When I first read this chapter of the Bible about 5 days ago in preparation to write this post I thought, “Hmmm, wonder what I could say about this chapter for my next God’s Treasure Chest post.” Don’t get me wrong. Reading Romans 4 was awesome, but I wasn’t sure what exact treasure I could pull out of it at first, until I asked the Holy Spirit to help me understand and kept meditating on it over the next 5 days. As I continued to read, study and meditate (roll the truths from this chapter over and over in my mind), so many things stood out to me. In fact, I was still getting new revelation this morning as I was writing!
I just felt I should start by giving you this example to encourage you that as you put time into reading, studying and meditating on the Word of God (which is God’s love letter to you), you will also find so much treasure within the pages of the Bible!
Romans 4:1-3 says,
1 Abraham was, humanly speaking, the founder of our Jewish nation. What did he discover about being made right with God? 2 If his good deeds had made him acceptable to God, he would have had something to boast about. But that was not God’s way. 3 For the Scriptures tell us, Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith. (NLT)
I’ve mentioned before that for so many years I had a serious problem with pride and I believe it was directly connected to the false belief I held that my good deeds made me acceptable to God.
This wrong belief actually caused me to swing back and forth between pride and insecurity based on how I was behaving. Both pride and insecurity are rooted in being focused on self.
If I was being pretty obedient that day I would automatically compare my behavior to the behavior of others and conclude that I was more spiritual than them. I did this for years. I really hated being this way (proud and boastful), but I didn’t understand that it was connected to the wrong belief I held that my works were what made me pleasing to God.
If I was having a day where I was not being very obedient I would also compare myself to others, but then I would end up feeling that I was less spiritual than them. This insecurity would throw me into self-effort mode. As I discussed in my last post on Romans 3, I would try, try, try, try, try to get my act together, but never could… because I was relying on myself.
The answer to both of these problems – pride and insecurity – is to turn away from focusing on ourselves and turn our focus to Jesus! We literally have to make the decision to jump full force into the ocean of God’s love and grace with both feet. Imagine yourself jumping in right now!
I promise you, when you decide you are going to receive the unconditional love and grace of God, apart from anything you do, you will end up doing more right then ever before because you will find that when you allow Christ to work in and through you, true freedom comes!
Back in April of 2012 I heard my first message from Pastor Joseph Prince. I was sitting there in shock, typing notes into my MacJournal at the speed of light.
Pastor Prince made this statement in his teaching:
“You cannot be under water and not be wet anymore than you can be under grace and not be holy.”
I remember thinking – Hmmmm? Wonder what that means? Thankfully, now that I have chosen to live my own life under God’s grace I have experienced firsthand the truth of this statement.
Since the first day God helped me make the switch from placing my faith in my own efforts to placing my faith in God’s grace, bondage after bondage began to be annihilated in my life.
As I have walked out this grace journey I have come to the conclusion that a person who appears to be doing all the right things, but they are living by the false impression that they are the reason they are able to behave so well – that person is not nearly as spiritual as they appear to be because they trust in themselves.
On the other hand, find me a person who can’t seem to get their act together behavior-wise but they refuse to stop believing that God loves them unconditionally and is willing to extend His grace to them right in the middle of their mess – that person is actually much further along spiritually than the first one because their trust is in Jesus.
Again, we are talking about the importance of believing God.
If you’ve studied the life of Abraham you know he was not perfect, but the Bible still says that Abraham believed God and God counted him as righteous because of his faith. Not his works, his faith – his willingness to believe God!
But what we believe does definitely end up affecting what we do. Our believing affects our doing. With this in mind, let’s look again at the two different kinds of people I mentioned above – the person who relies on themselves and the person who relies on God.
The first person who appears to really have their act together, but they rely on themselves (this used to be me) is eventually going to crash because although they may be hiding it well, they are exhausted from trying to hold it all together in their own strength.
On the other hand, the second person who refuses to stop believing in the goodness of God and refuses to stop running to Him and receive His never-ending supply of grace, although they can’t seem to get their act together, will experience a radical life change as they continue in His grace. They will be changed by grace and will be eternally grateful to God for changing them in ways that they tried to manage on their own for years!
These people (the ones who rely on God) do indeed end up living really holy lives, but they know it has nothing to do with them and everything to do with God’s amazing grace working in and through them!
Romans 4:13 says,
Clearly, God’s promise to give the whole earth to Abraham and his descendants was based not on his obedience to God’s law, but on a right relationship with God that comes by faith. (NLT)
Romans 4:14 says,
If God’s promise is only for those who obey the law, then faith is not necessary and the promise is pointless. ((NLT)
Here are Andrew Wommack’s Living Commentary notes on verse 14
“We are either justified by faith in our works without faith in Christ or we are justified by faith in Christ without faith in our works, but not a combination of the two (Romans 11:6). Trusting in our own goodness as the reason that God would grant us salvation neutralizes faith and renders God’s promise to Abraham useless.
