Grace of God Series #1

Fred R. Coulter—March 27, 1994

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What does it mean to be under the Law? As we've discussed, under law means subject to the penalty of the Law if you break it.

Let's see that Jesus Christ was made subject to that if He would have broken the Law. That is one Scriptural meaning of under the Law. I recommend that you get the Interlinear Greek-English New Testament [by George Ricker Berry], even if you know nothing about Greek. This will be helpful for you to read the English right under the Greek. You will see that the English translation is, in many key cases, much different than the King James and more accurate. There are some important things you can learn from it. [transcriber's note: The Holy Bible in Its Original Order, A Faithful Version by Fred R. Coulter is now available].

We'll understand under the law and then we'll also understand what it means to be under grace. I think this is very, very important: that one of the things that is most critical and important to do when teaching is to teach so that those who are learning are also thinking with the teacher. That way then you can really gain and understand what's going on. This is what I try to do when I teach; to engage you so that you are thinking at the same time I am thinking. I think one of the biggest problems is that the Churches of God have not taught the people how to think! We need to think with the Scriptures in our mind!

Galatians 4:1: "Now then, I say, for as long a time as the heir is a child, he is no different from a servant, although he be lord of all; but he is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed beforehand by the father…. [so he would have the inheritance] …In the same way, when we were children, we were held in bondage under the elements of the world" (vs 1-3)—controlled by the elemental demon spirits which rule the world.

Can you think of some Scriptures that tie in with that? I think you can see this in today's society much more clearly than at any other time that we have been in the Church of God, that it is wicked spirits who are ruling in high places. That's why you can moan and groan and have talk shows going day and night forever, and Rush Limbaugh can scream his lungs out; nothing is going to change, because he doesn't control it; you don't control it; people don't control it.

Ephesians 6:12: "Because we are not wrestling against flesh and blood, but against principalities and against powers, against the world rulers of the darkness of this age, against the spiritual power of wickednessin high places…. [then we're told how we need to on guard against that]: …Therefore, take up the whole armor of God…" (vs 12-13)—and so forth and so on.

Ephesians 2:2: "In which you walked in times past according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now working within the children of disobedience; among whom also we all once had our conduct in the lusts of our flesh, doing the things willed by the flesh and by the mind, and were by nature the children of wrath, even as the rest of the world" (vs 2-3).

To be under the elements of the world, Galatians 4:3: "In the same way, when we were children… [before you were called into the Church] …we were held in bondage under the elements of the world."

  • What is the bondage besides Satan that holds us?
  • What is the bondage that holds every human being?
  • Human nature!
  • What is another way to define this human nature that Paul defines?
  • Human nature!

Human nature is from within—isn't it? Very important! Human nature is from within! Satan's spirit also stirs it up from without. Here's what Jesus said concerning human nature. Under Satan's guidance every society comes to this: Mark 7; also put in Rom. 1, showing how every society degenerates because it rejects God. It degenerates into homosexuality, lesbianism, evil and mayhem—precisely what we have today, because its from within.

Mark 7:21: "For from within, out of the hearts of men, go forth evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickednesses, guile, licentiousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness; all these evils go forth from within, and these defile a man" (vs 21-23). It's interesting that the Greek means out from within proceeding out!

This holds us in bondage! Paul defines this another very interesting way, which you heard me refer to time and again, Rom. 8. Every human being is born with this. After Adam and Eve sinned, etc., Paul said 'death passed to all men.' Are we subject to death? We're all subject to death, yes indeed! When are we subject to death? When you die! When can you die? Anytime from conception! Death is part of our very genes. There's something else that's a very part of our genes called the sin within us. Paul said, 'When I want to do good I can't do good; the good I want to do I can't, and the evil that I don't want to do I hate.'

Romans 7:20: "But if I do what I do not desire to do, I am no longer working it out myself, but sin that is dwelling within me. Consequently, I find this law in my members, that when I desire to do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man… [part of his very being] …but I see another law within my own members, warring against the law of my mind, and leading me captive to the law of sin that is within my own members" (vs 20-23). Every one of us have the law of death and the law of sin.

Verse 24: "O what a wretched man I am! Who shall save me from the body of this death?…. [very key, important thing] …I thank God for His salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ…. [He's going to deliver] …Because of this, on the one hand, I myself serve the law of God with my mind; but on the other hand, with the flesh, I serve the law of sin" (vs 24-25)—because the law of sin is in you! That's why until the resurrection you will never, ever be perfect. Can't be! You cannot be perfect in the flesh!

