Joseph Prince - Faith Is Superior To The Law
I want to share with you right now from the Scriptures something very important that we need to establish ourselves in. 'Cause many of us we understand grace, we understand law if you're been here for some time, but the most important thing you to need to understand, in terms of your daily walk with God is that every single day you must realize, all right, that you are called to walk by faith. All right, the first thing when you get up in the morning is to ask yourself, "Okay, what do I believe for this day? What am I believing"? If you wake up with symptoms in your body again, what do you believe? What do you believe? Because you're not called to live, listen carefully, by obedience. You're called to live by faith.
Now, are we against obedience? No, obedience, all right, an obedient lifestyle, obedient to God that is, obedience is not the root of the Christian life. It is the fruit. If you live by faith, you will find people who live by faith, they are obedient people, obedient to God. I mean, they live a lifestyle that glorifies God. But don't focus on obedience. Many people they wake up in the morning they say, "Oh, have I missed God? Why do I feel so lousy? Why do I have these symptoms and all that? Did I miss God somewhere"? They are looking at obedience, obedience, obedience or the lack of it, okay? You must wake up every morning asking yourself, "What do I believe? What do I believe today"? Because we are called to live by faith.
So, if we're gonna put a title to this message, I seldom give titles to the message, all right, the titles always come later, but today I have a title. It's called, Faith Is Superior To The Law, Faith Is Superior To The Law, all right? Now, let's look at something that happened to Jesus when he was in his hometown, Nazareth. Many of you are familiar with the story. He went to his synagogue that he grew up in and they hand him the scroll of Isaiah the prophet and he read the portion in the scroll of Isaiah saying of the Messiah that when he comes he will say these words. And then Jesus read those words, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, to heal the broken heart, to set the captives free". And then he came to the part, "To preach the acceptable year of the Lord". And then he closed the book. He closed the scroll and Jesus said these words, "Today, this Scripture is fulfilled in your ears".
Now, many of us think that the people got angry because they want to push him, you know they brought him up to push him over the cliff. Some people think it's because he said that's he's the Messiah by reading that portion. Well, they weren't angry yet. In fact, right after he says, "Today the Scripture is fulfilled in your ears", they were still not angry with him yet. All right, and then Jesus said these words, "Then He said, 'Assuredly, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own country'".
Now I tell you he's about to give you two instances of things that happened to two persons in the Old Testament that caused them to be so riled up that they were so angry to the point of wanting to kill him. It was because of these two instances. All right, let's look at it. The first one, "I tell you truly", Jesus said, "many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land". And the Bible says, "To none of them was Elijah sent", this man of God, "except to Zarephath, in the region of Sidon". Say, "Sidon". A non-Jewish city.
So, God sent Elijah to her, a non-Jewish woman, moreover, a widow. So, that's the first example. Would you say that this is an example of provision? Because Jesus said to none of them was Elijah's sin. What did Elijah do when Elijah came there? He gave her a Word that she obeyed, amen, acted upon and then what happened? The barrel of oil never ceased, and the meal never stopped. So, we see an example of wealth, okay? "But to none of them was Elijah sent". Okay, next verse. "And many lepers", say lepers, "were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian". And you know who's Naaman? He was the commander in chief. He was the top honcho, all right, the top guy in charge of the Army, but he was a leper. So, the king of Syria liked him a lot and sent him to Elisha to recover him, to heal him. Now, would you say this was a miracle of health?
So, now we have health and wealth. How many of you want to be healthy? Just in case you... how many want to be wealthy? Okay, now I saw more hands for wealthy, all right, I think I need to tell you all this. First and foremost let me just say this to you, even if... I want to go on record saying this, okay? Even if there is no health and wealth as the result of the gospel, I will still love Jesus because he first loved me. Okay, that is my heart, okay? But I'll be lying and I'll be an inferior, all right, and substandard preacher of the gospel if I say there is no health and wealth because all throughout the Scriptures, the moment the Messiah came, he went about healing, giving health, giving health, multiplying loaves and fishes, giving wealth. So, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. But even if there was no health and wealth, I will still serve him, all right?
Now, watch this. God says, if your Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. If you belong to Jesus Christ, then you're an heir and you are Abraham's seed, and God promised to Abraham in your seed all the nations will be blessed. Now, that is Christ. Once you are in Christ, you belong to Jesus Christ, you are Abraham's seed. Now, watch this. Chapter 4, verse1, it's all one thought so I go to chapter 4, verse 1 without the chapter so that you understand the last verse of chapter 3 is corresponding to verse 1. "Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all".
Now, let's say a child of a billionaire, all right, is about four years old. Can he operate the affairs of the family? Can he run the businesses, the many businesses of his father? Can he drive his father's Maserati, his father's Lamborghini, amen? Can you trust him with the key? So, as long as he's a child, even though he's the seed and the heir, listen carefully, listen carefully. It's gonna explain to us why we don't see our rightful inheritance, including health and wealth. Now, inheritance is so much more than health and wealth, but let's not apologize for health and wealth. It's there, okay? This is gonna explain to us why we're not seeing it happen, okay, because the church is still in an infantile stage, all right?
