the sense of blessedness that you spoke of? I remember you when I was beaten black and blue, and I came to all of you Galatians. You know what? You had such a sense of blessedness you would pluck out your eyeball and give it to me because my eye was all swollen. That's how much love you had. That's how much, you know, a sense of favor was all about you. You really loved. Without even being conscious of fulfilling the new commandment, you were fulfilling the new commandment, loving one another as I have loved you. Wow, guys, where is that sense of blessedness? It's gone".
Now listen, it wasn't gone because they did something sinful, because they went and deliberately broke the Ten Commandments. It was gone because someone added the law. Someone told them it's not enough. You need your contribution. You need your effort. And Paul says, "O foolish," literally, "O stupid Galatians. O foolish, Galatians. Who has bewitched you"? Wow, he calls this witchcraft. "Who has bewitched you"? Witchcraft in the church. I can call this message "Witchcraft in the Church". What is witchcraft in the church? Not telling people go ahead and sin, go ahead and sin. We know that's so blatant, so blatantly obvious it's wrong. The devil is more subtle than that. He's never more cunning and more sinister than when he comes in as a religious spirit telling you, "You know to please God, you gotta do this, you gotta do that, you gotta do this". When actually grace is all about celebrating and enjoying the favor of God where you are, seated in heavenly places in Christ.
When you pray, you don't pray to get near to God. You pray because you are near to God, therefore you don't pray for victory, you pray from victory. Hallelujah. And all that goes out the window the moment someone says, "You're not there yet. Hey, here's the finishing post, amen. All right, do your best, and you'll reach the finishing post". And their joy was gone. Their freedom was gone. So friend, holiness is a byproduct. The fruit of the Spirit is a byproduct of the energizing of the Holy Spirit in them. And how does that happen? When you are under law, the first four chapters tell you when you are under law, the result is what? The works of the flesh.
When Israel was under law, the result was the works of the flesh, the golden calf. And but when you're under grace, hallelujah, the result is the fruit of the Spirit. In other words, if I want to see self-control, amen, in let's say I'm preaching to the young people in a youth meeting, if I want to see self-control amongst them, I don't tell them, "You gotta have self-control. You gotta have self-control". Because the more I preach that, they'll fall back upon their flesh and we know what the works of the flesh can produce. They are sincere, but they will see that the result is totally different. They'll produce the works of the flesh. But if I want to see love, joy, peace, and self-control, I preach grace and the fruit, the result, the effect of grace will be love, joy, peace, plus self-control. Hallelujah. Thank you, Lord Jesus.
You know, like I shared last week, the law of first mention. Every time a subject is mentioned the first time, there's something significant for us to learn. God wants us to learn something significant from it and usually it's in its embryonic form, but that topic or that teaching will be developed or that Word will be developed throughout the Scripture, but we learn a lot from the first mention. It is like it directs you. It will give you direction to interpret the use of that Word or that concept throughout Scripture. Many times it's from the Book of Genesis, the Book of beginnings. Like, for example, blood, blood was first mentioned, where? When Cain killed his brother, Abel, and God came on the scene and God says, "The voice of your brother's blood cries unto me from the ground".
So, the first mention of blood in the Bible is Abel's blood. And that's why later on we see in the New Testament in the Book of Hebrews, we find that mention is made of Jesus's blood speaks better things than the blood of Abel. Jesus's blood speaks better things than the blood of Abel. So Abel's blood, even though Abel was dead, there's a voice. The first mention tells us there's a voice in the blood that speaks to God. And that blood was crying for vengeance against his murderer. And that's why when Jesus shed his blood on that cross, my friend, his blood cries out mercy for the sinner, amen. His blood cries out redemption for the one who don't deserve it. Hallelujah. And that's why Jesus's blood speaks better things than the blood of Abel. Praise the name of Jesus, hallelujah.
You know, where's the first mention of holiness in the Bible? The first mention of holy will help us understand what God wants us to learn and to focus on when we see the word "holiness". You know where's it found, the first mention of holiness? Genesis chapter 2, verse 3, "Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it". Holy is here, sanctified it. That's the Hebrew word "kadosh". Kadosh, holy. "Because in it, he rested". Mmm, here's the key here. The first use of the word "holy" has the idea of God blessing. God blessed the rest day. God blessed rest, why? Because rest is holy because in it, "He rested from all his work, which God had created and made".
And later on in the New Testament in the Book of Hebrews chapter 4, it tells us about this verse that there remains a Sabbath rest to the people of God, and it's not a day. It's not referring to Saturday. It's not referring to a day. It is the Sabbath rest that Jesus has brought to his people, hallelujah, a rest where you know that, you know, God is supplying everything. Praise the name of Jesus. And you're conscious of it. You are conscious of his favor. You're conscious of his love. When you have to go for an assignment or you go to for an interview, you are supply conscious and not demand minded like the law. Under the law, "Oh, I have to do this, I have to do that". And you get stressed about it, and you get depressed about it. And usually the result is bad, you know. But if you are supply oriented, you rest. Because why? Why are you supply oriented? God has finished all his work.
