The grace of God was never intended to be abused, or used as a weapon (Rom. 6:1). As a weapon of vanity, a saint would call on 'Jesus' name with the desire that He would fight for them (2 Cor. 6:1-18).
These saints never consider changing their own thoughts or behaviors (Rom, 12:1). Thoughts create behaviors. Behaviors create experiences. Experiences write our testimony (Rev 12:11; 1 Co 1:6; 2 tim 1:8; 1 Co 15:10).
Behaviors create experience
Gal 6:7-9 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
Grace cannot be applied to the natural man. The natural man's works are dead to God. The bible even calls them dead works (Heb 6:1; Heb 9:14). Grace cannot be applied to dead works.
Dead works are:
- reponses and...
- decisions made without consulting the Lord who, by the way, is the author of this journey whom you are suppose to follow.
You act on your thoughts because you believe they are acceptable to the Lord and you believe your actions will return something good. That is not faith. That's foolishness. Why? Because faith is a substance like dirt, air and all life. If you want to distract someone or draw their attention from God, inflict pain on them.
Hearing Christ's voice is an important part of being his child, however; distinguishing his voice from your own can be difficult. It's even more challenging when under pressure and takes lots of faith and growth.
What is faith? It is actively engaging Jesus Christ about anything you are experiencing, which can include: pain, distress, sin, love, happiness, fatigue, your job, the people around you, etc. - basically, all the things you and Christ have conversations about. You want to please him right? Then ask him to teach you how to think and respond to the various experiences you have.
Walking by faith is simply abiding in him and he in you, resulting in you having his ways and thoughts authoring your steps; resulting in better experiences, knowledge of his ways, taking on his yoke, rejoicing in tribulation, knowing that the trying of your faith works patience... I believe you get the idea.
They're called dead works because they come from something... dead. When the natural man attempts to comprehend the bible, and listens to preaching or teaching on your behalf, he will not get it right. And if Christ is not the author and architect of your ways and thoughts, you cannot inherit the kingdom.
Joh 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
The natural man does not know the things of God because they are spiritually discerned (1 Co. 2:14). He cannot know them and they are foolishness unto him. He is unable to comprehend the things of God. He could not handle the gifts and power of the Holy Ghost without corrupting them. That's why Christ died. When grace is used as a weapon of war, saints see calling on Jesus as a way to ease their suffering. But grace was never intended to be applied to the natural man and his problems.
How is grace suppose to be used?
Grace can only be used by and for the benefit of the spiritual man. Problems are everywhere. Some problems were created out of ignorance and some, intentionally. Some problems can be created directly or indirectly by the actions of others. For a saint of God, problems are seen as opportunties to get to know Christ, his ways, and to bear more fruit.
2Co 12:9-11 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me: for I ought to have been commended of you: for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing.
Mar 4:20 And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.
Joh 15:4-8 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
When you see your problems in that light (as an opportunity for spiritual growth), you spend your living days seeking God’s ways and thoughts by changing your own ways and thoughts as you answer problems and make decisions - knowing well the limits of the natural man and his thinking and always acknowing the Lord in all that you do.
Mat 26:41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
Mar 14:38 Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.
The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak, therefore, grace cannot be applied to the natural man because he was born in sin and cannot be redeemed. It would be a waste of God's time to continue struggling with the flesh as he did in the past (Gen 6:5)
How is grace applied?
Grace is so powerful that it causes blindness and forgetfulness in God (Heb 10:17; Heb 8;12).
Although we would like to believe we are in control of grace, we are not. We cannot make it come or go, nor can we increase or decrease it. Grace is measured to each person (Rom 12:3).
If grace is not applied to what a person sows, he gets what was sown. God’s word has gone out of his mouth (Isa 55:11), seeking to respond to every person their reward, based on their actions and behaviors (Deu. 28:1 or 28:15). If God sees a person who exhibits behaviors classified as sin, his word will respond in kind. We reap what we sow.
Hos 10:12 Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.
Psa 126:5 They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.
Gal 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
Grace is applied under these conditions when a saint is:
- actively engaging Jesus Christ (Jo 15:4,10)
- thinking and making decisions (Prov 3:6)
- about everything (Psa 37:23; Jn 14:26)
- even suffering (Jo 12:24)
- responding to each experience seeing them as Christ would (Jn 15:26; Mat 11:29)
- responding to them as Christ makes his ways known (Jo 8:31-32)
And as a result, you will:
- manifest fruit (Heb 12:11)
- ask what you will and it will be done as you ask (Jo 15:7)
That's what walking in the Spirit looks like! When you engage Jesus Christ for change, your objective is to come out of whatever situation Christ sends your way, knowing more about Christ’s ways and thoughts than when or before the trial or tribulation started.
And when you go through those trials and tribulations with that objective, then is grace applied to you.