“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”
2 Corinthians 4:8-9
There is a very well-known Christian teacher whom I love. This person has helped me tremendously over the years. However, as I go deeper into the knowledge of God’s grace–the New Covenant–there are some red flags the Holy Spirit throws up in regard to their teaching.
This morning I read something they wrote about God’s protection, our righteousness, obedience to Him, as well as spiritual fruit–and it did not set right with me. God takes us from glory to glory; that means our minds are constantly being renewed with His truth about our new identity as saints (see 2 Corinthians 3:18, Romans 12:2). Once we know who we are, everything changes. The Holy Spirit is trying to convince us of who we are every single day. Why? Because He knows once we actually believe it, we will live out our true selves!
However, if you’re still green to the good news of the New Covenant, which is the only Covenant available to anyone, some teachings can cause serious anxiety for you. Especially when the Old Covenant is mixed in with the New Covenant.
Remember, the Old Covenant deal is gone and the New Covenant is here to stay! (See Hebrews 7:22, 8:6,13, 9:15). Therefore, be sure to know this: it’s the same God of the Old Covenant, but a new contract with mankind based on Jesus’ perfect sacrifice at the Cross.
GOD IS SATISFIED IN FULL BECAUSE OF WHAT JESUS DID. OUR BEHAVIOR CANNOT MODIFY HIS APPEASEMENT–GOOD, BAD, OR INDIFFERENT.
When we make the mistake of mixing in Old Covenant teaching with the New Covenant–teaching that makes God seem not satisfied–confusion and angst is soon to come forth. The enemy loves when this happens and God does not (see Romans 8:15, 2 Timothy 1:7). For this reason, we must be clear as best we know how. So, the gist of this person’s teaching went as such:
God wants to protect you. However, He will not and cannot protect you if you are not obedient to Him. Neither will He protect you if you are not making good, healthy choices. You won’t have any righteousness, peace, and joy if you are not obedient to God.
Now, to give this person the benefit of the doubt, this could be some of their older writings which haven’t yet evolved or matured. True Christian theology gets worked out through the Holy Spirit’s guidance over time (see Philippians 1:6, 1 Corinthians 3:1-2, 13:11, Hebrews 5:12-14, 6:1). Some stuff is foggy, some stuff is strong. He teaches us gracefully what we need to know day by day. But for these statements, they were so off base I was tempted to get out a pen and scratch through it.
Friends, the truth is God protects us at all times no matter our behavior! All of our bad behavior was dealt with on Jesus’ bloody back! God’s plan to deal with our shortcomings through Jesus actually worked! He is not kinda satisfied with what Jesus did, but fully! (See Romans 3:25, 5:9).
This is what the New Covenant is all about! As God’s kids, through our faith in Jesus, His eternal protection will not change! Further, what kind of good father would not protect their child just because they’re making choices which are not up to par?
Secondly, our righteousness is a free gift that comes by way of our spiritual rebirth not by way of behavior. The opposite of that sentence is Old Covenant! The opposite is Judaism! Religious demons will try to convince you otherwise, but this is the truth. Our “good behavior” is a joke! God requires absolute perfection! (See Matthew 5:48).
The good news is, godly righteousness is only imparted to us by way of our sinful spirits dying and then being raised back to life infused with the Holy Spirit of Christ! This is the only way we are right with God which is complete identity change into spiritual perfection. That is, supernatural rebirth while still in these physical bodies by way of grace through our faith in the truth of Jesus’ forgiveness (see Romans 6:6-7, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 2:20, Ephesians 2:8-9).
And lastly, peace and joy is a fruit of the spirit, neither of which grows in our lives through obedience to God, but simply by being who we truly are as His children.
Let’s look at Scripture to back this stuff up:
- God’s protection is not based on our behavior but on His promise to us through Jesus. Ephesians 1:13 says, “In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.” From the moment we first believed, our spirits were sealed up with God’s Spirit. Who can break this seal?! Nobody! Not even us! Therefore, nothing can harm our spirit, ever. As for behavior, God is not blind to our poor choices–but, He protects us even when we make them. If we continue to make poor choices, we will continue to sow seeds of poor choices. On this planet, what you sow is what you’ll reap. Bad things can happen in our lives because of bad choices, but God isn’t causing those bad things to happen–our bad choices are. God is not punishing you for doing unwise things. Instead, His Spirit is correcting you with patience and love! He is guiding you and counseling you! But punishing? No way. JESUS WAS ALREADY PUNISHED ENOUGH FOR YOU (think New Covenant). God is rich in mercy, He’s our Dad. So He is always protecting us and working things out for something eternally good–even when we are ignoring Him and not being who we really are.
- Our righteousness is a free gift inherited the moment we first believed Jesus forgave us. Romans 5:17 states we have received an abundance of grace from God and a free gift of righteousness through Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says we are the righteousness of God, because of Jesus! Our rightness with God does not fluctuate just the same as our lineage does not fluctuate. We’ve been born into a Holy Family and nothing can change this! However, just because we are now blameless in our spirits we can still not act as such. Look at it this way: a prince can get amnesia and then find himself on skid row begging for food, but just because he has forgotten who he is that doesn’t change the fact that he’s royalty! The same goes for us when we choose to act on sin! Those choices don’t change who we are, they simply keep us from enjoying being the saints we are.
- Peace and joy do not happen in our life because we are “obedient,” but because we are naturally peaceful and joyful people. That word obedient has a connotation of, “You better do this or else!” The New Covenant does not work that way. Christ has set us free from all obligation to anything which comes by way of force, law, or rules (see Galatians 5:1, Romans 8:2). Have you ever walked outside to a tree and said, “You better be obedient and grow some fruit!” I would hope not, and why wouldn’t you? Because you know the tree will grow fruit without being told. It will grow its fruit without being forced, guilted, or shamed as it simply lives its life. Same with us saints. As we simply be ourselves as heaven-ready people, we will not only grow peace and joy, but also, love, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control! (See Galatians 5:22-23).
A prayer for you: Heavenly Father, thank you for another day of life! It’s GOOD to be alive on planet earth! What a blessing! Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. Today, I ask that you begin to reveal the truth of the gospel to them–the New Covenant. Teach them that you are completely satisfied with Jesus’ sacrifice at the Cross! Teach them our faith in that event causes us to always be protected by you! Our faith in that event causes you to use all things together for good, even our terrible mistakes! Our faith in that event has made us righteous forever! Our faith in that event has infused your Spirit in us, causing us to organically grow good spiritual fruit! Thank you so much for everything! We love you! Amen.
This devotional is from 60 Days for Jesus, Volume 3. Get your copy here!