Big mistake we made in WCG: Little children do not have human nature, they acquire it. Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! You put little children in a room alone and first thing you know you're going to have an argument—right? Next thing you know you're going to have a fight—right? Next thing you know, they're going to hit each other whether they've ever seen television or not, because they have sinful nature. It hasn't been stirred up, hasn't been fully developed, Satan hasn't gotten hold of them like we see with street gangs; their law of sin is stirred up within them, they are in bondage to Satan and the law of sin and death—therefore, we find premeditated, dedicated evil! Little children don't. They just have human nature and they don't know what they're doing, except they're fighting, but it's evident that they're born with it.

This is so important for the Feast of Unleavened Bread, so important in our relationship with God; so important in relationship to our being under the Law. Paul says, Romans 8:1: "Consequently, there is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who are not walking according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit." He says this after everything he says in Rom. 7, though he has a hard time overcoming and changing; though evil is always present with him.

So therefore, when we sin and we're not perfect, the first thing we do is condemn ourselves rather than repent. The next thing we try to do is work it out ourselves so we can go to God when we don't feel so badly—right? Is this not true? I'm not talking about anything we haven't done. The truth is, God knows! If God knows every thought that we have and tries the heart and rein, does He not know when we sin? Does God know we're going to sin? Yes, He does! Should we go out and actively sin? No, we should not! Here's what the solution is: "…there is now no condemnation…" because you're under grace and not under law. Under grace means a whole lot more than just forgiveness of sin.

Verse 2: "Because the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has delivered me from the law of sin and death"—which held you in bondage; your bondage to sin and death was so much that you never knew what sin was. Not only did you did not know the law which defined it, you really couldn't concern good from evil.

Now that you have God's Spirit, why do you have war going on in your mind? When you have God's Spirit, you think: I shouldn't have this! What's happening? God's Spirit is working with your mind to show you the gravity of sin! That's what he's doing. Before you were ever converted it didn't make a bit of difference. Now you're converted and it convicts you to lead you to repentance. In this condition "…there is now no condemnation…" from God. Yes, you do have to go repent, but we've been made free from the law of sin and death.

Verse 3: "For what was impossible for the law to do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, having sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh; in order that the righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who are not walking according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit" (vs 3-4).

  • What is the greatest righteousness of the Law?
  • Is it animal sacrifices? No!
  • Is it tithing? No!
  • Is it fasting? No!

Mark 12:30[transcriber's correction]: "And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength…." That is the full righteousness of the Law. We do it because we walk after the Spirit.

We were held in this bondage, but because of the sacrifice of Christ—He took the penalty upon Himself by carrying within Himself the law of sin and death—His life and death alone can pay for sin. Nothing else can pay for sin! Nothing else! Really learn this: Nothing can substitute for the sacrifice of Christ!!!

This will help us to understand law. Very important to understand law. If at 25-years-old you finally came to the conclusion that the Sabbath needed to be kept and you started keeping the Sabbath very religiously—which is right, the Sabbath needs to be kept—can all your Sabbath-keeping from then on do away with all your Sabbath-breaking in the past? No! It's the same way if someone has killed someone. If they kill someone and never ever kill someone else, does that do away with killing that one person? No, it does not! We'll see how this works. I just want you to understand that nothing can substitute for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ!

We're held in bondage, we're released out of that bondage through Jesus Christ, Galatians 4:4: "But when the time for the fulfillment came… [at the appropriate time in God's plan] …God sent forth His own Son, born of a woman, born under law… [subject to law, not the law, but ALL law—there is no definite article in the Greek and should not be there in the English translation] …in order that He might redeem those who are under law, so that we might receive the gift of sonship from God. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, 'Abba, Father'" (vs 4-6).

  • That is one definition of subject to law. Subject to the penalty of the law if you transgress.
  • Romans 6:14: "For sin shall not rule over you because you are not under law, but under grace.

We always use to, in the past, insert there: under the penalty of law.

Therefore, if you put not under penalty of law, you must also put under penalty of grace. That's conflicting, because there's no such thing as a penalty of grace, because grace is the opposite of penalty. This brings us to a whole thing that I originally got in trouble with. I believed what I was told, that if you discover something then you should write it up and send it in. Well, I discovered that a certain leading apostle was teaching Church of God Seventh Day doctrine. This led to: What does it mean to be under law?

  • you are subject to the Law because you sin
  • under the Old Covenant they were justified under law
    • Under law they would sin, they would go and offer sacrifice according to law. They only had justification under law to the temple.
    • Under grace means that we are under grace for justification. That's what justifies us! God's grace, because there's no condemnation.

If we repent, if we yield to God, confess our sins—and the way you overcome sin is to love God in addition to the action of quitting to sin.

Romans 5:21: "So, that even as sin has reigned unto death, so also might the grace of God reign through righteousness unto eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

Romans 6:1: "What then shall we say? Shall we continue in sin so that grace may abound? MAY IT NEVER BE! We who died to sin, how shall we live any longer therein? Or are you ignorant that we, as many as were baptized into Christ Jesus, were baptized into His death?" (vs 1-3). This is a very interesting thing, which is also pointed out in The Christian Passover book: When you are baptized, you are conjoined to the death of Jesus Christ, because He died for you.

