Living Grace is the action of God where He supplies the needs of the believer in the devil's world. Without this provision the Christian would quickly be destroyed by Satan. Because of Living Grace we can survive and even prosper regardless of Satanic attacks against us. The only time this protection is removed is when the believer falls from fellowship. If the believer falls from Living Grace he enters into the sin unto death. How fast the believer dies outside of Living Grace depends on the type of sin he's engaged in. Note the following examples:
Isaiah 31:1-3 "Woe to them that
go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots,
because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong;
but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD!
Yet he also is wise, and will bring evil, and will not call back his
words: but will arise against the house of the evildoers, and against
the help of them that work iniquity. Now the Egyptians are men, and
not God; and their horses flesh, and not spirit. When the LORD shall
stretch out his hand, both he that helpeth shall fall, and he that is
holpen shall fall down, and they all shall fail together. "
In each of these examples, failure to remain under God's Living Grace is caused by sin in the life of the believer. Not just an act of sin, but repeated acts of unrestrained and repeated actions of sin. In some cases God removed the believer from Living Grace and death was quick. In other cases the believer removed from Living Grace died slowly. I can't explain why some died quickly and others slowly, other than it suited the Will of God. In either case, the believer who stays in fellowship with God stays under Living Grace, protected from death so he can serve the Lord.
Psalms 37:25 "I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen (RAAH, to see intelligently, experience, perceive) the righteous forsaken (AZAB, abandoned, forsaken, deserted) , nor his seed (ZERA, offspring. Refers to the children under his care) begging bread. "
The psalmist David, inspired by God, wrote about his experience with Living Grace. David said that, even in his old age he was about 60 years old now), he had never seen the righteous forsaken by God. The righteous are those who are saved believers in fellowship with God. David had never seen the believer under Living Grace rejected, nor had he ever seen his offspring without food. Under Living Grace God guarantees that He will provide for the believer and his offspring.
Matthew 6:24-34 "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon (This was the name of the Greek God of money) . Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought (Present Active Imperative MERIMNAO + Greek Negative, stop being mentally worried about) for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns (Idiomatic for making a profit) ; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit (about 18 inches) unto his stature (literally, height) ? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon (The third King of Israel, son of David and Bathsheba. Perhaps the richest man the world ever knew) in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if (EAN, First Class Condition, "if, and it's true") God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is (literally "which is alive today") , and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought (Aorist Active Subjunctive MERIMNAO + negative ME, "you stop worrying") , saying (LEGO, saying from the heart) , What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles (refers to the heathen) seek (Present Active Indicative EPIZETO, continually and eagerly search for) :) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek (ZETEO, Aorist Active Imperative, I command you to seek) ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness (DIKAIOSUNE, the imputed righteousness of God by faith in Christ) ; and all these things shall be added (Future Passive Indicative PROSTITHEMI, Gnomic Future Tense, will definitely be provided face to face to you) unto you. Take therefore no thought (Aorist Active Subjunctive MERIMNAO + negative ME, stop worrying) for the morrow (EIS + Accusative AURION, about tomorrow) : for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof (Each day has enough Satanic activity without us adding to it by unrighteous behavior) . "
In the Matthew text Jesus teaches us about Living Grace. Jesus uses a form of logic that we see used later in the Pauline writings to prove Living Grace is a reality. If God gave us the greater gifts of physical and spiritual life, then it is certain that He will provide the lesser in giving us sustenance as we serve Him. We are soldiers in God's army. We were given physical life for Divine purpose, then saved for a Divine purpose. Since God has already supplied the greater things to us, then He will provide all that we need to carry out His plan.
Jesus uses two illustrations to explain God's Living Grace: The fowls of the air and the lilies of the field. Both the birds and the lilies of the field have a place in God's Plan. Since they have a place in His Plan He insures that they survive, even though they don't plant grain or weave their own clothing. If God provides for these "lesser players" in His plan, then it's certain He'll provide for man, who has the higher station. Unbelievers are only possible players in the Plan of God. As such, God provides for them under the Universal Grace. The birds and the lillies are lesser players in the Plan of God. As lesser players God provides for them under a type of "Natural Grace". But those who are saved are major players in the Plan of God. We are Sons of God because we are in union with Christ. We are the Body of Christ who will one day be the Bride of Christ, returning with our Lord to rule and reign with Him. God guarantees that we shall survive and even prosper in the world so we can fulfill His Will.
