In this letter I will be using GRACE and FAVOR interchangeably, as they mean the same thing in scripture. That is: God's unmerited Favor! His Favor (Grace cannot be earned, Jesus has already taken care of the price at Calvary. I am sure that Father knew the great risk of His announcing such Favor in advance, and the disgrace involved when He lavished it on us. His Grace and Forgiveness are (two peas in a pea pod), and are never withdrawn. "The gifts of God are without repentance." (irrevocable) Rom. 11:29. So when our Father transferred the risk of disgrace His Grace would bring, He took that risk on Himself! "You are not under the Law but Grace." Grace has been horrendously abused, but "God is not mocked, whatsoever a man soweth, so shall he also reap."
"Sowing and Reaping" has no boundaries, no one can escape the reaping of what he sows. What do the people of the world learn about God by observing any setting of believers in Christ? Do they see Favor, or unfavor, condemnation? Gladness, joy and cheerful hearts? The sons of God are a haven of their Father's Grace in a graceless world. Jesus was so full of Grace that unsavory characters flocked to Him. Why don't they flock to the professed sons today? Harlots, wine bibbers and publicans, sinners, tax collectors, plus untouchables ran to Jesus. Why so? "The law was given but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ."
My observations brought me to the conclusion that too much Truth without Favor to picked individuals only spells "holier than thou." Ornery goats anyway! Have you ever experienced rejection/unfavor at your first appearance among those calling themselves sons of God, or do you know people who have? I have learned almost nothing about Grace among some of them. Finding out about Father's unconditional favor, forgiveness, love and mecy is hard to come by. Jesus was all of the above to the woman caught in adultery in John Eight. One ingredient the world in general and politicians in particular is absent of is Grace! Federal, State and cities have welfare agencies for the poor substitute for Grace. Government agencies offer help in many ways, but are lacking in Grace. The most important contribution that you and I can offer the world cannot is Grace the Unconditional "Favor of God."
Beloved, lets let go and be Father's Grace, bread and sufficiency, reaching out to the blind in spirit, and those hardened in hatred. They are hungry and thirsty to experience unconditional Grace, forgiveness and love. People world wide are searching for grace and there are a few dispencers of it. The need of the hour is that we become a haven of grace, to the world or they will ignore us. They don't want people making them feel worse than they already do. The world is awaiting a people whose hearts and lips are dripping with the grace of God, conveying it in the spirit, of love, mercy and forgiveness. There is a great famine in the visible churches today, but plenty of law and condemnation.
When we become a genuine conveyor of Father's grace the world will come knocking at our door! Do people who are harboring old sins coming into your midst seeking grace encounter shame, the threat of punishment and judgment? Or do they sense the genuine unmerited, unconditional Favor instilled into you from God?
All the religions of the world depend on works to get them to heaven. They know nothing of unconditional love and grace of God. One cannot earn God's approval. Only because of Jesus is God's approval on you! Those trying to win His approval have been taught concepts not of God and Christ. unmerited Grace is unique of the Christian faith. All major religions, and Christian cults emphasize works to gain God's approval to get to heaven. Our Father is not slow to receive us back again into His loving arms. His arms are always extended to the returning prodigal's. The religious leaders of Jesus day were outraged that He associated with prostitutes and men of ill repute, and that He attracted multitudes with His parables of His Father's grace. The same religious people today, as then, murmur and grind their teeth that God would reward such behavior with his grace, if we dare to suggest such. I have heard people complain that such teaching communicates irresponsibility. God's grace is a scandal to the self righteous.
Father's grace is not a reward for what we have done for Him, but stands alone on our behalf in His love through Jesus atonement on the cross. The Father is making a great feast today, and welcome's alcoholic's, whores, reprobates and thieves and murder's even to come to His table and feast. And even all who have betrayed Him. "Come and dine, Jesus calls, come and dine. You may feast at Father's table all the time." Who in their right mind would hire workmen, some to come at sunrise, others at mid-morning, others at mid-day, more at mid- afternoon; and finally more an hour before quitting time? And then offend the tired and sweating by paying those who hardly did anything the same wages as those first hired? This pictures our Father's grace full and free. And it is a candle to all whose motivation is to keep laws to win His approval. It just is not fair, is it? Not to the self righteous, double minded person!
The reason I am sending this out is, I see on the threshold a reshaping of the moral, spiritual landscape in all its splendor and awe. The Father's grace is like vein of gold runs underneath the surface through the Old Covenant, but finally surfaces in Jesus. Yet His unconditional grace in its magnanimous reality God revealed it exclusively to Paul, His chosen apostle to the Gentiles (nations). God showed favor to Noah. Gen. 6:8. "Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord." Lot found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Gen. 19:19. Jacob told Esau that, "God dealt graciously with me." Gen. 33:11. Of all those women and men of the Bible you can see the magnitude of God's unmerited, undeserved favor on their lives.
