Ephesians 1:7 “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; 8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence.”
One of the most difficult things for me to understand when I was first saved was how to receive from God by faith. My religious background was steeped in doing religious works in hopes of getting God’s attention and blessing which carried over into my walk after being born again. It was exhausting as I was always trying hard to get God to move or respond but never seeming to do enough. All of the struggle and trying hard changed when I received a revelation of God’s grace. I wrote a book on it in 1999 entitled, “Grace: God Initiated a Move Toward Man.”
What I came to know was that God already initiated a move to complete a plan for man. All those plans could be called redemption (Ephesians 1:7; Romans 3:24). All those plans were to restore back to man what he lost in the Garden since his fall into sin and spiritual death. God already initiated all the plans to restore man (us). Grace is an originator or initiator.
Grace always comes first. Grace comes before faith. God initiated the plan to redeem us and we simply respond to a completed plan. Grace, God’s plan, flowed down first. You cannot receive from God without faith, but you will never walk by faith until you understand grace. WE ORIGINATE NOTHING! No longer do we need to struggle to get God to move but rather simply respond to the move He already made. The Word of His grace tells us all that He already did Acts 20:32.
This is the opposite of religion. Religion is always man doing a work, offering it up to God for acceptance, and man gets the credit. Christianity is God doing a work and reaching down to man to accept it, and God gets the glory. The worst evil in the world is religion. More people go to hell by religion than any thing else. Religion is also the greatest persecutor of grace. In all works to merit blessing systems of religion the order of Divine blessing (what God does) and the human obligation is ordered like this:
Under a Works Merit system religion: the human obligation is to be done 1st – Divine blessing (what God does) comes 2nd
Under Grace: Divine blessing (what God did) comes 1st – human obligation (what man does) comes 2nd.
A religious work is anything that originates with you, with you offering it up to God, to get Him to respond or do something. This can lead to pride because it makes your focus on what you did and you get the credit for it rather than responding to what God originated. This makes you focus on what God did and leads to humility and God getting the credit. (Works have a part to play in our walk but only as a response to all God has done). There is nothing we could do to complete the plan or help Him out, we only respond to or receive the completed plan.
Before we received Jesus, He sent Jesus.
Before we ask to be healed, He sent Jesus to bear our sicknesses.
Before we ask for financial help, He sent Jesus to become poor for our sake.
Before we ask for deliverance, He sent Jesus to deliver us.
Before the problem or need came, He made Jesus wisdom unto us.
Yes, we say faith moves God’s hand, but you must understand God already moved first in grace before we could add to or mess up His move. Think about all the past tense facts of God’s Word that show us God moved first. That finished work is expressed in facts. Those facts reveal our true spiritual position in Christ. God moved in grace first and now we move in faith as a response.