Baptism is the closest you can come to death, and yet still live. It also cleanses you, because of the water, symbolically. If we didn't lift you up out of the water, you sure enough would die. You are conjoined with Christ! That's how His death is imputed to you. That's why foot-washing and the renewing of it at Passover is so important.

Verse 4: "Therefore, we were buried with Him through the baptism into the death… [Christ's death; so the next time you think about how Christ was crucified, how He took all those stripes upon Himself, that's the death you were baptized into] …so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, in the same way, we also should walk in newness of life." If God has done this great and marvelous thing, this is not jut a religious bath; this is not just some sort of ritual cleansing. This is a fantastic, awesome thing that God had done! Therefore, we "…should walk in newness of life." How?

  • Motivated by the Spirit of God!
  • Led by the Spirit of God!
  • Led by the Word of God!
  • Newness of life!

Verse 5: "For if we have been conjoined together in the likeness of His death, so also shall we be in the likeness of His resurrection." How does He look? Rev. 1—countenance as the sun; eyes as a flame of fire! 1-John 3 says that we will see Him as He is. Who says that we're not going to be the sons of God? Who says that we're not going to be God as God is God? That's coming right out of the Church of God today! "…be in the likeness of His resurrection." It means the same thing—'homoiomate'—the exact same substance, similitude and everything!

Verse 6: "Knowing this, that our old man was co-crucified with Him…" What did Jesus say when the crowds came after Him and He turned to them and He said: Oh, you wonderful people, it's nice that you're all following Me; I'm so happy that you're following Me. NO! He turned and said, 'If anyone comes to Me and hates not—love less in comparison to God—…' Matt. 10 says that anyone who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. That's where you get the hate and the love, that you love God more than 'father, mother, brother, sister, wife, children, lands and your own life also cannot be My disciple'—meaning: You do not have any power to become My disciple unless you do that!

Furthermore, He says, 'anyone who does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple'—does not have the power. This is why the old man is crucified. One of the biggest things that needs to be taught to the brethren of God us that their commitment to God is the most important thing. Never let your commitment to God be leveraged by another man! That's to God, and God alone!That's happened in too many churches. People have come in dedicated, wanting to serve God and the next thing you know the corporation has been put in place of God and you do this, that and the other thing; they're taking your commitment—which should be to God alone—and they are adulterating it to use as leverage unto themselves. Don't ever let that happen!

Verse 6: "Knowing this, that our old man was co-crucified with Him in order that the body of sin might be destroyed, so that we might no longer be enslaved to sin." Paul says that we do sin, but we are not subservient to sin. In other words, you no longer serve sin as a slave serves his master. That's what it means. You serve God!

Verse 7: "Because the one who has died… [How are you dead? Through baptism, yes!] …to sin has been justified from sin." How are you justified? By which law were you justified? The King James says 'freed';that is not correct. That's where a lot of confusion comes in, because you do not have freedom of sin totally—do you? How could you be freed of sin if you still are struggling with sin? You are justified from your past sins, that's what it's talking about.

Then he goes on explaining how this justification comes about. Was this justification done by a law? You did not offer an animal sacrifice—did you? What law justified you? No law did! The grace of God did! What does justification mean?

  • to be justified
  • forgiven your past sins
  • counted as just
  • to be made right with God
  • you are justified to God

When you sin you have a wage that you're paid. 'The wages of sin is death!' That has to be justified or removed. How is that removed? By Christ's death and you're conjoined to it! No law—correct? The truth of the term under law means you are not under law for justification. That's what it means in this case right here.

Verse 8: "Now if we died together with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more; death no longer has any dominion over Him. For when He died, He died unto sin once for all…" (vs 8-10). If the death of Christ is imputed to you, that is sufficient once! You don't need to go offer any more animal sacrifices, but you do need to renew the covenant every year through the Passover.

"…but in that He lives, He lives unto God. In the same way also, you should indeed reckon yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God through Christ Jesus our Lord…. [that's how we're going to live] …Therefore, do not let sin rule in your mortal body by obeying it in the lusts thereof" (vs 10-12). What are we to let rule in our lives? God! How does He rule in our lives? With His Holy Spirit through His grace! Very important; this is what Paul is getting to.

Verse 13: "Likewise, do not yield your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin; rather, yield yourselves to God as those who are alive from the dead…" Have you ever had an experience where you've come close to death: through a wreck, health, sickness, whatever. A lot of people, even in the world, make amends when they literally are saved from death, or that they figured that they were dead.

"…and your members as instruments of righteousness to God" (v 13). Whose righteousness? Christ's! See how he's building up here?

