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If you cannot be gracious to the One who is gracious to you, then you cannot be gracious to those who are ungracious to you. God who is the God of all grace has been gracious to us, more than we can begin to appreciate. The journey of life in God is sustained by His power given through His love but maintained only by His grace. As I have said before, it was God’s grace that began creation in the first place. Creation did nothing to deserve His help, but was designed to display His power and showcase His eternal love; however, it is a creation that is preserved for salvation and eventual resurrection by His grace.

For He could just as easily have destroyed creation, and then started all over again in the same way as He thought of doing to Israel when Israel made the golden calf to worship whilst Moses was up the mountain receiving the Law from God.[1] We know this chapter to be the rebellion and unbelief of Israel, however, ungraciousness is actually the true source of all rebellion and unbelief. The Israelites had been delivered out of Egypt and were already witnesses to a multitude of miracles. Now they were waiting at the foot of the mount for God to speak to Moses, and when the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.”[2] This is the statement that defines the Israelites attitude to God and to Moses—ungraciousness, without the grace to wait or the grace to remain or even to ask Aaron, “If Moses is gone, are you to lead us in the worship of God?” But no, their first words were to give God the sack and appoint new gods for themselves to worship.

When you are ungracious, you are ungrateful; that is what the people of God are to God, just like those Israelites, time and time again. What underlines this ungraciousness we have against God is our propensity to be impatient. We do not like to be kept waiting but we do not mind keeping others waiting. The ability to wait is the ability to be patient, and patience is the first quality of love.[3] Waiting gives a person time to fully reveal himself and develop his plans for you, whereas impatience does not. And the product of all impatience is unbelief, which leads to rebellion.

So many disasters in history, that is Biblical history, could have been avoided by waiting, beginning with Adam to the eleven apostles and now, us. Had Adam said to Eve, “Let us wait for God before we eat,” how different the history of the world would be. If Saul waited for Samuel before making an unauthorised sacrifice, how different it would have been for him and his family. If the eleven had waited for the Holy Spirit to come before appointing Matthias as Judas’ replacement, how different it would have been for the church now.

So, the root of all our errors, rebellion and unbelief, which created the disaster that this present world is, lies in our inability to wait for God, and our inability to wait is our impatience, which is our lack of love, and impatience is merely a manifestation of underlying ungraciousness. Since it is by grace we are saved, by grace we were created, by grace we are preserved and maintained until perfection is manifested, then ungraciousness will destroy everything brought about by grace. Ungraciousness will destroy salvation, for an ungracious person is in fact a person who does not believe the testimony of the One who has helped them. God, not Satan, made Adam, and as such, Adam owed it to God to wait for Him. That is grace.

God used Moses and Aaron to deliver Israel out of Egypt, and at least they could have waited till Aaron gave them an answer instead of telling Aaron what they wanted; that’s grace. So, when you begin to understand what grace and un-grace is, you begin to realise where the root of all sin, all evil, lies. Satan was created as “the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you.”[4] And yet this is his boast in his heart: “I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of Assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.”[5] His wickedness was his ungraciousness to God, which gave rise to his pride, ingratitude and every sin we can think of.

So, it should be no surprise that it is through the fullness of God’s grace we receive one blessing after another, and on the flipside, it is through the fullness of our ungraciousness that we receive one curse after another. God is not ungraciousness, but when we choose to be ungracious to God, we deny the blessings of His grace that can cover over our sins and so receive all the disasters that sin carries in its inherent nature, and so the ungracious curse themselves but the gracious are blessed by God.

