The one who tied my shoes and zipped my britches!
Never did I fully understand the impact that a single person could have on my life until I met my Kindergarten teacher. She was the epitome of Grace and it’s work in the lives of those who lack understanding on matters of navigating life. You know… like tying your shoes and zip’n your pants. I truly would have stumbled around or exposed myself much worse in life, had it not been for the teacher of grace that she was in my formative years. She in my kindergarten year was the object of my affection and in my eyes the most beautiful person on the planet. She had a way at putting me at ease when it came to learning my letters and how to spell my last name. You see, I had come to the conclusion that life as I new it would be insufferable and difficult for me. I would never make it into the first grade with a last name like Fairrington. My buddy had been blessed with the good name of Cox. Three letters to my Eleven!!! He could sign his name to his papers and be done with his work while I was still writing out my last name. In a world that seemed so unfair, there was only one thing that would get me through to the next grade. It was Grace! Grace that would teach me, Grace that was slow to anger, Grace that would teach me how to keep from stumbling, grace that covered me when I was exposed and feeling unworthy. Yes, it was Grace! Teaching me then and it is Grace that teaches us all how to walk in Godliness.
Titus 2:11-14 (KJV)
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
Grace is what brings Holiness. It does not demand anything from us. Its work is done for us. I thought it would be something more along the lines of me proving to you that its work is present in my life. I thought it was based on an evaluation of my performance by others. I thought that it could only be substantiated by the recognition, evidence and validation of those who have been wounded by me before I could move on. Now some would say that this is just another way to embrace sloppy grace and continue in sin but look at what the verse says. “Grace teaches us to be Holy”, “Grace teaches us how to say no to sin” More than the Law, More than Religion, More than my self-righteousness, More than my commitments, covenants, piety, or performance, more than anything else Grace is teaching me to be Holy. It is teaching me how to not stumble! This is why we forgive one another, This is why we love each other through the ugliness of life. When I really grasp that God is gracious and slow to anger in my heart, it doesn’t cause or encourage me to sin more, it causes me to sin less. So my understanding of grace is that it is provided not because of sin and not so we can continue in sin, but it teaches us so that we can know how to say no to sin.
When you finally realize you are kindergartner and in the most unqualified state for God’s favor and yet have received the teacher of grace anyway, now all you want is to rest and to walk in the ways of God because His grace is the teacher and she is beautiful, and loves you, and makes you feel as if you are the most important kid in the room!
The Holiest thing you can do is to rest in the finished work of the cross of Christ. You cannot add to Jesus’ work. When we rest from our own works in order to merit Gods favor and blessings, we are honoring Jesus for a job well done!
No more effort on my part. Its all Him, all Jesus.
Never let anyone make you feel guilty for resting in His Grace. It is teaching us to be Holy!
The Record of Christ and Grace that has no Boarders!
For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,
We have been united together with him in a death like his, and we are most certainly united with him in his resurrection. Now, make sure that you fully understand the simplicity of what Romans is telling you and me in relationship to the doctrines of Jesus and of His Grace. We know we have been justified but does it get even more real than that?
Yes. It does!
Imagine you have lived the same life, and died the same death, and then you rose again as Jesus did. Imagine His resurrection, His crucifixion, and even before that his everyday life and ministry is yours. Imagine even beyond that, His Ascension, His Transfiguration, so perfect and right! He is now seated at the right hand of God, the Father in a place of authority, honor, and dominion, so that He is God and man. The Son of God-the Son of man. He is everliving right now to hit the mark on your behalf. That’s what the word ‘Intercession” means in Hebrews chapter 7 when it says that He is ever living to intercede at the right hand of God.
I love this picture because he is not making a case against us rather He is interceding for us. He has taken a seated position because His work is finished. He was able to do what no High Priest in the history of Israel was ever able to do. He is able to take a seat in the presence of God. That is how finished the work of the cross is, that is how perfect the work of Christ is.
Now, He is God and He was able to do all of this stuff for us but, because he became a man and He now represents us from Adam on down, He represents us as our Defense Attorney and He makes us the High Priests to boot!. Simply put… He is our Man in Heaven! He is the mediator between you and Almighty God.
Who says you have the right to come into the presence of the Creator of all things? You have that right because Jesus is your new identity and the new you!. Are you wrapping your brain around the idea that Grace has no borders for those who are in Christ?
