Do you still exist because of your service to God, because you are special to Him… or has God let you live because He feels sorry for you?
God can work with many people. He can answer the prayers of many people, and at many levels of righteousness – even those in outright violation of the laws. But notice I said “CAN”, not “HAS TO”.
You still exist, and if you indeed have any contact with God, you have it because of one of two reasons; either because God is overlooking your sins through grace, because you are too dense to know what you are doing wrong… or because God likes you, because of your obedience, and you exist through faith.
Two categories; Faith or Grace. Which are you? And before you answer, remember that 7 billion people are alive today because of God feeling sorry for them and overlooking their sins. Not very many are alive because of their powerful faith.
You see, God DOES feel sorry for man, and He DOES cut man some slack now and then, “For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.” (Psalms 103:14)
Fully understanding where you stand in this will dictate your attitude when you talk to God. For example; consider this prayer of Hezekiah’s…
2 Kings 20:3 I beseech thee, O LORD, remember now how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore.
Notice what Hezekiah is doing. Hezekiah is claiming, AS HIS RIGHT, the blessings of God for his obedience! He is telling God that he has earned this, that he has fulfilled the requirements of God, and with a perfect heart!
And God honored that prayer! He gave Hezekiah 15 more years of life. But God honored that prayer because Hezekiah HAD earned it – his faith HAD qualified him to receive that blessing that God promised to the faithful!
On the other hand, after the return to Jerusalem, when Ezra discovered that those that were left of the Babylonian captivity had taken wives of the heathen, AGAIN, Ezra did not, COULD not, ask for God’s help on the basis of obedience.
Ezra 9:5-15 And at the evening sacrifice I [Ezra] arose up from my heaviness; and having rent my garment and my mantle, I fell upon my knees, and spread out my hands unto the LORD my God, And said, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens…. And now for a little space GRACE hath been shewed from the LORD our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, … And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? for we have forsaken thy commandments,… O LORD God of Israel, thou art righteous: for we remain yet escaped, as it is this day: behold, we are before thee in our trespasses: for we cannot stand before thee because of this.
In other words, we DON’T deserve this, but we are asking for it anyway. And again, God honored this prayer. There are a number of examples of both types of prayers in the Bible, but this makes my point for now.
1 John 3:20-22 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
TWO categories! IF your heart condemns you – that is, if you KNOW you’ve done/are doing wrong, and don’t deserve whatever it is you’re asking for… well, God is bigger than your heart. And He knows that you’re just dust, as David says. So He might give you an answer anyway!
BUT if your heart DOESN’T condemn you – as Hezekiah’s didn’t – THEN you have confidence towards God, and if you ask Him for something, you WILL receive it! God MUST answer you, or go back on His own unbreakable word!
Psalms 34:17 The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.
God CANNOT break that promise – so IF YOU ARE RIGHTEOUS, God OWES you that reward for that obedience! He promised that IF you are righteous, you WILL be helped. So if you do YOUR part, and KEEP His commandments, and DO those things that are pleasing in His sight, and do it with a CLEAN heart, God HAS NO CHOICE, He simply MUST answer you!
On the other hand, if you are NOT righteous, God is in NO WAY OBLIGATED to help you! Oh, He might feel sorry for you and help you anyway – but that is not because of your faith! No, it’s because of His grace, which will only carry you just so far!
Grace only covers SINS OF IGNORANCE! When you ask for a healing, you are asking that the sacrifice of Christ, His stripes, be applied to you for your miraculous healing. BUT THERE IS NO SACRIFICE FOR WILFULL SIN!
Hebrews 10:26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
So as soon as you LEARN you shouldn’t do something, God REQUIRES that you obey it, or else He isn’t required to help you in any way!
Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
When you’re ignorant, God cuts you a lot of slack. But the MORE you learn, the MORE He requires of you – “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required!” (Luke 12:48)
This is why Christ was able to heal people right and left. These people weren’t obedient, many of them. They hadn’t had a chance to be. And Christ didn’t give most of them the third degree before He healed them – although He did a few times. But He didn’t require a lot of obedience because they were ignorant! Because they didn’t KNOW what they should be doing, and “where there is no law, there is no sin” (Romans 4:15)
On the other hand, people in the church KNOW more. They must have more obedience, because they DO know more of the law, and the MORE they learn, the more obedience they must have to keep God happy with them!
Unfortunately, most people, that is, practically everyone I’ve ever known in the church, keep the same level of obedience that they had when they were called, learn more, and then don’t change their obedience, and expect God to treat them the same as He used to treat them!
The most CERTAIN way to PREVENT your prayer from being answered, is for you to be living on Grace, and not Faith – surviving because God is overlooking your sins – and then to claim the blessings of a righteous man! The natural result of this is that God not only ignores you, but you anger Him by your arrogance, and so He removes whatever grace you may have had before!
To demand that God answer your prayer, you must have a clean conscience; you must be able to remind God of your obedience and your pure heart in order to go BOLDLY BEFORE THE THRONE OF GOD (Hebrews 4:12) with your head held HIGH, asking your friend to help you out of a crisis!
Genesis 26:5 Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.
James 2:23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
That’s the choice you have to make. Do you want God to help you out of pity, or out of friendship? Would you rather have a reward, or a charity handout?
So if God deals with you at all – or for that matter, if He even lets you live – you either live because of pity, or because of love. Either because you DON’T deserve it, or because you do.
Which is it?