The apostle Paul will always be the master of the biblical teaching of justification through grace and faith (Romans 3:24-28). That is because of who he was before he was converted to Christ (1 Corinthians 15:8-10).
Understanding the undeserved mercy, unmerited favor, or grace through faith in which we are saved (Romans 5:1-2), and is a GIFT no man has earned nor can ever repay. Understanding all these things offered to man by God through FAITH in His Christos Son Jesus can best be seen in and through Paul. Not only in his conversion testimony, but all throughout his teachings. If you want to be like Paul (as he himself suggested; 1 Corinthians 4:16, 11:1; Philippians 3:17; 1 Thessalonians 1:6), then we need to seek God. And if our heart is in the right place by His work in us, He will open our eyes wider to His undeserved mercy and grace. And that is very good because understanding God’s undeserved mercy makes God’s love for us bigger and bigger. Not that His love gets bigger but that our understanding of His love grows larger and in turn our love grows for Him and we can represent Him more fully. This is how we “grow in grace.” (2 Peter 3:18)
“Behold, as for the proud one, His soul is not right within him; But the righteous will live by his faith.” ~Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17
“I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” — Galatians 2:21
Recipients of God's undeserved mercy will naturally mimic this mercy to others. Everything we receive from God is freely given to us from His loving heart. And it's important to understand that even if and when God gives us the ability to earn something and reap rewards, it is solely from God’s undeserved mercy toward us. And as this realization becomes clearer to us, God responds to us. Not because He has to. But because He loves us. Not because we deserve it. But because it pleases God to give this to those who truly appreciate it. As we are seeking God with all our heart, we will see how undeserving we are. This happens automatically the closer we get to Him. We see ourselves for what we really are. How wretched and hopeless we are without Him. That knowledge grows along with the knowledge of God’s love and undeserved mercy, unmerited favor to us. Then this mimicking of His love and kindness becomes natural. Because it is God’s Spirit within us truly working.
Stephen clearly exemplified this when praying for his murderers. The perfect picture of undeserved mercy from God was seen clearly through Stephen's work. Those who are truly recipients of God’s undeserved mercy see the possibility of everyone else we come across as being possible recipients of God's undeserved mercy as well. Even the worst of sinners are eligible.
That was Stephen, right to the moment of death. By this we can go back in the book of Acts and also see why God was able to use him so mightily. Why God was able to work miracles through him. Because he was full of God's holy Spirit and poor in his own spirit. These two go hand in hand. And That only happens when a person is walking in a powerful knowledge of justification by grace (undeserved mercy, unmerited favor) through faith in Christ.
And this is how one attains and remains great in God. To never forget where we came from, and to look at others as God looked at us. That anyone and everyone can be a partaker, if they can accurately see who they are. That they are unworthy sinners. As this is what we all truly are.
“At that very time Jesus rejoiced greatly in the Holy Spirit, and said, "I praise You, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from [the] wise and intelligent (in their own eyes) and have revealed them to infants (in their own eyes). Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight.” Matthew 11:25; Luke 10:21
These things were hidden from the "wise" by God the Father. Because God’s gifts will never be as glorious as they truly are to those who are big and wise in their own eyes. They are too self sufficient. Christ didn't come to this world for these kinds of people. He said this Himself many times; Matthew 9:13; Luke 5:31, Luke 4:17-21; 32; Luke 19:10; John 9:39. And here's one quote from Paul.
In Romans chapter 9, Paul speaks of two kinds of people in this world. Children of promise, and children of flesh. And specifically, at one point he uses the example of the descendants of Jacob and descendants of Esau. Those who feel they have some kind of claim on God's mercy are likened in scripture to firstborn Esau (and hated) [new peculiar brand of "hate" shown here. peculiar to God as only He can be in the position to hate for this reason. As we saw in Jacob when he reverenced his brother to the face but had no obligation to be subject to him afterwards. even not following through on his plans to meet up with Esau later in a certain city, which thing was right in the sight of God]. The other kind was Jacob. Who thought of God's blessings as prizes so wonderful because he knew he was not worthy and confessed, "Lord, I am not worthy of the least of Your mercies." (Genesis 32:10) These are loved.
The Galatians were falling away from Jacob and began to walk in the mind set of Esau. Paul was able to clearly see this as these things are spiritually discerned. Those who know and continue in the understanding that they were unworthy sinners saved by God's undeserved mercy can clearly see these things.