Believers are often ignorant of Living Grace. Living Grace is for us all of us who believe, regardless of our level of spiritual maturity. The only requirement is that we stay in fellowship with our God. If we do like Christ decreed and seek ye first the kingdom of God, that is, stay in fellowship, seeking to grow in maturity. If we do this then all of the provisions of Living Grace will automatically be given to us. When Jesus sent His disciples out to preach the gospel of the kingdom He demanded that they rely solely on God's Living Grace.
Matthew 10:9-10 "Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat. "
Jesus knew that under Living Grace God provides everything His children need to carry out their mission. He told His disciples to carry no money, pack no food, carry no extra clothing, nor any means of protection (nor yet staves). All of these details are to be taken care of by our Father. Lest you get carried away though, we must emphasize that Living Grace doesn't mean you don't have to work. The disciples who went out from Jesus had a job to do. Had they sat down in the middle of the street and said, "I'm ready God. Provide!", they would have starved to death. Food is provided for the birds of the field, but they do have to dig for it. The lilies have to send their roots down into the ground to get water and nourishment. The birds have to forage for the means to build their nests. God guarantees the finding of the water, the food, and the building materials. Provision from God is guaranteed through Living Grace, though the curse of the Fall is not revoked:
Genesis 3:17-19 "And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. "
Yes, we still have to work. Under the provisions of Living Grace God guarantees the believer a job so he can provide for himself and his family. The believer doesn't have to worry about being without. The job will be provided. Without stepping on others (seeking promotion through the pain of others, like the heathen) the believer will be promoted in his job and prosper. Like the disciples the modern believer must go out and do his God given job. The believer who sits on the park bench waiting for God "bless" him is a sadly mixed up individual. Living Grace never removes the provision of work, it just guarantees that God will provide it.
Philippians 4:5-7 "Let your moderation (EPIEIKES, extreme self control) be known (GINOSKO, Aorist Active Imperative, known through experience) unto all men. The Lord is at hand (HO KURIOS EGGOS, The Lord is near. By extension, the Lord is near to help you) . Be careful for nothing (Present Active MERIMNAO + MEDEIS, stop worrying about even one thing) ; but in every thing (EN + Locative PAS, In the sphere of all things, in all circumstances) by prayer (Instrumental PROSEUCHE + HO, by means of the prayer) and supplication (Instrumental DEESIS, by means of entreaty) with (META + ACCUSATIVE, after) thanksgiving let your requests (AITEMA, things sought for personally) be made known (GNORIZO, Present Passive Imperative, revealed at all times) unto God. And the peace of God, (KAI HE EIRENE TOU THEOU, and the health/ benefit/ welfare from the source of God) which passeth (HUPERECHO, Present Active, to have and hold over and above) all understanding, shall keep (PHROUREO, military term for the posting of the guard. By extension, shall post a guard on) your hearts and minds through Christ (EN + Instrumental CHRISTOS, by means of Christ) Jesus. "
Because of Living Grace the believer is commanded to
"stop worrying about even one thing".
God provides everything under Grace. You don't have to worry about
promotion: God will promote you. Stop worrying about finding a
job: just seek it, you will find it already provided. Stop worrying
about providing for your family; God will provide. The reason
Jesus placed a great deal of emphasis on "stop worrying" is because
worry is a sin. It's a sin of not trusting in God, not
believing that He will do what He said. Worry is covert blasphemy
against God. It is unbelief that implies, "God is a liar", when He clearly
isn't. When you worry you sin. When you sin you're out of
fellowship. If you keep worrying you stay out of fellowship, and
stand in the way of Living Grace. The believer who worries about
getting a job may never get one while he worries.