"Even as David describes the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness with out works. Saying, Blessed are they whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin." Rom. 5:7, Psalm 32:1- 2.
All whose heart is turned to the Lord, He will not impute sin. Because of Jesus their sins are covered, their sins are forgiven! I know that our Father's grace, mercy and compassion extend beyond mans finite understanding and judgment. "The mercy of the Lord endures for ever." Our Father gives as much for an hours labor as for a full day, and His sons still want to be His servants, laboring for His favor and approval. Their God is the God of hard bargains, so they feel they must labor to achieve, please this bargaining God. It is not fair is it?
People feel they must work to please this one whom they perceive to be a bargaining God or He will give up on them, and His wrath would be forthcoming. But no! God never stops loving you, and His prevailing Grace is lovingly extended to you always. He loves you for who He is, and not for who you are! "God is Love." "Love is God." Generally speaking Grace is not fair, but during the "Dispensation of the Grace of God" given to Paul His Spirit illumined apostle, our Father has fabulously poured Grace out on us, covering our nakedness and heinous acts. "Be it known to you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man (Jesus) is preached the forgiveness of sins: and by HIM ALL BELIEVE ARE JUSTIFIED FROM ALL THINGS, from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses." Acts 13: 38-39.
The people could not be justified by over 3000 laws of Moses. They could be pardoned, and forgiven until they sinned again. Which was a short period of time for sure. But now we are justified from all things by one offering on the cross of Calvary by Jesus Christ, and God's Favor. Men nor devils can derail "so great salvation." The thousands of denominations all have as many concepts of how to make it in. But it is so simple that a child can grasp it, when the wise and learned can't, though they lecture on it for hours untold. And some o them have about as much grace as those who crucified Jesus.
Looking after the fact at our brethren in the Bible and their murder's, whoredoms and ultimate sins committed by them, then the exploits they did in the name of the Lord, I think God's Grace is with who so ever calls on the name of the Lord in every age. Some have predicted and I have heard it, "God's grace is coming to an end." NO! My brothers and sisters, it has just begun! Eph. 2: 5-8. A major increase of Father's Grace was incorporated with the inclusion of the Gentiles into His salvation by Grace. "By Grace are you saved." I wonder if it ends when "God is all in ALL?" 1 Cor. 15:28.
God's grace has no boundaries, if so where are it outer perimeters? Grace and love and forgiveness is the greatest gift that believers can manifest. Where enmity is working Grace cannot be through that one. The greatest weapon for us is Grace, when attacked by others, our weapons of Grace are powerful unto reconciliation! Beloved, Grace and forgiveness go hand in hand. One who cannot forgive has no message from God. Didn't Jesus in His model prayer: "Father forgive us our trespasses AS we forgive those who trespass against us?" Forgiveness is foundational in scripture and we should be motivated by gladness to forgive others because of our Father and elder Brother, Jesus role models of forgiveness, having forgiven us.
Grudges have ruined the health of multitudes of believers and we forgive not just because we are commanded to, but by doing so we are set free from our inner prison, and much of the time healing painful illnesses follow forgiveness. Forgiveness benefits the forgiver more than the one forgiven. Forgiveness sets us free from hatred imprisoned within us. There is something harder than unforgiveness, that is, the consequences to ones self. And that is within! If I am a receptacle of Father's bountiful Grace, should I not of His bounty dispense it liberally to others?
Marvelous Grace and forgiveness, such as manifest to Saul of Tarsus transforms monsters into saints. Saul admitted no wrong, yet the Lord's forgiveness is so supernaturally potent it reaches beyond the law and its justice. It turned Saul from his hurtful murderous acts. It transformed the whole man. The Lamb of God subdued the lion nature of Saul, the lion nature of, the Lamb then could lie down together in Saul a transforming metamorphous of nature. Then he was Paul. Paul could then proclaim: "Peace on earth, good will to all mankind." The supernatural power of Grace in the Holy Spirit outdistances justice, or God's love in Jesus on the cross revoked justice in our behalf.
In Acts 10, God revokes His own law of the "unclean," giving Peter a vision of a sheet descending from heaven, filled with every kind of unclean beasts, creeping things and fowls of the air. Peter heard a voice, "What God has cleansed, that call thou not common." Now the "unclean Gentiles were invited to the "marriage supper of the Lamb" through God's Grace. "Now we have boldness and access into the holiest of all by the blood of Jesus. Thus the priestly ladder of hierarchy wherein the only approach into the holiest place was dismantled by Jesus. Now we have access into His "throne of Grace" and His fullness.