Had Adam learned to be gracious or was gracious to God, he would never have sinned though sin was crouching at his door. Had he but waited for God to come in the cool of the day and asked of God why could he not eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, or even a better question; “What must I do just before I can eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil?” Simply, the grace to wait on the One whom you should wait for would have stopped sin from entering Adam’s life. Had Adam waited, it would have meant Adam had at least listened when God said, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”[6]

Thus, by grace, sin can be prevented and by that same grace, those who have had their sins forgiven need never to sin again if they have learned what grace is, and to fully comprehend what grace is, we need to understand what ungraciousness, un-grace, is. When you begin to realise that it is ungraciousness that causes a person not to wait for the person they should wait for, not to listen to the person they should listen to, and not to enquire of the person they should enquire of, then you will see that un-grace is the secret power of lawlessness that Paul spoke of in this way: For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the One who now holds it back will continue to do so till He is taken out of the way. Then the lawless one will be revealed.[7]

The One who holds back the power of lawlessness is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Power and the Spirit of Grace. For lawlessness does not mean just breaking some laws, but the breaking of all laws, both the natural and the spiritual laws of God and of men. In order to be able to break all the laws of God and men and still appear to triumph, you must first be one who has been cut off from the Law of Moses and its moral code. That is, you must be one who has drunk of the blood of Jesus and eaten His flesh and received miraculous power to break also the natural laws of science so that you can defy all of men’s laws as well, with impunity. However, all of this ability to be set free from the laws of Moses, the laws of natural science and the laws of men came and comes only by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ. For through Jesus, we are cut off from God according to the Law of Moses by eating His flesh and drinking His blood, through Jesus we receive power to raise the dead, walk on water, heal the sick, cause shrivelled arms to grow, and through Jesus, we receive the authority and the sceptre to smash like clay jars the nations of the Earth as we reign with Him. Through Jesus, all these three laws are set aside and overcome, making us as ones outside of the Law, but yet not lawless, for we are still subject to the one law that makes us holy unto God: “Listen to Him!”[8] And those who do listen to Him know that He said, “I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am.”[9]

And if He is coming back for us, then we must wait for Him, and the ability to listen to and wait for the One we should is grace, the same grace that keeps us free from sin, and being without sin we are sinless as God is sinless. In asking us to wait for Him, the Lord has provided for us an indestructible life so that we will live to see Him arrive. That is why He said, “Whoever lives and believes in Me will never die.”[10] “If anyone keeps My word, he will never see death.”[11] “Anyone who has faith in Me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these…”[12] “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.”[13] “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counsellor to be with you forever—the Spirit of Truth.” “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you.”[14] And He made it obvious that a time of waiting was needed, for He said, “He who stands firm to the end will be saved,”[15] because “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in Heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”[16]

The lawless one who will be revealed is the one who is under no law, not Moses’ law and its code of moral behaviour, not the laws of science and its limitations on our behaviour, nor the laws of men and their limitations on our legal behaviour, but worst of all, he is one who, having received the grace and the power to cover all these laws, will rebel and stop listening to Jesus. Instead of waiting for Jesus to arrive to take the throne in Jerusalem, like Satan he will not wait but seek to take the throne for the beast so as to ensure for himself a place at the right hand of the cursed one. Ungraciousness will be in the false prophet to inspire him to the final rebellion because his ambition is to either take the throne or at least, be to the right or the left of the throne. The thought that those places may be reserved for someone else is too much for him. The ungraciousness in him will cause him to rebel, cause him not to wait, not to listen, and just like the Israelites at the foot of that mountain, he will look to create for himself another god to serve, a god that he can control and not be controlled by. For the attraction of the worship of an idol is that you control the idol, you set the idol up in place, you decide when to worship it, you decide when to walk away from it, and no matter what you do to it, it can neither speak nor act against you. The attraction for the false prophet to breathe life into the image of the beast through the miraculous powers he has received from the Holy Spirit is that the beast himself, although he has authority, has no power. It would be the false prophet who performs great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from Heaven to Earth in full view of men. Because of the signs he was given power to do on behalf of the first beast, he deceived the inhabitants of the Earth.[17] Thus, though the authority is with the first beast, it is the false prophet, the other beast coming out of the Earth who had two horns like a lamb, but he spoke like a dragon,[18] who has the power. Thus, the false prophet will create for himself a god whom he can control, and take his own destiny into his own hands rather than wait for the One who saved him, who raised him up and who empowered him to give him a place amongst his kings and lords who are coming back with Him, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Just like Adam, he will take destiny into his own hands and mouth without waiting for God. Just like king Saul, he will raise the sword and make the sacrifice without waiting for Samuel, and just like Adam and Saul, he will lose everything he was given, except there is no sacrifice left for the false prophet. For unlike Adam who was innocent and so was deceived, and Saul who never knew Jesus or the power of the Holy Spirit, the false prophet is guilty of the worst of all sins, ungraciousness to the Spirit of Grace who elected him as one of His own. So, even though Adam and Saul will enjoy the restoration of all things made new by Jesus, the lawless one will be cast into the Lake of Sulphur alive with his compatriot, the beast.