There are Christians who have put their faith in Christ for their eternal salvation, but then they fall back into the deception that God is going to bless them and use them based on their performance. This is what happened to the Galatians. Paul told them that Christ had become of no benefit to them if they were trusting in what they did in order to be justified with God (Galatians 5:4). Likewise today, many Christians do not experience the full effect of their salvation because they are making faith void by trusting in their own goodness.”
Romans 4:15 says,
For the law always brings punishment on those who try to obey it. (The only way to avoid breaking the law is to have no law to break!) (NLT)
Sometimes people who believe in and teach grace are accused of using grace or teaching others to use grace as a license to sin. I feel these notes from Andrew Wommack’s Living Commentary explain all of this very well!
“Christians are no longer under the Old Testament Law (Romans 3:19, 4:16, 6:14, 7:4-6, 8:2; 2 Corinthians 3:7; Galatians 2:19, 3:24-25, 4:21, 5:18; Ephesians 2:14-15; Colossians 2:14; 1 Timothy 1:9; Hebrews 7:18, 8:13, and 10:8-9). Therefore, there is no longer any transgression for those who have accepted Jesus because, as 1 John 3:4 says, sin is the transgression of the law.
Does this mean a Christian can’t sin? Absolutely not! There are hundreds of New Testament scriptures that mention believers sinning and admonitions against sinning. 1 John 1:8 and 10 say that if anyone says they have no sin, they deceive themselves and the truth isn’t in them.
All of us have been exposed to and lived under the Law. So, even though the Law has now been satisfied through the offering of Jesus and therefore removed, we still know right from wrong because of that Law. James 4:17 says, Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. So, violating the conscience is sin. Whatsoever is not of faith is sin (Romans 14:23).
But these sins are not being imputed unto us by God anymore (Romans 5:13 and 2 Corinthians 5:19). Our sins are no longer a transgression against God, because the Law has been removed. But sin is not only a transgression against God; it is also an open door to the devil (Romans 6:16). So, even though God is not imputing our sins unto us, Satan is. Any Christian who just throws the door open to sin is throwing the door open to the devil and will suffer consequences for those sins (Galatians 6:7).
Add to this the fact that grace liberates us from sin, not to sin (Titus 2:12), and you will see that any person who is boldly living in sin and using the grace of God as an excuse is not truly born again (1 John 3:3). Grace breaks the dominion of sin; it doesn’t encourage or empower sin.”
Romans 4:18-25 says,
18 Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping”believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, That’s how many descendants you will have! 19 And Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead”and so was Sarah’s womb. 20 Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. 21 He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever He promises. 22 And because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous. 23 And when God counted him as righteous, it wasn’t just for Abraham’s benefit. It was recorded 24 for our benefit, too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in Him, the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was handed over to die because of our sins, and He was raised to life to make us right with God. (NLT)
I have to say that I get the biggest kick out of spending my existence believing God! Now that I have come to understand the power of right believing over the past 3.5 years I love to BELIEVE that God will work good out of each situation that arises.
Here’s an example. I gashed my leg up pretty bad at my CrossFit workout yesterday morning. I actually really like box jumps and I’ve never done this before, but on one of my box jumps one of my legs didn’t quite make it to the top of the box. Ouch.
Here are some of the wrong beliefs that would have come to my mind years ago when something like this happened:
I guarantee you that the first thing I would have thought would have been, “Oh man, I guess I did something wrong and that is why this is happening to me.” I would also have been both angry and frustrated with myself that I missed the box jump, feeling that I was unable to measure up. My worth and value came from many of the wrong things back then, including my workout program.
Things are much different these days as a result of God helping me renew my mind through His Word.
Here are some of the right beliefs that came to mind and came out of my mouth yesterday, after I fell:
First of all, after the initial shock of the fall, even though I had some pretty bad gashes, I decided to get up off the floor and finish the workout. When I was down on the ground rolling around in pain I must have said, God please help me, 20 times. How nice it was that I no longer falsely believed that God was mad at me for something I failed to do right and therefore He allowed this to happen to teach me a lesson.
Thankfully I see God in a totally different light than I used to. He’s my Daddy God, my Abba Father and He cares about EVERYTHING that concerns me. In fact, God did help me. First of all, I believe He gave me the strength to finish my workout. Secondly, so far the pain from the healing process of my leg has been very minimal. I was ready for it to sting really bad when I got home and poured Hydrogen Peroxide on the wound yesterday and although it bubbled up big time, it did not sting at all. I was so thankful. I said out loud, “Thank you God. You’re helping me!
Remember that prayer I prayed over and over – “God please help me.” That’s my favorite prayer and I pray it often, all throughout the day. It’s a great way for us to receive God’s grace that is always available!
Another thing I noticed that happened yesterday as a result of right believing in my life is that didn’t feel dumb or embarrassed at all when I fell. I believe this is because God has been causing me to become very solid in knowing who I am in Christ over these past 3.5 years and this has affected my confidence level in a positive way.