He who worries about providing for his
To overcome the subtle trap of worry the believer can do two things. First, you can turn from worry to prayer. Paul gives us a definite outline for effective prayer in this passage. Intensive prayer should always be given after thanksgiving. This is more for the benefit of the believer than for God. When we offer thanksgiving to God we praise Him for what He's already done in our lives. By dwelling on God's past accomplishments we come to realize, "Why am I worrying? If God provided in the past there's no reason to believe that He won't provide now!" Proper thanksgiving paves the way for effective prayer, for prayers are hindered by the effects of worry. Once thanksgiving has eliminated the effects of worry you can pray with confidence. Personal requests for God's provision are made over and over again (as seen through the Present Tense of GINOSKO). Again, the purpose of repeating the prayer request over and over is for the believer's benefit. By staying in communion with God, by repeatedly emphasizing the requests (remembering that God has provided in the past), the believer keeps worry out of the picture. God immediately responds to such prayer by placing His perfect peace in the believer, this peace posting guard on the soul of the believer against worry. In addition to this God will answer the proper prayer of the believer.
The second thing the believer can do against worry is to dwell on the many promises of Living Grace in the Scripture.
Philippians 4:19 "But my God shall supply (PLEROO, Perfect Passive Indicative, fill up a deficiency, fully possess, fill with a certain quality, fully influence) all your need according to (KATA, according to the norms and standards of) his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. "
God promises in His Word that He shall fill up or meet every need of the believer in fellowship. "Every need" doesn't just' mean the bare necessities of life, or just an existence where you barely scrape through. Living Grace not only guarantees the bare necessities, but also guarantees the believers prosperity in the devil's world. Many believers do just barely make it in this life. That's not because God failed to provide, but because these people bounce in and out of fellowship so much that He has no chance to bless them. Believers who drop out of fellowship for extended periods of time stay out of Living Grace for that same amount of time. While out of fellowship they also fail to grow spiritually. God, unlike Satan, only gives His people blessings they can handle. Those who stay out of fellowship and in spiritual immaturity can't handle the deeper blessings of Living Grace. They become their own worst enemies, by their own carnality preventing God from giving them prosperity.
Isaiah 30:18 "And therefore will the LORD wait (CHAKAH, Peale Stem, intensively wait, tapping the foot type waiting) , that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait (CHAKAH, Kal Stem, keep on waiting for) for him. "
The Bible teaches that God is "tapping His foot and waiting" to bless His believers under Living Grace. The only thing that holds back our blessing is repeated carnality and sustained backsliding. It glorifies God when the believer has the capacity to be blessed. When we fall from Living Grace through sin or by our own self righteous works ...
Galatians 3:3-5 "Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? "
... we can't be blessed. We must stay in fellowship and trust that God will do what He's said He will do. When we "wait on God" this way, we'll definitely be blessed under Living Grace.
Isaiah 40:31 "But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. "
Psalms 27:14 "Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD. "
Psalms 37:7, 34 "Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. .. Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it. "
Psalms 62:5-8 "My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah. "
Jeremiah 14:22 "Are there any among the vanities of the Gentiles that can cause rain? or can the heavens give showers? art not thou he, O LORD our God? therefore we will wait upon thee: for thou hast made all these things. "
If we first "delight ourselves in God" He'll take care of the provisions.
By now you know that you stay under Living Grace by staying in fellowship with God, but it's possible that many of you don't know how to stay in fellowship. Many believers think this means to live a sinless life, to give up certain bad habits like smoking. You must realize that we're all sinners. As sinners some Christians are fairly righteous, only infrequently. Other believers sin more frequently, being spiritually weaker. Though we're saved we still have an old sin nature inside of us. We have the ability to control that sin nature, an ability that grows as we mature in Christ.
Romans 6:14-22 "For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. "
When we sin we fall from fellowship. The big question is, "How do I get back into fellowship after sinning? What penance must I do?"