Romans 5:17: "For if by the offense of the one man death reigned by the one, how much more shall those who receive the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life by the one, Jesus Christ." There is grace in the gift of righteousness. You haven't heard very much about the gift of righteousness—have you? Have you ever had it explained to you what the gift of righteousness really is? Being able to become righteous through God's power in our lives! The gift of righteousness has to be given to you; it has to come from the Holy Spirit of God. What kind of righteousness? The righteousness of Christ! God gives to you. This is done

  • to motivate us to love God
  • to motivate us to overcome

God says, 'You died, you're buried, your sins are forgotten and here is a gift of My Spirit and righteousness, that when you come before My throne with Christ in you, that is the same as Christ Himself coming before Me.' That's pretty powerful stuff! Isn't that something? Now you see the foolishness of 'playing religion.'

Romans 6:13: "Likewise, do not yield your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin… [Why? Because you've been given the gift of righteousness! Don't go sin!] …rather, yield yourselves to God as those who are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God."

Colossians 1:27: "…Christ in you, the hope of glory." Isn't that something? That's why God doesn't condemn us! Paul says, 'What? Shall we sin that grace may abound?' The furthest thing from our mind is wanting to sin. The furthest thing from our mind is to want to go out and live in sin again.

  • we want to serve God
  • we want to love God
  • we want to do those things

"…those who are alive from the dead…"

Romans 6:14: "For sin shall not rule over you…" Sin isn't going to because you have the Spirit of God, the gift of righteousness, the gift of justification being freely justified from your sins because you're not under law. You can apply both meanings here:

  • you are not under the penalty of the law; your sins have been forgiven
  • you are not under law for justification, because no law can justify you—Christ has

—it means the latter more than anything else, "…because you are not under law, but under grace" (v 14)—you are under grace! What does under grace mean?

Verse 15: "What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law, but under grace? MAY IT NEVER BE! Don't you realize that to whom you yield yourselves as servants to obey, you are servants of the one you obey, whether it is of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?" (vs 15-16). Let's see what the grace of God does.

Definition of grace: To understand the grace of God is to comprehend one of the most wonderful attributes of God.

We're under grace. That, brethren, is what needs to be preached. We can say: not as the Protestants do. They understand some of it, but they really don't understand the magnificence of the grace of God.

The grace of God expresses the greatness of His love and the riches of His mercy. To live within and under the grace of God is to experience and appreciate the fantastic love of God and His merciful kindness. Grace is like a giant umbrella, which is the canopy of your relationship with God and you are standing in this grace, as Paul said, "…the grace wherein we stand" (Rom. 5). From God's grace then comes

  • His love
  • His kindness
  • His justification
  • His mercy
  • His comfort
  • His Spirit

—which He gives us

This is why you go through and you read every one of the Epistles of Paul…

The reason I'm doing this series on The Grace of God is because in the church that I was affiliated with before, they didn't preach it, they didn't know it, they didn't understand it—and still don't to this day—and too many of the spin-off groups don't understand it either. They don't have a clue. Grace is more than the forgiveness of sin. It's the whole status of your relationship with God! When Paul beseeched God three times to take the affliction from him, God's answer was: 'My grace is sufficient for you,' because, Paul, it covers your whole life.

Ephesians 1:1: "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints who are in Ephesus and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace… [very important; it's not just 'hello, how are you?'] (Notice where it's coming from): …and peace be to you …" (vs 1-2). Remember, Jesus said, 'My peace I give you; not as the world gives you. I give you My peace.' He said that the Passover night.

Brethren, we have grace and we have peace "…from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." (v 2). That's a profound verse! That's why he starts out all of his epistles that way—the grace of God!

 (go to the next track)

Contrary to religious speculations, God's grace is not just a theological tenet or topic of argument drawing denominational battle lines. In fact, the grace of God means life itself! Without grace there would be

  • no salvation
  • no Christianity
  • no eternal life

That's how profound grace is!

Indeed, grace is the foundation of true Christianity. The New Testament reveals that God the Father's grace is an all encompassing quality.

Let's see how encompassing it is. Let's continue on in the book of Ephesians, chapter one. That's why Paul starts out all of his epistles with grace—that's the most important thing.

Verse 3: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly things with Christ." I don't think we've really emphasized or understood what a blessing it is to have the Spirit of God. That is a heavenly thing. It's not an earthly thing. That is a heavenly thing in Christ. We will see that it's the earnest, the down payment.

Verse 4: "According as He has personally chosen us for Himself before the foundation of the world… [that was His whole plan; He would choose those who would accept His calling] …in order that we might be Holy and blameless before Him in love." {parallel account in Col. 1}.

Think of it! He wants us to be without blame and Holy in Him in love! That's why Jesus said that 'if you love Me, keep My commandments.' He wants everything based on that love. But in love;that's where grace comes from.