I wasn’t worried what the other people in the class thought of me. Not that they thought anything because they are very nice people, but this is something I would have worried about in the past. “Are they thinking I’m stupid for falling?” I don’t think this way anymore though. For the most part, these kinds of thoughts don’t even go through my mind. I believe this is because I am so much less focused on myself and so much more focused on others than ever before – all by God’s grace!
I believe my leg is going to heal very quickly and will not get infected.
I believe as a result of this fall I will get better at box jumps.
I don’t believe I will ever fall on one of my box jumps again. How can I say this? Because I just stopped and prayed about it, right now, in the middle of writing this post. And when I pray about something I believe God hears me!
This is just one unexpected circumstance that arose and look at all the ways I chose to put my faith in God in just this one instance.
Here’s another quick example. Recently, over a 2 week span, I had been nauseated. I was especially tired, taking naps from feeling bad and it was affecting several different areas of my life. I was having a hard time completing my CrossFit workouts. I’m willing to push really hard in any workout, in fact, I thoroughly enjoy pushing myself, but one thing I cannot do is workout while nauseated – at least I can’t do it well.
This nausea had continued long enough that I was going to have to go to the doctor soon and see what was going on, but over this two week period I kept believing and confessing that I am healed through Jesus’ finished work on the cross. I received communion probably 4 times over that two week period to specifically honor what Jesus did for me on the cross and just kept believing that I was going to receive the manifestation of my healing.
Just this week on my way to my CrossFit workout, while feeling nauseated, I prayed this: Dear God I thank you that because of what Jesus did for me on the cross – because of the price He paid, I don’t have to live with this nausea. Then I spoke directly to the nausea and commanded it to go. I reminded the nausea that it had no right to live in my body. This may seem weird to some people, but Jesus Himself encouraged His disciples (that’s us) to speak to their mountains and command them to move. Look at this.
22 And Jesus answered saying to them, Have faith in God. 23 Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him. 24 Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you. (NASB)
Well guess what happened? I went and did my CrossFit workout a few days ago and was only slightly nauseated that day during the workout. Then about 30 minutes after I got home I instantly felt better. The nausea and fatigue suddenly and completely went away. I received the manifestation of my healing. Thank you Jesus!
This just happened a few days ago and I have been thanking God so much over these past few days that I am now living nausea free!
Now, let me point out something important here. I injured my leg yesterday, which was just a few days after I finally stopped being nauseous. In the past, when I had lots of areas of wrong believing going on in my mind, I would react like this. I would have become immediately frustrated and said, “GREAT, I finally get over being nauseous and now this – how stupid.”
Thankfully, for the most part, this is no longer how I react to trials. I’m certainly not saying I react perfectly all the time. I don’t always react perfectly and I do have to choose to believe right in each situation just like everyone else. It’s just that turning immediately to right believing comes more naturally to me now than it used to.
When I hurt my leg yesterday I cried out to God for help and when I got up and started walking on my leg I simply walked out the door at CrossFit and said “devil,” and I didn’t say it in a very nice tone either. I said it in a tone indicating that he was going to be sorry for this.
I now understand that it’s the devil who comes to steal, kill and destroy. He does bad things. God doesn’t do bad things. It’s not in God’s nature to do bad things. God is love and He does only good things. As a result of me now having this right belief in my life, I am no longer tempted to wonder if God caused or permitted me to hurt my leg yesterday. I already know He didn’t.
So instead I warned the devil that he was going to regret this. And I do believe he will regret it because God has me in such a great place now, by His grace, that no matter what happens, I get the biggest kick out of believing Him to work it all out for the good. Just me being able to use this example in my post is going to help lots of people. See there, God is already working it out for good!
If you struggle in this area of believing and sometimes wonder if God allows or permits certain bad things to happen to you such a injury and sickness, in order to teach you a lesson, I want to encourage you to click on the following link and listen to a teaching from my pastor, Pastor Jeff Perry, on this subject. I believe it will give you clarity and help you believe right in this area. Click here to check out this message: Does God Allow Or Permit Bad Things In Our Lives?
My friend, when you come to this place where you refuse to stop believing in God’s goodness no matter what, the devil really doesn’t stand a chance! I mean, seriously, how can the devil win if no matter what he tries to pull, you refuse to do anything but keep believing God!
By God’s grace you and I can continue to believe God Just like Abraham did.
20 Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. 21 He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever He promises. (Romans 4:20-21 – NLT)
Next God’s Treasure Chest post will be on Romans 5.
If you have not yet made Jesus your Savior and received the wonderful joy that His finished work on the cross has provided for you to live in, please visit my page here titled Jesus In The Driver’s Seat. On this page I explain the good news of the gospel and you will have the opportunity to pray a prayer of salvation, making Jesus your Savior! Jesus loves you and His arms are wide open!