In Hebrews 4, it tells you about this verse, that God has finished all his work through Jesus Christ. It is finished. When Jesus cried, "It is finished," friend, it is finished. Holiness, the first mention of this word, sanctified holy and all that, it's the same Hebrew word. Just like the word "sanctified," saints, right, holiness in the New Testament, it's all the same word. It's all the same word, just in different form verbs or noun. Hagiasmos, hagiazo, verb, hagios, saints, all refer to people who are set apart. The idea of holiness is set apart, set apart, set apart. You set apart that which is special. You set aside that which is valuable. When you set apart, usually, for example, you go to someone's house and you look into their cabinet and you find that there's special chinaware, there are golden utensils and all that.
And you say, "Wow, where you got this from"? And they tell you how expensive it is, and all that kind of thing, but they don't use it for you. It's set apart. Perhaps maybe a when a VIP comes to their house, they might use those implements that they have. But why is it set apart? Because it's precious. It is set apart. Now, if a Greek person came in and saw all those things, he will probably use the same word. In Greek he will say, "Oh, you're hagiazo those things," holy. So, the word "holy" is not something, you know, out of the ordinary, something spectacular. It means set apart. You know what's the opposite of holiness? Commonness, that which is commonplace, profane because it's common. That's the opposite of holiness.
When God tells his people to be holy, he's telling us, number one, we learn from here the law of first mention, is to rest and let him do all the works because nothing of man, which is common, common means it's from man, all right. Nothing that man can contribute, being able to perform well, worthy of the Lord to the glory of God, hallelujah, he cannot do it, not of works, lest any man should boast. Hallelujah. So the law of first mention tells us, the first mention of the word "holy" in Hebrew, kadosh. In Greek, hagios. And the word "holy," even in Hebrew means set apart, special. But what we learn from here is because God rested. So, the Bible says in Hebrews chapter 4, we are to labor to enter that rest. "For he that is entered into God's rest, he also has ceased from his own works, as God did from his".
And I understand, friend, that sometimes when you look at something like addiction like porn, you know, you say, "I must put in some effort. I must discipline myself". But yet again, this person experienced his victory, and many others like him, not by putting in effort because the more he tried, in fact, that is the beginning part. The more he tried, the more, you know, those things come up livid and in color. Have you done that before? Have you ever tried not to think of a certain thought, the more you try not to think, the more you think of it? That's what happens when we try. God doesn't want, trying is actually the law. Grace is trust, rest. And the more you rest, you enter into his rest like the Book of Hebrews tells us. "He that is entered into God's rest," what? Has also ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labor therefore.
So, I believe that our only labor, my friend, in the Christian life, our only effort, make every effort, let us labor therefore, let us labor therefore to enter that rest. Labor diligently to enter that rest. Work at resting, amen. Praise the Lord. In the world we live in today, let me tell you this, it takes work. You gotta fight to enter the rest. Don't let anyone rob you of that. Your labor now is only one labor, labor to enter the rest. Just like the Jewish people asked Jesus when they saw all the miracles and all that. And they asked Jesus, "What must we do that we might work the works of God"? Jesus said, "This is the work of God that you believe". They asked him for a formula, "What must we do that we might work the works of God"? Jesus says, "This is the work of God, that you believe on him whom God has sent".
Our part is to believe. Labor to enter the rest. Work at not working. Labor to enter his rest, even in holiness, amen. In deliverance from bondages, labor to enter the rest, amen, by confessing, "I am the righteousness of God in Christ," by sitting in heavenly places in Christ resting, knowing that God has finished everything and whatever needs to manifest, he will work in you, through you so that you will give him alone, all the glory and all the praise, amen. Praise the Lord. Thank you, Jesus. I don't know about you, but I've been blessed, amen. Praise the name of Jesus.
If you've never received Jesus as your personal Savior and Lord, pray this prayer with me right now. I know many of you are saying, "I want to live under grace. I want to be in a place where I look to God for everything". Friend, it is not about your effort no more. It's not about you trying to save yourself. It's about Jesus and his finished work. He has done it all. All you gotta do, just accept a finished work. Will you do that right now? Praise the name of Jesus. Pray this prayer with me right now. Say:
Heavenly Father, I thank you that you sent Jesus Christ to die on that cross for all my sins. I thank you that you raised Jesus from the dead when I was justified in him. I thank you, Father, that Jesus Christ is my Lord and my Savior. And I thank you that from now on, I look forward to the abundant life that Jesus promised that he will give me. I am now saved, I am justified, I am the righteousness of God in Christ, and I step into a future full of your favor and blessings. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, amen.
Friend, if you prayed that prayer, you are now a child of God. All things are passed away. All things have become new, brand new. Stand to your feet right now, amen, with your family, stand together. Hold hands, if you can.
This coming week, the Lord Jesus Christ himself protect you by his power from the COVID-19 virus and from the Delta variant. The Lord keep you and your family safe. The Lord bless you richly with all the blessings that was effected through his finished work on that cross. It is now yours. Receive it in Jesus's name, blessings upon your head, blessings upon all that you do, blessings upon your family, that there's light in all your dwellings in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. And now the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, his favor and the love of your Father in heaven, and the sweet friendship and communion of the Holy Spirit be with you, with all of you, now and forevermore. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, amen. Hallelujah. God bless you.