Verse 5: "Having predestinated us for sonship…" KJV: 'adoption'—He's not adopting us; we are going to be the very sons and daughters of God. There's no adoption there. Adoption means you didn't beget. Adoption means you're taking someone else's child. This means sonship because we received the begettal of the Holy Spirit so that we can become His very children.

to Himself through Jesus Christ…" To God the Father! Every time I go over this it just 'blows my mind' from the point of view that it's so great that it's just so inspiring that

  • God the Father Himself has called us
  • God the Father Himself has given us His Holy Spirit
  • God the Father sent His Son Jesus Christ Who was the Lord God of the Old Testament to become the sacrifice for us

So that He could take us as His children to Himself. That's what it says!

"…according to the good pleasure of His own will" (v 5)—and desire. If I say this I know you'll understand it more: God the Father Himself

  • desires you
  • has called you
  • has forgiven your sins
  • has given you the gift of righteousness
  • has put you in right standing with Him

because He

  • desires you
  • loves you
  • wants you

as His son!

Here's what His will is, v 6: "To the praise of the glory of His grace…" the most glorious, wonderful and fantastic thing that God is doing through grace:

  • to call us
  • to give us His Spirit
  • to make us His sons

"…wherein He has made us objects of His grace in the Beloved Son" (v 6).

Accepted as Jesus Christ is accepted. What did Jesus say? The Father loves Me and I love the Father! As the Father has loved Me, I have loved you! So, 'as I have loved you, you love one another!' Has that been missing in the Church of God? Yes! Why? Because the Church of God has placed people under law by leveraging to themselves all control and commitment to God, instead of letting that person go to God. When you feel just overwhelmed with everything, you go to God and say:

  • God, here I am
  • God, I need Your love
  • God, grant me Your Spirit
  • God, help me to understand
  • God, pour Your love out upon me

—and just drink in of the love of God! They might not be able to say too much after that. You might be on your knees crying, the tears running down, and God is granting to you a greater understanding of His love and the feeling of His love and understanding through His Spirit. We've been accepted in the Beloved!

Verse 7: "In Whom we have redemption through His blood, even the remission of sins, according to the riches of His grace." Yes, forgiveness of sin is included in grace, but that is only one part of it.

Verse 8: "Which He has made to abound toward us in all wisdom and intelligence; having made known to us the mystery of His own will…" (vs 8-9). That is something! God has made this known about being the sons of God. That is so fantastic! People in the world don't have a clue because God hasn't called them.

"…according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Himself" (v 9). That's a lot of grace, to know God's very own plan. That's a tremendous amount of grace. "…He purposed it in Himself!" Does God have purpose? Yes! He purposed!

Verse 10: "That in the divine plan for the fulfilling of the times, He might bring all things together in Christ, both the things in the heavens and the things upon the earth; yes, in Him, in Whom we also have obtained an inheritance…" (vs 10-11). How? By grace! Can you imagine what it's going to be like to inherit part of the universe? Think of it! You talk about wealth! You talk about riches! You talk about a tremendous and fantastic thing!

The next time you have an opportunity to see the stars… I talked to a pilot who says when he's up there about 35,000 feet it looks like the stars are just right out there. You can fly along and if you're praying… He's said that he's prayed and tears just streaming down, 'Oh, God, You would grant us to share this with you.' That's something!

"…having been predestinated according to His purpose, Who is working out all things according to the counsel of His own will; that we might be… [Think of this: This motley crew of us has been battered and bruised, knocked around, lowly of the earth, that we should be]: …to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in the Christ" (vs 11-12). I read that and I'm amazed that the angels of God are going to praise God for what He's doing in us—"…to the praise of His glory…" That's something!

  • That's why God wants each one of us.
  • That's why we do the things we do.
  • That's why God says to keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Isn't it a pitiful little thing that He asks us to do—to put leaven out of our homes—compared to what God is going to do for us? Yet, people argue over should we or should we not eat it; should we or should we not put it out. I don't think we should do this.' They don't understand the greatness of God's plan! That's what we have to keep in mind, brethren.

When we are resurrected and changed… Try and think about this: What is it going to be like when you are resurrected and there's an angel carrying you up in the air. You're going to meet Christ in the air on the Sea of Glass in the clouds. You look around and you hear all these other saints being resurrected and they're going meet Christ on the Sea of Glass. Then all the saints together! We all see Christ! All the angels are there singing praises to God, to the praise of His glory that He did this! I tell you, that's something! That's what the grace of God is all about!

Verse 13: "That we might be to the praise of His glory, in Whom you also trusted after hearing the Word of the Truth, the Gospel of your salvation… [that's what God is interested in; that's what He's doing] …in Whom also, after believing, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise." That seal means that you have the stamp of God in your mind, that you belong to Him!Isn't that something! That's amazing! Brethren, may we never, never, never fall victim of ministers ruling us, but that we follow Christ!