We have been grafted in! That is what it means to be united in Him.
Now, understand that the old self isn’t simply your old nature but it is your old standing, your old positions, the old you. This is important to understand if we are to fully grasp Jesus as our new identity.
Having been united in the work of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we have been given the record of Jesus Christ. We are identified before the Father as fully in Christ and therefore as Christ.
There are no borders! Let the record show that no matter how hard the old the old man fell over and over again, no matter what your positions were, no matter how rotten, religious, fake, depraved, or wounded. No matter how great you thought you were, no matter what your accomplishments may have been, no matter how many times you have said “I wished I had a chance to do it all over again.” You may even have wreaked havoc in your life and wounded many others.
Let the record show… Christ and Him Crucified! Grace that knows no boundaries or borders! Let the barriers of unforgiveness, and estrangement fall, Let the milestones of the religious fall off, and let us begin to bear the record of Jesus for ourselves and each other, seeing one another through the lens of Jesus and the record of our death and resurrection in Him.
Let the record show.. The record of Christ and Grace that has no Boarders!
Jesus’ unfailing devotion to us despite our erratic and unstable devotion to Him
The one thing that I finally get and am most appreciative for as I adventure with God is that God’s love for us, approval of us, and commitment to us does not ride on our resolve or performance but on Jesus’s resolve for us. The gospel is the good news announcing Jesus’ unfailing devotion to us despite our erratic and unstable devotion to Him. The gospel is not a command to hang on to Jesus; it’s a promise that no matter how weak and unsuccessful our faith and efforts may be, God is always holding on to us. We are in His grip! So much so, that the righteousness that comes through His faithfulness is finally allowed to free me from passing the kind of perpetual judgment on myself that leaves me chained to my sin. Our Chains are broken, we've been set free! -Thoughts from "On Adventure with God." John Fairrington.
Give a dead guy this kind of armor and he'll be unstoppable!
Do you let Him fight all your battles?
When defending my little brother...I remember this question being sarcastically thrown out to him as a child. It still never bode well for his would be attacker!
One of the Adversary’s primary objectives is to destroy your simple faith in God. His intricate schemes and hidden diabolical drive is focused on one thing: diminishing the power of the Word of the Lord by undermining our trust in it. The very universe itself along with everything in it was created and is upheld by the Word of God according to John 1:3 and Hebrews 1:3, so in order for Satan to win, his efforts must be centered on discrediting the simple and freeing Good News of the Gospel.
Will the real you please stand up!
The enemy constantly seeks to alter our perception of reality. This is why so often we are prone to believe his condemnations rather than the Word of God, which frequently points to our righteousness in Christ being secured and in play while grace and peace are perpetually being multiplied to the weak!
Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!
The enemy seeks to distort the truth. He does this by making destructive things look enticingly desirable. He seeks to make the most wonderful things look unbearably boring and dull. He seeks to make the most trustworthy things look unreliable through conjecture. He seeks to make the one, true fountain of joy look like a dry well, and a broken cistern look like a spring of refreshment. He will even try to convince you hell is entertaining.
Ever been lost?
It is the enemy’s tactic to cause disorientation through temptation, condemnation, intimidation discouragement, disappointment, doubt, illness, weakness, weariness, and to appeal to our pride and shame. The spiritual powers of evil seek to keep us off-balance, confused, and turned around. If we lose our focus on the truth, we lose our sense of direction and confidence in God, which ultimately leads to losing the simple faith that we have been chosen to walk in.
I had a feeling about that guy!
The enemy is the conjurer of suspicion and he accomplishes this by infiltration into our relationships. He seeks to pervert the exchange of trust between our loved ones and us. Marriages break, families fracture, friendships rupture, churches split, movements derail as sin infects, and suspicion breeds. In the skirmish we easily lose track of who the enemy really is and sometimes we end up fighting against even our own flesh and blood.
I hope you Croak
Jesus was right when He said that we would have tribulation and that the way would be hard. It has been far harder than you or I may have ever expected!
But Jesus was right about something else: In Matthew 16:18 He says, “the gates of hell will not prevail”. John 14:6 reads, “The way is hard, but the way is sure!” Well now that you think you have a pretty firm grip on the obvious, and have committed to go a few more rounds in the ring of hell, don’t miss the most simplistically profound statement of our faith that is found in the Bible. In John 1:1 it simply says "The Way is the Word."