Now, I'm talking about the church, but look at what's happening here. He's saying as long as he's a child, he does not differ at all from a slave. You see, he's as good as a slave if you're a child because the slave cannot drive the Lamborghini, neither can the child. The slave cannot run the affairs of the father's businesses, right, neither can the child. So, it does not differ at all from a slave even though he's a rightful heir. All right, "The child is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father". Keep that time in mind, okay, appointed by the father. "Even so we", who are the we? "When we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world".
Notice all of a sudden, he's not saying you anymore to the Galatians. He says, we. We are who? The Jews. "We, the Jews, we were under the law. We were in bondage under the elements of the world". Do you understand? All right, next line. "But when the fullness of the time", the time appointed by the Father, "had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons", huios, full-grown son. The moment you are born again, I want to tell you this, you are a full-grown son. You are a full-grown son. You're no more a child, amen. Israel, once upon a time, was a child under the law, but when Jesus came, he brought them into sonship, if they believe, all right? And for those of us who have believed, we are now full-grown sons, with full rights and full privileges of a son, okay?
Now, that's why faith is superior to the law. "Because you are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, 'Abba, Father!' Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. Now and because you". Now, all of a sudden, you go to you. Just now it says, "We, when we were children". Now, you. Who are the you? Gentile Christians. The you there are gentile believers. See, we gotta be sensitive when we read the Bible, who is he referring to? Who were the ones under the law? The gentiles? No, they were never under the law. The Jews were under the law, all right? But because now he says, you. So gentiles are brought into the family of God, hallelujah. And when Jesus mentioned this in his hometown, they got mad. They got mad because they thought they have exclusive to God's privileges and blessings.
So, let me tell you this, the most undeserving of us is the one that gets God's best. The more you boast about... so watch this now. We are talking about faith and obedience. Obedience is obedience to the law. Why is it today when it comes to healing, for example, people stop and ask, "God, where have I missed it? What have I done wrong? Where are my sins so that I can confess to you"? Why are we doing that? Because we are still trying to get health and wealth through our obedience to the law. When you wake up in the morning, all right, instead of asking yourself, "What do I believe"? You end up saying, "Wow, you know, today I don't feel so good. Did I sin? I wonder if I've done something wrong or". That is actually very clear you're still under the law. Are you listening, people?
Now I want to show you something about faith and law. Faith is superior to the law. Say it. Galatians again, it tells us those who are of faith are? "Those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham". Those who are what? Of faith. Then the next line tells you, "For as many as are of the works", the opposite of faith, "those as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse". Now, this "As many as are" is the present tense, horrible thought. That means they are Christians under the curse, why? Because they are trying to keep the law by their obedience. Now again, you say, "Pastor Prince, are you saying obedience is not important"?
Listen to what I'm saying. What I'm saying is this, all right, the righteous live by faith. They don't live by the law. In other words, they don't live by obedience. They live by believing, right believing. It goes on, let's read. "No one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident", verse 11, "for 'the righteous shall live by faith'". That means what? By believing. You get up in the morning, all right, you feel the pain. You say, "Thank you, Father, by Jesus's stripes, I'm healed", amen.
Now listen, faith is not saying something long enough so it will happen, no. Faith is speaking in line with God's reality. You see, when God's eyes see reality, all right, his eyes see like no other eyes. Do you know in God's eyes, we have been crucified with Christ? We have died with Christ. Everything of the old Adam, his sins, his shame, his diseases have all been finished at the cross when Jesus said, "It is finished". Now, in Christ, God has quickened us with Christ. God has raised us with Christ. God has seated us with Christ. So, our identity is no more with the old man, Adam, but the moment we start feeling pain, it is true in our senses, it is true in your experience, but in God's eyes of reality, God says, "There is no pain. It's all finished. It's all finished, and I want you to start calling yourself healed. I want you to start acting and calling yourself healed by your believing".
We think "Oh, God wants me to say it even though it's not true so that it'll be true". No, no, no, God is saying, "Say it because it is true in my eyes", God is saying. So, to sense and experience through the senses and experience the pain is real. But to God and faith, the pain is no more. Do you understand? All right, this is not Christian science. This is Christian common sense, all right? Are you with me?
Look at the next line. "Yet the law is not of faith". Ah-ha, if you live by obedience, you keep on looking at your obedience or the lack of it, for any blessing from God. I'll repeat that again. If you are looking to your obedience or the lack of it to receive anything or to disqualify yourself, then you're under law. But if you look at your believing, you cannot be under the law and operate in faith, you cannot because the law is not of faith. The law is not of faith. Maybe the reason why Naaman could receive was because he was never under the law. He was not conscious of where he obeyed, where he disobeyed because he doesn't know the law. He was a Syrian, vada, amen? What about the woman of Zarephath, all right, a Gentile woman. She doesn't know the law and her faith was operative.
