Entitlement: Wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked
The book of Romans speaks to us regarding the Law that passed away with the death of Jesus Christ. The New Covenant is a covenant of Grace. Grace means: “The unmerited favor of the Living God.” Grace is a free gift that goes deep into our spirit manifesting the fruits of the spirit in our lives. Grace is the first seed of a new life in Jesus Christ, for apart from Him, we can do nothing. The fullness of Grace is implanted within us–it is the Kingdom of Heaven, it is the Good News, it is the transforming power; Grace is the beginning of eternity because the seed of Grace grows forever in fresh blossoms and green Life.
I am learning about Grace by studying the book of Romans. There is so much in this book that goes deep into who we are in Christ. Beginning with the idea of the conception of our Lord from the lineage of David through the virgin Mary, the plan of redemption begins with replacing the first Adam with the Last Adam. The fallen nature of humankind is redeemed through God Himself who became flesh without sin and fulfilled every jot and tittle of the Law on our behalf. The miracle in this is that we are no longer really human in terms of the first Adam, we are a “new creature, ” engrafted into the vine of Israel and the Tree of Life who is the last Adam.
The last Adam is the “first fruit” of a new and living Way. The new and living Way is a life of Grace. The unmerited favor of God gives us a heavenly reality right here on the earth because the Kingdom of God is within us directed by the Holy Spirit of the Living God who is without beginning and without end. This nature is freely given to us through Grace. Grace encompasses eternity because it is the first glimpse into the supernatural realm of endless mysteries and possibilities in all faith and hope. “Faith brings substance to the things hoped for.” What this means is that we have access to the Holy of Holies through the pure veil of the flesh of Jesus Christ to enter into a Kingdom of Heaven life here on earth today. I have story after story of how God manifests himself in my life in signs, wonders, and mighty deeds to the benefit of my family and others.
The first thing that happens when we come to the cross of Jesus Christ is salvation. The mercy of the Living God saves us from the dictates of this world in terms of the consequences of sin, the influence of the enemy, and above all, through God’s mercy we are sanctified–made righteous (in right standing with God.) We are then justified–found innocent of the judgement of the Law. That is a lot. The thing is, we cannot fully embrace the transforming POWER of grace unless we keep our eyes on the cross of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and the Cross is the means by which we enter into the promise. The promise is a New and Living Way in a New covenant. The New Covenant replaces a system of Law with Grace–Jesus Christ is the New Covenant. Keeping our eyes on the cross, allows us to be humbled by the death of our Lord. Because without acknowledging, remembering, and praising Him forever, what the Lord did on our behalf, becomes an entitlement:
16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
Without our eyes on the cross, we become immune to the price that was paid for our freedom.
17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked (Revelation 3:16-17.)
Many in the Church today walk in a spirit of entitlement–“Lord, do this and do that.” Many in the Church forget that it is because of what Jesus did on the cross that we were offered the gift of salvation. The cross is the means by which we are changed from glory to glory because we need to return to the cross each and every moment of our lives in all gratitude and humility remembering that the price that was paid for our freedom and every spiritual blessing was one of the ultimate sacrifice and essential love of the Father for all eternity. Jesus will always be man and God–because He will always and eternally be the Last Adam who redeemed us from the curse of futility and the dictates of the Law by BECOMING sin. (Sin is separation from God in a number of ways–They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips– Romans 1:29.) If you examine each aspect of wickedness, you will notice that it is impossible for our Loving and gracious God to partner with any of this stuff. Therefore, this is why all of this wickedness is called sin. Entitlement is sin.
The concept of sin and entitlement always reflects separation from God in one way or another including operating in our own strength. When we put any thing before the cross and Jesus Christ it is sin–separation from God. Revelation 3:17 is talking about entitlement–wow–we can just push cruse control and coast on the blood of Jesus Christ. This is called entitlement. Jesus will spit us out of His mouth if we ever forget the cross and fail to walk in gratitude and the fear of the Lord for one moment. Ok. The “fear of the Lord” is not talking about FEAR as in crouching in a corner shivering or running blindly through the field because you just saw a snake. (Which I have actually done on a number of occasions.) Fear of the Lord is in actuality one of the seven Spirits of the Lord (Isaiah 11.) Fear of the Lord is “reverential gratitude” as in fall on your knees and worship His holy name. Let is keep our eyes on the cross. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God – he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God (Hebrews 12).