"…sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise" (v 13). How sure is that promise? God cannot lie! Character counts! That's why God rules the universe, because He is righteous! There's a song that Steve Greene sings and I listen to it when I'm driving some of the long miles: To God and God Alone. He says: 'God and God alone is fit to sit on the universe's throne.' Why? Because He is wholly righteous!

If we have the promise from God and we have the Spirit of God and we know that we have the Spirit of God dwelling in us, let God stir that Spirit up in us. Let Christ fill your heart and your mind and move you to understand the greatness of His calling. The ultimate of the Feast of Unleavened Bread pictures when we will have no more sinful nature at all. That's something! This is why Paul did what he did.

Verse 15: "For this cause, I also, after hearing of the faith in the Lord Jesus that is among you, and the love toward all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers" (vs 15-16). Here's what he prayed, and, brethren, this is what we need to be busy doing; if there's any key that needs to be for any minister, this is what he needs to be doing:

  • in helping
  • in teaching
  • in serving
  • and helping the brethren to see this

Verse 17: "That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory…" Who's going to give it to you? God the Father personally! Listen, brethren, God the Father is involved in our lives directly!

  • He Himself personally loves you!
  • He Himself personally has called you!
  • He Himself has justified you, make you right with Himself!
  • He Himself has given you His Holy Spirit!
  • He Himself has called you to sonship!

That He "…may give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. And may the eyes of your mind be enlightened…" (vs 17-18)

That's why when you study God's Word and you fill your mind with God's Word, you'll go along and all of a sudden it's like a little light goes on—BING!—because with God's Word and God's Spirit is like a sphere. Within a sphere you can have an infinite number of lines intersecting it, and wherever one of those lines intersect that's a connection and Truth of God's Word. It will happen time and again.

I quoted there "…until we all come into the unity of the faith." When the question was asked, 'Why aren't all the churches together?' We will be together when we come to the unity of the faith in Christ! That's why God is keeping us all separated and scattered, so that we are not going to lean on an organization; that we are not going to lean on men. We're going to turn to God! Then when we have the unity of the faith with Christ—His faith in us—then maybe we can do some things together.

But now the whole Church is under God's correction. That's why it's being scattered. Every minister is under God's judgment. Every member is under God's judgment to see whether they love Him, whether they will serve Him, or whether they are going to continue 'playing' church and only fool themselves and barely have the minimum acceptable to be saved. That's what it's all about. This needs to be our modus operandi.

That He "…may give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. And may the eyes of your mind be enlightened in order that you may comprehend… [He doesn't want us to be with any doubt; He wants us to no for sure, no doubt] …what is the hope of His calling, and what is the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints" (vs 17-18). The next time someone wins the mega lottery through Satan's devices, just know that God has greater glory and greater riches that He's going to give you. Don't be envious one second!

Verse 19: "And what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the inner working of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above every principality and authority and power and lordship, and every name that is named…" (vs 19-21). That's why Christ is the Head of the Church; that's why no man is the head of the Church. Christ is because of what He did!

"…—not only in this age, but also in the age to come; for He has subordinated all things under His feet, and has given Him to be head over all things to the Church, which is His body—the fullness of Him Who fills all things in all" (vs 21-23).

Now, after all of this, Ephesians 2:1 "Now you were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you walked in times past according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now working within the children of disobedience" (vs 1-2). What a comparison from what we just read in Eph. 1. Look what God has called us out of! Tremendous!

Verse 3: "Among whom also we all once had our conduct in the lusts of our flesh, doing the things willed by the flesh and by the mind, and were by nature the children of wrath, even as the rest of the world. But God, Who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us" (vs 3-4). 'God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. Whosever believes in Him…'—meaning into. It is an outgoing belief going from you to Christ, God the Father and back to you—'shall not perish but have everlasting life.' He gave Him! When? When we were sinners!

  • In His time!
  • In His purpose!
  • For His glory!
  • For His plan!

Verse 5: "Even when we were dead in our trespasses, has made us alive together with Christ. (For you have been saved by grace.)" This is very important to understand. This does mean have been saved—past tense—from what? Your sins and Satan!

There is another place—which you can only see it in the Greek Interlinear—1-Corinthians 15. There are three phases of salvation:

  1. have been saved (Eph. 2:5)
  2. are being saved (1-Cor. 15:2)

an active, on going daily salvation

1-Corinthians 15:1: "Now I am declaring to you, brethren, the same Gospel that I proclaimed to you, which you also received, and in which you are now standing; by which you are also being saved… [present tense passive] …if you are holding fast the words that I proclaimed to you; otherwise you have believed in vain."

The reason you are being saved is because it's a process. You are being created in Christ Jesus. So, the salvation is a continuous creation and a continuous salvation until you die and await the resurrection, or Christ returns and you are alive and are changed 'in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.'

