“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.
Therefore, since we are justified (acquitted, declared righteous, and given a right standing with God) through faith, let us [grasp the fact that we] have [the peace of reconciliation to hold and to enjoy] peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed one). 2 Through Him also we have [our] access (entrance, introduction) by faith into this grace (state of God’s favor) in which we [firmly and safely] stand. And let us rejoice and exult in our hope of experiencing and enjoying the glory of God. Romans 5:1-2 AMP
When you have faith in Jesus Christ and His sacrifice, you are justified, acquitted, declared righteous, and given a right standing with God. As a sinner, you may have done some very bad things, but from the moment you acknowledged your need of a Savior, repented for your sins, asked the Lord to forgive you and received Jesus as your Lord, God forgave you. Your sins are forgiven and washed away as if they never existed. God wants you to grasp the fact that you have been reconciled to Him and to enjoy the peace you have with Him. Father God has forgiven and forgotten your past and He expects you to forget your past as well and to leave it behind you. You need to become unconscious toward your former unrighteousness and become conscious of your new righteousness through Jesus Christ. You need to walk like a righteous person, talk like a righteous person, and act like a righteous person. Through faith in Jesus Christ you are introduced to God’s grace and you have access to His favor. This is not a flimsy or a temporary grace, but a grace in which you firmly and safely stand. Because of this grace, you have a hope of experiencing and enjoying the glory of God. You have a reason to rejoice!
7 But whatever former things I had that might have been gains to me, I have come to consider as [one combined] loss for Christ’s sake. 8 Yes, furthermore, I count everything as loss compared to the possession of the priceless privilege (the overwhelming preciousness, the surpassing worth, and supreme advantage) of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord and of progressively becoming more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him [of perceiving and recognizing and understanding Him more fully and clearly]. For His sake I have lost everything and consider it all to be mere rubbish (refuse, dregs), in order that I may win (gain) Christ (the Anointed one), 9 And that I may [actually] be found and known as in Him, not having any [self-achieved] righteousness that can be called my own, based on my obedience to the Law’s demands (ritualistic uprightness and supposed right standing with God thus acquired), but possessing that [genuine righteousness] which comes through faith in Christ (the Anointed one), the [truly] right standing with God, which comes from God by [saving] faith. Philippians 3:7-9 AMP
Our prayer, for the last thirteen years, has been, “Lord, burn out every bit of religion and tradition out of us. We only want that which is of You and of Your Word and of Your Spirit.” There is nothing that any of us can do, in our own strength or power or goodness to save ourselves or help ourselves. We all need Jesus – we all need the Spirit of God. The sooner you realize how much you need the Lord – the better off you will be. Growing in grace, growing in the Lord has more to do with you realizing how much you need Him and coming to know His heart than it has to do with you acquiring mere knowledge about Him.
As we celebrate The River at Tampa Bay’s sixth birthday, we remind ourselves of who we are and why we are here. When Jesus is lifted up, men are drawn to Him. We are here to lift up the Name of Jesus. He is our first love. We are here to give Him all the glory and the praise. We are here to preach His Word boldly and without apology. We are here to enjoy our relationship and fellowship with the Lord for Jesus is the joy of our salvation. We are here to preach faith in God and not works. We are here to demonstrate His power and to meet the needs of the people. We are here to bring people into a relationship and fellowship with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. We are here to do the Spirit’s bidding and we are here to be a Church where the Spirit of God has His own way and where He is allowed free rein. Let us not allow religion or tradition to dilute our enthusiasm, but let us – by the Spirit – maintain the zeal of our salvation and remember that Jesus is Lord!