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Strength Through Weakness

Divine Grace and Power in Weakness

“Yes! I grew up believing it was better to be tough and strong. I hated weakness. Then Jesus got a hold of me! I now know that is a lie from hell. God has shown me you have to first be broken and weak. That is where you find Jesus in your weaknesses! When you can no longer do it and realize how much you really need Jesus. 2 Corinthians 12:10. When I am weak, then I am strong.” Karen Cochran

Coming to the revelation that in and of ourselves, even in our very “best state” we are “altogether vanity,” is a starting point for becoming “poor in spirit” (Psalms 39:4-5; Matthew 5:3). The only righteousness we have has been freely given to us – undeserving paupers worthy only of judgment for our sin.

“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; 7  That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:5-7

When we begin to come to this understanding, we will begin to cease attempting to earn God’s love or vainly imagine that we in any manner merited His gift of salvation.

“Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. 5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” Romans 4:4-5

Saving and sanctifying grace (divine enablement/empowerment) must be understood as the working of the LORD in each of His beloved people – influencing their hearts as He alone can do, causing them to overcome and to please Him in all things as they abide in oneness with Him (John 15).

Remember always from whence ye came and where you will go back to if you are not living in the Spirit via the daily cross (1 Corinthians 9:27).

“I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. 2 He (the LORD, not ourselves) brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. 3 And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD. 4 Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.” Psalms 40:1-4

We cannot possibly begin to realize just how much of a blessing it is that “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son” if we don’t begin to realize from where it was that He has brought us as we are and are being saved (John 3:16; 2 Corinthians 1:10). We read and know these blessed words found in John 3:16, but do we really begin to understand the reason God sent His only begotten Son for us? Get ready for your appreciation for Christ to begin to grow!

“Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the LORD: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged.” Isaiah 51:1

WHEN we become “weak” in self, that’s when He becomes “strong” in us and on our behalf (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). It seems apparent that the LORD ordains these times of bringing us low, so that He can bring us to realize in a greater sense and depth, just how much He loves us and is with us and that He is guiding, upholding, and undertaking our lives! Aren’t these the times when we truly cry out to Him, draw nigh to Him, and know that closeness, that oneness? We really are His (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). It was when the great apostle of our LORD Jesus suffered much with that “thorn in the flesh,” that he was brought to this place of weakness and the consequent sufficiency of God’s grace (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

Can we possibly begin to realize the true score of things if we don’t first humble ourselves in the LORD’s holy presence – becoming “weak”? Is it not then that He becomes “strong” on our behalf?

“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.  10 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.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Beginning to understand what Paul called the “unspeakable gift” of Christ who is our Salvation, requires the knowledge of our own depravity (2 Corinthians 9:5).

To the degree that we are receiving the revelation of  CHRIST’s righteousness, is the degree that we lose self-righteousness (Romans 3-8). Understanding your own utter depravity is never a license to sin but rather the starting point to be able to truly cherish Christ and what He did for us.

The LORD Jesus Christ taught us that the man who humbly prayed “Lord, be merciful to me a sinner” was heard while the “natural ability” of the other self-righteous religionist and his foolish, pride-filled prayer was utterly rejected (Luke 18:10-14). The self-righteous man in this illustration represents so many today who somehow believe they are accepted of God on some other basis or a shared basis with Christ Jesus’ perfection.

Mankind has NO righteousness of his own in and of himself – before and AFTER Christ saves that person. – “But we are all as an unclean thing, and ALL our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away” (Isaiah 64:6).

Daniel and all who ever pleased God did so by trusting HIS righteousness! Listen to Daniel’s prayer and declaration:

“O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies. 19 O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name.” Daniel 9:18-19

Beloved, beware of any and all false teaching which would dare lead you to believe that you have ANY righteousness whatsoever outside of Christ Himself who said “without me you can do nothing!” (John 15:5)

David, the man after God’s own heart, prayed to the LORD to show him his own end (finite-ness, mortality, limitations) and for God to show him just how “frail” or weak he is.

“LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am. Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah.” Psalms 39:4-5

MANY today are puffed up as they have gullibly bought into a self-righteous, Luciferic theology they borrowed from Charles Finney which teaches that man has his own “natural ability” to please God and can overcome all sin all by himself, even before the LORD saves him. Finney taught that man was neutral and had no sin nature. In other words, he taught that the all of man, who was previously created in a perfect state, had no effect on human nature thereafter (Genesis 6:5, 12; Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 5:18-19; Ephesians 2:1-3; 4:22, etc.). Those who teach such a diabolical heresy shun, twist, and ignore volumes of Holy Scripture including the curses pronounced upon then newly fallen mankind in Genesis 3. So, basically, this teaching that man has the “natural ability” to stop all sin and to obey God WITHOUT CHRIST would have to mean that Christ came in vain which makes this self-centered theology antichrist. That’s one way “the spirit of antichrist” denies that Jesus came in the flesh and perfectly paid for man’s sin debt as ONLY He could do (1 John 2:1-2; 4:1-6). To the utter contrary, the great apostle of Jesus taught that attitudes of self-righteousness and self-dependence are directly connected to the old law by which no man can be saved. We also notice in this passage that Paul remained perpetually in the fear of the LORD, fearing that it was possible for him to fall away from Christ.

Yes, God gives saved men the ability to overcome all sin and has made full provision for such and also, if he chooses to sin, the child of God can choose to repent and confess that sin and be cleansed (1 John 1:6-22, etc.).

It’s clear that when a man sins, he does so out of his own volition and he alone is to blame (James 1:13-15). When a man sins, he does so in the face of God’s promise to give that man the power to overcome – to choose to do what is right and pleasing in His holy eyes (1 Corinthians 10:12-13; Romans 6:14). There’s no argument there. Yet, the fact that “all (men) have sinned” and therefore  have that sinful inclination to sin seems undeniable by the whole counsel of God’s Word.

“And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;’ Philippians 3:9-10

Did you notice how the apostle Paul contrasted “mine own righteousness” with “the righteousness which is OF GOD by faith”? It’s one or the other. WHO are you trusting to save you?

“The more we know Christ the more we are aware we NEED Him!” Anita Villarreal

Being “poor in spirit” is the diametrical opposite of being puffed up trusting in a supposed, feigned “natural ability” which does nothing but foster that which God despises – pride and self-righteousness! (Read James 4:6-10.) The disciple must become completely and totally dependent upon Christ and His saving grace on a momentary basis. This truth of the inherent sin nature of all men, which includes each of us, makes me so aware of my utter need for Christ’s saving mercy and overcoming grace moment to moment and the need for me to get down low and stay down low and to keep going down, down, down – sinking down deep into the death of Christ! Read: Romans 6; Matthew 16:24-25; John 12:23-25; 2 Corinthians 1:9; 3:5; 4:5; Galatians 2:20; Isaiah 37:31, etc. Laying aside self as our LORD instructed, causes us to trust Him and to push away all self-dependence and self-righteousness.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3

The LORD Jesus commanded each and every person who would truly follow Him to “deny himself, and take up his cross daily” and to “lose his life for my sake” (Luke 9:23-24). The daily cross is the essential prerequisite to a “poor in spirit” disposition.

“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. 24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.” Luke 9:23-24

Denying self is the opposite of “natural ability” which is nothing but Christ-denying self-dependence.

The Greek words for “poor in spirit” are defined as: to crouch (in utter humility), a beggar (as cringing), a pauper – as in a state of begging, and denotes a mental disposition.

The divine prescription for being possessed with HIS victory requires that we agree with His statement against fallen, sinful humanity and trust fully in the redemption He wrought through Christ alone! Denying our own tendency toward that which displeases God (sin, iniquity) negates the biblical doctrine of our initial saving and moment to moment (perpetual) need for the saving mercy and grace of Christ. The daily cross and divine grace in overcoming is God’s answer, not denying our own sinful state. No, we don’t deny it but rather we simply lay down our lives and allow the LORD Jesus to raise us up in His bless-ed power into the full victory He has ordained. Read Romans 6-8 as a whole.

It’s only when we surrender and admit our own weakness that His strength is made perfect in us.

“Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities. 6 For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me. 7  And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. 8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9 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. 10 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.” 2 Corinthians 12:5-10

YOUR PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I come to You in the perfect name and righteousness of Jesus Christ alone. Here and now I confess my sins of self-righteousness, self-will, self-agenda, spiritual adultery, having other gods before You, and the sin of idolatry. Please break me dear LORD. Make me weak that You alone might be strong in this vessel. Please multiply Your heart-influencing, enabling grace in the lives of Your beloved people. We are weak but Thou art strong. I love You Jesus. Have Your way in this life. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Read these to gain a much deeper revelation on this important subject:

Charles Finney: False Teacher | No Inherent Sin Nature? | Stop Sinning? Really? | Sin: Man’s Core Problem

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