Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Understanding Grace: An Open Heaven

18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and forever. Amen. 2 Peter 3:18

 We are beginning a new study on understanding grace. I am excited to share insights and truths the Lord has been revealing. Why study grace?

 The reality is the Body of Christ is experiencing a grace awakening. A grace reformation, if you will. Now, grace is not just some message. There is no "grace camp". There really is no grace message. Grace is simply the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ!

 Over the past hundred plus years God has simply been restoring truth back to the Body of Christ. Yet we turned these truths into movements, denominations, and sects to identify and divide ourselves. Even in the midst of this God was working. He was restoring truth that built upon each other.

 He restored the truth that we can have the power of the Spirit in our life. That He has provided healing for us. That He has bestowed gifts upon His Church. That His Word can be trusted and we can take Him at His Word. Now He is restoring the gospel to the Church.

 God in restoring the gospel is saying this. If you realize I have given you the power of my Spirit. If you see I have healed your bodies, I have bestowed supernatural gifts to confirm my Word. If you can see that you can take me at my Word. Then you can rest in me. You can abide in me knowing I have completed the Work. I am your faith and faithfulness. 

 God is simply putting Jesus back into the center of the message. The truth is He has always been there, but we haven't seen it. With this foundation I believe we should grow in our understanding of grace. 

 In this study I will focus on the different aspects of the gospel. I am not going in any order. Or emphasizing which truth is "more important" over another. With that lets begin.

An open Heaven or closed Heaven?

The Word of God in various places reveals actual events where the Heavens opened up. Some were literal and others were by way of an open vision. These are supernatural occurrences that we have no control over. Acts 7 where Stephen before being murdered for his faith in a vision saw the Heavens open and Jesus standing, is an example. These events have occurred as the Lord willed.

 There is a concept of an open Heaven regarding our access to God in Scripture. 
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
The whole earth is full of His glory!”
And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.
So I said:
“Woe is me, for I am undone!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King,
The Lord of hosts." Isaiah 6:1-5
 Under the Old Covenant we didn't have free access to God's presence. Look what held Isaiah back. He saw his own sin. He saw his own imperfections. Clearly, under the Old, performance, and obedience had much to do with access to God.

 We are in a New Covenant today. What does the Word have to say for us in the New about our access to God?
16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

In the New Covenant we have free access to come before God. We can come before God anytime. I understand that God dwells inside us in the person of the Holy Spirit. However, we still pray to our Daddy God in the name of Jesus. In this sense we come before the Lord to find help and the answers we need. 

 Two things we can see in this passage. We come before God boldly. The only way one could come boldly would have to be because they have been made new. They're clean and forgiven and they know it. Secondly we see God's throne is a throne of grace.

 God's throne is not a throne of performance. It isn't a throne of judgment. It also isn't a throne of reward. You see rewards are wages paid for something earned. You don't want a relationship with God based upon rewards. This becomes a works and performance and wages expected in return relating between us and God. It shifts our relationship from Daddy and child to employer and employee.

 Under grace therefore do we abide under an open Heaven or a closed Heaven? Is it possible to abide under a closed Heaven in the New Covenant? I know religion perpetuates the idea we can. I have heard tradition bound philosophies proclaim this. 

Abiding under an open Heaven because of the Son

 When Jesus died on that Cross He declared it is finished. That veil that had hidden the presence of God was torn asunder. This reveals we always have free access to God's presence now. 

 I have heard teaching after teaching about what we need to do or accomplish in order to abide under an open Heaven. We must give so much. We must pray so much more often. We must be obedient to God's voice. Others say it this way. You gotta pay the price for an open Heaven over your life and ministry. That is not true because Jesus paid it all at the cross.

 Whenever you hear anyone proclaim you must do this first and then God will respond, know you're hearing Old Covenant teaching. Jesus has already made a way for us to enter in. Jesus has free access before God. We abide in Him. Therefore we have free access to God. 

 We are forgiven, cleansed and made pure by the blood. We can always enter boldly before the throne of grace. Our Daddy God desires us to come to Him. We therefore abide under an open Heaven. Disregard any teaching that has believers begging God to open the Heavens over them. We don't have to fast and pray for weeks for the Heavens to open. We don't have to give up TV or movies. We don't have to do anything. Jesus did enough. We rest in what He has done. We simply receive by His faith within, what grace already provided. This is growing in grace.


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