While many of us will go for years struggling in the mire of self-sufficiency, attempting to deal a deathblow to our enemy, the simple secret of simple faith, the great mystery is…ready for it? Die! Die, die, die, die, croak! Stay with me because I know I may have lost you!
The Left Hook from Heaven
All the brutal forces of hell, with all the distortion it can conjure, disorientation it can cause, and suspicion it can sow, simply cannot break the Word of God. For that Word is God himself John 1:1. And the Word came to destroy the works of the devil, 1 John 3:8.
The Stand In
It seems illogical that someone would take my place in the Octagon! But, the Word of God destroyed the works of the devil by being broken. Yes, all hell broke loose upon the Word of God in a ring that spanned from Gethsemane to Calvary and the Word was broken. It was for you and me that he took all of the arm bars, left hooks, take downs, and all the rest but He was not broken in the way that the enemy tried to break Him. The Enemy tried to compromise the Word, but the Word held fast by being broken, by being submitted. What the enemy didn’t understand is that while Jesus was broken on the mat, he wasn’t submitting to Satan, He was submitting to His Father!
So Ur Say'n The Dead Guy Wins?
Catch the simplicity now! In being broken, the Word of God kept unbroken the word of God, the great covenant. Justice was upheld when Christ stood in the ring for me and became both “just and the justifier of the one who has simple faith in Jesus” see Romans 3:26.
That Word, otherwise known as “Jesus Death-Blow Christ,” stands above all earthly powers and smashes against the gates of hell.
Things may be hard for us. But Jesus, the Word, the Way, will pour out His wrath on our enemy - literally hell for hell.
The key to our clarity in the face of the enemy’s distortion, focus in the face of hell’s disorientation, and our persevering, longsuffering love in the face of our adversary’s suspicion, is to listen to the Word of God by soaking in the words of God in the Bible. The Word is our refuge, Psalm 18:30; the Word is our peace, Acts 10:36, Philippians 4:7; and the Word is our weapon, Ephesians 6:17. Scripture declares we are dead in Him and resurrected into a new life with Him.
Join the Resistance!
We must remember that the devil is after one thing our faith. And we must remember that we will overcome him by one thing: our faith,
1 John 5:4. Jesus summarized our one and supreme defense against hell in this statement: “believe in God; believe also in me” John 14:1.
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him; be firm in the simple belief in the faith of Jesus. This faith is not yours but His faith in you. Know that everyone around you is experiencing the same kind of suffering. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. (1 Peter 5:8-10)
Now, Grace and Peace be multiplied unto you!
Commoner, Sinner, Saved by Grace!
Simple Faith’s relationship with Righteousness.
2 Peter 1:1-4 (KJV)
1 Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: 2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, 3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
Defining Simple Faith
First, we must have a simplistic understanding of what simple faith truly is and how it has provided for the sinner!
For too long now the Christian constituency has walked in perpetual defeat, I am amazed at how frequently we throw ourselves out there for examination from others and even more importantly the examination of self. I have hated exams since my early adolescence! Perpetually being measured against something or someone else and attempting to dodge the pressure of standing out in performance, acceptance, and achievement. Embedded in the realm of spiritualty, the idea of self-awareness has become an unbiblical doctrine where we are to constantly reflect on our failures, inconsistencies, and repetitive sin nature. This forever keeps us of point in that; simple faith, precious faith is living in and embracing the righteousness provided once and for all through the work of God and our Savior Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. This Grace and peace is also perpetually multiplied through the knowledge of God and Jesus Christ.
That folks, is what we are to examine. Are you walking in the simple faith that Jesus has provided everything pertaining to “life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue”?
I believe that the enemy of our faith catches us in a trap when we submit ourselves to a perpetual “I” exam! Peter gives encouragement that was never designed to be self-examination or to put a noose around our necks rather, it was to focus us on the only thing that matters, the only thing that effectively finalizes my right standing with God as a sinner saved by Grace. You are the Righteousness of Christ because Jesus passed the test! There is no more "I", no more self-examination, no more condemnation and no more on and off faith, based on how well you are doing at any given point in the day. For too long this has been the theological and doctrinal proclamation of self-righteous, sin sniffers in the world today.