This Rock [of truth] is something one should always strive to not fall off of. "Take heed when you think YOU stand, lest ye fall." (1 Corinthians 10:12)
But what about you?” Jesus asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by My Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock (this unbreakable solid fact) I will build My church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:15-18) God will build His church on the fact that FLESH will not receive the smallest amount of credit for it. The gates of hell will never prevail against a church which the Holy Spirit of God is responsible for. Most of the churches today were prevailed against before they even started!
“I know a man 14 years ago caught up to the third heaven….” “I will boast about such a man, but I will not boast about myself, except in my weaknesses.” (2 Corinthians 12:1-5).
First-born Esau, born thinking himself naturally privileged. Not accurately as an undeserved, unmerited gift from God. He thinks he's got it coming to him. No glory for the Lord with this thinking. It becomes duty. what started off as a blessing, men turned into a duty God was simply to fulfill. Very sad. The good news is only for the unworthy. How beautiful are the feet of those who publish-proclaim bring good glad tidings gospel of peace to those who thoroughly know they are unworthy. "…Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you.” Matthew 21:31
Washing Jesus' feet with her hair and her tears and [most costly ointment]. Those who are forgiven much, love much. (Luke 7:36-48) How beautiful were the feet of Jesus who brought those glad tidings to that unworthy sinner. Very beautiful.
Forgiven more = loving more.
Understanding increasing of that forgiveness-more. Not sinning-more. Seeking-more. Understanding-more. Growing in grace-more.
Those who are spoiled brats and believe God is fulfilling some kind of duty miss the whole concept of God, who is love. How much more precious is a gift when you do not expect it or when you know it is undeserved?
Even Jesus who truly was privileged emptied Himself and became obedient, even to the cross, despising its shame... and showed us how we MUST walk.
What a perfect example of humility!
God please help us to WALK in this knowledge. To love. As this IS love.
All impossible without Christ and the Father dwelling within us. Enabling us. The law of Christ.
Dear heavenly Father we ask You in the worthy name and reputation of Your Son Anointed Yeshua, that You open our hearts and understanding more and more. Thank You Father for having mercy on us when none of us deserved it. Your gift to us is precious to us. As we are truly lost without You. We praise You Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen
More on Justification here:
(Saved by God's unmerited favor which has been extended to us through His Son, Yehoshua the Anointed One! And when His Spirit enters us, we are still saved by His unmerited favor! HE (GOD) will be working through us! He gives us power to follow His word which is the same as "walking in love". Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. Knowledge fades away in time. But love never fades away. Seek God, seek love, seek walking in the Word by the power of the Spirit. Through Jesus we are overwhelmingly victorious. All in time. It is a process. A process of growth. Of becoming rich in God's Spirit and poor in our own spirit. Sanctification: Strong's G38. hagiasmos "the process of making or becoming holy," .... hagiasmós (a masculine noun derived from 40 /hágios, "holy") – sanctification (the process of advancing in holiness); ... the believer being progressively transformed by the Lord into His likeness (similarity of nature)
This is a constant striving. It's very deep. But Paul explains it all very well in many ways throughout his writings. It's a working together with the Lord. The New Covenant. A covenant is an agreement between two parties. Fellowship, partnership. And by God's grace, we overcome all obstacles. Truly, this is good news. Cleansed by the blood, and justified by His grace through His Spirit. The advocate ("Comforter" KJV). The Holy Spirit which teaches us and guides us into His truth. Jesus said, "I will not leave you orphanos. I will come to you!! John 14
"If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" Luke 11:13
"So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. "For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened." Luke 11:9, 10
The Greek grammar structure of these verses show a repetitive loop in our asking, seeking, knocking. We must ask according to God's will and then, not stop asking until we receive. But be like Solomon. Ask for wisdom and things that will aid you in what's all important. And that is, being fed ourselves, and ministering to the souls Jesus died for.
May God the Father and our Lord Yeshua bless you all! Amen
You can be saved!
God loves the people in the world so much that He came down to die for us. If God is opening your heart to His message and you feel convicted for your sins which have separated you from a holy God and you feel the need to be forgiven, then say this prayer. This is how I was powerfully converted to the Christ in 1997!
Say, "My Lord and my God, have mercy on me, a sinner. I believe Jesus the Christ died on the cross and shed His precious blood for the forgiveness of all my sins. I believe Jesus raised from the dead and ascended into heaven and is now on the right-hand side of God listening to this prayer. I open up the door of my heart and I invite You in, Lord Jesus. Thank you, God, for saving my soul and I vow to serve you with all my heart which is the first and greatest commandment. Amen."