Episode 1. God’s Grace
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On planet earth today, right at this moment, there are around two and a half billion people who would call themselves Christians. But the vast majority of those are not living in the spiritual …
On planet earth today, right at this moment, there are around two and a half billion people who would call themselves Christians. But the vast majority of those are not living in the spiritual victory that Jesus came to give them. I wonder if you know anyone like that.
Spiritual victory is something of an odd concept, we live life, we go through all the stuff we go through, we know somehow there’s a spiritual dimension to it all but for most of us, particularly westerners like me, the spiritual dimension of life can feel somewhat distant, irrelevant even in the cut and thrust of daily life. Yet nothing could be further from the truth.
The battle’s we fight often appear to be battle’s against circumstances, adversity, other people – especially other people. Our daily battles appear confined to the here and now when all along there’s a spiritual battle raging for your soul in the heavenly places. This is what the Apostle Paul writes, Ephesians chapter 6, verses 10 to 13.
Finally (he says) be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armour of God so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil for our struggle isn’t against enemies of blood and flesh but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armour of God so that you may be able to withstand on that day of evil and having done everything to stand firm.
So today we’re kicking off a brand new series of messages called Your Road To Spiritual Victory because Jesus didn’t come and die for you and rise again so that you could spend the rest of your life being defeated by your circumstances or by people or by satan or by your sin. Gods plan for your life is victory – spiritual victory. 1 John chapter 5, verses 4 and 5.
For whatever is born of God conquers the world and this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith. Who is it that conquers the world? That the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
And that’s why today and over the next couple of weeks we’re going to focus on spiritual victory, your spiritual victory to be precise. Often when I start talking about this to people I get a response that goes something like this, ‘Yeah I hear you but I’m not good enough, I’m such a weak person, I don’t think I will ever experience the victory that you’re talking about.’
This is way more common than you think. Perhaps you’ve been thinking along similar lines as we’ve been chatting about this whole ‘spiritual victory’ thing today. Well my job is to open God’s Word with you and show you that that’s a whole bunch of baloney.
Let’s go back to Paul’s words about the spiritual battle and putting on the whole armour of God. The whole purpose of that, he says is quote, ‘So we may be able to withstand on that evil day and having done everything to stand firm.’ In other words ‘to win the battle‘.
‘But I’m not good enough,’ I hear you say. No, you’re not good enough, that’s the truth and nor am I for that matter, we’re all in the same boat. None of us is good enough or strong enough or pure enough or holy enough or smart enough to win the spiritual battle, that’s the whole point, that’s why we need Jesus, that’s why we need the Holy Spirit.
And the starting point for the transaction of spiritual victory can be summed up in one word – grace. And that’s something that your God and mine, has available in bucket loads for you and me. Again listen to how the Apostle Paul puts it, Ephesians chapter 2, verses 4 and 5.
But God who is rich in mercy out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, has made us alive together in Christ.
There are times in our lives when we know that we’ve blown it, I mean completely blown it. There is nothing worse than waking up the morning after the night before and remembering that you hurt someone you loved and damaged a relationship that was so terribly important to you. How could I have been so stupid? How could I have said that? How could I have done that? Yeah I know, you’ve been there right? So have I.
I remember one time when I was in that place when the person I had hurt reached out to me and without berating me, without showing anger, without judging me simply forgave me and opened the door to healing our relationship. I’ll never forget it. That person was Jesus. What He did is called mercy and here’s the thing, mercy is only mercy when it’s undeserved. If we deserved it, it wouldn’t be mercy, would it?
The Bible tells us that God is rich in mercy, ain’t that the truth.
For by grace you have been saved through faith and this is not of your own doing, it’s a gift from God, not the result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians chapter 2, verses 8 and 9)
See mercy and grace are two sides of the one coin. Mercy is when God takes away the punishment that we so richly deserve for rebelling against Him and grace is when He gives us instead untold blessings that we simply don’t deserve. You and I have rebelled against God and the wages of sin, as we’re told in the Bible, is death and yet because He loves you so much He heaps the death that you deserve on the shoulders of Jesus on that cross. Jesus suffered and died on your behalf – that’s mercy.
And then instead of the death we so richly deserve, He gives us a rich abundant life here and now, a life that we’ll spend with Him for the rest of eternity, that’s grace.
Some days we look in the mirror and we see just what we’ve done wrong. We see how unworthy we really are. We realise that there’s simply no hope and that’s the whole point, that’s why He sent Jesus, for you. He loves you so much, mercy and grace through Jesus Christ.
And so no matter how low the base that you’re coming off is in this spiritual game that we call life, God’s mercy will trump everything. In fact so much so that He’ll wipe away all of your past misdeeds, also known as sin. He’ll make your past completely irrelevant to you, to your life and to your relationship with Him. That’s how rich God is in His mercy and grace. Psalm 103, verses 11 to 14.
For as the heavens are high above the earth so great is his steadfast love towards those who fear him, as far as the east is from the west so far he removes our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children so the Lord has compassion for those who fear him for he knows how we’re made, he remembers that we’re just dust.
As far as the east is from the west – I recently had to fly from Sydney in Australia, it’s on the eastern seaboard up to Singapore and it takes about seven and a half odd hours to make that flight. Four and a half of those hours, over half of the trip, is involved just in flying from east to west to get out of Australia.
So as I made that flight I looked down on the red dusty land below me and I think ‘the distance between east and west is enormous’. So far has God removed our transgressions from us – as far as the east is from the west. Your slate is wiped completely clean and your past becomes completely irrelevant. 2 Corinthians chapter 5, verse 17.
So if anyone is in Christ there is a new creation. Everything old has passed away and see everything has become new.
Your past is gone, it’s irrelevant. You want spiritual victory in your life then you need to know the truth so that the truth can set you free and the truth is this, it’s what I just shared with you from God’s Word today, the truth is that you are forgiven, completely and utterly, the truth is that as far as the east is from the west so far have your transgressions been removed from you.
That’s the truth and that’s the starting point of spiritual victory in your life – the truth.