So, in our continuous repentance, we must add to it repentance of our ungraciousness to God, to the Father, to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, for we have not listened and we have not waited when we should have waited, as we did not go immediately to Bethsaida when we should have. Our mouths were ungracious to Mary when she anointed the Lord’s feet, making us worse than Simon the Pharisee whose thoughts alone were ungracious to the woman who anointed the Lord.[19] It is our ungraciousness not to wait for the Holy Spirit before we sought to appoint someone to replace Judas that has set the whole course of the last two thousand years on fire, and brought the Name of our Lord to disgrace. Our ungraciousness is responsible for disgracing our Lord, not the ignorance of heathens and pagans who do not know better. Indeed, those pagans who have obeyed the law that God has written in their hearts have done far better than those who have used the Name of Jesus Christ but have not listened to Him.

That is why it is written: It is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the Gospel of God?[20] Make no mistakes here, you can only obey the Gospel of God if you have had it preached and taught to you, so pagans have much less to fear than those who have heard the Gospel of God and not obeyed it. Peter said, “obeyed it,” not “believed it.” And what is the Gospel of God that we are to obey other than what God Himself testified to on the Mount of Transfiguration, “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him!”[21]

You who believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, have you obeyed the Gospel of God? If not, repent and return to listening to the One you profess to have placed your faith in and so obey God while there is still time. As for you who have had the command restored to you and have obeyed it and practised obeying it, it is time to add to your practice and obedience, grace, the grace of one well practiced and has expertise developed through hard work. For, it is the grace to wait, to listen, and to receive Him that will keep you sinless in His eyes when He comes. It is grace that will allow you to stand before Him. It is grace that will permit you to escape the distress of the days to come, and not only escape, but overcome them so that men, that is, those who love the truth, will see your deeds and praise God, whilst those who hate the truth will curse God.

So, as surely as salvation came by grace through faith; judgement will come by that same grace through truth, for the truth is we can all be more gracious to one another, even to God, than we have been. So, be gracious to God who has been gracious to you. Love one another as He has loved you with that same grace. And you who are well practised being gracious to one another, then will your graciousness to those who are ungracious to you exalt the Holy Spirit who elected you to prepare this Earth for the return of Jesus Christ, the King. AMEN


 

[1] Exodus 32

[2] Exodus 32:1

[3] 1 Corinthians 13

[4] Ezekiel 28:12,15

[5] Isaiah 14:13-14

[6] Genesis 2:16-17

[7] 2 Thessalonians 2:7-8

[8] Matthew 17:5; Mark 9:7; Luke 9:35

[9] John 14:3

[10] John 11:26

[11] John 8:51

[12] John 14:12

[13] Luke 10:19

[14] John 14:16; Acts 1:8

[15] Matthew 10:22; 24:13; Mark 13:13

[16] Matthew 24:36

[17] Revelation 13:13-14

[18] Revelation 13:11

[19] Luke 7:36-47

[20] 1 Peter 4:17

[21] Matthew 17:5

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