Now, let me close by saying this, faith must be in the right person, okay? You can go to a surgery, okay, and the guy, the surgeon is actually not a surgeon maybe he's just a student, but he wants to do his first surgery. So, he put chloroform on the real surgeon in the other room, took his clothes. This happen in the movies all the time, right? And now he's about to operate on you. And you went in saying, "I believe this will be a successful surgery. I believe this is gonna be a successful surgery. I believe, I believe it's gonna be a great success". I don't care how much you believe, it's a wrong surgeon, you are finished, all right? Your faith does not work without the right object, and that person is our altogether lovely Jesus Christ. If your faith is in him, all right, it has a solid, unshakable foundation.
Let me close by saying it's all paid for. All right, I've been saying this time and time again. Both health and wealth. Look up here. We'll close with this. The Bible tells us in Matthew 27, "Then he released Barabbas to them; and when Pilate here had scourged Jesus, that's when by his stripes we are healed". I said, by his stripes we are healed. In other words, it was paid for by Jesus, all right, bearing his back on that scourging post, and they hit him and they hit him again and they hit him again. Some people say 40 minus one, 39 but don't forget that's the Jewish law. This is the Roman law. We do not know how many times they hit him until his back was shred to ribbons, blood everywhere.
All right, he could hardly walk. And you know what they did after that? They took this clothes, while he was still bleeding, and they put it on him so that they can tear it out later when it dries up. So, that he was wreaking in pain and he walked... you know where they brought him? They're not finished yet. They brought him, next verse. "Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium", that huge assembly hall, and gathered what? How many people? "The whole garrison of the Roman soldiers, they were there". You know why they gathered all of them there? Because the next verse says, "They stripped him in front of the entire garrison". The blood has now dried up on the clothes, and they stripped him and they stripped him naked. There is your wealth paid.
Now listen, not only that, that's where your shame ended because he stood there in total humiliation. Our first fathers, our first father rather I should say, parents, Adam and Eve, when they sinned against God, they were naked. Who would have thought that God would send his Son to bear the total humiliation of our sins? And that's why today we don't have to be ashamed anymore. You don't have to be ashamed anymore. Don't let anyone make you feel ashamed, all right? Even with health and wealth, don't be ashamed. All right, just tell people who don't agree with you, "Never mind. I already told God whatever you don't want, pass to me. Don't worry, I'll relieve you of the load. I'll relieve you of the load".
Amen, whatever you don't believe, nevermind, Father, take their portion and give it to me, amen. God will not force his blessings into your life. But it was paid for. And when he was totally naked, that's when God clothed you and I with a robe of righteousness and all the while he's looking around. The only sane person there, the only altogether lovely one, whose eyes always look around for needs for him to meet, whose eyes look at Peter when Peter denied with cursing and swearing he ever knew him, the look says, "I forgive you, Peter". And Peter broke down. Only grace can break a heart the way Peter's heart was broken. His eyes always looked at the crowd and he saw a multitude of people without a shepherd, a sheep without a shepherd. Those eyes, battered. He could hardly look out of his eyes, and now he's naked and they're all laughing.
And you know what? All heaven, I believe, all the angels their swords were out, just one word and the whole garrison would drop dead. And yet no word came from the Prince Sar Shalom, the Prince of peace, not a word of resentment. When they nailed him to the cross, he only said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do". And look at this, church. "And then they put a scarlet robe on him. When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head. They mocked Him, saying, 'Hail, King of the Jews!'" Look at the last verse. "They spat on him".
Can you imagine spitting on the face of the Son of God? You know why? Because your face has shame on it because of our sins, all right? In and of ourself, our face deserve to be spit. But you know who took the spit? Jesus. The altogether lovely face, the fairest of 10,000, no one is as beautiful as him. Everything about him is altogether lovely. In the Song of Solomon tells us his face bore all the spit. Don't forget, the Bible says, "They spat", not one person spit. The whole garrison came near him and spat. The whole face covered with spit, and he redeemed you from shame. "I sing Hosanna, I sing Hosanna your selfless love reversed my shame".
He's reversed your shame, he's reversed all your shame, all your humiliation. And then they took the reed, by the way, the reed here in the Greek it says it's a staff. It's a hard staff, it's a reed staff, a rod, and they knocked him on the head driving the crown of thorns deeper, all this so that you and I today can live by believing. When you stand up, don't apologize. "By his stripes I'm healed, but I dare not take the healing". With God, you must not be like that, that's pride, okay? You just gotta humbly receive, but he paid for it. Give him the praise. Thank you, Jesus, hallelujah.