Through Jesus, God made Himself abundantly more accessible than any loving earthly father. Now we can come to Him only calling "Abba." He embraces us in His arms, holding us near to His loving heart, and calls us by name. And often He calls us: "My daughter," "My son." Grace declares by the breath of Father that you are "Lively stones" in His crown of glory, rejoicing over you with singing of joy, resting in His love for you. OH, such amazing Grace!
Jesus manifested Grace and love for many that His younger brothers today would turn away from quickly. Such as prostitutes, demon possessed, woman with half a dozen husbands, a Roman centurion, woman with a sore running with blood, lepers, blind and deaf, adulterers. There are people in the same condition today, they need men and women today full of the Spirit of grace to address their needs. They are waiting! So far these deprived people have met graceless talebearers, professing to have mountains of faith, but can't move a mustard seed. When I have Father about some of His servants vises, He refers me back to His grace without explanation. As if it was none of my business! I have counselled with people that believed they had transgressed God's grace to the point they could not get back to Him, even committing the "unpardonable sin." In particular, two sisters and a brother. I will begin with him: James (not his real name) had come to the Lord a short time before he was confronted by a Christian cult that had told him they were the only ones possessing the truth in these last days. They were so convincing that James let them visit him weekly, and teach him insights into God's word. It all began with the fear factor, and James was so convinced that he joined them. And as time went on he began to wonder why he couldn't feel the presence of God anymore.
He began to despair, and when he began to ask questions they attacked him viciously. They told him that if he didn't believe them he would go to hell. And if he tried to leave them he would lose his life. To make it short, James lost his mind and had to go to a mental institution. And while there he came back to his right mind with a few reservations. He had time to think of what he had done, and vowed never to return to the cult. And now James had questions about his salvation. When he began to consult me, I had to convince him that God loved him just as much now as before he got caught up into the falseness of the cult. He had repented. I told him that he needed to forgive himself, for he was blaming himself with a vengeance. He screamed at himself for being so stupid. He felt immoral, and confessed that he was. He had a hard time doing it, but finally forgave himself. At my advice, he forgave the cult people too. He wept as the presence of God came back into his life. Forgiveness is the spiritual ingredient that frees us from the injustice done to us by other people. Someone said, "The strongest argument for forgiveness is the alternative, a permanent state of unforgiveness."
James had a difficult time of getting along with others after his release from the mental health institution, but overcame that, and the last time I heard, he loves to associate and fellowship with believer as in Jesus.
Next is a sister, I will call her Janie. Janie came to me with no hope. She told me that she was once a happy, joyful Christian, and she got herself involved in something I cannot mention. She was so distraught, and full of remorse. She just knew that she was hell bound. I began praying with her, and giving her scriptural evidence that God would not leave her, He would not forget her. That she was loved and the devil had ricked her because of her getting in the flesh. I talked and prayed with her about her being justified in Christ. Slowly Janie came into the light of Christ's justification, and God's Grace and love for her. She expressed her love for Jesus with weeping and happiness in Him that she had not had for years. She had been in a prison of torment with bars of fear surrounding her soul. She lived the last two years of her life rejoicing in the presence of the God of all Grace. "We have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace." Eph. 1:6-7.
When I first got to know Janie she was grasping for any thin ray of light that would give her at least one last chance of God's salvation as she once knew. I weep about it now. She was a pitiful sight, and I knew that my and her heavenly Father was ready to receive her prodigal soul back home. She looked at everything anyone would say with sceptical, negative responses. She began to see me as someone who would not condemn her as a turncoat, for I had genuine compassion from Jesus. She felt at ease around me, and Father began giving her faith and insight into His Love, Grace, Mercy and Forgiveness that had never entered her mind in those years before she had fallen from her walk with the Lord.
I knew instantly when Janie's heart was penetrated by the Grace of the Father. A glimmer suddenly came into her eyes that had never been there before. Her talk had been septic when speaking of the Christian's who was her former friends. I never condoned her prodigal ways that brought her into such a dark spiritual dungeon, but I never gave her the slightest reason to think that God was condemning her. I am thankful to the Holy Spirit wisdom given me to counsel her, for I have none of my own. Without Him I can do nothing! During all of her hundreds of questions, the Lord cautioned me to never show irritation, only "my Grace is sufficient for you." Janie's transformation in the Spirit was rewarding to me, I will never forget her. "The angels in heaven rejoice over one sinner who repents." Janie is now with the Captain of her salvation who loves her more than all mortals put together. She is with Him who "Saves to the uttermost them that come unto God by him." "God's love never fails." 1 Cor. 13:13. Father's love never fails for one of His creatures.