  • shall be saved (Matt. 24:13[transcriber's correction])—He who endures to the end shall be saved.

Romans 5:8: "But God commends His own love… [in the Greek it is emphatic] …to us… ['eis'—into us] …because, when we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more, therefore, having been justified now by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His own Son, much more then, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life" (vs 8-10).

That's why Paul said, 'If Christ is dead you're still in your sins.' We're going to be made alive, because Christ lives! So, the three things of salvation are:

  • have been saved now from Satan and our sins and the world
  • are being saved by walking in the Gospel and keeping the commandments and laws of God, and loving God
  • shall be saved at the resurrection because Christ lives

Most Churches of God ignore have been saved because they understand that you won't be until the resurrection. And the Protestants don't understand are being saved or shall be saved. You've got to have all three for the complete thing of salvation.

Ephesians 2:6: "And He has raised us up together and has caused us to sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus." You're certainly not sitting in heaven today, but you have been blessed with heavenly things by the Spirit of God, God's grace, God's peace and so forth.

Verse 7: "So that in the ages that are coming…" What is the next age to come in God's plan? When we're resurrected! What age is that going to usher in? The Millennium; the Kingdom age! That's when we are going to sit with Christ, rule with Christ, become kings and priests with Christ.

 "…He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus" (v 7). His grace is going to manifest to everyone who are physical human beings who enter into the Millennium—the Kingdom age—and who are born as human beings in the Kingdom age. We are going to be displayed as the "…exceeding riches of His grace…" Isn't that something?

In other words, through us, God is going to extend grace throughout all humanity through the Millennium. Isn't that something? Does that boggle your mind? We're not going to be there just to rule them with a 'rod of iron.' True, if they totally rebel. We're there to teach them God's love, teach them God's grace, show them the whole plan of salvation.

Verse 8: "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this especially is not of your own selves… [Very interesting! The Greek means out from within your own being. That salvation and that grace does not come out from within your own being; it comes from God, because of God's grace; not of yourself.] …it is the gift of God. Not of works… [not of yourself; it is a gift, you can't buy it, you can't work for it] …so that no one may boast" (vs 8-9).

That is the summary of the whole book of Job. Can you imagine what Job would be saying if he entered into the Kingdom of God with the attitude that he had in the book of Job: 'I made it, God! I made it! Look at me!' Not of works! Remember: Nothing can substitute for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ! There isn't any work that is going to do that.

Verse 10: "For we are His workmanship… [Let God have the workmanship of His hands upon you through His Spirit] …created… [salvation is creation; He's creating Christ in you. Paul said, 'My little children, I travail in pain again until Christ be formed in you; Christ in you, the hope of glory] …in Christ Jesus unto the good works…. What are those good works?

  • love
  • joy
  • peace
  • longsuffering
  • gentleness
  • kindness
  • goodness
  • faith
  • meekness
  • temperance

Against such there is no law.

  • Good works of living in God's grace!
  • Good works of being able to help others!
  • Good works keeping the commandments of God, because you love God!

This is why the Sabbath is a total joy, because it's from God and we love God, and we do it because we love God and it becomes a 'good work.'

"…that God ordained beforehand in order that we might walk in them" (vs 10). To walk in that way of life. That's why foot-washing for Passover[transcriber's correction] is so important. Renew the covenant. God gives us a brand new start every year. As human beings we need it.

Let's see if God can give us His Spirit to uplift us just a little bit more. When Paul wrote this I've often wondered what he felt when he was writing this, because Eph. 3 is the most profound part of the entire Bible. If there's any favorite part of the Bible that I have, this is it. It is so profound!

Ephesians 3:11: "According to His eternal purpose… [There is an eternal purpose, a plan being worked out; and by the grace of God we are a part of that purpose. Think of that!] …which He has wrought in Christ Jesus our Lord, in Whom we have boldness and direct access with confidence through His very own faith…. [in us] …So then, I beseech you not to faint at my tribulations for you, which are working for your glory" (vs 11-13).

Brethren, that's why we're going through the things we are as a Church and people. That's why in our private lives we have difficulties and trauma and trials. God gave His only begotten Son and look how He suffered; and He did it because He loved you. He did it for the joy that was set before Him. Since it's this time of year we focus in on the crucifixion of Christ and what He went through to forgive our sins, to grant salvation for us. What we need to do to overcome and put sin out of our lives. Let's see the whole comparison:

Hebrews 12:1: "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great throng of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight… [whatever it is you set it aside] …and the sin that so easily entraps us; and let us run the race set before us… [these are the 'good works' we are to walk in]: with endurance, having our minds fixed on Jesus… [That's who we need to continually look to: Jesus Christ] …the Beginner and Finisher of our faith… [You're not going to finish it; I'm not going to finish it. Christ is going to finish it; He started it when God the Father called us.] …Who for the joy… [through all the trials and difficulties] …that lay ahead of Him endured the cross, although He despised the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Now meditate deeply on Him Who endured such great hostility of sinners against Himself so that you do not become weary and faint in your minds" (vs 1-3)—and give up!

