Yeshua Needed More Grace?

“And Yeshua increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52). 

Yeshua, as he grew into a man, increased in wisdom and stature.  Of course, as a baby growing into a child and then into a  young man, Yeshua would grow in physical stature and the wisdom that comes with maturing.   But why would Yeshua need to ‘increase in favor’ or grace if grace is about being saved from the law of sin and death?   Yeshua, being sinless, would not need the grace of God for salvation because he is salvation.  Yet, Luke says he increased in grace with God.

Over the years I’ve heard believers say,  ‘We’re not under the law, we’re under grace’.   In one aspect,  this is very true.  Once we have received the saving grace of God, we are set free from the ‘law of sin that leads to death’ (Rom. 8:2).   Yet, there is always a greater implication in this statement.  It is used to defend the doctrine of being saved from sin by grace and to nullify the Torah as an outline for righteous living.  Nullifying God’s commands also negates the way in which a person increases in the knowledge of God, His character, and ultimately His Son.

“Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position.  But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Messiah Yeshua. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen” (2 Peter 3:17-18).

Though the Scriptures are clear that no one is saved nor has ever been saved by obedience to Torah (Gal. 2:16), Peter makes it very clear that there is a growth process that includes not only growing in grace and knowledge, but guarding against the error of lawless men.  According to Peter, men who preach a lawless  gospel are in error!

The result of the ‘grace doctrine’ and the thought process that evolves from it, is a misunderstanding of the power of grace given to us by God to overcome sin and live righteous lives.  The un’favorable’ result is that believers begin to live and act like the people around them rather than effecting a divine change in the people around them.  They are no longer just ‘in the world’, but are ‘of the world.’  The are no longer more than conquerors through Him who loved us, but make the blood of Yeshua of no effect and insult the Spirit of grace (Heb. 10:29).

If grace is a once and done salvation event, again I ask, why did Yeshua need grace at all?  He didn’t need to be saved.   He did need to grow and mature into the fullness of the divine nature which lived in him.   He did, however, need the Spirit of grace for his process of sanctification to fully live out his purpose and God’s divine will for him.  To suffer punishment and death for the sins of the world would need a significant amount of empowering grace.

“And God raised us up with Messiah and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Yeshua, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace …”  (Ephesians 2:6-7).

Ephesians says that once we are saved, born again, we are raised up and  seated in the heavenly realm with Yeshua.  Yet, as I write this little blog, I am sitting in my living room.  I know my redeemed spirit is in the heavenly realm, but my human body, mind and soul are still here in this world being tempted on a daily basis with sin.  I can either succumb and be lawless or be shown the riches of his grace in daily victory over sin.

Romans 12:3 says “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Paul tells the Romans that they must have a transformed and renewed mind.  He is saying that our minds are not suddenly renewed when we are saved, but we need to learn not to conform to the thinking patterns of the world.  Such words smack in the face of a doctrine of grace that says once we’re saved, we have nothing to worry about in this life.  Yet, it’s only when we conform ourselves, renew our minds to the pattern of ‘the heavenly realm’ will we understand God’s good, pleasing and perfect will.

“Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul” (1 Peter 2:11).

Peter tells ‘aliens and strangers in the world’  that we must abstain from sinful desires that war against our soul.  To be an ‘alien and stranger’ means that we must find our identity and purpose in something other than the world around us.  If our soul was completely redeemed, it would not have desires –  envy, jealousy, anger, hatred – from which we have to abstain.

“Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord.  Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.  I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”  Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God” (2 Corinthians 6:17-7:1).

To the Corinthians, Paul told believers to purify themselves.  If the grace that saved us purified us from everything, then why would we have to purify ourselves – body and spirit –  from things that are unclean?  Why would we have to continue to perfect holiness if we are already holy?  Why is purification from contamination something we have to do and not something that was just given to us by the ‘grace of God’?

Paul is clear that in order to be received as sons and daughters of the Most High God, we must perfect holiness!  It is something WE must do.  These words of appeal do not suggest a complacent saving grace that allows God’s children to remain irreverent, disrepectful, or contentious to His good, pleasing and perfect will.  These are words of action with a catch – without an action of response on our part, we are not really the sons and daughters of God Almighty.

As a man, Yeshua struggled just as we do with the temptation to sin.  Just as we do, he needed the empowering grace to stand against temptation so he would not fall into sin.  He did not make excuses and say, “Well Abba, I live in a fallen, sinful world and so I’m going to do this or that and be like everyone else.”  Nor did he believe he needed to become a sinner to touch a sinner’s life.  No, he knew the commands of God, taught the commands of God, lived the commands of God, and stood against not only Satan, but his own temptations through the commands of God.  He needed the ever-increasing favor of God to empower him to be an overcomer.   As an overcomer, as a man who stood against temptation to break God’s commands, he qualified to be the sacrifice for your sins, my sins, and the sins of the world.

“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin” (1 John 2:1).

How often do we make excuses for ourselves so we can sin and remain sinners instead of redeemed saints?   How often do we rationalize the Word of God saying certain things aren’t for today or that Yeshua abolished the teachings and instructions of God?  How often do we allow ourselves and our children to ‘do things of the world’ thinking they are okay because of the cross or that we’re forgiven anyway?  The greatest mistake that believers make is to follow the error of lawlessness taught by men (and the world), to believe the saving grace of God negates the empowering grace of God to overcome the rebellion of breaking God’s commands (all of them found in both testaments).

It is only within the Torah’s teachings and instructions that true followers of Messiah learn what is clean and unclean in order to purify themselves body (Old Testament) and spirit (New Testament).   It is only through the Biblical truth that we can know God’s good, pleasing and perfect will whether it’s what we eat or drink, what we celebrate, who we honor, what we do to our physical temples, how we treat our neighbor, our animals and ourselves.    It is only through the Word of God that our minds, our wills and ultimately our souls are saved from a spiritual/soul war and transformed into the image of Messiah.  While our redeemed spirits sit in the heavenly realm, our body, mind, and souls remain in this world needing the empowering grace of God to be changed and renewed in order to live out the truth of Torah written on our hearts.  This sanctification process is living each day of our lives with an ever-increasing power of grace.  Sanctification through obeying the commands brings maturity and the ability to discern good from evil,  it brings forth fruits of righteousness and light to the dark world around us, and it reveals God’s good, pleasing and perfect will for our individual as well as corporate lives as the Body of Messiah  (Heb. 5:14, Phil 1:11).

If Yeshua understood that grace was more than just a moment of salvation, then we need to understand that too. If increasing in grace was part of Yeshua’s growth into maturity,  then it should be part of our maturing growth process too.  If Yeshua guarded himself from the lawless one through obedience to the Torah of His Father, then we also must guard ourselves from the error of lawless men by accepting the Words of God as Truth  and obeying the teachings and instructions of our God and our  Messiah (Mat. 5:17-20).

©2013 Tent Stake Ministries

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