The “Dead Sea phenomena”; this is nothing new; how people point out that the Dead Sea contains no life because it has no outlets, it only has inlets. What brings life to most lakes, has brought death to this body of water; not because of a lack of something; but because of an overabundance.
In low or proper levels, much of what is in the Dead Sea is good and would cause life to prosper, but in high levels it then becomes poisonous. Inlets and outlet help to maintain the proper levels that are needed or required for maintaining life and reproduction.
Our relationship with God can and should be a personal one; however, God is not just calling one individual, but a people to himself. In (Exo. 19:6, 1 Pet. 2:9) his people are called a kingdom, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, as well as a body in Eph. 4:16.
We as a people are designed to take in God’s grace and give out to others from what we have received, as it says, “every joint supplies and the working of every part”. (Eph. 4:16)
This can be why there are so many people who appear almost lifeless or feel almost lifeless in the Church body, because they have taken in much, but have given out little or nothing.
We are called to be a functioning body and to reach out to a lost world with the gospel and it is within these two areas we find our outlets and if we remove them or restrict them, then there will be an over-abundance of grace that may have a bad effect on our spiritual life. (Much like the Manna from heaven, it wasn’t meant to be stored up. Exodus chapter 16)
Grace was never meant to be stored up, (just like the manna from heaven, wasn’t meant to be stored up) or allowed to lay dormant, (just like the story of the talents); it was designed to be received that it may have an influence in us as an individual (or a group) and then given away or to flow out to others. If we want life, then we must be willing to give it away, if we try to save our life, then we get death!
I know many people who read their bible daily, but because they do not give out both to the body and the lost world, they feel no lasting joy and feel almost alienated from the life of God.
Some even wonder why they have so much trouble in the flesh, when they know they should have God’s grace helping them; but part of energizing his grace into our lives, is us giving out to others from the grace that we have received. (Where much is given, much is expected! Matt.12:48)
If we want forgiveness, then we are commanded to forgive others, if we want our bonds broken, then we need to help break the bonds of others; as well as, we need to be sure that we’re not the ones who are placing some of those bonds on the people.
In Isa. 58:6, The Lord speaks of a fast: This fast is the fast that Israel was to do (afflict their souls in Lev. 16:29) prior to the Day of Atonement. Israel was to rest before the Lord and fast and meditate on the fact that, that their God was about to forgive all their transgressions through his mercy.
However, Isa.58 tells us; they were fasting for strife and debates, instead of realizing or meditating that God was wiping their slate clean of their transgressions. However, they themselves were writing their own slates of transgressions; putting their neighbor’s faults before the Lord and holding them in bondage (in their hearts) with unforgiveness and placing burdens on them.
God was being asked to forgive (show mercy), but this people were not themselves willing to forgive (give mercy); by this they were in fact acting as if they were greater than God himself! Therefore, there was no power in their fasting; whereby they could not come out of their own bonds; because they were placing bonds of unforgiveness on others.
So, if you want your fasting and prayers to have power in your life, then you must forgive and release your prisoners, just as God has forgiven you, you must also forgive. (As you receive in, you give out.)
You must have inlets and outlets for life and reproduction; without them, then many areas of your life may become like the Dead Sea.
Grace is much more than what comes out from God; grace is God giving himself to us and only through the pages of the bible do we hear such a message. There is no other religion like Christianity, (if I can call Christianity for the moment a religion); where God gives himself as he does in Jesus and through his Holy Spirit.
Jesus isn’t just a representative from God; he is God incarnate; God became man, through Jesus. The Holy Spirit isn’t just a power that emanates from God, he is God. (Grace isn’t a thing, grace is God giving himself to us.)
Since the grace of God is in fact the giving of himself, it is foolish to think one can separate God from his benefits; where one can have God’s stuff and not want God himself in their lives.
Without the receiving of God himself into our hearts and daily lives, there is no other grace to be found. You cannot receive eternal life, without receiving the eternal God. You cannot keep your life and receive his life; it is more of a one for one exchange.
You might say, “I thought grace was free!” Then I will ask you, “Free from what or what do you think free means?” Are you thinking grace means freedom from God? How can God be God, if there is no sense of responsibility or loyalty to him? Do you think God’s gift means; something without God or a free pass to continue in sin?
America fought a war to gain its independence and freedom; does this mean every person is now independent and free from everything with no obligations? No, we understand within our independence and freedom that there are obligations.
Therefore, we can rightly understand what these terms mean in their context. We then need to rightly understand what is meant by:
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
It is clear from the writer that salvation is not by works, however he also says there are works that are ordained (or appointed) that we are to walk in or do; as God makes us a new creation in Christ Jesus, our lives will declare his handy work by our new walk.
In a way, this is what James is trying to tell us; by our works, our faith is seen and proved to be true (James 2:14), we’re not saved by these works, but saved through the faith that produced them.
We cannot physically see God’s grace, but through faith we know it is there and it is real. This very same faith that makes God’s grace real to us, causes us to then respond as if it is real. If we show no response, then maybe we are not his workmanship after all; or we have only answered what some call “the general call” because it sounded nice, but never receiving “the effectual call” that saves and transforms.
Because grace without God; is not true grace; and a life that does not cause us to be transformed; is not eternal life. Furthermore, God is not your God, if there is no loyalty and a sense of responsibility given to him.
Therefore, one needs to understand; in this earth there is another force at work also; this force will do one of two things. It will try to fight Christianity out right or it will try to masquerade itself to look like Christianity.
This force is a kind of anti-grace, it can masquerade itself with counterfeit promises of power, position and authority from God. Rather than doing away with the thought of grace altogether, it tries to takes its place or replaces it with a counterfeit concept; where it removes God or should I say it remove any real response or loyalty to God.
Satan knows how to present to us, a false Christianity; one that appeases the mind or soul. He brings a false perception; whereby we may acknowledge God with our mind or give a nominal or titular acknowledgment of God, but not really serving him with our hearts.
There is an ongoing battle for our mind and many times we will need to take inventory of our lives and heart to see if we truly serve God; or have we been tricked into a counterfeit concept.
One of the hardest things to do is to recognize our own fault in the matter. Yes, there is a Satan that comes to deceive us; but why do we allow our mind to be so easily overcome or sidetracked by him at times or why do we stop fighting the battles that come to our mind?
Samson was lulled to sleep and then awakened only to find his God-given strength gone! (He should have seen it coming; why didn’t he?) If we allow our mind to hear the lullaby of Satan unabated, then we should not be surprised when God’s grace’s (promises, power, position, and authority) are gone or unattainable in our lives.
Satan’s lullaby is always playing or trying to gain entrance into our mind; likewise, The Spirit of God wants to place the voice of Christ’s triumphant in our mind. The choice is ours; do we fight the battle or do we sleep? Are we a body of life-giving water, (filled with life and flowing out) or do we become a dead sea, having inlets, but no outlets?