(Example) A "Christian Phycologist" once told me that my approach to simple faith in the righteousness of Christ was too dogmatic and that it may be the result of some past hurt or deep burried sin that was never dealt with. What often follows is a lack of biblical support and nominal fees being charged!
So, how do I examine my faith in simplicity?
Simple! Start your day with the affirmation that you are in Christ! Ask yourself the question; Has Christ died for me? Has He completely restored me to right standing before the Father and hidden me in himself? If the answer is yes then you pass the exam! Not only that, but even though you are a weakling, you have also graduated into living with Him by the Power of God toward you!
Take some time to let the reality of these two passages soak in. Converse with the Lord and pray through each verse, everyday until you can naturally defend the assault of self-righteous and your adversary the Devil.
2 Corinthians 13:3-6 (KJV)
3 Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, which to you-ward is not weak, but is mighty in you. 4 For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you. 5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? 6 But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.
It doesn’t take long to wrap your brain around this new, and fun way of kicking the enemy in the booty!
Commoner, Sinner, Saved by Grace!
The pit of despair
It is a real tendency among men to want to defend anything that compromises their territory, relationships or honor. From a very young age we are poised to give an answer for our actions. In many instances we have all heard the proverbial question, “What do you have to say for yourself.” This leads us to believe that we better have a good excuse for our sin and instills in us the trigger to immediately cover up and justify our unrighteousness. With out an understanding of who God is and what He has done on our behalf, we move into the abyss of self justification and moral depravity, spinning endlessly, deeper into a web of lies and deceit, ultimately unable to see who we really are or have become. The defense of our own lives eventually becomes spiritual pride and legalism where we are the only one’s who are right and everyone else doesn’t get it. It generally takes a devastating event in life to pull us back into recognition that we have taken the work that only Christ can do into our own hands.
The characteristics of this kind of lifestyle naturally generate an unhealthy view of world, family, friends, leadership, and the church. Everyone becomes suspect, some become judge and jury, and the very things that you yourself have become are now identified as sin in others. In most cases we become prone to conjecture and unable to see others through the lens of Christ and the work of the cross.
My Adversary’s new Enemy
Once we begin to recognize that the pit of despair is too deep for anyone to crawl out of on their own, it leaves us with a host of decisions on how to proceed. If you have been a Christian like me for most of your life or even if you have been one for a short time. The accuser starts his attack almost immediately and we must decide right then whom we will listen too. This is a pivotal point in Christianity where you now choose how you will live, how you will love and if you can walk in the profound simplicity of Jesus. You will find many around you love the broken and contrite heart, they rally behind your new found desire for change but, just for a moment and when it does not match their accepted protocol you once again are set aside to fade into the backdrop where no one is bothered with the messiness of your sin. This is where you make the glorious switch from defending yourself to the defense that Jesus provides.
1 Peter 5:8 (KJV)
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
Jesus our Advocate and our Defense
As you have gathered by now, Jesus is the central component of your success. It will not come through your piers, accountability partners, psychology, counseling, or by the opinion of others have of you. The self-righteous man is just as guilty, if not more so, than the unrighteous individual. In the story of the prodigal son, who was guiltier? Was it the prodigal who spent time in the pigpen and came back repenting, or the elder son who complained and murmured because his father never killed a fatted calf for him? The heathen and the Hebrew alike are without excuse. One might sin in the flesh, the other in the spirit—but both sin. Only God sees what’s going on internally, only He can judge righteously.
Too often, regardless of being the Hebrew or the one in the pigpen, we’re so sure we’re right—when in reality we don’t have all of the facts. In the Day of Judgment, we will be shocked at how wrong we were and how little we knew when all the books are opened and all things will be judged truthfully. Watch out for the self-righteous person. They are the ones who perhaps are most vulnerable to despising the goodness of God when their brothers are glorifying God fresh out of the pigpen. It happens all to frequently when grace is extended to people who come from the pigpen and the self righteous gather in their own spiritual pride and begin to manipulate the work of grace to their benefit, not seeing their own depravity.
You must now rely solely on the work of your new advocate Jesus. Let’s take a commoners approach to some of the characteristics of this work in the book of Romans.
Romans 3:22 KJV
22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets.