Another sister, Irma, was married, and some time after their marriage, Irma began having an affair with a man, though she was a Christian, and her husband committed suicide. Irma at once condemned herself, thinking her affair caused her husband to kill himself. She confessed that her husband was moody, and depressed much of the time. She felt that God was holding her responsible for her husbands death. Irma told me that after her husbands death, that she became depressed, worried about her salvation, and wanted assurance that God was not mad at her, that she had loved her husband, and didn't know why she had ever cheated on him. She was just caught up in a moment of loneliness, and the man had caught her off guard, then threatened to tell if she didn't continue the affair. She felt that she was forced to continue the illicit affair. Irma's friends whom she thought she could confide in were in shock and denial. How could you have done this? Don't you know the Bible tells us, "Do not commit adultery." Others, "It's an abomination." And they quoted scripture to her that was condemning, never giving her hope. They withdrew from her friendship, and she left the church that she had attended, they had treated her coldly. She could see them talking about her, nothing but judgment, and hear them say, "Sinner."
My heart went out to Irma, and I had to wipe away tears. I had to go to scripture to convince her that she and her husband were loved of God and in His loving embrace. When I counselled her with, "Where sin abounded, Grace super abounded." And God stands behind His word. We never have to question His integrity. "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them, and has put in us the word of reconciliation...We pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God." 2 Cor. 5:19-20. Plus I used other scripture in her case. I always avoid counsel without the Counsellor (Holy Spirit). To say the least, Irma's attitude became hopeful that all would be well with her husband and her too. Irma's heart seemed to just burst wide open with love and gratitude to God and His loving Mercy and Grace, as she skipped and jumped like a bouncing ball. She knew with all confidence that all was well between her and God, and her husband. Irma got married again to a wonderful believer in Jesus, and they are a very compatible couple. It was when Irma forgave herself that Christ's light opened to her the vastness of His forgiveness, Grace and Love for her. The struggle of forgiveness is being waged among multitudes of believers today, towards themselves and towards others. We are forgiven when we truly forgive. "Father...forgive us our trespasses AS we forgive those who trespass against us." Irma, I am happy for you, and the Lord is too. His Spirit of Grace transforms every one who looks to Him for forgiveness. Amen!
Christ doesn't identify people with their sins. He sees them as members of the Father's family, and the sin as something not belonging to the person. He looks at it as alien. Jesus preached, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he has sent me to heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord." Luke 4:18-19. Jesus was interested in the spirit man beneath the flesh man. He knew that sin was alien, and could get beneath the flesh of men and become master over their minds. And that sin can chain mens mind to itself. I saw that happen to James, Janie, Irma and others, and our heavenly Father rescued them because of Jesus and His Grace, Mercy and Love when He went to the cross.
Jesus was known as "The friend of sinners." He knows their needs today as well as then, and guilt laden people should feel at ease around us as they did around Him. Beloved, when we have Father's love, forgiveness and grace ruling within as our own, it takes us off the judgment seat and sits us on the mercy seat. Thus, He reveals that an accusing tongue is not the Lord's tongue. Once we were in that miserable state of the human race (all have sinned and come short of the glory of God), Now "We are accepted in the Beloved. So shouldn't our family likeness to the Father increase?
Our Father desires nothing more of us than our maturity to share the government of the Son on our shoulders. Isaiah 9: 6. Our Father is richer than all earthly men together. And through Christ's victory over every foe, we are shareholders of His riches that is beyond comparison. "We are heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ." So beloved, you are more than shareholders: "All things are yours." 1 Cor. 3:21-22. It looks like our Father took a risk when He announced forgiveness, nd super abounding unmerited Favor in ADVANCE. But He has never taken a risk, for He is Sovereign over ALL the universe. And nothing escapes Him, His knowledge, wisdom and scrutiny. "He knows the end from the beginning." He is the first and the last, and desires that we reach for the fullness of His allness. "Jesus Christ is the firstborn of many brethren." Our being is fully expressed in Jesus Christ. "As he is so are we in this world." Going through hard times causes you to know that all you go through has God's intention to mature the Christ nature, character in you. Paul's term, "Christ Jesus" has the meaning of Him in His glorified form, and synonymous of Him in His Christ body. Him in His many membered body. The "Spirit Christ" resides in us and we are closer to the Lord than His disciples walking with Jesus in His physical form. Amen!
Best In Christ's Love!
See other writings by Scott Paris