1 John 1:8-10 "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If (EAN + Subjunctive mood, if, maybe you will, maybe you won't) we confess (HOMOLOGEO, cite, name, to say the same thing about, to agree with God that it is wrong) our sins, he is (Present Active Indicative EIMI, keeps on being) faithful and just to forgive (Aorist Active Subjunctive APHIEME, to cancel once and for all) us our sins, and to cleanse (Aorist Active Indicative KATHARIZO, clean once and for all, purify) us from all unrighteousness (APO PAS + Ablative of source ADIKIA, from the source of all unrighteousness. Refers to the old sin nature) . If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. "
The Apostle John establishes two major doctrines in the above text. We are sinners. If we say that we are without sin then we lie both to ourselves and to others. I don't care how outwardly righteous a believer may seem, he does sin and will continue to sin till he's in Heaven. It's true that the mature believer will be able to control his old sin nature more than the immature. But all sin.
The second thing John establishes is that God realizes
we're sinners. God doesn't live in a box, He is
a realist. He's given us a way to "bail ourselves out" when we sin.
We get back into fellowship by "confession" of that sin to God.
Confession (HOMOLOGEO) means to name the sin and say the same thing
about it that God does. To cite it and ask forgiveness for it. You don't
have to do penance for the sin, or say a hundred "Hail Marys". You don'
t have to wait till next Sunday so you can confess it before the brethren,
or go to the prayer rail to "rededicate your life". You don't
have to confess the sin to a priest. You HOMOLOGEO the sin to
God alone. "Father, I know that (name the sin) was wrong. I confess
it as sin, and ask forgiveness in the name of Jesus". You don't
have to use these exact words to regain fellowship; this is just an
example. But you should understand the following principles behind
Isaiah 41:10 "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. "
Isaiah 51:12-13 "I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass; And forgettest the LORD thy maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth; and hast feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy? and where is the fury of the oppressor? "
.. against your enemies:
Jeremiah 39:17-18 "But I will deliver thee in that day, saith the LORD: and thou shalt not be given into the hand of the men of whom thou art afraid. For I will surely deliver thee, and thou shalt not fall by the sword, but thy life shall be for a prey unto thee: because thou hast put thy trust in me, saith the LORD. "
.. from premature death and starvation:
Psalms 33:18-19 "Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine. "
.. from persecution:
Psalms 27:5-6 "For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock. And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD. "
.. from extreme trials:
1 Corinthians 10:13 "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. "
.. from death during war:
Job 5:19-20 "He shall deliver thee in six troubles: yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee. In famine he shall redeem thee from death: and in war from the power of the sword. "
.. from maligning that destroys your reputation:
Job 5:21 "Thou shalt be hid from the scourge of the tongue: neither shalt thou be afraid of destruction when it cometh. "
.. and from many other calamities:
Psalms 91:1-7 "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. "
God, under Living Grace, provides the believer:
A Heavenly Father who will answer prayer:
Matthew 21:22 "And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. "
A promise that all things work together for our good:
Romans 8:28 "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. "
The desires of our hearts:
Psalms 37:4-5 "Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. "
Vindication before our enemies:
Jeremiah 16:19-21 "O LORD, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit. Shall a man make gods unto himself, and they are no gods? Therefore, behold, I will this once cause them to know, I will cause them to know mine hand and my might; and they shall know that my name is The LORD. "
Victory in war:
Deuteronomy 33:27 "The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them. "
Inner peace when violent death threatens you:
Job 5:22-23 "At destruction and famine thou shalt laugh: neither shalt thou be afraid of the beasts of the earth. For thou shalt be in league with the stones of the field: and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with thee. "
An inner knowledge that we are children of the Kingdom:
Job 5:24 "And thou shalt know that thy tabernacle shall be in peace; and thou shalt visit thy habitation, and shalt not sin. "
Offspring that will make you proud:
Job 5:25 "Thou shalt know also that thy seed shall be great, and thine offspring as the grass of the earth."
And live a full life, dying peacefully at an old age:
Job 5:26-27 "Thou shalt come to thy grave in a full age, like as a shock of corn cometh in in his season. Lo this, we have searched it, so it is; hear it, and know thou it for thy good. "
God is able to supply all our needs according to His
richness in glory, praise His holy name!