People do! And, brethren, I just tell you that there are people who are weary—faint of mind, faint of heart, faint of faith, faint of love—because they have been so emptied! Whatever we can do to fill them, to help them however we can, that's what we need to do. That's why I wrote the book: Lord, What Should I Do? You will notice that I didn't say come and 'join this church.' I said, 'You get right with God!' Whether they ever fellowship with us or not is neither here nor there. It would be nice if they did, but if they don't and we've turned them back to God, have we not done our work? Yes, we have!

When you get to thinking it's rough, remember this, v 4: "You have not yet resisted to the point of losing blood in your struggle against sin." Neither have I. Some of us have a lot harder 'row to hoe.' Whatever trial and difficulty you have to go through—because you're going to have them—and your Christian life is never going to turn out like you thought it was when you started. Hasn't happened to anyone yet. The stakes are eternal life! It's not a 'religion'; this is eternal life in glory forever! I have yet learned to joy in tribulation. Sometimes I get close to it, but not yet, because it is grievous when you're going through it. But afterward then comes the 'peaceable fruits of righteousness.'

Ephesians 3:13: "So then, I beseech you not to faint at my tribulations for you, which are working for your glory. For this cause I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of Whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named" (vs 13-15). Yes, God is family. He is part of a family; that's why He's called the Father. We are part of that family, yet unborn as spirit beings, but will be.

Verse 16: "That He may grant you, according to the riches of His glory… [think on that for a minute] …to be strengthened with power by His Spirit in the inner man." That you let Christ in you with the Spirit of God strengthen you:

  • with determination
  • with love
  • with grace
  • with mercy
  • with longsuffering

Brethren, I do not know what lies ahead. Martyrs are not going to be weak people. We've seen some people killed by the troops in the United States, assaulted with tanks. Mrs. Weaver was shot right through the head holding her own baby for the sake of a sixteenth of an inch of a gun on a shotgun!

I tell you one thing: We've heard the story that all these old weak Laodiceans are going to be martyred. NO! If it happens, we'd better be strengthened with might "…by His Spirit in the inner man that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; and that being rooted and grounded in love… [There it is! That's the foundation! That's where your roots sink down into! Drink out of that reservoir of God's love.] …you may be fully able to comprehend… [fully understand] …with all the saints what is the breadth and length and depth and height" (vs 16-18). The fullness of God's plan!

I tell you, if anything that has happened, brethren, we've been cheated by organizations. But that doesn't limit God. He's called us out of that, and here's what we're to know:

Verse 19: "And to know the love of Christ, which surpasses human knowledge… [above and beyond all human knowledge] …so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God." Isn't that going to be amazing! You're going to understand the grace of God when you look down and see a spirit body with glory. You look in whatever is called a spiritual mirror and see what God has created you to be as His son, with a spirit face that has radiance and glory. Isn't that something? That's what God has called us to!

That we might be filled with all the "…fullness of God. Now to Him Who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that is working in us, to Him be glory in the Church by Christ Jesus throughout all generations, even into the ages of eternity. Amen" (vs 19-21).

That's something, brethren! Whatever trial it is—and now we can say 'little trial'—let God help us with it; let God lead us and guide us! Yes, there are things we can do, and we need to be busy about doing that. But, this is what it means to be under grace, because you're justified with God, His grace is upon you with everything with salvation.

All Scriptures from The Holy Bible in its Original Order, A Faithful Version by Fred R. Coulter (except where noted)

Scriptural References:

  • Galatians 4:1-3
  • Ephesians 6:12-13
  • Ephesians 2:2-3
  • Galatians 4:3
  • Mark 7:21-23
  • Romans 7:20-25
  • Romans 8:1-4
  • Mark 12:30
  • Galatians 4:4-6
  • Romans 6:14
  • Romans 5:21
  • Romans 6:1-13
  • Romans 5:17
  • Romans 6:13
  • Colossians 1:27
  • Ephesians 1:1-13, 15-23
  • Ephesians 2:1-5
  • 1 Corinthians 15:1-2
  • Romans 5:8-10
  • Ephesians 2:6-10
  • Ephesians 3:11-13
  • Hebrews 12:1-4
  • Ephesians 3:13-21

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • Romans 1
  • Revelation 1
  • 1 John 3
  • Matthew 10; 24:13

Also referenced: Books:

  • Interlinear Greek-English New Testament by George Ricker Berry
  • The Christian Passover by Fred R. Coulter
  • Lord, What Should I Do? by Fred R. Coulter