1. Justification is apart from the law. If you’re trying to relate to the Father on the basis of your own goodness or devotion, your consistency or your Bible study, your do’s and dont’s—you’ll never be justified. The law cannot justify you. It can only bring you to the realization that you are a sinner in need of a Savior.
Even the righteousness of God which is by faith…
2. Justification is by faith in the Lord. Our justification comes from our being linked not to God generally, but to Jesus Christ personally. Do you have a general relationship where you say “I’m religious” or, do you have an intimate relationship with the Lord. James says the demons believe in God, but they’re not saved. They’re not justified. They won’t be in heaven (James 2:19). It’s not enough for a person to say, “I believe in God and go to church.” No, he must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ because the source of justification lies embedded in the Person and work of Jesus.
Romans 3:22 (cont.)
…of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference.
3. Justification is for everyone. Whether Jew or Gentile, yuppie or hippie, heathen or Hebrew—there’s only one way to enter into salvation: by faith. It’s not faith in what you’ve done or who you are, it’s not my fickle faith in Jesus Christ. Simply put, it is just believing that it is the faithfulness of Jesus towards me, in me, and for me. And that he loved me while I was ungodly so much so that He gave up his own life so a wretch like me could have new life being perfectly, completely and instantaneously justified!
Justification is by faith in the Lord. Our justification comes from our being linked to Jesus Christ personally.
If that doesn’t do it for you then… Propitiation!!!
God Himself became a Man and absorbed the wrath of His own indignation. The mystery of the Trinity, the mystery of propitiation is that God actually inflicted death on a cross upon Himself.
Now we won’t go into the deep theological perspectives of grace, justification, and propitiation here. Let’s not forget, I too am a commoner, a sinner. That being said, the custom of many is to dissect Romans in such a way that we will get bogged down in theological debate rather than simple application. So, allow me at this point to throw out one big word and make propitiation simple to apply to a common pin head such as myself.
Hilasterion, or “propitiation”—the word we don’t hear much today—is used only five times in the entire New Testament: Romans 3:25; 1 John 2:1–2; 1 John 4:10; and Hebrews 9 are four of them. The Hebrews reference, I would say, is a real key to unlocking this understanding, because in describing the mercy seat, the author of Hebrews uses the word hilasterion. The mercy seat, or hilasterion, covered the ark of the covenant. It was like a lid. The ark of the covenant contained the law. Therefore, through the mercy seat, God says, “I know you’ve broken the law. I know you deserve to be consumed because of it. But I’m going to put a lid on it through the sacrifice of My Son. He is the helasmos, the mercy seat, the propitiation. It’s not something He gives. It’s who He is! You see He has come between you and the broken law. The wrath that He should have vented on me and you was instead placed upon His Son, who died in your place.”
Now take a few moments to wrap your brain around that and then continue reading.
The fifth use of the word “propitiation” is found in Luke 18:10–14. It is a brief vignette, concerning the prayers of a Pharisee and a tax collector. Look at verse 13: “God, be merciful to me a sinner.” It begins with “God” and ends with “sinner.” The middle phrase, “be merciful”—the verb form of hilasterion—stands between God and sin. Every one of us is in one of two categories. You’re either the self-righteous Pharisee, or you’re the tax collector, grateful that Jesus is standing between God and your sin.
Now when I begin to understand the work of propitiation it blows my mind. Propitiation adds an entirely different dimension to what Paul calls “so great salvation” (Hebrews 2:3). It’s not just the Father saying, “I’m going to settle mankind’s problem judicially.” No, He deals with it personally. That God would love me so much He would actually become the object of His own wrath frees me up in a profound way.
I know I’m a sinner. But because He absorbed the anger that should have been poured out upon me, I can walk throughout the rest of the day, week, and year be cause I am the recipient of His incomprehensible love.
Need help applying this?
Tomorrow when you wake up, It won’t take long for your adversary the Devil to begin to accuse you. He may come in many forms and is highly distinguishable because he never encourages, he never has a solution, and he never leads you to the cross. Anything or anyone who comes to you and meets those criteria should be promptly introduced to the new Adversary of your Enemy. Let Him put a lid on it! Meanwhile you can be free!
Next Start, Pleading the Blood!
Commoner, Sinner, Saved by Grace